A few years ago, the selection of electric vehicles on the market was quite slim. We had the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S and BMW i3. There were a few others, but none that special. After the 2016 Paris Motor Show, though, it seems as if that selection is going to expand. Rapidly.
Almost each and every premium automaker debuted some sort of electric vehicle or concept in Paris. Volkswagen showed off its I.D. concept, proving that it could make an EV with over 200 miles of range that only costs as much as a Golf diesel. But that’s just the beginning, as Volkswagen wants 30 EVs in its lineup by 2025. An ambitious goal, indeed.
But VW wasn’t the only ambitious German in Paris. The Mercedes-Benz EQ debuted as well, foreshadowing the beginning of an EV influx into Mercedes’ lineup as well. “We’re now flipping the switch,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. “We’re ready for the launch of an electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class.” Mercedes wants 10 EVs in its model portfolio within the next few years.
BMW Board Member Ian Robertson, the only BMW board member at the Paris Motor Show, claimed that new legislature is changing the automotive landscape, forcing all automakers to push for more EVs. “We’re all facing a legislative framework around the world which is going in one direction and almost converging on the same spot,” said Robertson. “Within the mix of vehicles for the foreseeable future, you will need to have a good proportion of zero-emission vehicles.”
However, not all automakers agree on the direction to take. While Tesla has claimed for years that pure BEV is the only way to go, others have disagreed. BMW and Toyota are the two largest detractors, with investments in hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Maybe BMW and Toyota are being pig-headed because of their investment into hydrogen fuel. Or maybe Elon Musk is bullying hydrogen because its success would be bad for Tesla’s business. Either way, BMW and Toyota seem to be sticking to their guns.
“If there is some need to move in our lineup to a pure [battery] electric car, EV car, we will do it. And we are ready for that.” said Toyota Vice President Didier Leroy. “But today we are really convinced that the fuel cell is much more promising.”
Regardless of the technology involved, we are starting to see the beginning of a new generation of electric cars. Whether they be plug-in hybrids or hydrogen fuel-cell cars, the next-generation of electric cars is coming and quickly.