As petrol prices soar amidst news of depleted demand for new cars in Europe, the 2012 Paris Motor Show was all about the electric car as several manufacturers unveiled new models.
Austerity hangs over Europe like a grey cloud, but car manufacturers are leading the way with a new economic model, one that has sustainability and fuel efficiency built in. France seems the perfect place to launch an electric 'revolution' they've always been open to new ideas and with abundant nuclear power, there's no shortage of wattage.
Daimler AG, one of the world's foremost automotive companies, which includes Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, has set out its stall with significan investment in the fuel efficient electric car, both hybrid and emission-free vehicle powered by batteries and fuel cells. They alone unveiled three EV's, one of them is billed as a 'super sports car'.
Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe
The Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe got the first light of day at Paris and it is the fastest electric drive series for production in the world. It's four electric motors give it a whopping 552 kilowatts of power with 0-100 in 3.9 seconds.
Mercedes Concept B-Class
At the other end of the scale though, is the Mercedes Concept B-Class, a practical city car with a 100kw electric motor and a range of 200 km on a single charge. It is expected to be available in Europe in 2014.
Daimler, who brought you the Smart have also given us an EV version, the Smart BRABUS, which can be fully-charged in an hour and gives you a 150 km range. Best of all, it's already available to order in Germany.
Mitsubishi Hybrid Plug-in Outlander
Mitsubishi joined the electric party with it's plug-in hybrid Outlander which they call the world’s first PHEV SUV. It takes about four hours to charge and will give a range of 55 km before falling back on the petrol tank which will then give up to 900 km. They're plannng a role-out next year in Japan.
Panamera Sport Turismo
Porsche too got on the train to Electric Avenue with their Panamera Sport Turismo concept electric car, which looks and feels like a Porsche but with a hybrid engine.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty