The Paris Motor Show of 2014 offered automakers the chance to show off their latest, greatest creations to visitors and competitors alike. Mixed in among the showy supercars of the Parisian spectacle were several new entries in the electric vehicle space, many of them from manufacturers based in Europe.
Several of the electrified cars on display weren’t practical vehicles that are on their way to mainstream distribution. In fact, some were concepts with little chance there will be any forthcoming production model. Nonetheless, there were many important green car debuts from the world’s leading automakers, automobiles that point to new directions for this segment. Here are six major electric vehicles and hybrids unveiled during the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
Volkswagen Passat GTE Plug-in Hybrid
For every supercar with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the industry needs a practical response. Volkswagen brought just the antidote in the form of the Passat GTE Plug-in Hybrid, a midsize sedan and wagon variant that use electric tech from the Golf GTE. The specs include 215 horsepower and 295 pound-foot of torque from its combination of gas engine and electric motor, with an all-electric range quoted at 31 miles on the European cycle (141 miles per gallon equivalent).
As for a top speed, Digital Trends has the Passat GTE at a remarkable 136 miles per hour. Clearly, this car would have a huge audience in the U.S. if it ever makes its way here. For now, the Passat and Golf plug-in hybrid EVs are only making their efficient rounds in Europe.
Citroen C4 Cactus AIRFLOW 2L
This small crossover concept from Citroen doesn’t have an electric powertrain but manages 141 miles per gallon on the Euro cycle. How is this feat possible? Cirtroen has a compressed air unit powering the Cactus AIRFLOW model. Combined with its gas motors, this vehicle’s astounding efficiency comes back to its lightweight design. At just over 2,000 pounds, it has the weight of a small sports car. As for the bumpy exterior, the design is intended to prevent dings on the street.
The 2L in its name refers to the European fuel economy quote of 2 liters per 100 kilometers. Though just a concept, Citroen is proving how technology outside of electric powertrains can be used to reach new heights in efficiency.
Outlander Plug-in Hybrid
Crossover utility vehicles are exploding in popularity around the world, so it is safe to say an electric vehicle version would be welcomed by consumers everywhere. Mitsubishi unveiled a spruced-up model of the Outlander Plug-in hybrid that has already made many fans in foreign markets. Though there was nothing new about its powertrain, the automaker proved that style doesn’t have to be lacking in a vehicle capable of 148 miles per gallon on the European cycle. U.S. consumers especially are ready for such an automobile, and Mitsubishi showed it is close to delivering a production model.
Tesla Model D
As usual, hints of a new development from Tesla began with an Elon Musk tweet, but no one was prepared for an upgrade to the already extraordinary Model S. While Tesla drivers got a closeup of the Model D in Hawthorne, California, Paris Motor Show visitors wondered where the high-performance version of the Model S was hiding. Tesla at least offered details on the Model D from Paris, and they were breathtaking.
The P85 Model D will get an extra 10 miles of range (pushing the number to 275 miles) and a huge upgrade to 691 horsepower. Performance of the top Tesla will now have the electric sedan going 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds. Even more remarkable, the Model D will be all-wheel drive and have elements of autonomously driving cars.
Though quotes at or above 140 miles per gallon were floating around several cars at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Renault stepped in to double that incredible number with a car capable of 282 miles per gallon on the European testing model. What was even more notable about the Eolab concept is its slick design that announces efficiency and fashion in the same breath. Incredibly light and housing a three-cylinder engine with an electric motor, this Renault concept sugggested hybrids are still very much in play when automakers want to reach new levels of economy. The weaknesses of gasoline can be minimized for lower emissions in the near future.
With Renault and Peugeot showing off some stunning new cars in Paris, Volkswagen had to make a little noise with its luxury brands. The Lamborghini Asterion, a plug-in hybrid with 910 horsepower on tap from its three electric motors and V10 engine, seems to fill that slot. Supercar benchmarks like a 199 mile-per-hour top speed and 0 to 60 time of 3.3 seconds will make performance enthusiasts ecstatic; the Asterion’s 31 miles of electric range hit decent marks in green capabilities. of course, there is nothing low-impact about a Lamborghini, but this specimen is not slated for production.