VW and Mercedes open Paris Auto Show with futuristic EVs

Things started with a green vibe, but it's still a gas-guzzling world.

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VW and Mercedes open Paris Auto Show with futuristic EVs

The Paris Auto Show is missing Lamborghini, Volvo and other automakers, but it's still one of the biggest displays of automotive tech in the world. Fittingly, in a city that bans gas-powered cars from its streets once a month, Volkswagen and Mercedes kicked things off with prototypes that represent their future EV ecosystems. That no doubt made everyone feel better about CO2 pollution, but most of the cars here are still burning fossil fuels, and for many, like the Jaguar F-type (below), plenty of it.

Gallery: Paris Auto Show, day one | 13 Photos

  • Lexus probably won't build its UX crossover concept, but hey, it looks great.
  • The Volkswagen ID electric vehicle concept.
  • The Volkswagen ID's badge is lit.
  • The new Smart FourTwo EV has same 99 mile range, but charges in half the time.
  • Next-gen Golf EV with up to 200 miles of range
  • Toyota's FCV Plus hydrogen concept vehicle.
  • The Mercedes Generation EQ prototype.
  • The Lexus LC500h hybrid coupe.
  • The Mercedes Generation EQ is worth a second picture.
  • The Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 has got, uh back. It's over 18 feet long and has 750 horsepower.
  • Mercedes AMG GTR in matte green.
  • This guy's already sold on the Jaguar F-Type.
  • The 2017 Range Rover Discovery in a literal cutaway.

Volkswagen had the first major press conference of the show and CEO Herbert Deiss certainly took a conciliatory tone, without mentioning the diesel-gate crisis. He threw around words like "fresh start," "new challenge" and so on, adding that VW sales had picked up over the last few months. Then, he revealed the swoopy Volkswagen ID prototype with 370 miles of potential range. However, the collective air went out of the room when he said the EV wouldn't arrive until 2020.

The brand new Jaguar F-Type SVR

Then it was Mercedes' turn, and it also did a dramatic reveal of its Generation EQ, an entirely new electric vehicle lineup. The launch prototype vehicle will never be built, but represents the technology to come in the lineup. Both Mercedes and Volkswagen specifically mentioned Tesla by name as a primary rival, though they're now playing big-time catch-up with Musk's company, which has already pre-sold over 300,000 Tesla 3 EVs.

As for the rest of the show, let's just take it for what it is: pure vehicular porn. In a quick tour around several pavilions, I saw new models from Jaguar, Lexus (including its wild UX crossover concept), Infiniti, Porsche, Audi and Range Rover, to name a few. Those vehicles are out of our remit in terms of coverage (and price), but it doesn't mean we can't throw them all into an ogle-worthy gallery. Enjoy!

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