September 29th, 2010
07:50 PM GMT
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It's been customary of late for Mercedes Benz to kick off the Paris Motor Show (sorry Renault) the night before the doors open to the press.

Mercedes throws a little party at its Champs-Elysees showroom and on Wednesday night it was filled with guests and media.

The highlight for those of us still working is a quick interview - much quicker this time - with Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche who is in a buoyant mood and smiling broadly under his signature white handlebar mustache.

And why not? Mercedes sales and revenue have rebounded this year.

Zetsche admits luxury sales have been better than he could have hoped this year and says that Mercedes is increasing its market share within the segment.

At last year's show the luxury and super luxury makers were all cautiously optimistic.

After all, the high end of the auto market is not usually hurt by recession, given the rich don't suffer as much.

But like the airline industry, car makers have seen welcome sales increases, in part due to government support no doubt.

Zetsche notes that Mercedes, like Ford, cut costs enormously during the economic crisis, making it that much easier to post profits when sales increased.

This show is also about the electric car.

We will see mass produced models that are ready to hit the showroom rather than the concept electric cars that have been a staple at these shows for years.

The question is, will you the consumer buy one?

Zetsche told me it would be "optimistic" to say that Mercedes could see even five percent of it sales coming from its electric offerings by 2015, even though it plans to offer an electric version of most models.

Electric cars and electric batteries will be the talk here in Paris. It's not clear if enough buyers will want them though.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Paul Ihlenfeld

    Yes we R ready for eCars here in USA!
    Now we just need the world-wide Auto industry and governments to retro-fit the petro infrastructure with the electro-battery infrastructure.
    Could this retro-fit be completed in the next decade so that world-wide car companies could derive more than 25% of their market shares from eCars by 2020?

    HowDoUconserve resources (environment, life, water, nutrition, energy, finances $) in the USA & World-wide?

    September 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  2. power4things

    Political smoozing. Manufacturers are hiding behind PC cars to make up for little real innovation, particularly high-expectation companies like MB (whose wealthy sybaritic customers are trying to assuage their guilt by pretending to endorse this kind of car). Conventional auto technology has plateaued, computer controls and creative IC engine design are at a high, but peaked state and continued research is showing diminishing returns. Electric cars are not ready for practical automotive use, only urban situations where distances are short and recharging is convenient. But, it's the PC thing. Never mind that electric cars are an environmental nightmare from a materials viewpoint and electricity is not free, it's not even cheap. Someone has to generate it. Coal's too dirty, oil's too expensive, wind and solar are unreliable and, for absolutely no good reason, everybody hates nuclear. The first time one these celebrity greenies gets stuck on the road with a dead electric car, they will be back to gas ...

    September 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  3. D.Sangivanni

    1. Yes we are ready for any alternative way to get us off petroleum based economy.

    2. Tell me something new about electricity is not free. Wha do we have for free?

    3. R.Diesel invention allowed to fuel with peanut's oil. He was found drown dead on his way to the first meeting in London to start production. Beneficiary: Standard oil.

    4. Electrc is a nightmare? Go to the Gulf of Mexico and take a

    September 30, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  4. Lakshman Dalpadado

    Here are some problems with electric cars

    1. Cars are expensive( but will probably come down in price)
    2. Electricity is expensive in most countries( not using Nuclear power)
    3. 90 % Electricity is produced by burning fossil fuel
    4. If a petrol car run of gas, can fill up within 5 minutes. (Electric car will take hours)- this is probably the main disadvantage.
    5. Petrol cars usually give problems( noises, etc) before spluttering out–
    E – cars on the other hand, like anything electric, can got out in second without any warning.
    6. Limited range- biggest disadvantage.
    7. Infrastructure not developed for daily general use.
    8. Cost of replacing battery packs( ?? no mention anywhere)

    Unless the above problems are addressed, E cars are going to be of limited use.

    October 1, 2010 at 2:46 am |
  5. Dominique Anderson

    Let go of your perceived electric car "problems". I came across the long standing work and vision of SIM-Drive, a company that has developed the technology and the processes to counter all 8 "problems" down your list.

    1. Expensive, SIM-Drive alllows people to retrofit the existing mass of cars on the road today
    2. There are many means to develop eletricty economically, not requiring nuclear
    3. Given 90% of electricity is produced using fossil fuels. Considering the energy lost from fossil fuel source to power to the wheels, a solution use SIM-Drive technology for mobility is no-less than 4 time more efficient than using fossil fuels to power internal combustion engines. Meaning less fuel used in overall system.
    4. SIM-drive prototypes using Lithium-ion batteries can be recharged to about 70-80% of a full charge in 5 minutes, the same time to fill-er-up. This does require a "flash" charging process. Using a standard house plug, a 100% charge is indeed a 5-6 hour process, but during the work day or overnight this is not an issue.
    5. You want to hear the failuer coming. Propulsion using SIM-Drive motors in the wheel technology have a minimal number of moving parts and no reciprocating parts – tremendously simply the overall system, reducing the risk of failure while improving efficiency.
    6. SIM-Drive cars have demonstrated ranges more than double that of exisitng electir vehicles today, meaning over 300 miles as opposed to 160 miles. This would suffice for the vast majority of commutes.
    7. With SIM-Drive tech, use the existing infrastructure for daily use – charge at home. Yes, some investment need be made to develop flash charging sites or battery lease and swap stations – think of this as a bsuiness opportunity and not a limitation.
    8. LI batteries currently used in the SIM-Drive propotypes has a life-span of 15-20 years. The is room an dopportunity to better address the question of leasing, recycling, reusing batteries. But hey, who has al the answers. If life was so easy, we'd have no work to do.

    If people would stop allowing the auto and the petrol industries to dictate the rules and expections, people across the globe could more rapidly innovate together to resolve real world problems today.

    October 1, 2010 at 6:01 am |
  6. cars

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    June 3, 2012 at 3:27 am |
  7. cars

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    June 4, 2012 at 12:27 am |

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