The Paris Motor Show used to be biennial – alternating with Frankfurt as Europe’s most important autumn car show – but that all changed with Covid. The 2020 Paris show was cancelled, the 2021 Frankfurt show moved to Munich, and so the Paris Motor Show 2022 – the 89th Mondial de l’Auto, as it is officially known – was its first in four years.
A scaled-down return to Paris
At its height, the Paris Motor Show spread out across up to eight halls at the Porte de Versailles-based Parc des Expos exhibition space, covering new cars and classics plus parts suppliers too. This year, there were only three halls taken up with exhibitors and only one hall that majored on carmakers alone, with French brands by far the dominant exhibitors. Chinese newcomers Wey and Ora, Vietnamese carmaker VinFast, and the well-known US Jeep 4x4 marque made up the very few foreign brands in attendance.
Ten years ago, the 2012 Paris Motor Show saw visitor numbers of 1,231,417 over almost two weeks, which made the event the largest publicly attended car show in the world. In 2022, with President Macron attending on press day, numbers across the shorter, one-week duration were expected to be nearer 400,000. That isn’t bad considering the previous few years’ upheaval.
Whether the format needs to change again is clearly something that will be discussed by the show’s organisers and exhibitors in the coming months, but when even French brand Citroën chose to reveal its latest Oli concept away from the show just a few weeks earlier and had no exhibition stand at all, it suggests the show’s format wasn’t pleasing everyone. Still, from a personal, press perspective, it was a very useful way to see a lot of product and people in one place in one day and in a manageable smaller space perhaps more reflective of the times.
Almost all of the cars shown were powered by electric motors, most with batteries on board, although there were a few interesting hydrogen-powered solutions too. From the Renault Group, which showed new vehicles from all its brands, to intriguing start-ups including Hopium and Kilow, there was still much to impress. Read on for Wallpaper’s favourites.
Best of Paris Motor Show 2022
1. Dacia Manifesto
The no-nonsense Dacia brand showed the Manifesto concept, one that’s definitely worthy of inclusion in a best-of list. The Renault-owned Romanian marque’s declaration of intent for future vehicles showcased good value and function above all else.
The Manifesto concept renders that idea with a bit of panache, desirability, and sustainability thrown in, featuring recycled plastic body parts and cork interior elements in a credible off-road package. Read more about the Dacia Manifesto concept in our interview with the brand’s design director David Durand.
2. Alpine Alpenglow
Probably the most spectacular car shown at the Paris Motor Show 2022 came from Renault’s sportscar brand Alpine. The green-focused Alpenglow concept is a low-slung, hydrogen-powered, single-seater racing car inspired by Formula 1 and LMP1 (Le Mans) cars that produces mainly steam during its combustion process. Alpine’s forthcoming trio of road-going production cars will look a little more conventional, but should still be aerodynamic, light, and all-electric, and will be made up of a small sportscar, compact crossover and new A110 (currently Alpine’s only model). Put a date in the diary for 2025.
Tucked away in the hall reserved for auto suppliers, was a fun electric quadricycle delivery vehicle by French start-up Kilow. The name comes from ‘Kilogram’ and ‘Kilowatt’ to reflect two of its key attributes – its 357kg weight and electric power.
Designed by Léo Choisel as a lockdown project, the programme has more recently gained the backing of French industrial business Groupe Savoy (with graphic brand design by Yorgo Tloupas) and features a wooden dashboard, polycarbonate doors and motorbike tyres as part of its pleasingly stripped-back and functional aesthetic. Priced from €9,990, the Kilow is due on sale March 2023.
4. Renault 4Ever Trophy
Renault has been leafing through its design back catalogue quite a lot of late. Hot on the heels of its 2021 5 Prototype (which will soon make production as the Renault 5 reborn for the electric age), the historic French brand’s latest 4Ever Trophy show car gently takes inspiration from the legendary Renault 4 five-door hatchback.
This classic model sold more than eight million units over 33 years from the early 1960s to the early 1990s in over 100 countries. Again, the 4Ever Trophy heralds a production EV coming soon – 2025 – but this time expect a chunky and versatile compact SUV.
5. Hopium Machina Vision
One of the pleasant surprises of the 2022 Paris Motor Show was the Machina Vision from French start-up Hopium. If you can get past the slightly odd brand name, the hydrogen-powered sports sedan concept was beautifully designed by Felix Godard, who already counts Tesla, Porsche, and Lucid on his CV. Influences from all those brands are evident in the Machina Vision, but closer inspection of the concept was rewarding.
The quality of both the nature-inspired exterior surfacing and full interior detailing was excellent. Godard told Wallpaper* that the concept was about 80 per cent production feasible and that the first fuel cell model would be a Porsche Taycan-sized and -priced rival from 2025, with a smaller premium model to follow.
Another hydrogen-powered car unveiled at Paris was the Pininfarina-designed Namx. Its key idea was to avoid lengthy refuelling times by swapping hydrogen fuel capsules at roadside kiosks. The large SUV has six slots below its rear tailgate to take such capsules, each of which adds 40 miles of range.
The stand only showed an exterior model for now, but the proposed kiosks and capsules have also been designed and the firm’s spokesperson said orders can now be taken for the vehicle, which starts at €65,000. The first cars are due to be delivered in the last quarter of 2025.
7. Mobilize Duo
Renault has form for creating tiny tandem city transport – like the 2012 Twizy – and its new sub-brand Mobilize showed its latest idea in the form of the Duo concept. The all-electric scissor-doored quadricycle seats two people in tandem (like the Twizy) and is designed for sharing as well as for private customers in urban environments where space is at a premium.
Renault has big plans for Mobilize, which it believes could deliver 20-25 per cent of the group’s turnover by 2030.
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