This year’s Paris Motor Show included the latest new models and some exciting electric vehicles such as Opel’s Ampera-e (right). However, international fleet publication, Fleet Europe, has identified ten trends that fleet professionals should be aware from the event.
1. Change is in the air. The 2016 Paris Motor Show had more than its share of new models and innovation but it was also notable by the absence of a number of car manufacturers, not just smaller ones like Bentley, Lamborghini and Aston Martin, but major fleet players like Ford and Volvo.
2. Manufacturing group PSA created an umbrella brand for all its new-mobility initiatives. For now, Free2Move is strongly focused on car-sharing and connected services – but keep an eye on two remarkable new fleet-oriented initiatives: Free2Move Lease, a multibrand leasing company, and Free2Move Fleet Management. In time, PSA says will use Free2Move to move back into the North American market.
3. For the first time ever, the Paris Motor Show held a Mondial Innovation Forum. On October 5, it looked into the future of cars and transportation, specifically with the interests of business in mind. More than 300 businesses – start-ups, manufacturers, investors, innovators – exhibited under the slogan: ‘Moving Beyond Cars’.
4. The Show had a strong electric theme. Renault showed off the Zoe, with a range of 400km, and a hybrid version of the Scenic. Volkswagen’s full-electric ID concept car, set to launch in 2019, will have a similar range, and be chargeable via induction, without cables. With a price tag under €30,000, it should give Tesla a good run for its money. Mercedes’s Generation EQ concept EV is to be the start of more than 10 electric cars by 2025, the first of which will be an SUV at under €45,000 and a range over 500 km, by 2019. But the eye-catcher in Paris was Opel’s Ampera-e, described as the first affordable EV with a range of 500 km.
5. Another trend of the Show was the shifting focus to the importance of connectivity and real data management. On Show was HERE, formerly Nokia’s map division. It was bought last year by a consortium consisting of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. HERE is a multi-faceted business in the provision of mapping data, technologies and services to the automotive, consumer and enterprise sectors. It is based on a cloud-computing model, in which location data and services are stored on remote servers so that users have access to it regardless of which device they use.
6. Renault signed a deal with Waze, an app providing info on traffic flow. The app will be integrated into Renault’s connected platform R-Link 2 and will be available in all new Renault cars. Not only will Waze keep Renault drivers up to date on the state of traffic, the integrated app will also point them to Renault’s nearest EV charging points.
7. Valeo and CapGemini have developed Blue Mov’in, a smartphone app that serves both as a fleet management tool and a remote-control means of opening and closing your vehicle. Next year, the app will also be able to serve in lieu of a fuel card.
8. With a network of more than 27,000 public charging stations, The New Motion is Europe’s market leader. Demonstrating the professionalisation of the EV sector, the company offers mobility cards and a smartphone app to facilitate payment.
9. French motorway operators APRR and SANEF shared a stand at the Show to demonstrate their vision of traffic infrastructure designed to promote smarter, greener mobility. Further evidence of this is their partnership with ID Vroom, which offers a subscription system that allows for automatic payments for carpooling.
10. French vehicle rental company Voitures Noires is aimed exclusively at professional drivers, both independents and corporates. Currently employing 100 people and managing 2,500 vehicles, the three-year-old company is targeting strong growth. It aimed to recruit more than 1,000 new drivers at the Paris Show, with plans to go international within two years.