The Paris Motor Show opens amid a war on cars

For a few fleeting hours last weekend, central Paris was devoid of all cars. Cyclists and pedestrians filled wide Haussmannian boulevards on Sunday afternoon, as they did around this time last year, as part of a municipal campaign for a cleaner, less noisy French capital. But cars will reclaim the spotlight this weekend at the Paris Motor Show, where many automakers are adapting to a new landscape.

There are big reveals planned for this year’s show, including new models and concepts from Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Volkswagen, though there are conspicuous absences, as well. Major manufacturers like Ford, Mazda, and Volvo have all skipped the event, as have VW’s Bentley and Lamborghini brands. And unlike previous Paris shows, where new diesel models took center stage, much of the buzz this year centers around hybrids and electric vehicles — underscoring a broader shift across the industry.

Diesel-powered cars have dominated the European market for years, accounting for more than half of all new passenger cars in 2013. (In the US, diesels comprised just 3 percent of total auto sales in 2014.) But in the wake of VW’s diesel emissions cheating scandal, and amid growing concerns over the environment, many automakers are touting EVs and hybrids as viable diesel alternatives.

“Nobody knows exactly when there will be this tipping point, and the whole industry is preparing for that very moment,” says Mathias Jens, product manager for alternative powertrains at Mercedes-Benz.

The paris motor show mercedez benz



The show opened to the press on Thursday under gray skies and heavy security, though there was still plenty of glitzy kitsch. High-end sports cars rotated slowly on meticulously lit platforms; men in pointy-toed shoes ferried croissants and espressos to visibly jet-lagged attendees; and incessant basslines echoed throughout the maze of convention halls spread along the southern edge of Paris. At just about every exhibit, women in cocktail dresses smiled impassively at passersby as they stood next to shiny new cars — a slightly more understated (yet equally sexist) take on the “booth babe” phenomenon that continues to pervade major tech events.

As far as the actual cars go, EVs and hybrids are certainly the main attraction. VW, eager to move on from the diesel emissions scandal, unveiled a battery-powered I.D. concept car that it likens to its iconic Beetle. Mercedes showed off its own electric concept — theGeneration EQ SUV — that can last for as long as 500km (310 miles) on a single charge. Even French companies like Renault, which has long been a juggernaut of diesel manufacturing, gave top billing to its new Zoe EV, which can travel as far as 400km (250 miles) on a single charge.

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Winter tires

In Canada we are far too familiar with the hazardous driving conditions a healthy Canadian winter can present to you. For this reason we as a nation are constantly on the lookout for new tire technology to help us cope with these driving conditions. Summer tires are rendered useless when it’s -25 out and there is a layer of ice. This is why it’s good to find out more about your options and understand some things about winter tires.

Differences between winter, all-weather, and all-season tires?

The rubber in winter tires stays flexible when the temperature drops giving them more traction. That coupled with the specially designed tread that grips whilst there is snow or ice on the ground opts for a much better performance during the winter season. All-weather tires are designed with the idea that they’ll be used in wet, slush and snowy conditions. All-seasons are usually made with a rubber compound that begins losing some traction when the temperature dips to less than 6 degrees.

Couldn’t I just get by winter with my all-seasons?

The big compromise! all-season blanket a variety of conditions that they can perform in, however they aren’t a master of any particular one. Winter tires are specifically designed to perform in cold snowy/icy conditions compared to all-seasons which are meant to be drivable in all-seasons. The difference though can be a staggering %50 better traction if you use winter tires in the proper conditions which is a number that can definitely help avoid collisions because of the better acceleration and braking.

I have traction control or ABS, does that help?

though these two are great technological advancements in automobiles, neither of them actually provide better traction. Rather they help you avoid over breaking or over taking available traction of the tires. Changing your tires is the only solution to get better grip.