Why are electric cars being showcased at the Vivatech show?

The electric car is essential at events dedicated to technology. The presence of several manufacturers at Vivatech is proof of this. The editorial of the Watt Else newsletter of May 23 was an opportunity to take an overview of what happened at this show.

The Vivatech show – an event dedicated to technological innovation – has little to do with the CES in Las Vegas: neither in its size, nor in its impact. But, as in the USA, “intelligent mobility” plays an increasingly important role there. Automotive brands are therefore coming to exhibit from May 22 to 25 in Paris. And bosses, like Luca de Meo or Elon Musk, are also invited to give conferences there. All this aroused my curiosity, enough to make me decide to go and see what was happening there.

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In the middle of giant stands like those of LVMH, L'Oréal, Méta, Airbus and La Poste, the automobile brands present are almost discreet. Wandering through these aisles is a bit like being immersed in a huge Lépine de Géo Trouvetou Artificial Intelligence (AI) competition.

Tesla no longer shuns trade shows?

For several years now, Tesla has been largely absent from major events like this: no CES in Las Vegas, no international car shows. It is therefore quite surprising to see the American brand with a good-sized stand at Vivatech. In the middle of it, sits Tesla's alibi: the Cybertruck.

The Cybertruck is the attraction of the Tesla stand at Vivatech // Source: Raphaelle Baut
The Cybertruck is the attraction of the Tesla stand at Vivatech // Source: Raphaelle Baut

The Tesla pickup, which is so much talked about, is in the middle of a European tour so that the curious can observe it from afar. This is his first appearance in France, so he is one of the attractions of the show. Visitors flock to take photos of this atypical machine, which they will probably not see on our roads any time soon. The question of European approval is not Tesla's priority. Fans of the brand can always fall back on the other models on display.

Peugeot looks to 2026 and beyond

Peugeot is exhibiting the Inception concept car for the first time in France. Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas, the Inception Concept caused a sensation on the Peugeot stand. The long time I spent there confirmed to me that the style of the machine and its interior hit the mark with visitors from all walks of life.

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The Inception concept with the Hypersquare steering wheel // Source: Raphaelle BautThe Inception concept with the Hypersquare steering wheel // Source: Raphaelle Baut
The Inception concept with the Hypersquare steering wheel // Source: Raphaelle Baut

Under the lines of the vehicle – which we will never see in this form on our roads – hides the group's 800 V platform with a 100 kWh battery offering 800 km of autonomy. It is also a technology showcase for the brand's future steering wheel (the Hypersquare) which will arrive in 2026 on production models.

Other manufacturers much more down to earth

Audi is playing the mystery card with an opaque cube placed outside the two exhibition halls. Inside, the German brand is organizing sessions with video shows to broadly present its new Q6 e-tron. The technology is not necessarily obvious, but everything is new on this electric model.

Audi Q6 e-tron // Source: Raphaelle BautAudi Q6 e-tron // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Audi Q6 e-tron // Source: Raphaelle Baut

BYD is exhibiting in a more conventional way at Vivatech: a simple stand with the brand's latest hybrid model and the manufacturer's innovative electric platform. Another Chinese manufacturer makes it even simpler: Xpeng. Invited to the China stand, the brand has barely enough space to present its Xpeng G9.

Some unexpected guests

There is no shortage of other mobility startups. I came across Circle car sharing again, but also companies with retrofit projects, recharging and other mobility solutions of all kinds.

strange to come across a canceled model at Vivatech (LightYear 0) // Source: Raphaelle Bautstrange to come across a canceled model at Vivatech (LightYear 0) // Source: Raphaelle Baut
strange to come across a canceled model at Vivatech (LightYear 0) // Source: Raphaelle Baut

On the other hand, during my wanderings, I was not really prepared to revisit projects that I thought had fallen into oblivion. Lightyear's solar car sits on a stand looking for partnerships and/or investors. The NAMX hydrogen car also made the trip, although I thought the project had slowed down considerably, if not disappeared from the screens. It didn't take anything less to make me bug.


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