Electric cars take centre stage at Paris auto show

Electric Cars Renault

Electric Cars Renault

Electric cars look set to dominate this year’s auto show in Paris, which opened to the public on Saturday, as the Volkswagen diesel scandal and falling battery costs persuade executives that plug-in vehicles are ready to go mainstream.

The expected flurry of announcements signals a threat to pioneers of the current generation of battery-powered cars, such as Tesla and Renault-Nissan, who will now have to work harder to defend their lead.

Volkswagen is leading the charge, keen to turn a page after its exposure last year as an emissions test cheat. The German carmaker pledged in June to achieve annual sales of 2 million to 3 million electric cars by 2025.

As if to underline growing hostility towards combustion engines in congestion-clogged cities, the French capital held its biggest ever “Car-Free Day” last Sunday.

Lawmakers voted the following day to pedestrianise the Seine’s right bank, permanently closing a major traffic artery.