Bye-bye Bentley, hello Dyson?

Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
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The list of exhibitors for this week’s Paris auto show is the latest indication that the European industry – despite rising sales -- is changing fast. New players are arriving and electric powertrains are not going away.

Case in point, UK-based vacuum maker Dyson will be at the biennial event but British automaker Bentley won’t. While Dyson is not showing a vehicle, it might not be long before it does. In May the UK media reported the firm was developing an electric car after a government report stated "the government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery-electric vehicle." The report was later amended to say "battery-electric technology."

France’s Noun’ Electric, which makes the After electric minicar, will be in Paris while Lamborghini, which builds the Aventador supercar, won’t.

Italian-French engineer Luciano Giol’s two-seat high-performance recreational EV – which he calls the Formula Giol – will be on display but Mazda’s two-seat high-performance MX-5 won’t.

It makes sense that EV makers -- as well as those that might join the sector -- want to attend the show in Paris, which for a short time last year had the world’s dirtiest air, leaving diesel-powered cars in the cross-hairs of politicians.

Nissan Europe’s head of electric vehicles, Gareth Dunsmore, recently told me that whenever there is a pollution peak in a city such as Paris people start to look at other options, such as the Japanese automaker’s Leaf electric hatchback and e-NV200 electric van.

“We had a 300 percent increase in website traffic the day of the first pollution peak in Munich last year. The pollution peaks that happened at the beginning of this year also made a lot of people look,” he said

Unless there is another way to clean the air in Europe’s cities, it might not be long before those people go from looking to buying.

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at

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