The future met the past in France last month as high-tech vehicles hummed and buzzed through the French countryside and into Paris.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Paris auto show, 50 alternative-fuel vehicles drove a 450km route on public roads from Michelin's headquarters in Clermont to the heart of Paris.
The two-day Bibendum Challenge, named in honor of the 100-year-old 'Michelin man' logo, featured picturesque and historic stops along the route where the cars of tomorrow could recharge or refuel.
With varying degrees of success, production and concept vehicles powered by electricity, natural gas, solar energy, liquid petroleum gas, biofuels and fuel cells whirred, but never roared, through villages.
The Bibendum Challenge was less of a race than an unprecedented display of cooperation among international carmakers, including Daimler-Benz, Renault, Nissan, Volvo and others, who allowed their various developing technologies to run side by side with each other.
It was also reminiscent of an 1895 Paris-to-Bordeaux race that Michelin founder Edouard Michelin organized to compare steam, gas and electric vehicles.