Radical EV @2010 Paris Motor Show

Whilst walking around the Paris Auto Show, Kate and I just happened to bump into Anne Asensio who leads the DS Design Studio…actually we went looking for her as we knew she’d have some great insights into this year’s show and the future trends in mobility.

I asked Anne a few questions about the role of industrial designers in sustainable mobility, the evolution of the car thanks to its electrification and finally how is it all going to change the way that designers, engineers and suppliers will work, and even the way the car is sold.


I love listening to Anne. She understands the Auto industry so well thanks to her previous job at GM and has a great positive vision for the future of mobility, i.e. cars!

What’s key it that the car will be re-invented, but that’s not all, I believe (and I’m far from alone) that the whole industry’s business model will radically change – let’s face it, it has to if it wants to be sustainable and keep people truly mobile (instead of an average of 10km/h in cities).

Before the Auto Show I spent two days with Riversimple and SIM Drive, one with HEV & MaaS (hydrogen electric vehicle and Mobility as a Service), and the other with a BEV (battery electric vehicle) platform for retro-fitting. The platform was interesting as for me it conjured up the days when coach builders made some of the most beautiful cars in the world without being constrained by the monocoque, maybe we’ll see this soon?

The companies had many similarities especially on how to develop their technologies by harnessing the world’s talent. They believe that developing the car on a virtual platform on-line is the only way for customers to have to product they want that is right for the environment.

I also couldn’t resist checking out the fabulous Tesla Roadster, how much do I want one….?!!! And by the way they’re our customer and will be presenting at the Dassault Systèmes Customer Conference in Florida this November.  Check out their video:


So do you agree that these are radical times for the mobility market?

Sustainably yours,

  • I think that with people joining the idea of efficient energy use and traffic jams length, new ideas will emerge.
    The constraint is the best motivation to innovation. In the future, you need only one place to go to work and those mobility one place vehicle that we can call mobpod could be easily joined together to be used as a family vehicle during the weekend.

  • Giuliano

    What, 10km/h average? The solution is here, and has always been (for more than the car has existed). Apart better planning that means thinking cities not for cars but humans, there is already a little tool, that lets us more at an average 20km/h even in our car congested cities. What worries me is that your search for “sustainable” solutions will just bring new problems… exactly as the car did.
    Oh, and if you want to know what that tool is, think of what led to the invention of ball bearings and pneumatic tyres.

  • Jonathan

    Thomas, Giuliano, thanks for your comments.

    The 1st & 2nd World Wars were tremendous playgrounds for inventors, let’s hope we don’t have to wait for another before finding solutions for today’s problems.

    Yes, ball bearings + pneumatic tyres = bicycle (if I remember correctly). Bicycles and mobpod or any other very small independent mode of mobility are key to urban transport. I’d say that the key issue today is the lack of system development. I.e. planning our cities with all human needs in mind from transport, health care, fun to going to work – whilst all the time making sure the solutions proposed fit perfectly within the overall system.

    Bicycles are great for some people, but I doubt my Grandmother would be convinced – the key is many choices to answer the needs of our diverse lives.

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