Aux Armes, EVs: Paris Turns Into Elon Musk’s Waterloo


When commentators write their obituaries of Tesla once the California carmaker has joined the thousands of carmakers that tried and failed to break into the moat surrounding global automakers, enlightened scribes will be sure to mention last Wednesday in Paris as the turning point in Tesla’s fortunes. At the Paris Motor Show, nearly every EU automaker announced immediate intentions to field an army of electric vehicles. Not because they suddenly want to wage war with tiny Tesla. Carmakers are in a race against the clock counting down the few years before extremely tough EU CO2 regulations come into effect. Tesla is bound to become collateral damage in a fight of EU OEMs against time and Brussels bureaucrats.

Alternating with the biannual Frankfurt auto show, the one in Paris is Europe’s most important, a stage for new models in preparation for Europe’s springtime selling season. This time, it is an electric spring. In Paris, most OEMs showcase electric cars instead of the luxury models that usually get top billing. Diesel, still powering half of Europe’s fleet, suddenly is treated like a social disease.

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