Electric vehicles becomes mainstream at Paris Motor Show

The 2010 Paris Motor Show, one of the most influential internationally, is about to open. And on Thursday, Media were given a sneak peak. Top car-makers let cautious optimism creep into their outlooks, and looked to emerging markets to dispel the dark clouds over western economies.

Electric cars with lithium ion batteries have become the focus of the show. Hybrids and electric vehicles took the front seat as CEOs and other top executives strolled out onto well-lit stages to trumpet their engineering innovations and strategies to tap hot markets like China.

Car makers have been flaunting technologies aimed at cutting or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from their vehicles. French carmakers Peugeot and Renault announced the debut of their newest electric vehicles.

Carlos Ghosn, Renault Chairman said "In one year, our first electric car will go on the market. The big challenge: reduce our dependence on petrol. Take actions to fight against global warming. "

But while the worst of the global recession is past, car makers are aware that their market has changed.

Consumers remain cautious, and environmental rules are more stringent. The auto industry hopes hybrids and electric cars will be a big part of the way forward.

Rebecca Lindland, Auto Analyst said "We have seen in the States in particular is that kids that are younger than sixteen so they are not in the driving age population, they are actually the first generation that will always have an electric or a hybrid available for purchase."

Global car production fell 17 percent over 2008 and 2009, dropping to 57 million vehicles last year.

By 2020, electric vehicle production is likely to hit only 1 and a half million units. Infrastructure to recharge the electric cars’ lithium ion batteries, as well as the batteries’ costs and limits to their autonomy, are holding back wider adoption of the electric cars by consumers.

The auto show will open to the public on Saturday, and will close on October 17th.