Special Coverage

Auto Show

PARIS – Automobiles Peugeot hardly could do more on its 200th birthday as a company than it is here at the Paris auto show.

From its beginnings as a maker of pepper mills, Peugeot has become a company that manufactures bicycles, scooters, cars, electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Its new 508 sedan moves the brand upscale, while its iOn will be its first EV and the 3008Hy4 its first diesel hybrid.

Peugeot’s new 508, available in sedan and station wagon variants, replaces the 607 and the 407 in the auto maker’s lineup.

Engines rated from 112-204 hp are more efficient thanks to the introduction of parent PSA Peugeot Citroen’s second-generation stop/start system, which combined with the most-efficient diesel means carbon-dioxide emissions of just 109 g/km.

When it gets hybridized later with PSA’s Hy4 system, the 508 will achieve 200 hp, emit just 99 g/km of CO2 and feature all-wheel drive.

Peugeot shows how quickly the auto maker has adapted. Two stars on its display here are the 3008 Hy4 and iOn. During the decade preceding this year’s Paris show, the auto maker abandoned the production of EVs after manufacturing 10,000 units and earlier disparaged the idea of HEVs.

The iOn, developed with Mitsubishi Motor Corp. on the i-MiEV platform, will be available for lease at the end of this year for €500 ($685) a month. Peugeot is hoping to win a contract early next year to provide 3,000 units to the city of Paris Autolib car-sharing program.

Peugeot displays another electric car in its showroom on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, rather than on its stand. The EX1 is light and powerful, designed to look futuristic and break obscure acceleration records that most people never have heard of, such as covering 1/8th of a mile in 8.9 seconds.

The dual-motor, 340-hp (250-kW) EX1 is a single-purpose concept car that recalls its famous French ancestor, the Jamais Content EV car that in 1899 set the world speed record for any car at 65 mph (105 km/h).

Peugeot says maximum speed of the EX1 is 160 mph (260 km/h), with acceleration exceeding 1G of force. Range (at normal speeds) is estimated at 280 miles (450 km) with the 30-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

After the Paris exhibit closes in November, the EX1 will go to China to call attention to Peugeot’s ambitions in the world’s largest market.

The 3008 Hy4 will go on sale in 2012. The 3008 is a compact European cross/utility vehicle that already sells well with its internal-combustion engines.

The base 3008 emits 165 g/km of CO2 with its 1.6L, 120-hp gasoline engine and sells for about €21,600(29,570). The 3008 Hy4 will emit 99 g/km and sell for about €30,000 ($41,070).

Also on Peugeot’s Paris stand is the bb1 concept, displayed at last year’s show, as it fits with the auto maker’s mobility theme. Additionally, the auto maker shows an electric scooter, e-Vivacity, going on sale next year, as well as a concept scooter, the e-Satelis.

Peugeot is trying to interest the public in a total mobility approach by offering all its vehicles, from bicycles to vans, as short-term rentals through the “Mu by Peugeot” program.