The principality of Monaco is hoping to make automotive obsessives green with envy when it hosts only its second international motor show. However, when the doors open for SIAM 2018 on February 15, visitors will feel green not because the salon will be awash with bespoke Lamborghinis or limited edition Rolls-Royces, but because the event will be focused exclusively on ecological and innovative vehicles.
From city cars to executive sedans, coupés and concepts, every vehicle that will be on display will be either a plug-in electric car, a hybrid, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle or converted to run on LPG or CNG.
In recent months, a host of mainstream car makers from Land Rover and Jaguar to Volvo and Audi have committed to electrifying their current model ranges, either via offering hybrid versions or full plug-in electric models. And many more firms are expected to make major commitments to electrification in the coming months as demand for alternative fuel vehicles continues to grow.
The announcement comes in the same week that General Motors outlined its hugely ambitious plans to launch 20 all-electric cars by 2023. The first two of those models will be unveiled before the end of 2019. "GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs," said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president of Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain.
Likewise this week, Nissan, the company behind the Leaf, the world's most popular electric car confirmed that it is working on a Nismo, performance-optimized version of its green car in order to turn it into an object of desire and to show that an electric car doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing driving pleasure.
After a slow start, electric car sales are now growing rapidly and in the spring of 2017 represented 1% of global vehicle sales for the first time in history. And now that they've passed this crucial milestone, more companies are set to move firmly into the market with serious plug-in electric or plug-in hybrid offerings.
Little wonder that Monaco wants to get ahead of the curve and be able to claim its motor show is the only international automotive event dedicated to greener motoring.