Cool cars abound at the 2016 Paris auto show, but dig a bit deeper, walk around the darker corners of the less-trafficked halls, and you come across cars that are rather more … interesting. That’s not to say the major manufacturers aren’t also occasionally doing their best to defy all rules of logic and aesthetics—they certainly are. But whatever the source, these oddball, often unloved cars are some of the most memorable of the show.
Designed and built by Luciano Giol, the Formula GIOL is, offically, “a different vehicle.” The electric two-seater occupies a lonely spot somewhere between motorcycle, car, ground-effect airplane, and fever dream. Dual motors supply a total of 99 hp, accelerating the GIOL to 62 mph in about 10 seconds. Top speed is 100 mph and maximum range is 160 miles at 62 mph. The batteries are lithium-iron-magnesium phosphate units rated at 28 kWh. But most importantly, this is one freaky stealth fighter bike, almost certainly wormholed into the halls of the Paris show directly from the parking lot outside a slapstick version of the Thunderdome.
Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Concept
Ostensibly another look at a future Outlander, the Mitsubishi GT-PHEV is perhaps the best argument yet (except, of course, for the hybrid/crossover plans for the next Evo, if it ever happens) for not really needing to care whether the brand gives up its tenuous toehold in the American market. Evos are great, but if leaving the U.S. market altogether is what it takes to keep this aneurysm-enducing mechatronic monstrosity off our streets, it may be a price worth paying.
An electric Mini Moke? What’s not to love? Well, for starters, there’s the 13.4-hp electric motor, which can only wind the NOSMOKE up to a max speed of 75 kmh—a much less impressive figure when measured in miles per hour (just 46.6 mph). The batteries? Sealed lead-acid gel units, with an expected lifespan of 3-4 years. Range? A mere 62 miles, if you keep your average speed to 31 mph. Charge time is 7-8 hours. But hey, electric Moke!
The Skoda Kodiaq is, despite its inclusion on this list, a respectable-looking, well-designed crossover. But that paint color! Photos simply can’t do justice the retina-searing hue of this “Speed Yellowgreen” paint. Monitors don’t have the punch necessary to shunt this wavelength directly into your visual cortex, where it leaves an afterimage like you’ve been jacked directly into the sun via a fiber optic mainline, Matrix-style.
Already on sale in France, the Citroen E-Mehari is a funky, fun-looking little off-road-ish electric car that can manage 124 miles of range at speeds up to 68 mph, charging in 8 hours from a 16-amp socket, or 13 hours from a typical European domestic outlet. Max power is rated at 67 hp, but its rated sustained output is a more conservative 47 hp. Still, as slow as it may be—and as much as it will never be sold in the U.S.—this is one fun little electric beach buggy we’d like to see more of.
M.Go Highland / HighlandX
Presented here in three curious form factors, the Highland microcar is classified as a “light quadricycle,” which sounds about as Victorian as its top speed: 28 mph. On the other hand, the normal, road-going versions of the Highland weigh just under 900 lbs wet. Still, with a 500-cc four-stroke twin-cylinder diesel providing a maximum output of 5.3 hp and 12.5 lb-ft of torque, it’s not likely to provide much in the way of excitement—even with a mud-worthy lift kit and suicide doors.