Yesterday, 16th February, was marked by the beginning of SIAM 2017, the four-day open-air motor show situated right in the heart of the principality, which will be showcasing some of the top cars that the industry has to offer. However, it is not a motor show like any other.
This event, created by Thierry Hesse, an important player in the progress of the French automobile industry, is not just centred on the luxury and beauty of the cars displayed. More importantly, it is the first international motor show to promote ecological, innovative and prestigious cars. Cars of the future. As we all know, the planet’s environment is delicate and the need to protect it is more important than ever. Events like these help underline the steps Monaco is taking to establish itself as an environmentally friendly community.
So, what can you expect from this unique event?
The motor show is split between three areas; the main part of the exhibit along Quai Albert 1er showcases over fifty luxury car brands including Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Bentley, that are partially or fully electrically charged. The motor show also presents a number of eco-friendly concept start-ups such as Drivoon. CEO Laurent Bouzon explains that it is the first carpooling initiative that links airport-goers through a simple app to save money and limit urban pollution.
The atmosphere is welcoming and exhibitors are ready to answer any questions about a model or concept and you can be sure to gain some surprising insight. Stop and chat to the Manager of Responsible Tourism in Monaco, Estelle Antognelli, to hear of all the initiatives the principality has put in place for a sustainable community, including their stand against deforestation and close surveillance of the quality of our coastal waters. In fact, it was Prince Albert II’s preference for renewable energy and hybrid cars that paved the way for the creation of this original event by Hesse and his son.
The other areas focus on the luxury brands Porsche and Tesla, found in the beautiful Place du Casino and Place du Palais Princier, and their newly developed electrical models. There are many expert representatives well-prepared to answer questions about their innovative designs in the picturesque setting.
An exciting feature of this motor show is the opportunity to test-drive any of the cars on display! Porsche adds an exceptional twist to these test-drives: whisking you away to Èze in a helicopter to try out the new models on the open back roads. Simply sign up at the respective booth and you’ll be able to experience driving the new hybrid luxury models – a great deal considering that a ticket for the whole event is only 15 euros. You can also try a simulation of the formula-e car at the Michelin stand, and be able to boast that you’ve experienced the futuristic version of the Formula 1 cars before the racers themselves!
A frequent and efficient ‘Blue Bus’ whisks you between the various sites, powered solely by electricity. Taking you from the motor show entrance in the port, following the Grand Prix route right up to the Place du Casino, it makes its way to the last stop at Place du Palais Princier. Admittedly, it might need a little boost when it comes to driving uphill on Avenue d’Ostende, but the environmental benefits more than compensate for the few minutes lost. Maybe these will replace the current buses in the years to come!
Perhaps the most striking cars were the concept design cars showcased in the Mercedes-Benz and Renault tents; the two-seater Renault Trezor with its sensual red interior and fully removable roof is a true spectacle. The technical project manager of Renault, Minh Au Truong, explained that the car is meant to show the progress in futuristic design being made in recent years. Unfortunately these are still only a futuristic dream and haven’t yet been developed for the market. Give it another 30 years or so!
This event is great for those who have a passion for cars as well as anyone interested in the latest developments car designers have made towards ensuring the sustainability of global communities.
Bring the kids along as well. They get in free of charge and even get to test-drive some prestigious mini-cars of their own!