The race to perfect the autonomous car is heating up. Peugeot is set to tout the E-Legend concept car at the Paris Auto Show this week, demonstrating its vision of the self-driving future. It comes as Tesla gears up to launch its own autonomous driving system, while also planning the launch of the Tesla Roadster supercar.
“Peugeot E-Legend Concept is not just a technological manifesto,” Jean-Philippe Imparato, CEO of Peugeot, said in a statement. “This is the vision of a brand actively focused on an optimistic and ultra-desirable future. For Peugeot, autonomy and electric are synonymous with even stronger sensations. Boredom will never be part of our DNA.”
It faces stiff competition from the Tesla Roadster, unveiled by CEO Elon Musk at the Tesla Design Studio in November 2017. Here’s how these two big beasts of autonomous driving compare:
Peugeot E-Legend vs Tesla Roadster: Speed and Specs
The E-Legend uses a 100 kilowatt-hour battery to offer 800 Newton meters of torque and 340 kilowatts of power. It has an acceleration rate of 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds and a top speed of 136 mph. It has a range of 373 miles, and the car can charge up to offer 311 miles in 25 minutes.
The Roadster, on the other hand, has a 200 kilowatt-hour battery that offers 10,000 Newton meters of torque. Its acceleration could prove the fastest in a production car, with 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, 0-100 in 4.2 seconds, reaching a quarter mile in 8.8 seconds, and a top speed of over 250 mph. It offers a range of a staggering 620 miles, and it’s likely to use the established supercharging network to get drivers up and running again.
Peugeot E-Legend vs Tesla Roadster: Autonomous Driving Modes
Tesla’s Roadster may use a similar approach to the Model S, X and 3. These offer two tiers of driving: a semi-autonomous enhanced Autopilot mode available now where the car drives in limited circumstances but the human is required to maintain their full attention, and a full self-driving system available at a later date. Details on how this latter mode will work are relatively scarce, but Tesla’s product page outlines a system where the car drives from A to B without any interaction.
Peugeot has sketched out a multi-mode approach. While human drivers can use a “Legend” cruising mode with digitally-rendered wood and a “Boost” mode for super-fast driving, the car also offers two autonomous modes. “Soft” blends digital surfaces into the bare minimum of information, while “Sharp” offers social media and other digital activities in the center console.
Peugeot E-Legend vs Tesla Roadster: User Experience
The E-Legend Concept uses a giant 49-inch central screen across the front. The steering wheel retracts under the sound bar to provide full visibility during autonomous driving modes, obscuring the screen to an extent during human driving. The front seats recline back for more comfort as the side armrests deploy to offer wireless charging for smartphones. Peugeot partnered with the SoundHound A.I. technology firm to offer full voice-activated driving, available in 17 languages.
The Roadster uses a giant center screen in the console that looks similar to that used in the S, X and 3. It’s unclear whether the Roadster will feature an instrument cluster behind the wheel, as Musk states that such features are less necessary with an autonomous car.
Tesla has outlined its own voice activation system for its autonomous cars:
All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, the car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination or just home if nothing is on the calendar. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed. When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you.
Peugeot E-Legend vs Tesla Roadster: Release Date
The Tesla Roadster is set to hit roads in 2020, while the company’s autonomous car features are set to start rolling out with the next major software update. The E-Legend is unlikely to reach production, but elements of the design could appear in other vehicles over the coming years.