Autos

Is the electric car redefining the concept of the SUV?

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Most of the new electric models entering the market are SUVs. But is this qualification still relevant?

A few weeks ago, in one of my editorials, I mentioned the end of SUVs with the advent of the electric car. Suffice to say that, given the surge in this segment for a few weeks, I messed up a bit, and you have the right to make fun of it.

Today, my point is a little different. Indeed, we cannot deny the fact that manufacturers adding electric models to their catalog seem to have given themselves the word to invest heavily in the SUV niche, the offer becoming almost bloated in recent months. The list would be too long to list here, but it looks like “electric” has become synonymous with “SUV” in their minds.

If my point is different, it is because I have the feeling that with electrification, the border between SUV and “traditional” car is blurring in favor of a new definition of the automobile which becomes a sort of concentrate of the best that a sedan and SUV has to offer.

As we know, the weight and size of the batteries are the first challenge that manufacturers must face, a fortiori if they wish to offer models with an acceptable autonomy, even significant, of the kind that allows the family to go for trips. long trips in near thermal conditions, without too much range anxiety.

Is SUVs a good way to hide battery overweight?

We also know that weight and bulk – and therefore consumption and environmental impact – are the main criticisms leveled at SUVs. By opting for this format on the electric, the manufacturers cancel in a way these effects, because the general volume minimizes by as much the ratio of space allocated to the batteries, to the benefit of the interior space, since on the other hand the engines and transmission are less space intensive.

On the other hand, the criticisms that can be addressed to thermal SUVs are less relevant when it comes to electric SUVs, because all electric cars offering comfort and range – I am not talking about small urban ones – are heavy and bulky. . So, provided the efficiency and aerodynamics are there, a 2-ton electric SUV will probably not be more harmful to the environment than a 2-ton electric sedan. On the other hand, it will offer more interior space, if only at the level of headroom.

This is what makes me think that the very notion of an SUV is evolving and could no longer make much sense since this format could become a kind of standard, and all the more so when we know that sedans no longer interest many people today, apart from a few aesthetes or automotive purists, often boomers, and attached to a certain art of living.

This is perhaps how the automotive landscape will be redefined: on the one hand, small, light and agile, relatively low-tech urbanites, like the Dacia Spring (well, an “SUV” precisely), on the other large spacious road cars, which still evoke SUVs by their lines, but whose more fluid profile offers an ideal mix between sedan and 4 × 4. Some examples ? They are legion, but look at the line of the Mustang Mach-E, the Tesla Model Y, the VW ID.4 or the Audi e-tron Q4, not to mention the Kia EV6, among others …

And then, in the midst of these two mass markets, eventually, the coupes, the real ones, which, if they are not more efficient, will offer a line and an exclusivity that some will always seek.

I have good this time?

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