The more money, the more suspicious they are of an electric car

  • Volkswagen begins to open up more hybridization options in the medium term

  • Mercedes had to rebuild (almost) the internal combustion engine for one of its sports cars.

The electric car is the technology of the future. At least that’s what European Union policy seemed to be driving, with Western manufacturers announcing it one after another in what seemed like a race to hit the air date when they would presumably sell only electric cars.

Now some of the biggest companies are starting to pull back. Others smile, seeing that there are those who wanted to run before they started walking.

What if burning still has a future?


In 2022, Volkswagen assured that the future in Europe belongs to the electric car. If their plans continue, from 2033 they will produce nothing but fully electric for our continent.

It wasn’t the most ambitious brand. In the summer of 2021, Mercedes put an end to internal combustion engines. According to your roadmap, there will be nothing in your proposal that is not pure electric from 2030. A strategy that began to fail.

While we still see Cadillac as far away from Europe (which was considering competing in the European market), the American firm has also moved away from competing exclusively with electric vehicles. Its intention was to position itself on par with Rolls-Royce and Bentley, but the electric car doesn’t seem to be for the rich.

This is something Rimac learned the hard way. The creator of the most ambitious electric sports car assures that it is difficult to fit the barely 150 units in which had limited production from your refrigerator. He believes that the real problem lies in the enthusiasm of European politicians and their intentions to promote this technology above the rest, responsible for achieving a rebound effect and therefore rejection among the population.

Either way, the slowdown in electric vehicle sales is permanent. Has the meaning. After the market with the highest incomes has been saturated, where the arrival of electric vehicles began, it remains to conquer the middle class with the most popular vehicles. And there, it seems that the prospects regarding autonomy/price are not very promising in the short term.

There, among middle- and low-income people, a plug-in hybrid could make a lot of sense. And among high incomes, it is combustion that is beginning to gain strength. A real challenge for those who have jumped into the EV fleet.

“We need this transitional technology.”

If we talk about mass-produced cars, the electric car still has an unsolved problem. Either we will eventually adapt to tightening autonomy, or its price must continue to fall to convince more and more audiences.

A situation that jeopardized the future plans of a brand. Ford, for example, is losing thousands of euros on every car it sells, and Almussafes, which seemed earmarked for producing the company’s new all-electric cars, has been forced to make changes to its medium-term strategy.

Volkswagen is another company that has been challenged by the transition to electric vehicles. Its top leader even said that the company’s “roof is on fire,” meaning a difficult situation life and the high costs that they now have to try to reduce.

The Volkswagen Group has two main problems. First, yes, demand for electric vehicles has decreased. But secondly, own cars do not receive the expected support. In important markets like China, they are suffering, and companies that focused solely on an electric future, such as Audi, are going through hell developing their cars.

The result is a preventative retreat.

Hybrids are a thing of the past. If you had asked me the same question last year, I would have said: “Forget about hybrids, it’s an expensive technology, it’s not worth it.” However, in the last six months, suddenly everyone wanted hybrids.

These are the words of Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen, in a speech during the event. The future of the carorganized Financial Timesand collected In that talk, he also reflected on plug-in hybrids, calling them “the transition technology we need.”

The CEO stated that in the past they have already chosen a path that now it is considered rational. He claims they have been blamed for not moving faster and moving towards pure electric vehicles, but they now have enough demand to question whether they should continue to explore this route and increase the number of plug-in hybrids on the market.

Just as vehicle emissions are measured during homologation testing, the plug-in hybrid seems like a really interesting option when you consider that it automatically gets the zero-emissions sticker. And, in fact, this seems to be the only option to continue selling internal combustion engines while complying with increasingly stringent emissions restrictions in Europe.

Renault is advocating a similar strategy. From continuing to support the development of internal combustion engines to considering plug-in hybrids as the most logical transition technology. The biggest disadvantage is the size and cost of the technology. Intensive vehicle electrification is expensive, and Renault itself has realized that this option is not worth it when it comes to smaller vehicles.

Toyota, which has also demonstrated its move away from the electric vehicle as the only alternative, is using what they call the 1:6:90 strategy. According to them, the battery size of the electric vehicle allows the production of six plug-in hybrids and 90 electric hybrids. Their position is clear: bet on this pyramid wherever it is allowed.

Return to the internal combustion engine as an exception

Despite all these attempts by Volkswagen and other manufacturers to look favorably on hybrids (plug-in or not) in the short term in the face of European restrictions, Mercedes has seen first-hand how electrification is beginning to be seen as an unexciting path among luxury vehicles.

The results of its Mercedes EQS are poor compared to the sales that the Mercedes S-Class continues to achieve. But there is no need here either to switch to an electric vehicle or to intensive hybridization, as with the Mercedes-AMG C 63. There was a switch to plug-in hybridization, this is convincing.

How are they taken into account?, the brand’s new sports sedan plays with the possibility of ditching plug-in hybrid technology and returning to a reliable V8 engine. Along the way, he is not even afraid of losing some of his strength. The newest power unit was not liked by customers, who openly criticized the brand.

The problem the company faced was that it had an engine that ran up to Maximum speed 280 km/h but the user manual already states that this is not always the case. It clarified that the car may suffer from battery overheating and therefore not perform as expected if the speed exceeds 200 km/h.

The luxury car of the future will be powered by an internal combustion engine

By taking this step back, Mercedes can have a true V8-powered sports car with the DGT ECO sticker (a formula that is also attractive in other countries) thanks to its 48-volt mild hybridization.

But Mercedes isn’t the only brand that is starting to realize that a truly luxury car will be one with an internal combustion engine. Since Germany has been recognized by the European Union for its use of carbon-neutral fossil fuels since 2035, the offer of this type of car seems more and more interesting.

This is what I already seem to feel BMW, who have long assured that they will continue to produce internal combustion engines, but only in larger sizes, for example, with six and eight cylinders. It is likely that in a market that is moving towards the electric car as a mainstream vehicle (plug-in hybrid in the medium term), the presence of an internal combustion engine will be perceived by buyers as something extremely exclusive.

Porsche or Ferrari that hope to sell (or sell) large numbers of electric vehicles know that their portfolio should not be missing a car with an internal combustion engine as a more expensive and exclusive option.

To all of the above, we must add that it is these cars, with a more limited mileage, that will be the ones that can be appreciated the most and best. The constant improvements being made by the electric vehicle industry and the promise of ever more ambitious models are also causing the car to lose value on the secondary market. And as Bugatti recalls, taking care of this aspect is the key to the success of a luxury car.

Image | Mercedes

In Hatak | The electric car threatens the death of a classic of automotive mythology: the lightweight sports car.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button