Electric Vehicles Are Changing the Face of the Automotive Industry for the Better
In general, going green isn’t a particularly fun endeavor, and this has been particularly true in the case of the automotive industry. However, you no longer have to choose between efficient fuel economy with low emissions or high-performance fun, thanks to fully electric models like the Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model S, and Ford Mustang Mach-E entering the fray. With such advances in technology, you can now have it all, and while these are not the cheapest cars on the road, the price of electrified vehicles is steadily dropping as they transition into the mainstream market and gas-fed powertrains are phased out.
Look good, feel good, do good
With combustion and even some early hybrid engines making their way towards the outdated and redundant tech dumpster, it is only natural to wonder why electric vehicles (EVs) are causing such a disruption in a market that has held firm to the same business practices for over a hundred years. So, what exactly makes these new machines so much better and more desirable, and is there any downside?
- Electricity is cheaper than gasoline and more easily sourced
- EVs offer significantly better mileage figures
- Most such vehicles come equipped with a high-tech suite of features
- Electric motors are capable of producing enormous amounts of horsepower and torque. This means that they can be utilized to develop unparalleled performance sports cars
- The technology is becoming cheaper as more automakers integrate it into their latest lineups
- Massive environmental benefits over unsustainable fossil fuels
- Gas-fed power plants are still cheaper to build right now, so combustion-engined cars are still a lot cheaper to purchase
- New skills need to be developed within the maintenance sectors to attend to these more complex configurations
- Certain infrastructure needs to be in place for EVs to be properly viable, such as private and public charging stations
- Developing countries find it easier to rely on fossil fuels rather than expanding their energy matrices
Shining a spotlight
As stated, this new development within the automotive industry is a widespread movement that is not limited to the performance segment. In fact, the first mass-produced EVs were built with more modest intentions, like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, or Toyota Prius PHEV. Now that luxury brands are getting involved, we have already been promised multiple lines of executive sedans, ultra-practical crossovers, and racy supercars. In fact, some marques, such as Infiniti, have already set deadlines by which combustion engines will be completely phased out of their model ranges.
With that in mind, here are some of the current and upcoming electric automobiles that you should keep in mind when looking to buy your next commuter, family hauler, or joyrider.
Available for 2021 in SUV or coupe-like Sportback configurations, the e-tron is the German brand’s foray into the EV segment. In many ways it looks no different from one of the standard models, which isn’t a bad thing, since Audi is known for its eye-catching athletic designs and sleek, sexy curves. However, the SUV does lack an exhaust, as it would be utterly vestigial, and a far bolder and ornate grille is installed since airflow over the engine is no longer needed.
The dual motors deliver 402 hp and 490 lb-ft to all four wheels, launching e-tron variants to 60 mph in the mid-five-second range. Inside, you get all the flashy tech you’d expect from the prestigious automaker, and then some.
The unofficial challenger to the Tesla throne, the Italian sports car is able to match the USA-based front-runner in raw power and straight-line acceleration, reaching 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds with the upper-tier powertrain on the Turbo S trim. Naturally, it retains all the road-hugging style or the brand, but purists may be unnerved by the engine’s soundtrack, which is dead silent. This means that the Taycan is a lot subtler in comparison to its siblings.
It still boasts the same spectacular handling we expect from the carmaker, and while the interior is definitely driver-centric, there is technically space for passengers - one up front beside the driver, and two in the back. Despite the focus on athleticism and fun, the European supercar still boats some impressive fuel economy, returning an EPA-rated 67/68/68 MPGe from its Turbo S model, although its overall range of 192 miles is quite disappointing when you look at some of its more experienced rivals.
An upcoming top-tier luxury sedan, the Lucid Air intends to surpass the levels of quality we have come to expect from EVs, especially the likes of the Tesla Model S. It will cost you almost double the MSRP of the base-model S, though. But considering how much you get for your investment, it may not be an unreasonable sum.
The sedan is utterly breathtaking to behold, with slick lines that reduce its drag coefficient to just 0.21. This is marginally better than either the Taycan or Model S, which is how the Lucid earns its title of the most aerodynamic car in the world. It may have a 1,080-hp powertrain and sprint time of just 2.5s in its most powerful configuration, but it is clear that most of the designers’ focus was on the interior. Flawless construction, upscale materials, and enormous monitors combine to create a truly wondrous cabin that is just as pleasant to sit in as it is to look at.
Lighting the way forward
This is just a quick review of some of the most exciting EVs to hit the market, and there are more to come, with companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz promising numerous nameplates with fully-electric platforms. There are also a variety of more budget-friendly options for those consumers who are only interested in the immense savings enabled by this technology. It won’t be long before every vehicle on the road, including buses and cabs, are powered purely by electricity, so it wouldn’t hurt to get a headstart on embracing this earth-saving philosophy.