SUVs are still growing in numbers despite the prediction.
Aerodynamics is key for EVs.
If you’ve ever wondered why many automakers are launching new EVs, not as glorified SUVs, but as sedans or crossovers, now you know. Aerodynamics heavily impacts range and performance with EVs which is why Citroen’s boss believes that the SUV as we know it will eventually all but disappear.
You’re probably thinking to yourself that Ford, GM, and Ram all have or have announced massive electric trucks and though you might be right, they all have the following in common: They are insanely heavy, hold giant batteries, and are terribly expensive. The average consumer won’t be buying one of these.
They’ll want a “regular” EV that offers a generous amount of range and that is relatively affordable. And they’ll want an SUV. The reality is that SUVs are not entirely aerodynamic and thus require a larger battery for equal range and are more expensive. What are automakers do to please consumers? Change the definition of SUV.
Citroen chief executive officer Vincent Cobée told AutoExpress this change in definition is already occurring as any vehicle that is a bit higher than a conventional car is referred to as an SUV. Aerodynamics is the main driving force behind the term’s evolution. He says: “On a battery EV if your aerodynamics are wrong, the penalty in terms of range is massive. You can lose 50 kilometres between good and bad aero, and between an SUV and a sedan you’re talking 60/70/80 kilometres very easily.”
Relatedly, Citroen is also working on lighter and more compact EVs which require smaller batteries. Not only will the range be unaffected but a 50-kWh thousand-ish pound battery, for example, will need far less time to recharge than one double that size and that weighs nearly two thousand pounds. Cobée compares this to carrying around a large and loaded backpack for a trip to the office. “Do you go to the office with that backpack? The answer is no. So why would you go to the office with a car with one tonne of battery?”
Unfortunately, this view, though logical, is far removed from the North American mobility mindset.