Americans love to drive large cars. Will electric SUVs and pickups sell?

Netease Technology News on January 15th, according to foreign media reports, automakers have great expectations for plans to develop electric vehicles. Given the current market response and consumer preferences, they have focused on electric SUVs and pickups to meet consumer demand for large family vehicles.

In the next few years, a series of new plug-in hybrids and electric SUVs or pickups are expected to be available in the US market. Cars such as the popular Jeep Wrangler SUV and Ford F-150 pickup will be available in electric versions. People familiar with the matter said that General Motors would even revive the Hummer brand with electric pickups. Hummer used to be a symbol of excessive gas consumption.

Automotive executives say they are working to cater to consumer preferences. In recent years, consumers have tended to buy larger pickup trucks and SUVs with more features. These models are usually more profitable than cars, helping manufacturers digest expensive battery costs.

Advances in electric vehicle technology are also driving the entire market’s shift to large cars. Current electric vehicle technology enables car manufacturing companies to make more powerful battery packs, make large cars easier to drive, and have a longer range on a single charge.

“If you really want people to focus on electric cars, you have to cater to them,” said Darren Palmer, global product director for Ford Motor Company’s electrification program.

According to the forecast of global consulting company AlixPartners, by 2022, there will be 78 plug-in hybrid and pure electric SUVs available to consumers in the market, up from 38 last year. In comparison, there were only four similar models on the market in 2015. Analysts also expect that about six electric pickups will be available in the next two years. There are both plug-in hybrid vehicles and all-electric models.

European luxury car brands such as Audi and Jaguar are already at the forefront. They have launched new electric SUVs in the US market. After several years of improvement, the cruising range of these models has exceeded 321 kilometers.

Ford will start selling its electric SUV Ford Mustang Mach-E this year. The company said last month that it would invest $ 700 million to produce hybrid and electric F-150 pickups.

Similarly, this year Toyota Motor Corporation will also launch a plug-in RAV4 compact SUV. The RAV4 is also the company’s best-selling model.

Graphic: SUVs, crossovers, and pickups currently account for more than 70% of total US car sales.

GM is restructuring its Detroit plant to produce new electric Hummers and other electric SUVs. Earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand said it plans to launch electric versions of all models by 2022 and launch the first plug-in hybrid in the US market later this year.

Tesla is also expanding its product line and plans to start selling a new Model Y crossover in the US market later this year. Electric car startup Rivian has been working on manufacturing all-electric pickups and SUVs.

For many years, most car companies have basically produced electric vehicles as so-called compliant or fuel-efficient vehicles, just to meet stricter emissions regulations. Most customers who buy electric models will choose smaller models such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf.

However, these products have not gained broader appeal. According to market research firm JD Power, sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for only about 2.4% of the overall U.S. market last year.

Christian Meunier, global president of the Jeep brand, said automakers realize that if they want to stimulate broader market demand for these hybrid or electric vehicles, they must go beyond sales models that are purely environmentally friendly. .

Monier pointed out, “We cannot rely solely on government subsidies and incentives. We need to take the initiative.”

According to Arrow Platinum, the global auto industry is committed to investing more than $ 225 billion in more electric models by 2023, and auto companies are eager to see a return and expect more profits from SUVs and pickups.

But analysts say there are risks to doing so.

Brandon Mason, head of PwC’s U.S. automotive business, said that given the limited consumer interest in electric vehicles, it is unclear whether there is sufficient market demand or whether the company can sell enough More cars to recover costs.

Data from the International Commission for Clean Transportation (ICCT) show that the price of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles is still much higher than fuel vehicles. Depending on the range and model, consumers will spend about $ 6,000 to $ 20,000 more. Analysts said that although there are tax credits at the federal and state levels to reduce the price gap, the price gaps for many larger models remain large.

Brian Johnson, an automotive analyst at investment bank Barclays, points out that people buying large SUVs and pickups are often used to tow other things, but they may have to make concessions on electric models because the tow may run out The mileage of the car.

Mason said that these models may have to deal with many of the same challenges that electric vehicles have faced in the past, such as drivers worrying about running out of batteries or finding places to charge.

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