Citroën CEO Claims Electrification Will Kill Boxy SUVs


Citroën CEO Vincent Cobée is below the impression that sport utility automobiles are about to change into extinct. “The world of SUVs is completed,” he remarked in an interview with Auto Specific, claiming that the aerodynamics of electrified automobiles – designed to maximise effectivity – will in all probability put an finish to flat-faced SUVs.

Although he additionally famous that the maths wasn’t working in his favor at current and acknowledged that SUVs nonetheless comprised roughly half of all new automotive registrations in Europe.

Nonetheless, he had some proof to help his idea. Crossover automobiles symbolize a significant portion of each market’s annual gross sales and so they’re mainly only a hybridization of conventional passenger automobiles and one thing a bit extra woodsy. This contains the form, which tends to be rounded to keep up car-like efficiency at greater speeds and superior gas financial system.

Cobée believes that EVs will proceed to evolve such automobiles into being much more streamlined.

“On a battery EV, in case your aerodynamics are improper, the penalty by way of vary is huge,” he stated. “You possibly can lose 50 kilometers between good and dangerous aero, and between an SUV and a sedan you’re speaking 60/70/80 kilometers very simply.”

There’s additionally solely so giant you may make the battery pack earlier than you’re doing your self a disservice. EVs boasting enviable ranges are additionally a few of the heaviest fashions of their respective segments and sometimes outweigh combustion-reliant counterparts of comparable dimension by over a thousand kilos.

“Individuals will begin limiting weight and battery sizes, both via tax, via incentives, via regulation, via naming and shaming,” he stated. “The A-segment has been killed by regulation, [and] the D [SUV] section will probably be killed by aerodynamicism [sic] and weight,” he concluded.

Auto Specific famous that France is already planning on taxing automobiles by weight along with Europe increasing charges primarily based on CO2 manufacturing. Although the French firm’s CEO stated this may probably are available tandem with mounting social pressures.

“For those who dwell in a giant metropolis, 5 years in the past in case you drop off your youngsters with a giant SUV you’re a person. Now, in case you do that, you’re a terrorist.”

As a lot as your writer likes mocking executives, particularly when it affords the chance to showcase that they’re simply as dumb and reactive as the remainder of us, Cobée may very well be onto one thing right here. The entire best-looking sport utility automobiles are two-box designs with a bunch of 90-degree angles.

Don’t consider me? Begin asking folks about which SUVs they assume are the most effective trying and also you’ll invariably discover them gushing about blunt-nosed monstrosities. Inquire about which mannequin years yielded the most effective model of the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee and put together to be shocked by studying that it sometimes comes right down to how sq. the physique form occurs to be. Heck, even the brand-new Wagoneer has the aerodynamics of a brick.

My supposition is that individuals who like SUVs additionally like the thought of them being rugged, multi-purpose transportation originating from army automobiles and need them to look the half. For instance, the Toyota 4Runner is massively unattractive. However everyone knows it’s succesful and when outfitted with a tasteful quantity of off-roading gear, it out of the blue turns into fairly good-looking. Blunted faces imply shorter overhangs and flatter physique panels are simpler to hammer out into their authentic state after you’ve bashed them into just a few timber.

It additionally must be stated that Citroën doesn’t actually manufacture any SUVs – at the least not within the conventional sense.

Moderately than assembling purpose-built offroaders which are snug sufficient to each day on the freeway, Citroën has “Aircross” variants of its family-oriented hatchbacks. Whereas the model calls them SUVs, they’re technically crossover automobiles – providing a extra car-like expertise than any of these boxy fashions we talked about earlier. Whereas none of us have ever pushed the C3 or C5 Aircross (as they’re unique to Europe) it’s plain to see that they’d be extra at dwelling parked close to a shopping mall than assaulting a wooded path.

There’s nothing improper with this. Each automaker wants a distinct segment out there and Citroën’s merely hasn’t included constructing giant, blocky SUVs. However that truth alone would possibly clarify why Cobée is so eager on their being supplanted. As a result of the corporate he represents spent a fortune pursuing EVs and barely a dime designing rock crawlers.

As with our earlier put up relating to BMW’s prime brass griping about American politics, it’s usually helpful to think about govt feedback of their broader context. Managers can not predict the long run. However they will usually reveal loads about an organization’s largest fears or best needs by making an attempt to persuade you that they will. The very best-case state of affairs for Citroën is for SUVs to evaporate whereas the whole world embraces small, electrified cars – as a result of that’s what it’s promoting.

“Within the Nineteen Seventies, a automotive was weighing 700kg. At present a median automotive is weighing 1300kg. Tomorrow a median automotive will weigh two tonnes,” stated Cobée. “So we’re utilizing thrice extra sources to ship the identical service, simply to be inexperienced.”

These automobiles are absolute featherweights in comparison with what can be thought-about regular in the USA. However issues have been trending equally, with cars persevering with to get heavier each single 12 months.

Citroën doesn’t see this as sustainable and has as an alternative been shifting towards ideas that make the most of smaller battery packs, with comparatively fast charging instances. Because you’re not all the time going to make use of the whole battery the CEO advised clients (and the surroundings) can be served higher by smaller batteries and extra charging options. The French automaker has been engaged on superior route-planning instruments and handy charging. Citroën even has a pilot program providing short-term loans of combustion-powered automobiles for EV clients in want.

“Do you go to the workplace with that backpack? The reply isn’t any,” Cobée said. “So why would you go to the workplace with a automotive with one tonne of battery?”

With that in thoughts, the CEO believes the most effective factor Citroën might do was to avoid giant SUVs whereas electrification turns into extra common.

“If we follow ‘SUV containers’ till 2030 and uncover there’s no buyer, it’s going to be a tough touchdown … you don’t wish to be the final one to depart the dancefloor.”

In fact, that assumes you’re not dancing to disco.

[Images: Domagoj Kovacic/Shutterstock; Jeep]

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