Electric cars

Amid expensive electric cars at IAA Mobility, more affordability is promised


European automakers are relentlessly producing the wrong kind of electric car, but Volkswagen has shown it could be going in the right direction by showcasing its mass-market ID.Life concept at the IAA Mobility 2021 show in Munich.

The industry tries to mimic the overall capabilities of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars and SUVs, but this is not possible if European Union carbon dioxide (CO2) regulations must be met . The more the industry tries to get electric cars to reach high-speed, long-range ICE-like cruising levels, the more the benefits of electric CO2 are diluted with ever larger batteries and polluting palaver s. ‘accentuates along the way.

The curse of chip supply restrictions echoed around the show. We have talked a lot about autonomous transport, robotaxis and of course electrification.

If the electrical revolution is to be achieved, the industry must accept the fact that things have changed. Ordinary electric cars will not be able to fulfill all the roles that ICEs can play, but they can provide a tremendous amount of utility for shopping, commuting, school trips, and city, urban and rural commuting. Up to maybe 90% of the real world requirements? You can forget about high-speed long-distance cruising with current battery technology, but if automakers come up with a really affordable small car that can do it all – say under € 10,000 ($ 12,000) – buyers will come in. With current, governments will be able to put away their subsidy checkbooks, taxpayers will be able to breathe a sigh of relief, and the electric car revolution will be underway.

The problem is, the little ID.Life will cost around € 25,000 ($ 29,600 after tax) when it goes on sale in 2025, about double what an entry-level car should. cost. VW, which has said EU regulations to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2030 will make it impossible to profitably sell its current cheaper models like the Up and Polo, but maybe by then, battery costs will have been seriously reduced.

Barclays Equity Research said VW was focusing on the “wider mobility space” with the ID.Life concept, which it said would sell for around € 20,000.

“(The ID.Life) focuses on sustainability with recycled and natural materials used for key components. According to VW, it is bringing electric mobility to the masses at a low price and primarily focuses on urban mobility, ”Barclays said in a report.

The price seems a bit high for the masses though.

And VW has warned that any short-term acceleration of the introduction of electric vehicles could be in danger of stalling due to battery “stresses”, possibly including battery power, and the actual ability to produce them. required performance.

This follows a warning from Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Automotive Research Center (CAR) in Duisberg, Germany.

“After the flea crisis, from 2024 onwards, a growing bottleneck of battery cells is to be expected,” said Dudenhoeffer.

News from Toyota in Tokyo, one of the many global automakers that did not attend the IAA (for Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) mobility show, which it planned to fully engage in the race for All-electric cars with a plan to spend $ 13.5 billion by 2030 to develop batteries and factories to build them, and 15 battery-electric vehicles by 2025, must have pushed participants into the limelight. These were mainly German, with a few outsiders like Renault and its value subsidiary Dacia.

Toyota seemed reluctant to join the all-electric race, preferring to focus on hybrid cars and SUVs for the time being, and a notable investment in hydrogen fuel cells. The next big breakthrough in battery technology will be solid-state, and Toyota has quietly invested in this area. Solid-state batteries should take battery power to a new level, as they will likely be much more energy dense, allow faster charging, cost 50% less, and are unlikely to occasionally ignite. Major automakers outside of Japan must have nightmares that Toyota may suddenly announce a big technological breakthrough that will leave their lithium-ion technology stranded.

Meanwhile, show attendees revealed a succession of bloated, expensive electric cars, or variations on the current theme of what is indeed needed – city cars – but cost around twice as much as their utility would cost. suggests.

Mercedes has announced 3 possible all-electric models, the EQE sedan, the EQG version of the G-Wagon and EQS Maybach, the first being likely to be marketed in 2022, at a price of around € 70,000 after taxes in Germany (83,000 $). Barclays Equity Research has described the Mercedes electric lineup as one of the most powerful of German high-end manufacturers.

The EQE will compete with the Audi A6 e-tron and offer a range of 660 kilometers (410 miles) and over-the-air computer system (OTA) updates like Tesla.


Like VW, BMW presented a concept car using recycled materials, although the BMW I Vision Circular will not appear before 2040. BMW has defined a series of targets linked to the reduction of CO2 emissions, with 4 vehicle concepts including a bicycle and the recycled car. .

VW’s Audi showed off what it called a private jet for the road (not suggesting a candidate for the mass market) the Grandsphere, which also looked forward to fully autonomous driving.

Robotaxis was also making the headlines. Intel Corp

Mobileye’s subsidiary and German car rental company Sixt SE will launch a driverless “robotaxis” service test in Munich next year and hope to expand the service across Germany and possibly Europe. Ahead of the Argo AI show, the autonomous driving startup supported by Volkswagen and Ford, said it plans to test the VW ID.BUZZ electric axis robot on a track in Munich with the ambition to start a service by 4 years. Alphabet’s Waymo and GM-backed Cruise are also launching self-driving taxi businesses in the United States. Hyundai has presented its robotaxi based on the Ioniq 5 electric vehicle and is expected to start carrying passengers next year. Hyundai’s robotaxi was developed with Motional, a joint venture with APTV.

Other than the mostly concept-based German presentations, none of the brands related to the PSA / FCA merger now known as Stellantis and Nissan participated. There was action ready for the showroom. Renault unveiled its electric Mégane and its low-end subsidiary Dacia presented the Jogger, a 5 to 7-seater minivan.

IAA Mobility 2021 takes over the time slot of the biennial and now deceased Frankfurt motor show. The show ends on September 12.


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