But they'll be more efficient than ever.
Mercedes-Benz has just put the EV industry on notice with the reveal of its Vision EQXX concept, a hypermiling luxury sedan that beats just about everything that has ever come before. This revolutionary new machine promises up to 625 miles of range, and with a drag coefficient of just 0.17, that's a claim we're willing to believe. Mercedes has gone all-in on tech and efficiency with the hope that future products will benefit from all this R&D. If the automaker's innovations can be passed down to other models, the concept will have been a worthwhile investment, and Mercedes is already considering how its future electric cars will be affected, including SUVs.
Speaking with Autocar, chief technology officer Markus Schafer explains that the size of certain vehicles needs to change. Responding to a question about whether Mercedes will shift away from its moneymaking SUVs, Schafer said: "The fact of the matter is that the biggest factor in achieving efficiency is aerodynamics times the factor of the size of the vehicle. Definitely, we will see different shapes of SUVs. I truly believe the shape of SUVs will change, at least if efficiency matters to a car company, and it does to us."
So what kinds of changes can we expect? A coupe-like roofline seems to be part of the solution. "It has to drop a little bit to the rear of the car," explains Schafer. "And the width of the front and rear axles might not be the same."
But SUVs are certainly not going away: "Ultimately, we have to take the customer into consideration, and the customer loves SUVs, no doubt. They love SUVs and the market share is still rising, but the shape will probably change."
Obviously, the easiest solution would be to return to lower vehicles like station wagons. Chief designer Gordon Wagener says that "SUVs will never be as efficient as these lower cars," but new products like the Mercedes-Benz EQE and EQS SUV are working towards better aerodynamic efficiency. "We will show you very efficient SUVs when we launch new SUVs on the new EVA2 platform," says Wagener. "They will be so much more efficient than any SUV before: a bit more 'flowy, less boxy.'" He goes on to say that you can't change the physics of our universe, so "the EQS sedan will always be more efficient than the EQS SUV," but the better these high-riding crossovers get, the longer Mercedes can make money from those who like a higher vantage point behind the wheel. Let's just hope that these new offerings look good.