Could it be because of how it looks?
The fact that car companies complain there is not enough demand for electric cars at the same time as they build highly unattractive EVs is a bit confusing. Hearing them gripe and then seeing that a company did nothing to address a car's physical desirability on the reveal stage makes it seem as if all automakers want to make EVs as unpalatable as possible and use those low sales numbers to sway governments into throwing more incentives their way or get them to go easier on emissions requirements.
And while Porsche, Audi, and Tesla seem to be on track to bucking that trend, most of the electric cars they will sell or already do sell are out of reach of the average car buyer who can’t afford luxury car prices. Thankfully, change is on the horizon.
In a report detailing interviews with a slew of industry insiders and auto company executives, The Detroit News outlined the multiple ways that electric cars will improve so that they may win the hearts and minds of customers within the coming decade. The most obvious way automakers can up the electric car ante, as we mentioned, is with new designs.
"There is going to be an explosion of new designs," predicted Ted Cannis, Ford Motor Co.'s global director of electrification. "There's going to be a lot more choice coming from manufacturers.” And by choice, Cannis means that electric cars will soon stop looking like lame and underpowered hatchbacks (pointing at you, Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf) and instead adopt the body styles of gasoline cars currently on the market. That includes everything from more normal looking sedans (imagine an electric Honda Accord with a 300-mile range) to electric full-size trucks, which Ford and GM are already working on.
Moreover, hardly any car company has an electric SUV on the market, which is backward considering the segment’s popularity. And that’s part of why EVs are not flying off dealership lots, says Edmunds analyst Jeremy Acevedo.
"These are vehicles that are not particularly popular," Acevedo said. "They're compact. They're austere. This segment has downward momentum. But as new entries take off, automakers will implement some size. They'll kind of look like any vehicle on the road that people want to buy. The technology is getting there. That's really where the technology needs to be: in the segments that people want to buy that look like vehicles people want to buy. True alternatives to mainstream vehicles." By addressing the issue of electric car looks and a lack of choice in EV body styles, automakers only stand to gain.