An electric Range Rover is supposedly in the works to compete with a growing number of electric luxury rivals. Even though the first Tesla Model X hasn’t even been built yet – and has been delayed for the umpteenth time – Porsche, Mercedes, Audi and now Range Rover are falling all over themselves to beat back the perceived challenge from upstart Tesla. There must be an awful lot of profit in making SUV’s if the big companies are so scared of losing market share.
The difference between the big boys and tiny Tesla is they are all trying to shoehorn an electric powertrain into an existing vehicle, while the Tesla is a purpose built electric car with a large, flat battery pack mounted under the floor. The advantage is, the established manufacturers can continue offering their vehicles in either gasoline or diesel versions, hybrid or plug-in hybrid variations or battery only format. The Audi Q8 e-tron is a perfect example of this make-it-an-EV methodology.
That way, they can react quickly to changes in the marketplace. The downside is, they wind up with an electric car that is a pale imitation of the Tesla Model X and its unique falcon-wing doors. Elon Musk has shown that building a EV-specific platform is the only way to go, but most conventional automakers just aren’t there yet.
According to AutoCar, the new electric Range Rover will get even further away from the brands tundra stomping, canyon climbing, tough as nails roots. Described as “incredibly luxurious [and] low-slung,” it is targeted at wealthy multi-car families in North America and China. Chances are it will share a platform with the new Jaguar XJ, which raises the possibility of an all electric Jaguar somewhere down the road.
The backdrop to all this electric SUV craziness is the reason for considering electric vehicles in the first place. Electric vehicles are supposed to lead us out of the blind alley that fossil fueled transportation drove us into. But if just a wealthy few can actually afford these zero-emissions automobiles, then we’re not going to be doing much for the environment as a whole.
We’ll just have to wait for that “trickle down” effect, and if history is any indicator, it won’t take more than a decade for the new electric Range Rover to lose 90% of its original value.