An Electric Surge
Posted on January 7, 2020
Even though it’s true that electric vehicles are still a very small part of our automotive population — just over five percent of California’s fleet — every automaker is fully committed to change from petrol to electrons for propulsion. The move is driven by regulation, competition, and in the long term, lower cost. At the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, a combination of production-ready concept cars gave an indication of what’s coming to showrooms. Of course, gasoline power was also represented, with Aston Martin’s new DBX and Land Rover’s Defender, two very different sports utilities. Here are five new offerings that caught our eye in LA.
Mustang Mach E
Ford’s most ambitious entrance into electrified vehicles yet is not without a bit of controversy. It’s not about the all-important range of up to 300 miles, or the spirited acceleration. Even the $45,000 price seems reasonable. But appropriating the Mustang model name, a brand of its own within the Ford oval, has upset more than a few prancing pony fans. The company asserts that Chairman Bill Ford wasn’t keen on the naming strategy until he drove the Mach E, then agreed that it fit the new four-door sport ute. Our view is that the market will decide whether Mustang can be stretched this far, but if Lamborghini and Aston Martin can create SUVs, why not Mustang? We just hope they don’t make a Shelby version with skunk stripes and a power bulge in the hood.
Land Rover Defender
After a 22-year absence, Land Rover’s Defender is back on our shores. While some committed off-road enthusiasts might still prefer modifying used Jeep Wranglers for the unpaved, rugged outdoors, the Defender will go anywhere from Hollister Hills to Beverly Hills in style. And while it wasn’t shown with an extra spare and shovel attached to the hood like those old Camel Trophy Defenders, there are plenty of helpful options to choose from, including a full roof platform with a ladder access.
Aston Martin DBX
Following in the footsteps of other ultra-luxury automakers and due to market demand, Aston Martin introduced its DBX, a sports utility that delivers the brand’s performance and style. The 105-year-old automaker is confident that the DBX will generate new sales from existing sports car clients as well as expand Aston Martin’s market. Pricing will hover around $200,000 depending on content, and will compete most directly with Lamborghini’s new Urus.
VW ID. Space Vizzion
VW’s contemporary ID. Space Vizzion (will they really call it that?) is an EV concept that may make production in just a couple of years. The seventh concept from the company’s ID. platform features a low, flat battery that creates a skateboard architecture, and the automaker calls this contemporary people hauler an aerodynamic SUV. Feel free to label it an electric station wagon; the point is that its 85 kW battery allows up to 300 miles of range with the utility that buyers are looking for.
It’s impossible to be indifferent about the unremittingly rectangular styling of Tesla’s new truck concept. Many seem to be put off by its razor-sharp edgy design, and I’m betting more than a few love the uniqueness. It’s not unlike flamboyant architecture that intentionally makes a statement and is both cheered and jeered by a critical public, and that’s just what designers live for.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO/film buff who borrowed the Ludicrous Speed button from Spaceballs, suggested in tweets that he was inspired by the Lotus Esprit in the ’70s Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as well as a flying car from Blade Runner. But a responding tweet suggested the Jonny Cab from Total Recall could be the source of inspiration. The market will be the ultimate judge, and if Tesla can produce an electric pickup that has 500-mile range along with towing and hauling credentials, the Cybertruck will win its share of buyers. Brian Douglas