What do people want electric cars to look like?

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Rachel Burgess

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The EQC, revealed earlier this month, has stuck closer to its tried-and-tested formula. One of the EQC’s designers, Hartmut Sinkwitz, told Autocar: “[The EQC] is the beginning of the electric family. We felt this is the right amount of revolution to start with for this car. You will see more with other EQ models. We believe this is a good starting point.”

And then there’s the E-tron. One fellow journalist said of the pictures that it looked “like some extra bits had been stuck on a Q5”. That’s harsh but, at the very least, the design language of the E-tron is close to Audi’s internal-combustion-engined SUVs.

Audi E-tron revealed

There are some specific details for the electric model – a new take on Audi’s single-frame grille, unique, aerodynamic wheels and some lines intended to point to the battery. Car designer Stephan Fahr-Becker said: “We want to point out where the battery is laying – that’s why there is a wedge [lower down on the sides of the car].”

The quandary is that there are two different types of buyers: those who want to show they are in an electric car, and those who want an electric car but don’t want to show it off. Fahr-Becker agrees: “The struggle was that there are some customers who want to show they are driving an EV and some who don’t want to put so much emphasis on it.”

The Nissan Leaf – a car that isn’t particularly pretty – remains the biggest-selling electric vehicle, followed by the more ‘normal’-looking Renault Zoe. But as the market floods with electric options in the next two years, it’ll be telling to see which tactic wins on the design front.

For now, Fahr-Becker has the last word: “We were going to do something really mindblowing [with the E-tron], and then customers said: ‘Can’t you just do a nice-looking EV?’ People aren’t ready for major change.”

Read more

Mercedes EQC revealed

More details on the VW ID hatchback

Nissan Leaf review

beechie

Peter Cavellini

That’s simple..

   A Saloon first, ok, SUV’s flavour of the Month just now so logically it had to be first choice, now I’d like to see a Saloon….soon.

Peter Cavellini.

Vertigo

Examples

The I-Pace is a good example of how to do it. Not a weirdmobile, but is unmistakably an EV in its proportions.

Whereas the EQC and E-tron just look combustion-engined. I haven’t read enough to find out whether the E-tron actually uses that huge frontage to house a frunk, but the EQC is definitely how not to do it.

It’d be easier to forgive if the German cars were at least pretty. The Model S is a conventional looking car (particularly the original design with the nosecone), but that’s fine because it’s one of the best-looking cars in its class. The I-Pace does both, EV-specific design and attractiveness.

(Should also just add that the Zoe isn’t anywhere near the second-best selling EV worldwide.)

LP in Brighton

Don’t ask people what they want

People are so conservative. We’re programmed to copy each other, so people always want what their neighbours have. So we tend to want ordinary looking cars – which today means small hatchbacks, medium saloons and SUVs of all sizes.

Manufactures must be brave and do what’s right and that means EVs should look a bit different by virtue of their different packaging, cooling and aerodynamic needs. They don’t need a radiator grill for a start!    

Without inventive car makers, we’d still be driving cars that look like Cortinas. 

289

someone had to say it…..

….Electric cars should ‘SHOCK’….. 😉

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Driven this week

  • Skoda Octavia vRS diesel longterm review hero front

  • Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer longterm review on the road

  • Jaguar I-Pace 2018 road test review hero front

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