Is the luxury car ready for the electric era?
The energy transition is inevitable. The sooner manufacturers are adapting themselves to it, the better for them. Nevertheless, manufacturers of real luxury cars seem to have many problems to adapt themselves, Porsche being a notable exception.
For many of those traditionally-thinking companies, the energy transition won’t be a piece of cake. By the look of it, some haven’t even thought about it. Or they delayed it for an unforeseeable length of time.
Porsche is the exception
As an example of the opposite, Porsche has taken the U-turn in its typical spirited way. So much so that the electric Taycan is already the third best-selling Porsche and that Porsche enthusiasts all over the world have greeted and accepted it with a lot of zeal.
But take Bentley, part of the same VW Group and beneficiary of all the technical prowess of Porsche. Still, their plans to ‘transit’ are cautious, and nothing serious will apparently happen before 2025.
2025 will indeed be a turning point. The new Euro 7 regulations won’t leave any choice anymore to these ancestral behemoths. Apart from that, one has to consider that a lot of cities and even countries aren’t going to allow ICE cars anymore after 2030.
Is the English royalty doomed to count on real horses again? BMW’s daughter Rolls-Royce responds in its usual phlegmatic way: they’re working on a ‘full electric carriage’ within the next ten years. No hurry.
What about ‘super sports’ cars?
Not so long ago, many of these (relatively small) manufacturers of exceptional cars thought they had nothing to do with this energy transition. But they got confronted with two problems. First, the motorsport competition is electrifying at an ever-accelerating pace. Secondly, electric cars, already in production, ridicule the performance they’re managing with multiple cylinder engines.
Ferrari has finally reacted. The new SF90 Stradale supercar has adapted hybrid technology used in Formula 1 for a long time. But they’re still hesitant to have a fully electric Ferrari as their sporty flagship.
At Bugatti, they do not see the urge yet. Aston Martin announced a very sporty electric car a while ago, the Rapide E, but backed down recently. Apparently, the rich and the famous buying these types of cars are not ready yet for the sacred silence of the electric car. It’s the same problem that occupies the F1 enthusiasts: ban the noise and a (large) part of the fun is gone too.
Will Maserati be the first?
Maserati is a good example of how difficult it can be for a prestigious luxury brand to adapt to the era of electrification. The top brand of the new ‘super-group’ Stellantis announced with pomp and circumstances the arrival of its ‘first electric model’.
In fact, it is a mild-hybrid version of the existing Ghibli, created to lower the (high) taxes now asked in many countries for cars with big multi-cylinder ICE engines. Being the sporty and top luxury brand inside Stellantis, one can only hope that the ardor of some sister companies like Peugeot, DS, or Fiat to become electric will soon be exercised by Maserati too.
The Italian brand wants to triple its (modest) sales by 2025. That will only be possible if the brand really goes for electrification. Of course, the fans love the noise a nice, sporty ICE engine makes, but they’re not all prepared to pay several ten thousands of euros for it through higher taxation.
From the Lamborghini side, there’s total silence. As this iconic brand also belongs to the VW Group, the people in Sant-Agatha can appeal to Porsche technology to transform into the electric era. Nothing has leaked yet; we will have to wait and see. Who is always saying that the (very) rich are at the forefront of progress? Not always, apparently.