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EVs and hybrids for humanity?

Or, for the manufacturer’s good conscience?

Let us consider the current state of the auto world at the moment and in no time flat, a keen observer will notice two things:
  1. High- to ultra-high performance cars are more common today than ever before -- as are big trucks. In 2013 alone, Auto123 will have driven the likes of the Audi RS 7, Audi R8, Mercedes E 63 AMG and S-Class, Corvette Stingray, Chevy Silverado, Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, and a few others;
  2. New EVs, hybrids, and small cars are coming out of the woodwork seemingly every day: the Mazda3, the Nissan Versa Note, Lincoln MKZ hybrid, the BMW i3, Audi A3 e-tron, Toyota Corolla, Ford Fiesta, and more.
Two groups of more diametrically opposed car, I cannot think of. So what am I trying to say?

Car manufacturers want to continue to make these high-powered, expensive cars because that’s where the big $$$ are. In most cases, small cars only generate small revenues and expensive-to-build EVs are usually losing propositions. But both are necessary in order to create a healthy business case.

The bread-and-butter cars are fine and dandy and generate strong revenue, but competition is fierce. Having a good Camry, economical Impala or all-new A3 is no longer enough. Brand association is a crucial element in what drives people to dealerships. Consumers dream of an R8, but purchase an A3. Likewise, they’d love to own a Corvette, but will likely leave the showroom with a Cruze.

The other consideration is emissions. By 2015, the fleet average to be achieved by all new cars is 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g/km). A short 5 years later, that average will drop to 95 g/km.

Consider then that a BMW M5 produces 232 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This is where the i3 comes in… An Audi R8 V10 is responsible for 314 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Enter the A3 e-tron.

So here’s the lesson we all need to heed: We must buy small cars, EVs, hybrids, and all these cars we don’t really want if we are to continue to drool and lust after supercars. Thankfully, carmarkers are hard at work making twin-turbo V8s that consume 10-20% less fuel than normally aspirated V10s and V12s.

I know what you’re thinking! I can’t afford my dreamy Mercedes E 63 S-AMG 4MATIC Estate either, but think of your kids and the posters that will adorn the walls of their bedrooms. No one wants to grow up with a poster of a beige Corolla above his or her bed.

BMW i3 rear 3/4 view
Photo: BMW