So far, several manufacturers have stepped up by delivering these vehicles onto the marketplace.
Without sounding like a broken record, there will be more electrified vehicles forthcoming. Whether it is a battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, or hybrid, we will be inundated with them.
Granted, there will be several strategies in play towards meeting some targets by the middle of next decade. So far, several manufacturers have stepped up by delivering these vehicles onto the marketplace. Yet, some of these electric and electrified vehicles are not sold widely in the USA.
Now, it has been a while since I wrote up a Speculator article. I think this is a good opportunity to look ahead and see where this push towards electrification is going across the industry – in particular, here in the USA. What I’ll do is to sample a few manufacturers to explore what is possible.
Some of this information is based on what has been announced, as well as some ideas that are based on what the manufacturers are offering now.
Take a deep breath. We’re about to plug in and look into the future…
STELLANTIS: Company CEO Carlos Tavares made it clear that the first electrified models must debut by 2025 across all brands. In North America, all of the brands sold in this country have announced at least vehicle that will be electric or electrified. Jeep already have two plug-in hybrid models with the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee 4xe. Fiat will bring the 500e stateside to join the 500X. Alfa Romeo will offer their Tonale SUV as a plug-in hybrid right off the bat. Ram tricked everyone by grafting the Revolution concept front end onto a run-of-the-mill 1500 pickup truck, calling it the Rev. Both Dodge and Chrysler showed off concepts of their battery-electric models. Let’s forget about Maserati and its Fogolore versions of the Gran Turismo and Grecale.
Wea already know that the Dodge Hornet will be available with the Tonale’s plug-in hybrid driveline. What is not clear is how the next-gen muscle cars will be offered with the Banshee EV driveline. That, along with a new generation mid-sized SUV replacing the Durango. Considering the latter will eb bult on the new WL Grand Cherokee platform, it makes sense that the Durango would be available with the same plug-in hybrid driveline.
Speaking of Jeep, a slew of new EV and electrified models were introduced for markets outside of North America. Hopefully, one of them will be the off-road ready Recon model. Unfortunately, the European Car of The Year – the Avenger – is not for our consumption. However, the 4xe plug-in driveline would be a great addition to the Compass and Gladiator.
As for Chrysler, the Airflow concept looks like the right vehicle to reboot the brand. The platform would provide opportunities for an expanded lineup that include that crossover. The next-generation minivan would be a great candidate to be built on that same platform. Maybe a new sedan?
The larger question is whether the North American brands will meet Tavares’ targets towards electrifying the lineup. One would surely hope so.
TOYOTA: The biggest criticism of the leading Japanese automaker has been their hesitation in producing a battery-electric vehicle for the global market. So, what do you call the bZ4X and the Lexus RZ? However, the company has been a first adopter in hybrid drivelines. Therefore, a new generation of hybrid and plug-in models are now coming to Toyota and Lexus showrooms.
The rub on the bZ4X and RZ has been their range. Where 300 miles on a single charge is the norm, Toyota should be doing better. If they can expand battery capacity towards a longer range in the current bZ4X and RZ, then Toyota has a chance.
Last year, Toyota showed off a series of concepts that will have battery-electric drivelines, along with plug-in hybrids. They range from small cars to pickup trucks and supercars. Which ones should be brought to market? Good question.
An ideal lineup is already forming at Lexus with the plug-in hybrid NX and RX, augmenting the RZ electric SUV. You could port that plug-in driveline onto a next-gen ES or mid-size luxury sedan. The LS and RC could benefit from a plug-in version of their current MultiStage Hybrid. And, why not an iForce MAX driveline for the LX and a next gen GX?
At Toyota, the plug-in hybrid Prime lineup should also include the Camry. Imagine a plug-in hybrid Camry? Meanwhile, the entire lineup has hybrids, instead of the GR models. Could a high-performance GR be in the cards? With some imagination and advanced engineering, anything is possible.
JAGUAR LAND ROVER: The I-Pace is a great idea that doesn’t get a lot of publicity. It should, because the platform is solid. It also has potential to be ported onto other Jaguar and Land Rover models.
For example, the more spacious E-Pace SUV and a new generation sports sedan would benefit from the I-Pace’s driveline. One caveat would be to enhance the battery-electric drive system for more range and better energy management. Maybe even more performance.
Once they enhance the EV driveline, then JLR/Tata could port this over to the smaller Land Rover and Range Rover models. I could definitely see an all-electric Discovery, Discovery Sport, and Evoque using the I-Pace’s battery-electric driveline.
Plug-in hybrids do exist in the JLR/Tata family. The new Range Rover, Jaguar E-Pace and F-Pace has it. Otherwise, the mild hybrid driveline is available across a good chunk of the lineup.
There are multiple approaches JLR/Tata could take when it comes to electrifying the entire lineup. They have the architectures to do so. Just need to execute.
Of course, we’re just scratching the surface with these three manufacturers. I’m sure we’ll dive into the manufacturers soon enough.