Is the automotive market slowly changing? Absolutely, with the advancements being made for electric, hybrid and hydrogen cars the market will continue to grow for these systems. The idea of improving the market with systems that produce little or no emissions is one that makes a lot of sense and gives us a great way to drive while keeping the atmosphere clearer of the pollutants that can be harmful to us. The challenge isn’t as much taking over part of the market because there is support for that, but which parts.
In Europe we’ve already seen the German government make a proposal to have only ZEV (zero emission vehicles) sold in the EU by the year 2030 and in the US, California is well on their way to being emission free by 2050. This support seems to be spreading as many states are following suit with California to bring about this change. This only leaves automakers with the decision to figure out where in the market they need to create these ZEV models and what shouldn’t be touched for electric power for various reasons.
Audi has shown us one place that electric power just doesn’t fit in the market. If Audi were more of a boutique brand this would have worked, but they’re not. What I’m talking about is the R8 e-tron that was presented to us at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show and eventually went into production. This car was made to be a futuristic super car and offered an all-electric powertrain that gave you 456 horsepower and 679 lb.-ft. of torque. This car could drive up to 280 miles on a single charge and make its way to sixty mph in less than 3.9 seconds.
By all accounts the R8 e-tron should have been the direct challenger or even superior to the Tesla Model S, but there was one glaring problem with the car that pretty much killed it in the womb. The price of an R8 e-tron came to $1.1 million which was significantly more than the non-electric R8 model. How significantly; the regular R8 comes in at $163,000 which is not a price to sneeze at, but it’s a price you can certainly see as being reasonable for a supercar build. With this high price the R8 e-tron was only built in a 100 unit number because there just isn’t the market for a car like this to cost so much.
Unfortunately there has already been a similar story in the past that Audi thought wouldn’t apply to them. Mercedes-Benz built the SLS AMG Electric Drive not too long ago and its price was $385,000 which sent people running away from it. This was another car that sold less than 100 units worldwide. It appears a high priced electric drive supercar just isn’t going to work in the market when its stablemates are so much less expensive. This is certainly something for any automaker to keep in mind as the market moves forward.
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