Bridging the Gap: the SUV Market Goes Electric

Right now, if you see an electric vehicle on the road, it’s more than likely a hatchback or sedan. Strange, considering 59.5% of vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2016 were light trucks, which includes SUVs and crossovers. But SUV lovers needn’t worry, as this market is about to get some serious competitors.

Electric SUV Market

Three out of the top five gas vehicles sold in 2016 were light trucks. There was only one truck in the top five EVs sold because there simply isn’t enough models. When it comes to the electric market, your only options are the Tesla Model X or the Kia Soul EV.

The Soul EV has a range of 93 miles and costs $31,950. Whereas the Model X costs between $88,800 and $138,800 and has a range of between 237 and 289 miles. This leaves a clear gap in the market for a well-priced electric SUV with a good range.

New Electric SUVs

Thankfully, this market is set to be filled over the coming years, with a number of electric SUVs due to be released. These are some of the new SUVs you can look forward to:

Jaguar I-Pace

Although prices are unknown, these new electric SUVs should help to bridge the gap between the Soul EV and Model X. The exciting part, though, is the range, as 310 miles seems to be the standard across the board. This far surpasses the majority of EVs on sale today.

Technology Issues

In many ways, the Nissan Leaf kicked off the all-electric revolution when it was released in 2010. So, why has it taken so long to introduce all-electric SUVs? Simply put, the technology wasn’t ready.

SUVs are much heavier than the first generation of modern electric cars available between 2010 and 2013. For example, a first generation Leaf weighs 3,500 pounds, but the average mid-size SUV weighs 4,259 pounds. The battery technology at the time couldn’t provide enough range for a heavy SUV, but now it can.

Head of sales and marketing at Audi, Dietmar Voggenreiter, had this to say on why 2018 is the year for the e-tron:

A 400km to 500km range must be possible and we must have a fastcharging infrastructure… Both things are coming in 2018.

Vehicle choice is one of the big remaining hurdles holding back electric vehicle adoption. These new models could open the floodgates for first time EV buyers.

By Robert Bacon
Updated: July 16, 2017