The rise of the electric SUV

The rise of the electric SUV

Technology is now capable of electrifying safer, larger, more powerful vehicles – and relatively cheaply, too.

It wasn’t so long ago that the electric vehicles available on the market always had a certain… look. They were generally small, compact, and not very powerful. It was like that because, even just a decade ago, electrified technology was much more expensive than it is today. To get all the power and efficiency possible for a cost a consumer wouldn’t balk at, this is how it had to be.

But no mo’!

Today’s American buyer, to speak in generalities, is all about More Power, baby. Of course, it’s not just more power, it’s also more storage, a safer ride, sitting higher in the captain’s chair, and all of this means a heightened interest in the SUV. And, what do you know – it looks like technology has caught up to electrify SUVs… So, of course, not wanting to miss this bandwagon, EV manufacturers are getting in line and making it happen.

Take Jeep for example. Known for power, durability, ruggedness and having its own unique style, the iconic brand last month announced a plan for its next generation of fully electric 4xe vehicles, intending to introduce four all-electric SUVs in North America and Europe by the end of 2025.

We already have images of two of these bad boys – the Jeep Recon and a Wagoneer model codenamed Wagoneer S.

SUVs are obviously a major, major factor in Jeep’s portfolio, so this move is far from unexpected. After all, the brand plans to have 50% of Jeep brand sales in the U.S. fully electrified by 2030, and 100% of European sales will be all-electric by then.

Aiming at the premium SUV segment, the Wagoneer S will be offered exclusively as a BEV, and while it will debut in the midsize segment, Jeep says large SUV segment Wagoneer models are also planned for, hoping to deliver powertrains that target an estimated 500 miles of combined range. The Wagoneer S expected specs certainly aren’t bad though: 400 miles on a single charge, 600 horsepower and a 0-60 miles per hour in around 3.5 seconds.

The Jeep Recon will also be offered exclusively as a BEV, and though we don’t have expected range numbers yet, Jeep says it will include the company’s Selec-Terrain traction management system, e-locker axle technology, under-body protection, tow hooks and aggressive off-road tires – all that would be expected on such a vehicle. And, customers in the U.S. will be able to make a reservation for the new Jeep Recon BEV SUV in early 2023.

Woah, woah, woah, you say. EVs are already pretty expensive, won’t SUV EVs be even MORE expensive?

Maybe. … Or maybe not.

Consider the recently announced Chevrolet Equinox EV, debuting with a starting price of around $30,000 on the 1LT model. Available with up to an available GM-estimated 300 miles of range on a full charge, the company says the Equinox EV also features a 17.7-inch-diagonal infotainment screen, a suite of standard and available driver-assistance technologies, and available “Super Cruise” hands-free driver assistance technology.

The 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV will be available in fall 2023, for anyone interested.

I could go on all day about upcoming electrified SUV EVs – there are a lot of them coming to our roads in the next couple of years. But instead of droning on, I’ll leave you with a fun one: Sony’s prototype SUV EV, the Vision-S 02.

That’s right, the same company that built that Walkman in your pocket, created legendary gaming devices and maybe even built the television you’re watching me on right now is interested in getting into the EV game too, through a new operating company called “Sony Mobility.”

Now, Sony’s just getting its feet wet here, so I don’t have a lot to share. But, what I can say is that they’re putting a lot of effort into something called “360 Reality Audio” to provide an immersive music experience, and it will include high-sensitivity, high-resolution sensors to accurately depict the three-dimensional space around the vehicle to the driver.

Range, power, cost… no idea. But, importantly, yes, PlayStation games can be played through the cloud.

What electrified SUVs are you looking forward to? Let us know!

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