Electric cars are completely changing the industry. In recent times we have seen how France takes a protectionist stance to try to make things difficult for China or at least attract these manufacturers to its soil. The United States has long implemented its Inflation Reduction Act with this objective in mind.
But market changes go much further. Electric cars have also increased market prices and challenged manufacturers to continue manufacturing vehicles with minimal margins of profitability, while at the same time making their vehicles attractive to potential buyers.
It has also changed the way we understand travel. With vehicles that mostly have less than 400 actual kilometers of autonomy, minimal planning is necessary before embarking on a journey. Especially when we don’t want to risk everything going wrong along the way.
And among these pillars that have been directly impacted by the electric car, small vehicles are in the limelight. Right now it is positioned as a species that is at risk of extinction. And that would be a shame, because there’s someone who has a lot to say: the electric GTI.
The difficulties of small electric car
At present, the number of small electric cars launched in the market is almost testimonial. At the moment manufacturers have two premises to meet in their launches: a price and attractive autonomy. And one and the other seem to be opposites.
The best example we have is the Volkswagen ID2.all and messages being launched by the manufacturer. As sold the car will cost less than 25,000 euros, but it will be necessary to see if this figure is maintained at launch. And if so, it’s likely that it will simply become a hook to sell its more affordable versions. Below 6% profit margin, Volkswagen isn’t even interested in selling electric cars.
He claims to be questioning the future of the combustion Volkswagen Polo. Nor will Ford refurbish the Fiesta or Focus. The European Union’s anti-pollution measures are putting small vehicles that need to be electrified quickly and abundantly up against the ropes.
And while the prospect of selling a small electric car for less than €25,000 seems limited to Chinese manufacturers, it’s hard to believe Europeans have indicated they are willing to reduce volumes in favor of selling higher-priced vehicles. That said, with increased production (and lower production costs), traditional manufacturers are letting the small electric vehicle market slip by.
However, it is likely that this type of car is reserved for urban environments and becomes the second car in a household. In markets such as Spain, this market distribution is less common, with wages lower than in northern Europe, the Netherlands, Germany or France, which is why the “car for everything” has always been well received, vehicles that For little money could take us anywhere (with more or less inconvenience). It is not surprising that cars such as the Seat Ibiza, Citroën C3 or Opel Corsa were successful. Or the Seat Leon, Renault Megane and Volkswagen Polo, stretching the budget.
But the fact that it is not common in Spain does not mean that it does not exist in other markets. It fit precisely to the Mazda MX-30, whose autonomy of 200 kilometers was clearly insufficient given how the Spanish market understands automobiles, where we want any car, no matter how small, be able to perform the functions of A utility vehicle for us. big size.
A high priced floor
That electric cars push the minimum price we’re accustomed to is a possibility that should be kept in mind. In fact, at Xataka we have analyzed the price of “cheap” electric cars that are sold in our country.
Of the 22 cars sold for less than 40,000 euros, only eight are in condition below 34,691 euros, which is the average price of these two dozen cars.
With these prices, small electric cars are easy to justify. This is where the electric GTI has its chance. A funky designed little electric car that sells for a higher price than its brethren and at the same time provides a bigger profit margin can be easier said than done if the minimum price to pay is already high.
It’s hard to think that manufacturers completely abandon the highest performing (and profitable) versions of their range
These fancy cars have always done a good job. The best example we have is Luca De Meo, CEO of Renault, who has followed a strategy of creating a sporty and ambitious firm wherever he has gone. And, so far, it’s worked for him.
In the absence of knowing how Alpine would behave, Abarth always threw good numbers at Fiat, as the investment was small and the economic return was high. The most obvious case is the massive growth of the Kupra and the commitment by the Volkswagen Group against SEAT. It’s not just that Cupra is selling cars at a high price, it’s also selling at a very significant volume and it doesn’t seem to have a limit at the moment.
Now it will be Alpine who will offer this option in Renault. The first step was to save the Alpine A110, in order to attract the most enthusiasts. A controversial move among purist fans followed with the name change from Renault Sports Cars to Alpine. However, the brand’s own managers assure us that running its name with each Formula 1 Grand Prix is a very profitable investment in promoting the firm.
And in this move, Alpine has unceremoniously decided to embrace the electric car. Reassuring Renault that it will produce only electric cars from 2030, the brand has turned its plans around the diamond to become the most fun and passionate option for the firm. Its latest prototype, the Alpine A290_β, is an electric and hyper-vitaminized Renault 5 that has raised a lot of expectations.
Future by you
Personally, I have a soft spot for little sports cars. I have rarely enjoyed it so much as when I have been able to hold the Abarth 595 Competition in my hands. But, other than that, I have no doubt that this is the market where electric sports cars stand to benefit the most.
If there’s one surprise the first time someone sits in an electric car, it’s the immediate reaction to hitting the accelerator and how quickly the odometer can go up with your foot all the way down. By far, yes, even the highest performance vehicles are usually very heavy cars, whose sensibilities are usually curtailed by being overweight.
Anyone who has taken an electric Smart will be able to confirm that the sensations are similar to those of a kart. A small, electric sports car may convince many people who today consider themselves completely reluctant to see it with its instant reactions, instant turns and the speed with which the masses can be moved from place to place. be given a chance.
No, its part will not sound, but in return, the driver will get sharp turns, the possibility of linking turns at dizzying speeds and some manufacturers already promise that it will be possible to play even with a manual gearbox. Whether or not this idea comes to fruition, the truth is that regenerative braking is already starting to become an ideal option for those who want to feel the retention in the seat and maximize braking speed.
To all of the above we must add that there is still a lot of room for improvement in what is currently on the market. It is to be expected that the battery will continue to increase its energy density, which will allow not only greater autonomy, but also the possibility of taking on more stress from the accelerator pedal.
Moreover, if everything goes according to plan, the charging infrastructure should also grow substantially in the coming years. This would make it possible to have a useful car on a day-to-day basis and enjoy climbing and winding sections, with a plug nearby to put the battery back on track and return home or reconnoitre a new section.
Yes, the small electric car is in trouble but there is a high probability that brands do not leave aside the most performing versions, especially if the economic investment is small and the economic returns are great. This is something the market is basing itself on and, perhaps, the only way to sustain a segment that has access to fewer potential customers every day and where vehicles of this size are marketed solely as urban or whimsical cars. Understanding people live, but are useful on a day-to-day basis.