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EDITORIAL: EVs and the retail-price reset

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP04_05
Published April 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Before the coronavirus uprooted and replanted our collective focus, American politics dominated the news cycle. One night on TV I heard a presidential candidate talking about the need for “affordable” vehicles. They had to be electric, of course, and offer all the comfort, convenience and safety features the buying public expects and that regulators demand is a good place to start, the forward-thinking politico suggested. And cost? Around…$18,000.

Eighteen grand for a new car! Dream on. The average transaction price for a light vehicle in the U.S. today is nearing $40,000. Creating any new vehicle that can slash sticker prices by 54% would be a monumental feat, requiring a total reboot of vehicle design, engineering, manufacturing and sales. For the past 35 years I've listened to company leaders, engineers and researchers promise “game changers” and and “right-around-the-corner” technologies. At automotive scale, these would enable cheaper autos. Potentially. If only.