Despite delivering what could be considered a desirable premium EV with the I-Pace, Jaguar Land Rover admits it’s not entirely sold on the idea of electric sport utility vehicles. Due to their size, SUVs and crossovers are inherently heavier than traditional sedans — placing them at odds with the goal of maximizing efficiency.
More mass means diminished range. While this can be offset by a manufacturer installing larger battery packs, that increases costs and ultimately adds more heft to the single heaviest component in an EV. Large electrics bring other issues to the engineering table, too.
“The larger the vehicle the larger the aero challenge. If you’re not careful you end up with such big batteries and you make the vehicles so heavy that as you race down the autobahn the range disappears,” Nick Rogers, JLR’s head of engineering, told media at the company’s revamped engineering and design center in Gaydon, England.
BMW has showcased the new flagship SUV for the electric i brand. Called the Vision iNext, the vehicle’s aim is to make customers appreciate what’s on the inside — which is important when you’re moving into mobility and out of driving. BMW claims that the model represents the union of vehicular autonomy, connectivity, electrification, and services. It also represents the end of the car as we currently know it.
Don’t confuse the iNext as the death knell of motoring, though. This remains a concept car, not something that you’ll see appearing in your neighbor’s garage in the coming months. Despite promising a production model in 2021, this is still a conceptual exercise — BMW’s attempt at building a crystal ball that allows it to peer into the future. While we’re not going to argue the validity of clairvoyance or scrying, we will suggest that the utility vehicle is probably a more useful forecasting tool than a glass orb and a gut feeling.