2020 was an unprecedented year for many industries and the automotive industry, in particular, saw a 20% drop year-on-year but registration for electric and hybrid vehicles grew more than 137% as compared to 2019. In the realm of luxury cars, there is a trend that buyers are switching to hybrid or electric cars (EVs).
For example, in the first quarter of 2021, Porsche’s fully electric Taycan outperformed the Boxter, Cayman, and Panamera in terms of sales. It only lost out to the Macan and the Cayenne. Realising that the future of the automotive industry lies in the electrification of vehicles, more luxury car makers are seizing the opportunity to introduce new models or a modified version of their existing versions.
Sustainability is now paramount
More than just a buzzword, sustainability is a topic that is continuously talked about across different industries including food, fashion, and cars. In the motoring world, Tesla is known for being a trailblazer where sustainability is concerned. The company entered the market less than a decade ago with their first model, the Model S electric sedan, then in 2015 launched its Model X electric crossover SUV — the rest is history.
Its celebrity founder, Elon Musk has always been at the forefront of innovation, and the growing penchant for EVs has prompted other luxury car brands to seriously consider switching to manufacturing either hybrids or fully electric vehicles. The foresight of Musk has enabled his brand to conquer a significant market share.
Even if luxury car brands are reluctant to make this transition towards electrified vehicles, these companies have to abide by the new regulations set out by their governments. In Europe and China, car manufacturers have to meet strict emission standards or risk paying fines that could run in the millions or billions of dollars. With Beijing and Brussels breathing down the necks of these companies, they have little choice but to pour more money into the research and development of EVs.
In California, the state government has stated its intention of banning internal combustion engines (ICE) come 2035 and similar legislation is seen throughout the world. As a result, the market for ICE cars will likely see a drastic plunge within the next few years.
The race to outperform
According to an article by CNN, Volkswagen Group, which owns a number of uber-luxurious brands like Porsche, Bugatti, and Bentley, has planned to invest “€30 billion ($34 billion) over the next five years to make an electric or hybrid version of every vehicle in its lineup, and it plans to launch 70 new electric models by 2028.” And by 2030, two-fifth of its cars sold will be EVs. This is an audacious plan but the Group is on its way. Under the Bentley100 strategy, the British marque’s Flying Spur and Bentayga models already offer hybrid versions and by 2025, it plans to release its first fully electric car.
Last month, Ferrari showcased its first plug-in hybrid sports car, the 296 GTB. Mercedes-Benz also presented its first mainstream electric car, the EQC 400 4Matic, to Singapore despite already being on the roads in parts of Europe. The company has set out to become carbon neutral by 2030 and is likely to increase its fleet of EVs in the coming years. Similarly, Rolls-Royce has confirmed that an electric model is in development and sees electric as a natural fit for the brand. The launch will happen within this decade but the details have yet to be confirmed. It may be an entirely new model, branching from its popular ones such as the Cullinan, Ghost, Phantom and Dawn.
With more players in the field, the EV market stands to benefit from the boom in emerging technologies. These span across production techniques, vehicle performance and more. The Bentley Flying Spur hybrid, for example, is reportedly able to traverse a total of 434 miles, a huge step up from its contemporaries launched a decade or so ago. Tesla’s first completely electric Roadster launched in 2008 with a range of 245 miles. Version 3.0 of the car, released in 2014, touted a range exceeding 400 miles.
These advances in technology, combined with shifting consumer preferences and a global push for sustainability, signal an exciting time for the EV market. Whether hybrids and EVs will edge out diesel and petrol vehicles completely within the next decade remains to be seen, but the signs are certainly positive.