Every Friday, The Charge looks back at the biggest headlines of the week with our own added insight and opinions for a broader picture of the news.
Blocking the blockers
It’s one of the most frustrating things to happen to an EV owner; you’re low on juice but have a charger on the nav, only to arrive and find it blocked – not by other EVs charging, but by a combustion-powered vehicle, the driver of which is either ignorant or just plain mean-spirited.
In fact, it’s happened to me just this week; an underground garage in downtown Toronto offered plenty of free chargers, only to have most of the spots taken by ICE vehicles with owners who were too lazy to find something a little farther away from the elevators.
Well, Tesla is experimenting with new ‘floor locking devices’ in China to eliminate this problem. It may not be a perfect solution, but at least it’s something until other drivers learn to be considerate, EV cars outnumber ICE vehicles or we have better legal enforcement of the rules – and I have faith in only one of those situations happening, and not for a while yet.
Give the people what they want
You may wonder why Ford recently announced that it would be adding a second all-electric, full-sized pickup to its lineup, especially seeing its F-150 Lightning EV has already scored almost 200,000 orders. One reason is that the Lightning is built on a traditional F-150 chassis, not a dedicated EV ‘skateboard’, which would be more efficient, and the new truck would be a ground-up new design based on that.
But the bigger picture here is that, in North America, around 75 per cent of all vehicle sales are trucks and SUVs. Early EVs tended to be small cars, but why not target what people are already looking for, only in an EV package? Ford will have the Lightning out next year, electric crossovers from the likes of Mercedes, Mazda, GM and others are either here already or on the way, and pickups and SUVs from startups such as Rivian and Fisker are also on the near horizon, so it looks like carmakers might be finally waking up to what the masses really want in EVs – the same as what’s in their driveways already.
This thinking would also certainly help Ford’s plans of becoming the second-largest EV manufacturer in the world.
The Trecolori going green?
Mamma mia, can it be true? Lamborghini, the Italian builder of some of the loudest, fastest and most radical cars on the planet, has announced its plans for a full electric sports car coming later this decade. Does even this purveyor of V10- and V12-powered supercars acknowledge the future is electric?
Well, to a certain point, yes, but not of their own accord. The EU will completely ban sales of gasoline engines by 2035, making it necessary for the Sant’Agata Bolognese-based carmaker to shift its focus. Not right away, though, as its other upcoming cars this decade will be hybrids, still sporting some flame-spewing, rip-roaring combustion engine. The Italian government, meanwhile, is trying to get an exemption for its famous niche performance brands such as Lamborghini, Ferrari and Pagani from the EU ban, so it may not be the end of the piston-powered Italian track monster just yet.
Let’s not forget, though, that even Formula 1 has used hybrid engines since 2014, so electrification isn’t a novelty or a roadblock when it comes to world-class performance. But more importantly, don’t forget that some current EVs, such as the Tesla Model S Plaid, will shred just about any Italian supercar in the quarter mile or around a race circuit, a fact that may eventually be the final nail in the combustion engine’s coffin for any performance brand.