Why this electric car boss is right to say that 400 km of autonomy is more than enough

Lucid Motors has no plans to take on the mass electric car challenge. Nevertheless, the manufacturer believes that it still has a role to play. On the program: electric cars with 400 km of autonomy, with a small battery.

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Although it has chosen to focus on the premium market, the manufacturer Lucid Motors has its idea of ​​what needs to be done to democratize the electric car. To be precise, it is above all his boss – a certain Peter Rawlinson – who seems to have thought about the question well. He took advantage of an interview with the English journalists ofAutoexpress to give his point of view.

Reduce consumption… and battery size

According to Peter Rawlinson, prices will only drop significantly with more modest batteries. Also, to limit the loss of autonomy, it would be necessary to reduce consumption in fairly significant proportions. Peter Rawlinson sets a goal: to achieve approximately 10 km of range per kWh of battery (i.e. 10 kWh / 100 km). According to him, the average is now 7.4 km per kWh (or 13.5 kWh / 100 km).

Admittedly, the use of smaller batteries will in fact reduce the weight of the vehicle and therefore its consumption. However, this phenomenon will probably not be enough. To obtain truly convincing results, it will also be necessary to work on the motorization itself, as well as on the management electronics.

Peter Rawlinson also points out that a “small” battery electric car is only viable with efficient and easily accessible recharging infrastructures. If these conditions are met, he estimates that a range of around 400 km would already be sufficient. We have already proven this, with the Paris – Marseille journey made with different electric cars with a range of 400 km.

400 km is about what the Peugeot e-208 promises today, but consuming 14.5 kWh / 100 km (WLTP figures) it needs a battery of around 54 kWh to get there. With the 10 kWh / 100 km recommended by Peter Rawlinson, a more modest battery would suffice, and the price would drop mechanically.

Of course, you have to trust the charging infrastructure and the speed of charging electric cars. Currently, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is the fastest charging car, going from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes. But there is already talk of 10 minutes for 2023, and even 5 minutes in the medium term. This implies a 5 to 10 minute break every two hours on the motorway.

And precisely, during our test of the Lucid Air, we had underlined its excellent behavior on the exercise of fast charging, thanks to an enormous power (350 kW) with its 800 volt architecture, but also thanks to a very controlled consumption. .

A bell ringing already heard

The words of Peter Rawlinson echo those of Denis Le Vot, the boss of Dacia. Recently, the latter said that the Spring had too much autonomy with regard to the use made of it by customers.

In other words, Dacia could have – or even should have – sold a Spring with an even smaller battery, which would have made it possible to offer an even more competitive price. In the same vein, Luca de Meo, CEO of the Renault group, also believes that it will be necessary to reduce batteries to lower the price of electric cars. This is what is planned with the future electric Renault R5 and Volkswagen ID.2.

Despite the declarations of his boss, Lucid has no particular intention of taking up the challenge of the mass electric car. The American-Saudi manufacturer sees its role differently: it develops its own technologies for its premium cars, and then supplies them to third-party manufacturers.

They are then free to use it to develop affordable cars… or to carry out completely different projects! The agreement that has just been signed with Aston Martin perfectly illustrates this desire and a priori, it will not lead to a popular electric car with a small battery.

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