Are you shopping for a new sedan and thinking of making the switch to an electric one? There are several coming down the pipeline, but they’re not cheap.
Petrina Gentile: Full disclosure – I drive a sedan and am a big fan of passenger cars. Even though most consumers today buy SUVs, auto makers are still building cars.
Mark Richardson: But they’ve killed most of the smallest vehicles, like the Honda Fit, Chevy Sonic, and Nissan Micra.
Gentile: That’s so disappointing. At least they’re not giving up on luxury, premium passenger cars. There’s still a market for them, even when it comes to all-electric vehicles.
Richardson: We’re talking expensive vehicles though. I can’t think of any electric or even plug-in hybrid sedans that will qualify for the federal government rebate of $5,000, which is now only offered for vehicles that start at less than $55,000 (For SUVs, pickup trucks and vans, that maximum base price rises to $60,000).
Gentile: Exactly. They’re in a class by themselves. And you won’t find hatchbacks or station wagons – sedans are the vehicle of choice. So let’s start with one of the most expensive brands – Maserati. It has a few electric sedans coming down the pipeline.
Richardson: Maserati is quickly turning itself into an all-electric brand. A lot of the less-mainstream manufacturers are doing that.
Gentile: Every Maserati model will be fully electric by 2025. The first one out of the gate is the new 1,200-horsepower GranTurismo next year. It will be followed by electric versions of the MC20 supercar and the Quattroporte sedan. Prices haven’t been released yet, but again, expect to pay big bucks.
Richardson: I’ve not yet met an owner of a supercar who’s been prepared to give up the noise and feel of a powerful gas engine. I think an electric sports car will be just an addition to a well-stocked garage of barely driven displays. How about real cars? You’ve driven the ‘edes-Benz EQS, haven’t you?
Gentile: I drove the EQS 580 4MATIC sedan in Germany last fall and it was very impressive. It was quick, nimble, and had an incredible hyperscreen to access everything from the navigation to the battery info. The screen stretches across the dashboard from pillar to pillar and has crisp, clean graphics.
Richardson: And it starts at $146,500. It will certainly be a status symbol for some people. But what’s coming that’s priced for those of us with pockets less deep?
Gentile: Mercedes has the EQE and the Mercedes-AMG EQS 4MATIC+ sedans coming later this year. Prices haven’t been announced yet. Genesis has the 2023 G80 electric sedan that should cost a little less.
Richardson: I’m expecting the electric G80 to come in below $100,000. You think that’s optimistic?
Gentile: It might, but I’d bet not by much. After all, the gas-powered G80 version starts around $66,000, and there’s a big price jump to an all-electric platform.
Richardson: No rebates from the government either for premium EVs. Which is fair. I pay taxes and I don’t want to subsidize your electric status symbol.
Gentile: Speaking of expensive, BMW just unveiled its i7 in New York City. It’s based on the 7 Series, which is the most expensive Bimmer sedan. It starts at a whopping $147,000, similar to the EQS. Think anyone will buy that?
Richardson: Sure they will – the same people who’ll buy an electric Mercedes sedan or an electric Audi. BMW has an established clientele, but what do you think of Lucid? Is it going to be a player, and will it win drivers away from those German brands?
Gentile: Lucid is definitely a company to watch. I think it’s going to steal drivers from the German brands and Tesla. The Lucid Air sedan is stunning – an impressive vehicle for a first-time auto maker.
Richardson: I’m wary of any first-time vehicle, and the Lucid Air is expensive. It starts at $105,000. Why is it any better than its competition? What’s it got that the others don’t?
Gentile: They’re all expensive, but the Lucid Air has more than 800 kilometres of range in ideal, warm-weather conditions and 1,111 horsepower. Need I say more? It’s the California company that supplies batteries for Formula-E race cars, too. Performance is at its heart.
Richardson: Thinking of California companies, is there any word on a replacement or improvement for the Tesla Model S? It’s kind of long in the tooth now.
Gentile: I haven’t heard anything yet, but I imagine one is planned, along with the long-awaited Tesla roadster. I drove the original roadster a decade ago and I can’t wait to drive the new one.
Richardson: It’ll be very different from that flimsy Lotus-based vehicle, I’m sure. Tesla doesn’t need partnerships any more.
Gentile: And hopefully we’ll hear more about Volkswagen’s upcoming mid-size electric sedan – it should be much more affordable than any of those other options. It’s expected in 2023, but details are slim.
Richardson: Finally, an electric sedan that might not break the bank for most drivers. Electric power and driving enjoyment shouldn’t be something for only the one per cent.
What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at email@example.com and use ‘What car’ as part of your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.