Will the market have last laugh on car electrification?
Mercedes-AMG’s alleged turnaround against its recent move to power its C63 and E63 S E Performance plug-in hybrids’ respective two-litre turbo four and three-litre turbo straight-six combustion elements for a return to V8 power, may be a far bigger omen than it may first appear.
AMG has of course already replaced its venerable biturbo V8 with those ‘greener’ solutions in those two cars. On the face of it, this alleged admission that it will return to V8s in those cars, could be seen as a response to BMW continuing with V8 power in its similarly hybridised next M5. Never mind Audi, Alfa Romeo and others showing no intention of dropping their turbo V8s and V6s for complicated, cumbersome, and heavy, but powerful small ICE hybrids.
The market still wants a V8
Scratch a little deeper however, and this apparent AMG V8 return becomes a far more significant moment. Is this the first real sign of a market pushing back against electric cars and electrification? It’s certainly not the first crack. EVs are already under pressure. Growing numbers of new battery cars sit on the grass unsold. Carmakers have produced more of them than they can sell. Perceived EV demand has very simply not materialised.
Many early converters are not replacing their first battery cars. Growing criticism on the real EV motoring carbon savings, concerns around the sourcing of their raw materials, and the effects of disposal of millions of spent electric car batteries, and impossible to extinguish EV fires are among many concerns cited as reasons for their return to combustion motoring. Never mind the global demand that hundreds of thousands of EVs will place on power grids.
There’s also the eFuel lobby. Support is rapidly growing for these recycled carburants. They’re deemed carbon neutral because they are quite literally sucked out of the air. And they will continue to be filtered out of the atmosphere and elsewhere. In other words, recycled carbon is less of a problem than fresh carbon. Switching to eFuels also diminishes the need to drive electric.
Why does nobody want an EV?
To test public sentiment, Auto published a quick poll on its car enthusiast Auto & Sport Facebook group. We asked respondents, were they to choose a hot new super saloon out of four drive choices from one hypothetical brand, which car would they buy?
65% of respondents voted for ‘an e-fuelled 400 kW 9000 rpm biturbo V8’. 25% went for ‘a 550 kW biturbo V8 petrol electric hybrid’. 9% chose ‘a 500 kW turbo 2-litre petrol electric hybrid’. And 1 % (yes, that’s one percent) went for a ‘600 kW EV.’
Which left us wondering. Wondering how much research carmakers actually did prior to forcing unwanted hybrid solutions on customers of whom more than 90% would reject downsized hybrids? Wondering why nobody wants an EV? And wondering how lawmakers will get it right to shove something none of us want, down our throats…?
There’s one bit we’re pretty damned sure about though. Long live the V8! – Michele Lupini