We all know the automotive industry is on the cusp of seismic change. It seems almost daily another automaker announces plans to electrify its entire lineup, or a nation state announces plans to ultimately ban combustion engines from vehicles in some various form. As an enthusiast, the news is often disappointing; bellwether signs of impending doom, it seems. However, my attitude toward electrification is starting to change.
Last week’s Frankfurt Motor Show was actually the tipping point for me. During the premier German auto show, several electrified concepts and vehicles were revealed that give us all reasons to be excited. Chief among them was the ridiculously awesome looking Honda Urban EV Concept, which is essentially a throwback to the 1970’s Civic with 2020 vision. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz affirmed the design direction of its new electric sub-brand EQ with the Concept EQA.
Mercedes also showcased a near production-ready fuel cell hybrid that manages to create some excitement that maybe hydrogen-powered fuel cells do actually have a future on the market.
The Frankfurt reveals really just bookend a slew of electric vehicles that are coming down the pike. Volkswagen is using electrification as justification for bringing back the Microbus, while Ford is rumored to use the name Model E for its upcoming electric SUV. Throwback is the theme with electric, and I’m starting to understand why.
The next few years will serve as the most significant transformation of this industry since its very inception. Pulling out stalwarts from the past, such as iconic designs or naming conventions, should be seen as a peace offering to enthusiasts who are passionate about the automobile. Electrification should not be feared, but rather embraced for the opportunities it is presenting.
Of course, enthusiasts have other reasons to be excited about electrification. As 48-volt electrical architectures propagate vehicle lines and electrified turbocharging trickles into the mainstream, new performance opportunities will be vast. Gasoline and mechanicals will give way to currents and code, but the end-game will still be the same: fun-to-drive.
So with that, I’m growing more excited about the electrification revolution. The transformation is bringing with it significant change, which is always a source of unease, but the opportunities are greater than the negatives.
Bring on the electric.