My Electric Vehicle Wishlist

I spent a fair bit of time knocking electric vehicles last month, so I thought I would spend some time talking about the things I want to see in one.

A business writer once made a great point about the cost of poaching customers: a competitor could not just make a product as good as the one it wanted to replace. No one would bother switching. Overcoming that required building a markedly better product. When it comes to electric vehicles, something needs to push me over that edge. Their vast potential raises the bar further: I have little interest in a good electric vehicle, because I know the technology enables exceptional ones. I bring this up as context with which to frame the criteria below, lest they seem unfair. A new generation of auto makers has the burden of both convincing me to switch, and taking full advantage of this new technology.

I want to see three things in an electric vehicle. Done well, a car with these features might push me to get rid of my 4Runner.

  • Interior volume. Most electric vehicles trade an engine bay for a second trunk. I want to see that volume become more usable cabin space for passengers, that could also store cargo.
  • Off-road capability. Low center of gravity, independent motors, and independent suspension should make for an exceptional off-road vehicle with unprecedented on-road manners.
  • Range. I want to see a huge range increase over today’s electric vehicles for two reasons. First, it takes a ton of energy to tow. I cannot accept losing half my range because I need to hook up a trailer, which means the batteries need to store a lot more energy, which means the non-towing range of the vehicle should go way up. I also want to see this as an indicator that the vehicle can maintain significant power reserves as a prerequisite for long-term backcountry expeditions, during which I may go several days without recharging.

Build a car with three qualities, and I may trade in the 4Runner I plan to keep for another decade. As for what it should look like, the efficient use of space in a vehicle like the Jeep Forward Control lends itself to a massive cabin that could hold many passengers or a great deal of cargo, and the modular design of the Neuron EV would make satisfying any buyer’s needs easy. Trade Neuron’s strange, elongated truck-like design for something more Forward Control-esque but keep the low-profile electric drivetrain, and I think you would have a winner. That’s what it will take to get me to switch.