edatoakrun wrote:Jaguar promo video showing some of the convenience features:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6usAIJm9wegGRA wrote:edatoakrun wrote:Glad to see Jaguar gets it, that it is stupid to limit BEVs to a single axle for drive and regen.
Within a few years, I expect 2WD will be limited to only the cheapest of entry-level BEVs.
Maybe, but I doubt it. Unless you're pushing a car to its limits, there's simply no need for that level of traction and accel, and that means you can do without the added cost, weight, space* and added maintenance of two motors...
BEV motors require virtually no maintenance (TSLA designs to date, excepted).
The added cost, weight and space of manufacturing an AWD BEV is minor in comparison to that required for ICEVs, yet if you look around the mix of private vehicles sold in a region like yours, where the average benefits of AWD are very slight, a huge proportion of buyer (including yourself, IIRC) opt for AWD.
Yes, I have AWD but that's due to the fact that I'm a skier combined with California's typical implementation of chain requirements, skipping R-1: "Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles", and going direct to R-2: "Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels". As there's often lots of elevation gain and loss going up and driving around say Tahoe, you may find yourself going from bare pavement to snow and back to bare several times during a trip, and having to install and remove chains each time quickly gets old. Only on rare occasions do they raise it to R-3, (Chains/traction devices, no exceptions) and that's usually during a blizzard or ice, and you'll have chains on the entire time then, and usually want them (while they're legal, for me I don't mean cable chains). I've yet to have to put them on my now 15-year old Forester, but I tend to cherry pick my trips more than I used to, and of course I always carry them when there's a possibility of needing them.
There's no question that lots of people buy 4/AWD vehicles that they have no need for, but plenty of people don't. I'd love to see a sales breakdown of CUVs that are offered in both 2WD and 4/AWD, but here's a discussion on the RAV4 forum about why to choose one or the other, which discusses the same reason I mentioned, among others: http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-4-3-mechanical/59227-2wd-vs-4wd.html
While the market is definitely shifting (at the moment) to CUVs, there are still plenty of sedans being sold, and the average Civic/Corolla/Camry/Accord/Altima driver outside of snow country has zero need for it.
Extra weight's just that, not counting any knock-on effect, and as for volume, typically with AWD BEVs there's no room for a spare tire, rare as that's becoming.
As to maintenance, sure, an electric motor should be low maintenance compared to an ICE, but as my dad used to say, any optional equipment you don't have will never need any maintenance or replacement.
edatoakrun wrote:In terms of total operating cost, AWD BEVs may actually be lower than 2WD versions, due to the added efficiency of higher fraction of deceleration energy recovery through regenerative braking, and the efficiency gains from having two gear ratios available, from using different final drive ratios on each wheel pair.
May or may not be true, but for most people that's irrelevant. After all, if efficiency were most people's priority they wouldn't be buying big CUVs/SUVs when they have no need of them. In the U.S., the major sales barrier to BEVs remains their high initial cost.
edatoakrun wrote:As electricity prices rise in the future as we phase out cheap fossil-fuel generation, and the AWD hardware costs decline, the cost/benefit ratio should increasingly improve for AWD BEVs, moving further and further down the price range for private vehicle sales.
Now we may see emerging classes of very low cost vehicles and/or fleet vehicles which replace private vehicles that, immune from buyers irrational preferences for AWD, that will be largely 2WD.
From suburban/urban cabs to long-distance BEVs limited to relatively constant high speeds on well-maintained highways, there may eventually be many new types of BEVs using only one pair of drive wheels.
Perhaps, if electricity prices do rise, but that assumes that the cost of wind/solar et al don't continue to decrease, and that we stay on what's primarily a central grid. I think there's a definite price cap for electricity due to home solar once storage becomes cheap enough.
The price of AWD will decline, but so will 2WD, and at the same time I think it likely we'll see a large shift to autonomous car-sharing. The companies that own those fleets will be the ones who will determine when or whether AWD is cost-effective, and if such fleets make up the majority of vehicles, as you say there will be a much more rational distribution of types, with special purpose vehicles being used only when they are really needed. As the typical vehicle only carries one or two people, with car-sharing it becomes unnecessary to own one designed to carry five or more just for the edge cases, and the energy savings of much smaller 2WD vehicles should far outweigh any efficiency gains of AWD in a larger one. An AWD Model S is efficient compared to a comparable ICE, but it's not as efficient as a Smart ED for the typical commute, where weight's more critical than drag. Once nearly everything's autonomous, removing crash-worthy structure and equipment will save even more weight.