Why no electric estate cars?

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  • Why no electric estate cars?
  • Premier Icon pocpoc
    Subscriber

    Nearest I’ve seen to an estate is a Nio ES8:
    Nio ES8

    More MPV than estate, a bit like the new Peugeot 5008 in the flesh. Very roomy inside and 7 seats or massive boot choice. 200+ mile range too.
    Had a sit in the rear (middle?) of one and it was surprisingly spacious and comfortable (even for my 6ft2 height).
    Only problem is it’s only available in China at the moment.

    philjunior
    Member

    The BMW i3 and Zoé both have drag coefficients of 0.29 despite being ‘4″ higher up’ due to under-floor battteries. The boot space is no worse than a normal hatch.

    Yes, but being “4” higher up” increases the area, so the number you want for a fair comparison is CdA. And 0.29 doesn’t strike me as trying that hard, to be honest.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    The “skateboard” type arrangement (big slab of batteries under the floor) of many dedicated EVs like the Tesla Model S and 3 does lead to packaging problems. You get plenty of luggage space but the floor, particularly for rear passengers ends up oddly high so taller passengers don’t get any support under their thighs. Raising the car like a SUV can bring the seats up and make this less of a problem.

    “SUV” is a really broad term though that encompasses a lot of the traditional estate shape cars now, particularly the compact/midsize estates. Things like the Kia Niro (1545mm tall) is barely higher than a current Passat estate (1516mm tall), only drives the front wheels, and if it was just squashed vertically a little would be a very competent smaller estate car (450+ litre boot). But the market wants SUVs, people who need the practicality can buy them too, they don’t really have the compromises of safety or fuel consumption any more. I don’t like them and would rather have a regular hatch or estate, but I can see why most manufacturers aren’t cranking them out like they used to.

    munrobiker
    Member

    I think Edukator and molgrips have (inevitably) missed my point.

    Estates are barely less efficient than saloons, if at all, but can carry a lot more stuff and hence fill a lot more roles. If the choice is between an SUV or minivan or estate, the estate is the most efficient choice.

    If you read my post properly, you’ll note that I say estates are a more sensible choice than a saloon (as I say, they have tiny boots for the footprint they take up, they’re nonsensical) and far more sensible than an SUV, but a hatchback is all most people need.

    The BMW i3 and Zoé both have drag coefficients of 0.29 despite being ‘4″ higher up’ due to under-floor battteries. The boot space is no worse than a normal hatch.

    My attack isn’t on hatchbacks with battery power. They’re smaller and more sensible, but the range of both of those is half that of the SUVs that are coming out. While that doesn’t particularly bother me (150 miles sounds enough to me), people seem to want more range, which means more batteries. The reason teh i3 and Zoe’s bootspace is fine is because they have fewer batteries.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Subscriber

    Dmorts, you need to explain your logic.
    Shirley Full electric means no engine / radiator, gearbox / transmission tunnel, petrol tank, allowance for clearance of exhaust / cat. All these things a PHEV still needs (plus a battery).

    Yeah, I realised that after….

    PHEV still appeals to me, if commuting can be done on electric and longer journeys make use of the combustion engine. I don’t want to have to plan holidays around charging points*. That said full electric with a big range and fast charging would always be preferable.

    *this becomes moot once you can find a charging point as easily and “refuel” as quickly as a petrol station though.

    Edukator
    Member

    Yes, but being “4” higher up” increases the area, so the number you want for a fair comparison is CdA. And 0.29 doesn’t strike me as trying that hard, to be honest.

    And being narrower reduces the Cda. As for Cx .29 “doesn’t strike me as trying that hard”, who does better?

    Fiesta .32
    Renault Capture 0.35
    Nissan Juke 0.35
    Volkswagen polo 0.32

    The only small hatch I can find that equals the Zoé and i3 on CX is the

    Peugeot 208 .29

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    Still needs Electric motors, two on performance models, each is about the size of the ICE’s gearbox.

    I confess to not exactly knowing the size of gearboxes auto and manual, but I think you might be a bit mistaken about the size of electric motors, they’re not all that big.
    https://insideevs.com/news/382377/vw-id3-electric-motor-compact/

    Edukator
    Member

    but the range of both of those is half that of the SUVs that are coming out.

    The Zoé has a 395km range WLTP, there isn’t an EV on sale with a range double that let alone an SUV. The highest range is the 100kWh Tesla model S at 610km WLTP

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    PHEVs only exist as a tax dodge. Fundamentally flawed in engineering terms.

    1) A tax dodge is a way to avoid the tax you should be paying, but the low tax on PHEVs is a deliberate incentive – they want you to buy one.

    2) It’s not flawed. Most journeys are short, and the battery with a 30 mile range easily covers short hops around town which are a) most common and b) cause the most local pollution. The same car can still do long journeys without rolling out big infrastructure. They are a great engineering solution to the problems we face right now.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I think Edukator and molgrips have (inevitably) missed my point.

    Why the dig?

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    The Zoé has a 395km range WLTP

    Which Zoé has that much range?

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Subscriber

    You don’t really NEED and estate

    Unfortunately I do need an estate to accommodate my wifes wheelchair, plus some SUV’s the seat height makes it awkward for to get in/out.

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    PHEVs are flawed. The two most popular (due to previous tax incentives – Outlander, and legacy goodwill – Prius PHEV) are generally acknowledged to be absolute rubbish in every way. The Outlander is an abomination of a vehicle that drives 90% of its miles on a hugely inefficient petrol engine yet has to cart around an electric motor and batteries as well – typical mpg on petrol is around 32mpg. The EV bit is good for 20 miles in real life and the batteries take up half the boot. The Prius PHEV is crazy expensive, does less mpg than the Prius Hybrid overall and again, hardly any distance on EV in the real world. Both really only sold due to loop holes in the tax regime

    Even BMW have discontinued the i3 range extender.

    Non plug in hybrids seem to work more efficiently than anything else you can buy except EV’s with 60kwh batteries or above if you need long range at sub motorway speeds i.e a long commute in traffic and on national speed limit roads. Diesel is still king of the transcontinental journey for efficiency.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    32mpg? My current long term average is about 78mpg from just over 2 years of ownership. You’re right about the Outlander though it’s a bad example of a PHEV.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    We have a PHEV (Golf GTE) and it works well for us. It’s a very short range EV 95% the time, and a hybrid with a really big battery reserve for the odd longer journey. Easily does all our local trips and running the kids about on battery, it preheats nicely in the mornings, and if I did want to do 200+ miles in one hit (like heading to Wales with my bike in the back after a day’s work) I can.

    Yes, a lot of them were bought for the tax benefits and it’s always been insane that a company car driver with a fuel card would actually be out of pocket if they plugged it in at home, but there are lots out there doing a great job for people that can plug in and do a lot of electric miles but still conveniently do the big trips.

    I’d love to see more 50+ mile PHEVs that can properly be used in EV mode (lots of Outlanders, and stuff like the Kia Optima couldn’t use the heater on electric), they’re a good fit for many people.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Personally I think the current focus on medium to large format EVs is all wrong anyway, at least this side of the pond. Its the smaller cars that matter in the UK and Europe, Bollox to what the American and Chinese markets want.

    The most Heavily pushed “Family” cars in the UK of the last 20 odd years have been MPVs, that craze has mostly come to an end I’d say. And yep the modern SUV (basically a Jacked up hatchback) has become the over-sold vehicle of the last few years. Saloons have long been pitched as the leased Rep-mobile option and will probably remain so whatever is under the bonnet.

    The major link in the market both in the UK and wider Europe is the small, cheap, hatchback. The Corsa/C2/Fiesta/208s/etc have long been the solid cars for major manufacturers over here that have sold in volume for at least the last three decades.
    This is because they mainly offer an ‘adequate’ mixture of load and passenger capacity, general fuel economy and affordability.

    For every E-class/5-Series/A5 Estate sold you’ll probably find a sensible hatchback sat on the drive next to it.
    Setting aside aspirational products like Tesla’ the EV market this side of the pond will be cornered by whoever can deliver a more affordable equivalent to something like the Zoe or Smart ForFour EQ (they’re still too much), drive that purchase price down under £10-12k and sales will rocket, obviously the constraint here is emerging battery technology and the associated new manufacturing costs…

    But Whoever gets in that position first, lots of market penetration with an affordable small EV hatch can start spinning off all the other EV platform types people want from there.

    When you think about it EVs are mechanically much simpler, making an estate/Saloon/MPV/SUV is (broadly) just a scaling exercise if you have started with a hatchback platform.
    But you don’t start that market penetration by trying to replace “Dad’s V70”, you start with “Mum’s little Clio”, Estates will follow eventually…

    Premier Icon v8ninety
    Subscriber

    A tax dodge is a way to avoid the tax you should be paying, but the low tax on PHEVs is a deliberate incentive – they want you to buy one.

    I stand by the assertion. Many company cars are now PHEVs, despite the fact that they never get plugged in, run on their big petrol motors all of the time and produce more CO2 by far than the fleet of relatively clean diesels that they replace. The incentive was created for good reasons, but has been abused by car manufacturers. I’m talking about the hybrid beemers and Lexuses (Lexi?🤔) in particular. Big, heavy, polluting cars with extra tech to carry around, paying less tax than a traditional IC car that puts out far less real world emissions.

    Tax dodge. Exploiting ill thought out tax rules. Whatever you want to call it.

    The Outlander is an abomination of a vehicle that drives 90% of its miles on a hugely inefficient petrol engine yet has to cart around an electric motor and batteries as well – typical mpg on petrol is around 32mpg. The EV bit is good for 20 miles in real life and the batteries take up half the boot.

    Transformed into a much better car by binning all that shite and sticking a gert big diesel in it.

    Much better economy, much less weight and two extra seats.

    Edukator
    Member

    Which Zoé has that much range?

    The current Zoé 50. They’re already on the roads around here. I’ve ordered one which should be delivered in january.

    https://www.lepoint.fr/automobile/essais/renault-zoe-ze-50-elle-repousse-ses-limites-26-09-2019-2337872_651.php

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Hmmm! No 32mpg here but like Cookeaa it would be better again with longer E mode but this was their option at the time.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    The current Zoé 50. They’re already on the roads around here. I’ve ordered one which should be delivered in january.

    250 miles range?

    I’m looking at full EV for my next as the ID 3 may not be here in time I’m looking at other options, I’ve not seen claims the Zoé 50 has that much.

    Oh wait just had a good look on the Renault site they seem to claiming that. Interesting might need to add that to consideration.

    Edukator
    Member

    I can’t link the Renault site it just **** up, but the WLTP figures are widely reported in the press as

    Zoé R110 52kWh 395km WLTP
    Zoé R135 52kWh 384km WLTP

    I’m paying 25 800e on the road for an R110 fast charge in blue with its battery.

    P-Jay
    Member

    My guess, well it’ll be a couple of factors really.

    1) There are only really a few EVs on the market at the moment. Estate cars are a little non-standard so I would bet some are coming, but it will be down the road when EVs are more ‘the norm’.

    2) There have been a few attempts to make EVs versions of ICE cars, but they rarely work well, the requirements for packaging are different and the results often are too expensive and have poor performance/range compared to cars built ‘ground up’ to be EVs, that’s why there’s no EV Passats, V60s, 5 series etc.

    3) Current EVs aren’t really SUVs, even by 2019 standards of what an ‘SUV’ is, they aren’t one – again you can be a bit freer with the design of EVs but they’re heavy and to make them work well the weight it kept as low as possible – they’re pretty tall vehicles, but they’re just cars, there’s no extra ground clearance or anything like that – really they’re hatchbacks and saloons with tall rooflines. I would guess that’s because it gives a nice airy cabin, plus there are batteries under the floor not just a thing bit of metal and then the ground, it’s probably more aerodynamic.

    4) Saloon cars (most, if not all Estate cars are big booted saloons) are really old hat, even the expensive German brands who a known for saloon cars are pushing into SUV shaped cars. I think the big load lugging EVs of the future won’t be ‘Volvo’ shaped, they’ll be more like a Tesla 3 or X shaped, you’ll still get a 500/600l boot, but it will be a different shape.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    It’ll be interesting to see you figures Edukator when yours arrive.

    Edukator
    Member

    After 2.5 years with the 41 kWh battery Zoé I’ve averaged 12.1kWh/100km. It was about 12.5kWh/100 at the end of the Winters so taking that:

    52/12.5 x 100 gives 416km range for the type of driving I do – a mix of town and main roads with an occasional autoroute trip.

    The UK is colder, more stop-start and has a higher national speed limit so I’d expect you to get a lot less.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    The Prius PHEV is crazy expensive, does less mpg than the Prius Hybrid overall and again, hardly any distance on EV in the real world.

    It would suit us nicely. EV distance is enough for it to hardly ever need petrol, and whenever we need a longer trip it’s good for 70mpg.

    I look out for PHEVs and EVs – mostly around here I see Leafs, i3s and the occasional Zoe. One neighbour has an Outlander, another has a 330e. Down south there are many more Outlanders, but if you are only driving around town under 20 miles then it’s not an issue. My neighbours work 5 miles away (they are doctors), and they plug it in every night, so I doubt it sees a filling station.

    Many company cars are now PHEVs, despite the fact that they never get plugged in, run on their big petrol motors all of the time and produce more CO2 by far than the fleet of relatively clean diesels that they replace.

    When I’m looking at a used PHEV in a couple of years, I shall be sure to be put off by the possible under-use of the battery during its first couple of years of life as a company motor.

    The current incentives are getting them out there onto the market. This is not a bad thing. It means a bigger market of viable PHEVs for us second, third and fourth owners to choose from.

    P-Jay
    Member

    Many company cars are now PHEVs, despite the fact that they never get plugged in, run on their big petrol motors all of the time and produce more CO2 by far than the fleet of relatively clean diesels that they replace.

    This is one thing I’ve not really got my head around, for years we had Hybrids, then we have Plus in Hybrids which make sense – they’ve only got small batteries compared to EVs, but you charge them up over night for a bit of stored energy.

    Of course, if you make a new thing, you have to give the old thing a name so Hybrids became ‘self charging hybrids’ which sounds great.

    But Shirley if you don’t plug in your plug in hybrid, it will just work like a ‘self charging’ hybrid aka a Hybrid like we’ve been using since the late 90s?

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    I’m talking about Lexuses (Lexi?🤔) in particular.

    Why? I have a Lexus, I get 57mpg and it’s fully self recharging.. So I’d like to hear why you think I’m a flouting any initiatives.

    You do know right, that Toyota have been developing the Hybrid since 1968… Yeah, thats right.. When all the petrol heads were making 5.7ltr station wagons Toyota decided the cleanest and most efficient way to manage transportation and cut emissions was to combine a low power ICE and EV power.

    Back in 1968.

    The Prius has been massively sucessful, manufactures around the world have mimicked the technology and claimed it as their own. Which is praise enough.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Many company cars are now PHEVs, despite the fact that they never get plugged in, run on their big petrol motors all of the time and produce more CO2 by far than the fleet of relatively clean diesels that they replace.

    When you say many do you actually mean there are some.

    You do know right, that Toyota have been developing the Hybrid since 1968

    That’s a James May fact from his YouTube channel. But Porsche trumps Toyota by many decades. They were messing around with hybrids and EV’s back in the turn of the century. They even developed a hybrid tank for the Reich during WW2 – a diesel engine generating power for an electric drive train so no mechanical drivetrain. And don’t forget the U-Boats…the ultimate hybrids.

    I’m sure many of the big car companies have been developing hybrids and EV’s for many decades. They tend to think of technology development in terms of several decades. Either they develop it themselves or know where they can source future technologies they might need if they think they don’t have the resources or knowhow to develop a particular technology.

    B.A.Nana
    Member

    Many company cars are now PHEVs, despite the fact that they never get plugged in, run on their big petrol motors all of the time and produce more CO2 by far than the fleet of relatively clean diesels that they replace.

    When you say many do you actually mean there are some.

    This is the reason I’ve heard why the gov dropped the BIK incentive on PHEVs as it was being abused by fleet users who took the BIK but didn’t use the PHEV as intended. So I’d guess it was significant enough numbers.

    And don’t forget the U-Boats…the ultimate hybrids.

    I’ve often wondered why this hasn’t taken off in cars. A generator ICE (low rpm diesel) which is either on or off charges batteries (far far less of them than in a full EV). Powerful electric motor drives the wheels. Its a type of series hybrid, but not in the auxilary generator plug in type or PHEV type.

    As is often pointed out on here, motorway cruising takes roughly 35 hp to maintain speed on the flat. A 40-50hp ICE with an electric motor that can put out 150 to 200hp for maximum acceleration.

    Here’s an old timey car that did it,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lohner-Porsche, most diesel electric trains do it.

    Is it legislation, or do the numbers not work or both? Here’s my working:

    30kW (40hp) diesel generator
    Engine model Mitsubishi S4S
    Number of cylinders 4
    Cylinder capacity 3331 cc
    Bore & stroke 94 × 120 mm
    Air consumption 2.8 m³/min
    Engine cooling Indirect
    Fuel consumption (no load – full load) 1-6 l/hr

    6 litres per hour at full load – eg 1 hour of 70mph motorway driving, 70 miles. (112km)
    6 litres per 112 km = 5.35 l/km
    = 52.8 mpg.

    say that extra 5hp is used converting to electric and back again

    From a fuel efficiency point of view, that’s basically what a modern diesel car will cruse at. But for tax/company car purposes, you’re in a 3.3L diesel car.

    Just proved myself wrong I guess, suppose I’m keeping my diesel until the proper EVs come out!

    I’ve often wondered why this hasn’t taken off in cars. A generator ICE (low rpm diesel) which is either on or off charges batteries (far far less of them than in a full EV

    Yeah, I never got that either. It got lost in the plug in sexiness. It came up long before batteries capable of driving any distance were available. ICE engine, small, designed to run hyper efficiently at a fixed rpm, driving a generator, driving electric motors at the wheels. We could all be driving them now and have benefitted from 10 years of reduced emissions.

    willard
    Member

    The vauxhall Ampera had that type of extender… From memory it did about 100 miles on battery, but had a small petrol engine (and small tank) to extend it. It wasn’t horrific to drive and was good in town.

    Oddly, I was cycling to work behind an estate PHEV this morning. I think it was a Hyundai. Where I live there are actually quite a few Passat GTEs too, so a lot more common in Sweden I guess.

    Talking of the Ampera, I was really impressed with them at the time. The only thing that put me off was the lack of boot space. Two dogs means I have to have a decent sized boot and that was a deal breaker. If they had made one, I would have bought one.

    I did briefly see an article about a new solely EV estate from VW or Audi yesterday. Possibly timely news?

    toby1
    Member

    Old Volvo estate will liv forever and getting an older car is greener than a newer model anyway whether it’s hybrid or full EV.

    Or is ‘new/nearly new’ part of the criteria?

    Flaperon
    Member

    PHEVs were a tax dodge in the past, less so now that battery range has improved to 30 miles or so. This way the actual pollution happens on the motorway (and should be fairly limited) and nothing is chucked out in urban areas.

    Test drove a Volvo T8 estate the other day, was a remarkable experience and infinitely better than the shite Prius I had as an Uber last week.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    The vauxhall Ampera had that type of extender… From memory it did about 100 miles on battery, but had a small petrol engine (and small tank) to extend it. It wasn’t horrific to drive and was good in town.

    It had a normal 1.4l 4cyl in the normal place (i.e. under the bonnet) didn’t it? I think the i3 range extender is also a generator based on a motorbike engine. Although that’s small but very inefficient, the car gets very poor MPG when driven on the range extender IIRC.

    I think the reason that hasn’t been explored more is packaging and cost. It’s costing a shitload of money to completely re-work their cars, supply chain, plant, and all the rest of it. So far most (apart from BMW) have just adapted existing cars, where there’s a nice big engine shaped hole at the front designed to accomodate existing engines. And they want to put batteries where fuel tanks went, and so on.

    We will probably see more range extenders in future I think. After all, a genny is probably smaller and cheaper than a crapload of extra batteries, even if it’s just got 200 miles of fuel to get you out of the Highlands or wherever.

    My idea: A trailer that you can hook up to the back of your EV either with a load of extra batteries in for a long trip or a generator. It has space for the batteries/genny and then load space on top, for your holiday needs.

    Edukator
    Member

    Bin dun, molgrips:

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