The EV revolution is coming. We’re all going to ditch our petrol and diesel vehicles in favour of pure electric power and live the dream of relaxed, near silent, zero-emissions-in-use mobility. Apparently.
It’s certainly exciting. The inevitable switch to electric vehicles represents a huge milestone in motoring, but there’s something else the rise of the EV could introduce, or rather reintroduce – a proper ‘base’ trim level.
Look at the entry level version of many manufacturers’ cheapest model and there’s a decent specification as standard. Granted, any safety advancements should be there, but when were Bluetooth, alloy wheels or central locking ever essential on a compact car? For those who merely want to get from A to B and enjoy the reliability of a new car, the entry-level version really has lost its way.
While obviously a marketing ploy, such versions don’t even reference their lowly status in the model walk either. Base models were called exactly that and were proud in what they were lacking, with the cheapest version of many a small 1980s hatchback devoid of such ‘luxuries’ as a passenger door mirror and sunvisor, radio and rear wash wipe.
It’s too late to literally go back to basics with established diesel and petrol models, but it’s more than possible with an EV. Apparently, cost is a key factor that’s stopping many drivers from making the switch to all-electric power, so what better than a stripped-back EV that brings electric motoring within reach of the masses?
Without all the power-sapping, non-essential goodies there could even be range benefits, while surely production, maintenance and warranty costs would all tumble? And for the manufacturer that manages to make EV motoring mainstream, there’s no shortage of spoils. Engineer such a monumental shift in car buying and there’s the chance that the successful bare-bones EV could go down in history, joining the likes of the Model T, Volkswagen Beetle and Mini in terms of getting people mobile.
From a cynical point of view, the pioneering manufacturer wouldn’t just be doing its customers a favour. Treat them right, give them a decent product, and it would strengthen brand loyalty and the chance to upsell a higher spec model when they come to change.
But would a modern-day EV for everyone really work? That depends if people really are prepared to go back to basics and treat a car for what it essentially is – transport.