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Where are the minivans?

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by derekt75, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    For a while, I had been thinking that it would be nice to get a Model X to replace my Model S. Then I could move guests around when they came to visit. It's more fun to keep my family in the same vehicle as the guest family on a trip to San Francisco, or Monterey, or wherever. and as my kids start going more places with friends, well it would be nice to get more friends into the car.
    but Model X is more or less a 6 person vehicle compared to the 5 person vehicle that I own. It seems that 8 passenger minivans are more comfortable for the 8 than the Model X is for 7. and 6 people in the Model X plus cargo [like strollers] is apparently questionable. I think what it comes down to is that I don't want a "Crossover" vehicle; I want a minivan or full-size SUV.
    If Tesla wants to choose to do the crossover first, well, that's their choice, and it does me no good to post under Model X complaining about how the vehicle they made isn't the one that I want.
    but here's my question: Minivans/FullSizeSUVs are quite popular in America [especially compared to "crossover vehicles"]. So where's the BEV version of the 8 passenger vehicle? Why doesn't Cadillac throw a huge battery under an Escalade? or Honda put one under the Odyssey?
     
  2. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Chrysler appears to be offering the first electrified minivan I've heard of to date. The new Pacifica will apparently be available as a Plug in Hybrid soon - with what looks to be the second generation Voltec or a fairly close clone under it.

    I think it'll be a while for the pure EV minivan - the nature of the vehicle means it needs more battery for the same sort of range, yet the traditional pricing for them is relatively low, limiting potential profit.

    I'm pretty sure that's why Tesla pitched the X as a crossover even though they keep explaining why the Falcon Wings are better than minivan sliding doors - a ~$80-140k luxury SUV is entirely plausible, but an $80k minivan would never fly.

    After the 3 (and Y?) are well established, Tesla may start considering the minivan and pickup markets - by then maybe the economies of scale will allow it to be competitive.
    Walter
     
  3. mikevbf

    mikevbf Member

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    Although not a full BEV, the plug in Pacifica mini van coming out the second half of this year looks promising with 30 miles all electric range before switching to ice. One thing that should be noted though, is I think you can only get it as a 7 seater when configured as a plug in.

    2017 Chrysler Pacifica (Minivan) PHEV 30 mile AER
     
  4. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    Ironic that we're talking about the "Pacifica", which was the poster child for a "Crossover Vehicle" failing to meet sales expectations. so now they're making the "Pacifica" into a minivan instead of crossover.
     
  5. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    Also, while I agree that minivans have not generally sold at high prices, full size SUVs certainly have. Escalade. QX80. It's unclear to me why the more-practical sliding door means the vehicle should be priced less than the less practical swing door, but I'll concede that vehicles with sliding doors are for some reason priced under $50k.

    Is there some reason why performance is necessarily poor with a minivan style vehicle? If Tesla had put a 90 kWh battery underneath a Honda Odyssey style body, would performance necessarily be bad? I would think that despite the height of the vehicle and the passengers riding higher above the ground, the weight of the battery would still keep the center of gravity low enough to allow for a spirited drive?
     
  6. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Well, historically, the reason minivans weren't very quick was that they were made by putting compact car transverse FWD powertrains into a much larger, heavier vehicle (that's mostly cargo space.) This also led to poor reliability for quite a while.

    There's no reason Tesla can't make a high performance minivan, provided they can find a market for such a thing at a profitable price - that's the part I think would be difficult/impossible. Chrysler made some fairly fast turbo minivans in the 80s, but they never caught on.
     
  7. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    I think it's easier to find evidence of a good market for an expensive SUV than evidence of a good market for a CUV, no?
    Porsche Macan? Mercedes GLE? I'm not sure if I've ever seen those on the road.
     
  8. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    What about the VW BUDD-e? It's ugly, and a little small for a mini-van, but it is technically one.
     
  9. 30seconds

    30seconds Active Member

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    At this point I don't think the incremental demand for a new 8 seater vs. existing 7 seater is something that is going to drive Tesla to a near product.
     
  10. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    I agree. Tesla has its hands full making Model 3, which a whole lot of people want really badly.
    I'm just saying that I am disappointed at Tesla's choice. I'm sure there are some that much prefer Model X the way it is. Oh well. My oldest kid is just turning 4, so I can wait years before I need a minivan even if one would be nice now. Hopefully in a few years there will be a good BEV version. I can't imagine going back to gasoline.
     
  11. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    The perception is that minivans are not cool and are strictly utilitarian vehicles so people will pay no more than $50k. The perception is these are bought by parents or grandparents with lots of grandkids.

    OTOH, Bentley is about to market CUVs. Porsche Cayenne is the top selling Porsche.
    A Porsche Cayenne Turbo S starts at $160k.

    It would be pure lunacy for Tesla to market a minivan before it has a full array of CUVs. And a pure minivan body is going to much less aerodynamic than the X requiring more kWh to get the same range.

    And Tesla markets the Model X as more practical than a minivan( because it is easier to access the third row and easier to install a car seat due to the FWD) with more performance than a sports car( all except top supercars and hypercars.)
     
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Minivans in the USA are a small market. MPVs sell better elsewhere but are smaller.
    So, not a hope of Tesla making a minivan. I think that the image problem is pretty sad, but that's reality f8r you.
     
  13. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    Battery densities have to get very dense before Tesla makes a squarish vehicle. Electric motors are far more efficient than gasoline, but batteries have far less energy density. Many ICE cars are able to be geared so they get their best mileage in the 50-70 mph range. Aerodynamic drag gets worse the faster you go, but for an ICE, the engine gets into it's most efficient mode when it's running at a constant velocity at a certain RPMs. With proper gearing that's right around 60 MPH on a flat road for many iCE cars.

    The curves for EVs are different. Electric motors have a bit more friction when they are barely turning, but once they get above a minimum RPM their efficiency doesn't change much with RPM. Additionally, electric motors can be made more efficient overall by just having one gear instead of a transmission. A transmission could help at very high speeds, but adding the weight and efficiency of a transmission wouldn't be worth it. A transmission able to handle an EV at full power also needs to be big and tough to handle the extreme torque. A transmission would also create more lag between punching the pedal and feeling the acceleration. Basically a transmission might help a P90D at the top end, but it wouldn't be winning as many drag races and overall range would be cut by 10-20% due to the extra weight and inefficiencies of a transmission.

    Anyway, but to the point. EVs are much more efficient than ICEs, but because they don't have increasing efficiency as they approach highway type conditions, their efficiency drops with drag. The Model X 90D has almost 15% less range than the S90D and most of that is due to the increased drag of it's shape (it is a bit heavier too). And the Model X is more aerodynamic than most of the SUVs, CUVs, and minivans out there.

    A big boxy EV would be fine as a local delivery vehicle (like a mail truck or a UPS truck) because little or none of it's driving will be on highways at speed, but for a passenger vehicle you have to expect at least some driving will be at highway speeds.

    If Tesla was to drop a typical minivan body on an X90D platform, it would have about 180 miles highway range which goes against Tesla's mission which is to provide EVs with more than 200 miles of range.

    There will come a day when the battery pack for the Model S/X will hold 200-300 KWh at which point they can make boxier vehicles and still have decent range, but wherever possible, EVs intended for long distance use will continue to be as aerodynamic as possible to get as much out of a battery pack as possible.
     
  14. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    I think you're overstating the aerodynamic inefficiency of a minivan. Modern minivans have a coefficient of drag around 0.30, which is similar to the coefficient of drag of a modern sedan. Minivans do have a greater cross section that they present to the wind, but so does Model X. Yeah, maybe a minivan would be slightly worse than a Model X, but I suspect the difference would be 10% or less, not 30%.
     
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