Can the electric car save the sedan? Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 6 and other new models that could curb the rise of SUVs

Can the electric car save the sedan?  tesla model 3, polestar 2, hyundai ioniq 6 and other new models that could curb the rise of SUVs

Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 isn’t exactly conventional looking, but it’s as close to the humble sedan in shape.

We live in the ‘Age of SUVs’. These high-rise crossovers have dominated sales charts for years, ousting other options, especially sedans.

In fact, a few years ago it seemed that the sedan’s days were numbered, and SUVs are likely to replace any alternative. Look no further, the once globally popular Ford Mondeo evolves into an SUV alternative to maintain its existence.

Sedans are dead…or are they?

Looking at the latest Australian sales data, which represents the first seven months of 2022, there is a surprising trend. Sedan sales are surging in certain parts of the market thanks to a new twist on the old body style: electrification.

Sales of “midsize cars over $60,000” (an official category from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries that tracks data) are up more than 50 percent through the end of July.

Why? Well, it’s not thanks to the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, because they are all in decline in sales. No, the increase comes from the arrival of the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2.

The Model 3 has been on sale for some time, but it only started officially reporting numbers earlier this year. But even so, the trend is obvious, with the Model 3 clearly the best seller in the segment, ahead of the German trio of most famous nameplates.

Perhaps more pertinent to this discussion is the performance of the Polestar 2, which lacks the brand recognition of the Tesla. Despite this, it is the fifth best-selling model in the segment, behind Model 3, C-Class, 3-Series and Mercedes CLA.

Can the electric car save the sedan?  tesla model 3, polestar 2, hyundai ioniq 6 and other new models that could curb the rise of SUVs

656 Polestars have been sold so far this year, which is impressive for what is in many ways a brand new one. Even more so when you compare it to the much more established Volvo S60, which is in the same market segment but has only sold 153 examples, or even the Audi A4 which has racked up just 304 new registrations in seven months this year.

It’s a similar story in the next market segment, where the Porsche Taycan is the best-selling ‘big car over $70,000’, beating out the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Obviously, SUVs will also play a big role in the future, and customer demand for high-performance vehicles is unlikely to change any time soon. But there is no doubt that auto companies see a demand for electric sedans, otherwise why would they be making so many?

Can the electric car save the sedan?  tesla model 3, polestar 2, hyundai ioniq 6 and other new models that could curb the rise of SUVs

In addition to the Model 3, Polestar 2 and Taycan, we already have the Tesla Model S, Audi e-tron GT, BMW i4 and Mercedes-Benz EQS on the market. Plus, we also know more are coming, including but not limited to the Audi A6 e-tron, BMW i7, Cadillac Celestiq, Genesis G80 Electrified, Hyundai Ioniq 6, Lotus Type 133, Mercedes-Benz EQE, and Polestar 5.

Why so many sedans in an era when SUVs are the most popular choice? The most likely answer is the aerodynamic benefits a sedan has over an SUV, which is crucial when trying to extract as much range as possible.

The Mercedes EQXX demonstrates the aerodynamic superiority of sedans and the obvious benefits to range, setting a new world record for an electric vehicle by driving 1,200 km on a single charge.

The lower, sleeker shape of a sedan allows an electric car to drive farther, which should help reduce range anxiety and win over more first-time EV buyers. Or, at least, that seems to be the theory behind it.

Having said all that, there is also an element of customer choice. Because none of those electric sedans are launching in isolation. Every brand will have one (or more) electric SUVs before and/or after, so it looks like the ‘Age of SUVs’ will continue into the future.

But if these early days are any true indication of things to come, the sedan may have a longer life than many predicted.

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