Automobility LA - S4

electric ...

and inevitable
EV makers plugging away at their vision of an automotive future

A

host of competitors are positioning themselves for what they view
as the inevitable shift to electric
vehicles.
Although EVs currently remain a small
part of overall U.S. auto sales, automakers and
technology companies say long-term movement will be propelled by environmental concerns, lower EV maintenance costs and government
policies promoting electrics.
"Sooner or later, the majority of drivers will be making the
switch from petrol cars to an electric vehicle," BMW proclaims on its
corporate website.
Although fewer than 200,000 EVs were sold in the United States in 2018-
accounting for less than 2% of all cars sold-the number, style and price
range are expected to expand significantly over the next few years. IHS
Markit says greater choice and availability will fuel growth, and it predicts EVs
will account for 7.6% of total U.S. vehicle sales by 2026.
American car shoppers will be able to choose from new U.S. and Chinese
brands and expanded selections from big automakers and also consider
new purchase options.
At this year's Automobility LA, three smaller automakers will be presenting
their vehicles and visions of the EV marketplace.
The segmentation of the marketplace will present consumers a different
way to think about EVs. "People will buy our car because it's beautiful," says
John Maloney, chief revenue officer for Karma Automotive. "We consider it
art on wheels."
Karma, formerly known as Fisker Automotive, has unveiled its second-generation 2020 Karma Revero GT, a $135,000 EV with an onboard gas-powered
generator that powers the battery rather than turn the wheels.
Unlike many early EVs-stereotypically practical and often nondescript-
the Revero is unapologetically aimed at car lovers. Karma's heritage is in sophisticated design.

4 · AUTOMOBILITY LA · NOVEMBER 2019

"We still come from a mindset that people enjoy driving and driving themselves,"
Maloney says. "Our buyers are early adopters. They like to be unique, like to show
good taste. But environmental responsibility
also is part of their ethos.
"It's a big motivator here in California. While
they want to respect the environment, they also
want to have a nice car that stands out."
The visual appeal of the Revero GT is "as strong as the
first version, but the big gain is in the overall driving experience,"
Maloney says. "It's got a luxury feel, high performance. It's fun to drive."
As a "bespoke" brand, Karma itself won't add big sales numbers to the total
number of EVs in the United States, Maloney says. But his assessment of the
overall EV marketplace has changed even since early 2019.
"People who might not have thought about an EV are reconsidering
them, and I'm feeling bullish about the future," he says.
"The import luxury brands will bring in a clientele that
hadn't thought about an EV before."
Competing for even higher-end EV buyers will be Faraday Future-which plans to launch its first vehicle, the
FF91, sometime in 2020. With a projected price tag of
Maloney
$200,000, the FF91 "is designed to be a brand shaper, to
set the DNA of our brand," says Faraday's new global CEO, Carsten Breitfeld.
He compares the car to a first-class airline experience.
The all-electric and autonomous-ready FF91, he says, will boast up to 11
screens and complete connectivity that becomes more personalized with
each drive.
But Breitfeld's vision for his new company is bigger than just being an EV
manufacturer. Faraday, with roots in both traditional automotive production
and also consumer electronics, sees the growth of EVs tied to growing interest in shared mobility.
"We're not only talking about EVs but about mobility ecosystems in the



Automobility LA

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automobility LA

Automobility LA - Intro
Automobility LA - S1
Automobility LA - S2
Automobility LA - S3
Automobility LA - S4
Automobility LA - S5
Automobility LA - S6
Automobility LA - S7
Automobility LA - S8
Automobility LA - S9
Automobility LA - S10
Automobility LA - S11
Automobility LA - S12
Automobility LA - S13
Automobility LA - S14
Automobility LA - S15
Automobility LA - S16
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