The SUV will soon be dead, claims Citroën boss

DW Burnett

The days of hefty Sports Utility Vehicles are numbered, according to the CEO of Citroën Vincent Cobée. The French car boss believes that demands of electrification and a shift in public opinion will lead to the demise of the large crossovers which currently dominate the car market.

In an interview with the U.K.’s Auto Express Cobée claimed, succinctly, “The world of SUVs is done.”

While admitting that sales figures right now show the exact opposite, Cobée said that in the quest for ever-more efficient EVs the basic design design principles of tall, heavy crossovers are simply incompatible. Citing aerodynamics as being of huge significance he said, “On a battery EV, if your aerodynamics are wrong, the penalty in terms of range is massive. You can lose 50km (31 miles)  between good and bad aero, and between an SUV and a sedan you’re talking 60/70/80 km very easily.”

Another key factor will be weight, he added. Heavy cars don’t just require more energy to move, they’re likely to incur cost penalties. In Citroën’s home country of France vehicles are already taxed according to weight, so adding more and more batteries to compensate for a bigger vehicle’s needs won’t be the answer. Cobée bemoaned the massive increase in mass that’s come with bigger cars and electrification.  “In the 1970s, a car was weighing 700kg (1543 lbs) . Today an average car is weighing 1300kg (2866 lbs). Tomorrow an average car will weigh two tonnes (4409 lbs). So we’re using three times more resources to deliver the same service, just to be ‘green’.”

Citroën’s plan to is pursue a lightweight approach, as demonstrated by the Oli concept car, which uses innovative materials including cardboard to keep its mass to a minimum, allowing it to carry a relatively small 40kWh battery, yet still achieve a driving range of almost 250 miles.

Finally, Cobée believes that the public will actually turn against SUVS. “People will start limiting weight and battery sizes, either through tax, through incentives, through regulation, through naming and shaming. If you live in a big city, five years ago if you drop off your kids with a big SUV you’re a man. Now, if you do this, you’re a ‘terrorist’…”

Do you think he’s correct and will you miss the SUV when it’s gone? Let us know in the comments.

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    It’s a logical argument from the Euro perspective.

    North America has always preferred larger cars, which became more extreme in the 1950s and has never looked back. 2nd cars, city cars and the kid’s car were the compact (big by Euro standards), sub compact, etc. and we have never really taken to micro or kei cars here (if even legal).

    Fad mentality turned the 4-door Impala sedan into an F150 crew cab, big Cadillacs remain a thing for the wealthier elite.

    Giant EVs will wear out tires faster too, increasing that form of pollution. That will get talked about more after 2030-35.

    Costs could go way down if international standards for vehicles between Europe and NA (the stricter rules places to my understanding, just not all the same rules) were made the same. California will likely adopt the weight penalty system after a large % of the fleet is EV.

    Whether consumer tastes give up SUV sooner remains to be seen. I guess if Toyota Crowns sell like 65 Impalas we have our answer…

    So says the French.

    They may not be popular in Europe but Americans have differenct likes and circumstances they drive in.

    We have larger roads and more parking. We have the ideal size of a vehicle that has not changed since the 1940 Sedan. Just look our cars had that size foot print and today most CUV and SUV have similar size foot prints.

    We are not one world and out likes and needs here are much different than say Paris.

    The greatest issue with small models is utility and Americans have always had utility in their vehicles till the started to shrink.

    My Father used to have a new Chevelle every year but he never owned a truck. His sedan was a truck hauling ply wood on the roof and all sorts of things in the larger trunk. He made it work like most Americans back then. The roofs were strong enough to haul a load and not damage them.

    Today most small cars have a hard time hauling much.

    We just got a new dog. We needed a new Kennel crate and even though it comes apart it would never have fit in my sedans trunk opening. But in my SUV it fit perfect as we went several hours away to pick up our new dog.

    I have even picked up engine blocks in my wife’s Acadia.

    They will find ways to supply us with the vehicles we want and needs.

    We can only hope. The addiction to the suv is idiotic and the complete opposite of what a modern car should be. It irritates me no end that people think it’s normal and logical to “need” a 2000kg car to transport 4kg of child.

    I completely agree, but as North Americans become more sedentary and more ‘super-sized’ the demand for hideous, over-sized vehicles will continue.

    Same goes for Pickup Trucks about one third of Pickups are absolutely Needed to keep our World moving along the other 2 thirds usually carry one old Guy and aBaseball Cap from place to Place( Its somewhat of a irrepressable North American Cult)

    So he is whining about weight but EVs are far heavier than ICE vehicles per size. And consumers must be denied what they want so they can be force fed an inferior vehicle. Much misery is in our future.

    I am a semi-retired automotive engineer. I have never owned an SUV or truck and have no desire to do so. The driving dynamics do not suit my nature. If I need to haul something that will not fit into one of my cars, I use my utility trailer or rent a truck.

    Any one of my cars is capable of transporting us comfortably on extended trips.

    I fail to understand why someone needs a $ 60,000, 6,000 pound, 12 MPG vehicle to transport one or two people most of the time. I do undeerstand the need of tradespeople and contractors for trucks.

    4 kids, a dog and a remote seasonal property only accessible by ATV or snowmobile is my justification. We also have a more fuel efficient car to do the running around and such but when we need capacity or need to divide and conquer life then the Suburban comes out.

    Because renting a truck you can legally tow with is difficult. Enterprise, Don’t allow it. And the ones you can are used by contractors and are pretty and not comfortable.

    I’ve been battling your type of mentality for 25 years. When cars couldn’t tow, became smaller and less powerful people went to SUVs and trucks.

    All I wanted was a fullsized wagon that could tow my trailer and race car. Only 1 company made a midsized SUV that could do it. Everyone else cut the capacity at 5,000 lbs. My trailer, gear, tools, winch and batteries with the car is 6,100 lbs (steel deck, 9.9k trailer), which still gives me capacity to take folks with me.

    The EPA and auto industry lobbyists did this to themselves. Don’t like trucks and SUVs? Build better and more capable cars.

    You may see me driving solo, but on the weekends I’m usually doing or hauling something.

    Curious how many project their values on to others.

    I would be glad to see the end of the SUV and the van as passenger vehicles. i believe that a lot of the accidents that occur on our highways are due to not being able to see ahead of the cars in front, like you could when everyone had a car with clear glass windows. If a car ahead was braking you could see the brake lights ahead and respond before the car in front of you, if you wanted. Today everyone follows closer and they’re completely blind as to what’s ahead.

    In a better society, one would have to justify their need for things rather than their selfish “want”.

    For example, if a DEI board determines that by ethnicity, you should work at one of our Asian partner farms, you would be allowed to live in low-density housing and drive a pick up. If your kind is already well-represented in rural areas, you would be allowed to experience the richness and culture of a vertical, high-density lifestyle where mass-transit will serve your needs.

    How better can the government serve your needs for happiness and equity, as the constitution provides?

    The government does not provide your happiness; the constitution guarantees your right to pursue said happiness. Big difference.

    Years ago I had a full size Dodge van. It would take anything I could load into it, marvelously useful. After some time, I realized I was only using it a few hundred miles a year, often just me in it. I bought a 4 by 8 utility trailer and put a tow hitch on my small sedan. Sold the van, that eliminated the insurance on it, no more license plate, eliminated the maintenance on it, no more tires, freed up the parking space (didn’t have to wash it any more) Simplified my life greatly, cut a significant cash drain as well. Utility trailer plus sedan with tow hitch has done the job for me for over 20 years now. Sometimes I look at pickup trucks, but they are all TOO BIG and are crew cabs, which makes them tall, rough riding gas guzzling sedans – I want a single cab with a bed that will take a 4 by 8 piece of plywood laying flat, but nobody makes that. Most of the crew cab trucks won’t do that until you get to the giant monsters, and I don’t need something that gets 12 mpg all year round to get a sheet of plywood two or three times a year. I’d really rather have something useful instead of a luxo-guzzler giant truck. I don’t need to impress anyone with my truck, that’s what my CLK350 convertible is for.

    That’s why I keep my 26 year old Ranger single cab long box. 7 foot bed and enough room in the cab to carry a small tool box OR a passenger. With the cap I can keep a lot of stuff in the dry and with a rack on the trailer hitch I can carry a lawnmower or snowblower that won’t fit under the cap – and I can squeeze 30MPG (canadian) out of it if I’m not in a hurry

    Surprised nobody caught the weight saving measure by Citroen on their new electric car…cardboard. SERIOUSLY? What a joke.

    The real question is how is the electricity generated to charge ev’s ?
    I’ve spent my entire life driving pickup trucks and I’m not about to give that up.
    The reliability of an American
    V-8 and the improvements in fuel economy can’t be ignored.

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