With each passing year, we get to see the possibilities of pure electric vehicles come more and more to fruition. What was once a romantic notion of people concerned about the environment is now becoming a practical reality. In fact, more and more of the main car manufacturers are carving out a niche in their model lineups for electric vehicles. In the next few years, it won’t be too surprising to see these electric vehicles begin to outpace their hybrid counterparts.
The promise of electric vehicles has been discussed and hailed for years. Reducing or eliminating fossil fuels altogether could potentially make a dramatic dent in the challenges with energy and the environment. Unfortunately, there has also been disagreement over the true practicality and effectiveness regarding electric vehicles. Right now, charging times and battery ranges leave a lot to be desired for anyone wanting a vehicle for longer road trips. In order to really stand out and deliver, car manufacturers have to show they are overcoming these challenges.
With all the focus on the big players in the automotive industry, it is easy to overlook new arrivals who promise even more comfort and performance on an all-electric platform. During the recent Detroit Auto Show, for example, one new player known as GAC impressed many attendees with their look into the electric vehicle future: the Enverge. This electric SUV sports a futuristic design that rivals the presence of a Tesla.
To appreciate what is on the horizon for electric vehicle technology, here’s an in-depth look at the GAC Enverge to wet your appetite for things to come.
A New SUV Design
Upon first look, the Enverge seems like any other SUV. It has an oversized frame, bulky front fascia, and spacious mid and rear sections. Basically, it comes with the same proportions you would expect from a vehicle that tries to blend the best traits of a sedan or station wagon with a truck. A closer inspection of the outside, however, reveals much more.
In some ways, the look of the Enverge is right in line with any of the other concept SUVs that have garnered headlines in recent years. This style is a blend of sharp angles, and gracious curves melded together and help to push the envelope of design. For example, the front is sleek with minimal headlights and a reserved grille.
Other design choices make a loud statement that separates the Enverge from the competition. The inclusion of gullwing doors makes this SUV almost look like a two-door sports car. The fact that it comes with only two doors, alone, proves GAC has no issue with bucking popular trends that define what we think an SUV should be.
Since there aren’t too many electric SUVs on the market today, it can be difficult to imagine how a vehicle this size will perform with electric motors and a battery alone. GAC, based in China, has gone to great lengths to assure questioning skeptics that the company’s pride and joy is more than up to the challenge of providing unrivaled performance.
As with other electric vehicles, one of the primary concerns is range. Since you can’t stop by a local gas station and fill up on a long road trip, this range often dictates the usability of the vehicle. With a range of 370 miles, the Enverge sits right in line with other electric options available on the market today. The one stand out distinction, however, is the claimed “10 minute recharge time” that promises a range of 240 miles. If this is true, this will drastically increase the usability of such a vehicle since owners won’t have to wait around for hours on end when it’s time to “fill up” again.
Other specific details about the SUV’s performance remain ambiguous and unconfirmed.
A Futuristic Interior
The thing that really puts this SUV into the world of “concept vehicle” instead of another SUV you can buy today is the interior. Once the futuristic gullwing doors open, you will immediately be treated to the site of a “floating” digital screen that replaces the traditional dashboard. This screen will project virtually all of the important status updates, infotainment information, and other digital readouts that are normally contained to a 7 inch LCD panel.
Virtual reality screens embedded in the side windows will also offer a unique visual experience since occupants could theoretically change or alter the view outside for the first time in history. GAC hasn’t announced whether this will actually be a possibility or not, but the idea remains. Don’t like what you see outside? Just change it.
Given the two-door nature of the car, it’s clear that this isn’t a family vehicle. The front row is spacious enough for the two occupants to stretch out and remain comfortable for long stretches. If you happen to have a family, the rear bench seats might just be enough to stow away your kids for a short trip before they start to complain about the cramped space.
The Future of the Enverge
Since the SUV is slated for a 2019 production start, it is difficult to say how this electric vehicle will look in its final form. Traditionally, demonstration cars like this are meant to highlight some of the potential technologies a car brand will include in future models. Things are obviously likely to change as more development and testing is done to tailor the vehicle to customer preferences.
Still, the presence of the Enverge, since it is meant for final production, is notable. If this was a pure concept car, things would be different. A concept vehicle lax the expectations to truly deliver what it promises. In other words, designers and manufacturers can go all out with their concept designs without feeling the pressure of turning them into a reality.
GAC, whether it knows it or not, is making a statement with the Enverge. By using the stamp of 2019 as a potential delivery date, it is indirectly saying it is ready to enter a competitive automotive landscape. Whether it will truly change that landscape or not remains to be seen.