Executive Cruisers Not Yet Ready for BEV, Says DS

The PSA Group’s largest executive cruiser was launched as a PHEV because its engineers still don’t see BEV as a practical long distance option.

That’s the opinion of Vincent Devos, the DS Automobiles’ product manager in charge of new releases including the latest DS 9 luxury sedan. Speaking to TU-Automotive on a conference call following the cancellation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, Devos explained the decision over powertrain options.

He said: “To begin with the DS 9 will be available with a PHEV powertrain but not yet with a full electric version because we think that, with this kind of car, you need a large range for consumers who expect to travel throughout the country. That’s why we think PHEV is the best solution at the moment because you can travel long distances and also it will be allowed into city environments as more and more cities start banning high emission vehicles.”

The decision flies in the face of DS’s latest BEV concept, the DS Aero Sport Lounge. This vehicle, which was also scheduled to be shown at the Geneva show, was majoring on its aerodynamics to help improve the potential range.

Standing at 16.4 feet long, the futuristic vehicle has a steeply slopping roof line to help reduce drag and also boasts a front grille to direct airflow around each side of the car towards 23-inch wheels which also act as air deflectors. As with the DS X E-Tense concept of 2018, its powertrain is based on that from the DS Techeetah Formula E single-seat racing car and features a 671bhp electric motor fed by a 110kWh battery.

The whole package claims a 0-62mph sprint time of time of just 2.8 seconds and an anticipated range of more than 400 miles. Yet, even this is not seen by the automaker as enough of a proposition to its target executive consumers.

Devos said: “We have found that, when you start driving at speed on the motorways, the actual range of BEVs is not so large. We are working on new powertrain and platform options and maybe, one day, we will be able to provide a BEV solution.

“When you look at our concept, the Aero Sport Lounge which is our futuristic crossover version of a vehicle, is powerful enough to propose an increase of range. Yet, for the moment, we can’t promise that range with the current technologies.”

He also said European countries are still not up to scratch with infrastructure to make a long distance BEV a viable option. Devos concluded: “In many countries in Europe there is a lack of infrastructure and a lack of super chargers with many charging stations not working properly. So you could have a lot of problems if you need to drive the length of the continent.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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