Why do todays high-end intelligent electric cars lack the soul that luxury cars had in the past?

Nowadays, cars are highly technologically advanced, but I find that I no longer idolize them, especially the vehicles from new players in the industry, as they lack that inherent sense of longing On the contrary, I realize that the energy cost associated with them is increasing

The Integration of Intelligence and High-end Cars

The increasing cost of learning resources is an inevitable trend for all high-end integrated products.

When we were young, we could recall every function of the Little Tyrant learning machine and remember the functions of every pager. But now, it’s impossible to keep track of how many games a mobile phone can hold or how many options there are under the “Settings” menu.

Cars are the same. In the past, sitting in a car meant “going to class.” Besides reading a book, what else could you do?

But now, things are different. Various large and small screens are everywhere. Just chatting can keep you entertained for a while.

You might argue which one gives you more “admiration,” but this judgment is highly personal, and we can’t interfere.

But one thing is certain – in the mainstream market, there is a strong connection between intelligence and high-end car models. If any brand still hopes to dominate the 400,000-level market with an “old-fashioned pager” style intelligent product, it’s simply wishful thinking.

As the last major car show of the year, the Guangzhou Auto Show is known as the “China Automotive Development Indicator.”

Just take a look at this year’s Guangzhou Auto Show, and you’ll see that the atmosphere at the joint venture booths isn’t very lively. Some booths only have a few people or are completely empty. Currently, joint ventures still focus on traditional fuel vehicles. Even if there are new energy products, you’ll find fewer advanced intelligent driving features, high-pressure platforms, and eye-catching designs.

In contrast, Huawei, for example, set up an independent booth for intelligent car selection. The products showcased include the Wowprime New M7, Wowprime M9, and the newly released Wowprime S7. Huawei’s HarmonyOS-based intelligent driving system made its debut at the Auto Show and became the most popular booth.

Yu Chengdong once claimed that the M9 would be the most luxurious, high-end, and intelligent car on the market, redefining the best intelligent SUV under 10 million yuan.

Of course, everyone knows that this statement is a bit showy, so let’s just listen and move on. But my seniors told me that when someone brags, pay attention to what they are bragging about. Even if the other party may not achieve what they claim, at least it means that the thing they are bragging about is good.

Yu Chengdong didn’t say that this car is the model priced under 10 million yuan with the most wooden decorations and the most leather wrapping, right?

Therefore, high-end intelligent electric cars today no longer have the “soul” that luxury cars had in the past. This judgment is subjective, and pursuing interesting features is truly worthwhile. With the advancement of car technology and the development of the market, cars have become more and more interesting.

Reshaping the Luxury of the Electric Car Era

The concept of “soul” is ultimately idealistic, and the creation of a sense of luxury is predominantly subjective.

Electrification, on the other hand, is a thoroughly materialistic product and naturally conflicts with the notion of luxury.

  1. The sense of luxury is first and foremost a form of “excessiveness”

If we set the user’s requirements at 0.6, then creating a sense of luxury would require the product to meet 0.8 in terms of functionality. The excess performance that is not really needed provides users with a sense of psychological satisfaction. It’s like the marketing phrase: “Power reserve is like a man’s wallet, you may not need it, but you can’t be without it.”

Take the acceleration of a car as an example. For most people, a comfortable 0-100 acceleration time is around 7 seconds. Anything faster than that creates a sense of pushback, which is enjoyable for driving enthusiasts. However, for passengers inside the car, it becomes a disaster.

Even as a user who owns a fuel-powered car with a high acceleration ceiling, during 99% of my time on the road, I don’t floor the gas pedal, let alone start with a boring launch. There’s no need for it.

But this doesn’t stop me from experiencing a sense of psychological satisfaction. For example, my car’s standing start can outpace 99% of other cars on the road. My transmission can handle countless launches without breaking. I have an electric wing aerodynamics kit and I compulsively open them on the road. My car comes with carbon ceramic brakes, and a set of brakes can buy another car, and so on.

  1. The luxury cars of the past required extreme “efforts”

In the electric car era, achieving a 0-100 km/h acceleration in 3 seconds is easily achievable. In the past, JDM cars could achieve racing-level handling and top speed through violent modifications.

After extreme modifications, these cars had a very low ride height, which caused the rear wheels to lift when encountering small bumps or potholes, requiring someone to press down on the rear wheels to pass.

However, all of this came at a cost.

After extreme modifications, JDM cars said goodbye to comfort and practicality. My S2000 in the shop, after modifications, has an extremely low ride height. Sometimes, it can’t even pass over speed bumps. Similarly, the acceleration after 100 km/h in an electric car is basically non-existent. While they are enjoyable for daily driving, they fall short when it comes to racing.

So, now I have to mention the Turbo S again.

0-100 km/h acceleration? I have that covered. I rarely come across opponents on the road.

Comfort? Among supercars, it’s only second to Aston Martin’s grand touring. I can drive 500 km without stopping for a break.

Off-road capability? I have a raised front axle. I have an active aerodynamic kit. The front splitter and side skirts can be retracted, so there’s no fear of speed bumps.

More importantly, after extreme modifications, JDM cars made traffic police officers avoid me, but with the Turbo S, I have nothing to fear as a stock car.

It can be said that with a hexagonal fighter, except for the damage to my wallet, all my needs are satisfied.

  1. Excessiveness + Efforts = Showoff

This is the formula for luxury.

Intelligent electric cars, using a different dimension of physics, have dealt a blow to traditional gasoline cars while also destroying the formula for luxury that was associated with them. Currently, this formula is being reshaped, and it may even be impossible to reshape it.

In the past, the luxury of the Virtu phone, Nokia’s Symbian with its usability and durability, Windows Mobile with its tinkering capabilities, and BlackBerry with its security were all overtaken by iOS. Even today, consumer electronics have not successfully constructed a new formula for luxury. The electric car industry may also face this situation.

Whether it’s a Tesla Model S Plaid or a Wuling Hongguang Mini, fundamentally speaking, they are no different from an iPhone Pro Max and a Redmi phone; the core functionalities are not significantly different.

The smoothness, power reserve, and sound of a 4-cylinder engine used to have an insurmountable gap compared to V8 and V12 engines.

Today’s Model 3 and Model S, to be honest, don’t have a big difference.

So, in the end, the electric car era needs to redefine the “sense of luxury,” and all the previous evaluation systems need to be rewritten.

The End of the Internal Combustion Engine Era

Electrification has dealt a blow to the current power solutions, rendering the relentless pursuit of performance and energy efficiency in the era of pure fuel seemingly powerless. Electrification has erased all individuality, without individuality, cars have lost their souls! by Guagua has always been at home

In the era of internal combustion engines, major car manufacturers spared no effort to achieve performance, energy efficiency, and smoothness, showcasing their respective strengths.

For the pursuit of higher performance, major car manufacturers went to extremes, with V6→V8→V12 engines emerging endlessly. As a result, we have the three iconic cars that represent the pinnacle of performance, like works of art, flourishing with rich souls:

In addition to these three iconic cars, there is another masterpiece.

City fuel consumption is 35.2L/100km.

Suburban fuel consumption is 15.2L/100km.

Combined fuel consumption is 22.5L/100km.

If the speed exceeds 400km/h, the fuel consumption will soar to 70+L/100km. With a fuel tank capacity of 100L, it can run at top speed for just over ten minutes.

This is the pursuit of ultimate performance in the traditional era of internal combustion engines. It is not just a simple everyday item. Due to their different development concepts, they have formed luxury cars with distinctive souls, captivating people endlessly.

However, the advent of electrification has truly brought a blow to power performance, leaving people somewhat disappointed. In the past, in the era of pure internal combustion engines, the combination of V6/V8/V12 engines and manual/automatic/transmission was all replaced by a super high-torque electric motor and a super simple single-stage reduction gear (or two/three). Homogenization will become more serious, and the various solutions for fuel vehicles will be instantly suppressed by the natural advantage of high torque of electric motors.

Taking the example of the Extreme Krypton brand, they have launched the Extreme Krypton 001 FR, which can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in less than 2 seconds. It only takes less than 800,000 RMB to achieve this. In the era of internal combustion engines, who knows how much effort was put into achieving 2 seconds…

It must be said that times have truly changed. In this era of pursuing efficiency and progress, the swan song of the pure internal combustion engine has become the final cry and struggle against the tide of electrification, but it is unable to resist the pace of the times.

Luxury cars of various shapes and sizes, with different interesting souls, may only be remembered and savored in museums in the future.

The History and Influence of the Hongqi Sedan

Although I cannot completely agree with the notion that luxury cars have souls, I cannot ignore the objective fact that luxury cars have a long history. And in China, only the Hongqi can truly be called a “luxury car”.

Speaking of Hongqi, it didn’t start out as Hongqi. It began as a plan to have a dedicated executive car for the country, preferably one that was independently developed, designed, and manufactured to showcase our country’s industrial capabilities and our unique spirit.

Just like Big Brother Soviet Union had its ZIL as a special car for political occasions, which Russia continued to have even after it disintegrated, this task was assigned to China FAW Group. In 1955, FAW began developing high-end sedans, eventually producing the first prototype, the Dongfeng CA71, in 1958.

Of course, it wasn’t called Hongqi yet at that time. It wasn’t until the first “Hongqi” branded CA72 luxury sedan was successfully prototyped that the work, which represented the blood, sweat, and tears of China’s first generation of carmakers, appeared at the 1960 Leipzig International Exhibition. Automobile experts in Italy commented:

“Hongqi” sedans are the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of China. From this point on, “Hongqi” sedans made it into the world’s list of prestigious car brands.

Since then, “Hongqi” sedans officially took on the task of receiving foreign guests. In 1964, they were designated as state ceremonial vehicles. You might think that Hongqi is fortunate because its mission is to serve as an official vehicle, but in reality, what truly determines Hongqi’s status is more than just its mission.

Because the predecessor of Hongqi, Dongfeng sedans, followed a policy of importing complete knock-down (CKD) kits, in simple terms, they were merely rebadged models. On the other hand, Hongqi was truly created through independent reverse engineering. The Hongqi sedan consists of a total of 4,657 components, of which 3,488 are self-developed parts, achieving true independent research and development. In 1960, this car also participated in the Geneva Motor Show and was included in the “World Automotive Yearbook”. Since then, the Chinese automotive industry gained fame with the Hongqi sedan.

This brings me to my second point: luxury cars not only need a long history, but also a significant influence that carries weight.

However, all of the above key elements are currently lacking in domestically produced high-end intelligent electric vehicles.

In terms of history, most high-end intelligent electric vehicles, both in terms of model and brand, have been introduced in recent years. Some of them haven’t even been released for sale yet. They are very unfamiliar to users and the market. Without a story, there is no warmth.

In terms of influence, although these high-end intelligent electric vehicles have showcased many new technologies in their promotional campaigns, they have not been tested and have not achieved any publicly recognized, large-scale professional race or test results. Therefore, they naturally lack their own influence.

If you have watched Formula 1, you would know that whenever there is an accident on the track, a safety car leads the way. And that safety car is a Mercedes-Benz, along with other French cars like Renault, which are rarely seen in the Chinese market and have achieved great results in many rally events.

I personally support new energy vehicles and have high hopes for China’s electric cars. But even if we want to overtake on a bend, the car must still be driven on the road, not flying in the sky. To earn respect and gain status, we need more time to accumulate experience and accept more challenges to prove ourselves!

Lack of identity and brand story in electric luxury cars, and similarity in design elements lead to low brand recognition.

The main reason why high-end smart electric cars lack the soul of traditional luxury cars is that the electric car industry has not been around for long. The development of electric cars, led by Tesla and others, has only been about a decade, which results in a lack of brand history and brand stories. There are also no distinctive marks on their products, no brand labels deeply embedded in consumers' minds.

Traditional luxury car brands all have their own unique souls. For example, when we mention Volvo, we think of the ultimate safety of Nordic brands; when we mention BMW, we think of the extreme maneuverability of luxury brands; when we mention Mercedes-Benz, we think of the ultimate technological sophistication of luxury brands; when we mention Audi, we think of the stability of luxury brands.

1. Take a look at the extreme brand recognition of luxury brands:

Audi: The iconic hexagonal grille at the front is very stylish, with a large area of chrome decoration, which is highly recognizable.

BMW: The large-sized hexagonal kidney grille and dynamic waistline blend together, creating a visually striking impact.

Mercedes-Benz: It adopts a wing-shaped grille, LED high-performance headlights, and a classic single chrome front face, which exudes a strong sense of technology.

2. Take a look at luxury sedans of electric cars

In terms of exterior design, many elements are similar, without highly distinctive design elements.

The front-end designs all use strip-shaped through-type headlights, supplemented by short lights on both sides. In terms of the rear-end design, through-type taillights are also used by most electric cars, resulting in a relatively generic design element and low brand recognition.

There are many similar design elements in the front-end design, as well as the rear-end design.

From the perspective of new forces in the front-end design, the appearance of new energy electric cars can basically be locked in, with design elements borrowing from each other. In terms of products, the mainstream suppliers are also the same. In addition, the new forces have not been established for a long time, and brand stories and brand accumulation still need time. Although the brand awareness is high, the brand’s individual genes are not prominent enough. Therefore, the impression given is that electric cars are all about embracing technological luxury and intelligent levels, but the soul of the brand fails to deliver a stunning impact.

The Essence of the Soul

The so-called “soul”

  1. Has become more affordable. Compared to luxury cars, it can now be easily afforded.

  2. Has become localized. Unlike luxury cars, it no longer carries any sense of exoticism.

—One cannot use this as a source of pride anymore.

The soul of XX, in essence, is nothing but vanity. What else could it be?