Most major automakers are now well into their transition into building electric vehicles en masse. GM has the Silverado EV and the Blazer EV, Ford has the F-150 Lightning, and Stellantis has the Fiat 500e and a bunch of other stuff in the pipeline. All of these models have something in common, and it’s something their gasoline-powered counterparts never had.
Figured it out yet? That’s right – they’ve all got some kind of signifier in the name that screams “this is an electric vehicle, yo!” It’s not a crime, of course – after all, everybody’s doing it! If companies aren’t tacking an “E” or “EV” or “Electric” on to the end of a model name, they’re switching to all-new naming schemes entirely. Hyundai has the Ioniq 5 and 6, Volkswagen has the ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5, and Mercedes decided to throw class out the window with its EGQRPFJKHGLSD naming scheme for its electric models.
Has any manufacturer bucked this trend? We had a brainstorming session at The Autopian offices today and came up with just one: the latest Porsche Macan. It’s not the Macan Electric, Macan EV, or the Macan McZappy Edition. It’s just Macan. Even the trims don’t specifically reference electricity – customers can choose the Macan 4 or Macan Turbo, and that’s it.
There’s every chance we’ve missed another obvious example, though. Feel free to blast me in the comments with any other models that have transitioned from ICE power to electric without tacking a suffix on the name – or, without resurrecting an old name for a new EV model.
To wit: think the Buick Electra, or the Acura ZDX. Both are electric, and their predecessors were ICE-powered. However, each spent a great deal of time out of production. Porsche, on the other hand, is transitioning an existing model to all-electric as one generation ends and the other begins. Previously, the company gave its first EV a totally unique name: Taycan. The electrified Panamera followed with the E-Hybrid moniker. Now, Porsche is bringing electric drive into its mainstream, bread-and-butter model lineup. Internal-combustion Macans will continue production alongside the electric models, but the latter aren’t getting singled out with a special e-name. Whether it carries gasoline or a battery, a Macan is a Macan.
Porsche is well aware of what it’s doing. Speaking to InsideEVs, North America CEO Timo Resch noted it was past time to ditch special names for EV models. “I’m personally convinced that the direction to not create offers that are distinguished by design or naming is the way forward,” said Resch.
It’s a pivotal moment in the automotive industry. With this move, Porsche is saying that electric cars are just cars. There’s no need to go out of your way to highlight it, because EVs aren’t strange fantastical unicorns anymore. A great deal of people have bought or driven one, and we’re all getting more familiar with them every day.
The key is what comes next. Other automakers are likely to follow Porsche’s example in time. Tags like “EV” and “Electric” are becoming unnecessary. People know that some cars are electric now, even if you don’t plaster it all over the body in badges and blue outlines. Expect these “e” suffixes to become dated and uncool. Remember when a ton of companies rushed to stick a lower-case i in front of their products in the wake of the Apple iPod and iMac? Fast forward a few years, and that whole schtick was totally worn out. It’ll be the same here.
Besides, nobody’s buying a Peugeot 3008 Petroleum or Acura Integra FlammableLiquid, right? We know that cars have engines that burn fossil fuels, so we don’t feel the need to point that out in the name. It’s going to be the same way for EVs soon enough.
We can already see hints of change afoot. Word on the street is that Mercedes will soon abandon the “EQ” badging for its EVs as it offers more electric models. Mini is getting close, with the next-generation electric models simply known as the Cooper E and SE. That’s almost vague enough that you could miss it entirely. Perhaps the next Chevy Equinox will retain its regular name without feeling the need to tack “EV” on the end.
As for American muscle, it looks like the electric sequel to the Charger might go a similar route, and will be known as the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT. The Daytona name will differentiate it from ICE-powered models, but there doesn’t appear to be any electrically-themed naming going on there.
What if Toyota just one day decided the next Camry was going all-electric, and it was still going to be just a Camry? Not the Camry Electron, or the Camry E, or the C4Qx2p!#, just the Camry. That would tell you that the electric era had truly arrived.
Fundamentally, Porsche has decided that tacking on electric-specific branding is no longer necessary. Customers don’t need their hands held, they can understand what an EV is without training wheels anymore. Trends shift and change, and Porsche has made sure it’s at the forefront of this one. Let’s see who follows next.
Image credits: Porsche, Mercedes, Hyundai