What a year that has been! Corona, war, energy shock. Above all, it was an expensive year for motorists, but there were also rays of hope. Our author comments on his personal tops and flops for 2022.
If you look back on the car year, the first thing that comes to mind is your own pain-contorted face at the gas station. Refueling in Germany has never been more expensive than in 2022. A mixture of politically desired increases in the price of petrol and diesel with new CO2 taxes, more traffic after the end of many corona measures and the Ukraine war as a fire accelerator drove petrol prices at times to well over two euros per liter. With an electric car it was much cheaper to travel; but electricity also became more expensive, especially at public charging stations.
What else did the car year 2022 deliver in terms of annoyances, but also great innovations and pleasant things? A personal review of the tops and flops of 2022.
Even those who are not into e-cars can actually only like the VW ID Buzz. Retro design meets modern drive, the old promise of mobile freedom is combined with the demand for sustainable mobility. Although or precisely because the new Bulli combines so many contradictions, it was well received in the car world. The first annual production was sold out in no time. To top it off, the electric Bulli won the title “German Car of the Year” – well deserved, despite the proud prices that VW is asking for the car.
While the ID Buzz VW brings a lot of joy, people in Wolfsburg look to the east with concern. The Korean brands Hyundai and Kia brought a whole bunch of attractive models onto the market in 2022 – not only, but above all electric cars like the Ioniq 5. In terms of design, but also processing quality and image, the Koreans rose as strongly as the year ended never. Disadvantage of the winning streak: The prices for new Kias and Hyundais are now anything but special offers.
The electric age was also heralded at Ford. In just a few years, most, in Europe even all, Fords will only be battery-powered. But until that happens, the Americans will first get out the V8 hammer again – with the new Ford Mustang.
The fourth-generation Coyote V8 in the Mustang is the most powerful naturally aspirated production 5.0-liter V8 Ford has ever offered. The optimized innards include forged connecting rods, a special crankshaft and reinforced camshafts. Apart from the slight power plus, the measures also help the Mustang “Dark Horse” to reach a maximum speed of 7500 rpm.
The Ford Bronco, on the other hand, exudes a thirst for adventure. The off-roader, which is also available in Germany, is already a bestseller in the USA. With rough edges, thick engines and all sorts of leisure accessories, the Bronco successfully braces itself against any car-hostile zeitgeist.
In the EU, the combustion engine will be banned from 2035, but it has long been clear worldwide that the electric car will not be the only alternative to the classic gas guzzler. Porsche, for example, started industrial production of synthetic fuel in Chile in 2022. The pilot plant in Punta Arenas was commissioned by filling up a Porsche 911. The synthetic and almost CO2-neutral fuel is produced from water and carbon dioxide with the help of wind energy.
The climate fuel is still only produced in small quantities, but that could be different in the future. Because not every country can expand e-mobility as quickly and as far as desired. And not only e-fuels could replace at least part of the classic petrol and diesel fuel. Other eco-fuels such as “HVO diesel”, which is made from waste, also significantly improve the climate balance of cars.
2022 was the year when things really got serious with the Chinese attack on the established car manufacturers from Germany, France, Korea and Japan. MG, Nio, BYD or Lynk
So much for the good news of the year – but what caused frustration, anger or incomprehension? There was a lot there too.
Similar to the lateral thinkers in the past, they are only a small, loud minority, but they get a lot of media attention: the climate glue of the so-called “last generation”. Driven by doomsday scenarios, which incidentally cannot even be found in serious climate science, they stick to roads and highways or try to block important infrastructure such as airports. At the latest after a spectacular case in Berlin, where they delayed a rescue operation, the eco-end-time disciples have not only become embarrassing, but also dangerous.
The fact that fossil fuels continue to play the backbone of the energy supply in many countries shows that the reality is very different from what the climate gluers would like it to be. Sometimes even without need, as in Germany: Because the country is phasing out nuclear power and only a few remaining miles are running, but wind and solar energy often only deliver a fraction of their installed capacity, especially in winter, the German energy mix is deteriorating significantly . This also quickly dispels the myth of the electric car as a climate saver.
Dear BMW designer, what do you actually want with these cars – to scare my children? The maxi-SUV BMW XM with its grotesquely puffed-up kidney is the bizarre highlight of the new BMW design language. Sure, some customers – especially in the USA or China – still like the Aggro design. However, the brand no longer picks me up. No wonder that in 2022 the BMW design was made fun of on social networks with memes and Photoshop creations, in which the entire front of the car consisted only of a huge kidney.
In the former GDR you sometimes had to wait 15 years for a new Trabi, while used cars were available immediately, but only at outrageous prices. The car market in 2022 was a little bit like it was then. Even used cars that have been rocked down fetch top prices, the delivery times for new cars were extreme and many model variants can no longer be ordered at all.
The situation, fueled by a shortage of raw materials, the energy crisis and supply chain chaos, is being exploited by car manufacturers, sometimes drastically raising prices for new cars. Unfortunately, it does not look as if this trend could be reversed again in the new year 2023.
The range of electric cars is growing, but small electric city vehicles are rare. The tide is already low for small petrol engines: from the Opel Adam to the VW Up, from the combustion engine Smart to the Audi A1, small cars have started to die out.
The manufacturers are fleeing to the margin, the small and micro cars are left behind, regardless of whether they are electric or have a combustion engine. If you look at the product plans of car manufacturers, SUVs will continue to play the leading role in the next few years. The bigger, the better, because you can only make real money with large and extensively equipped vehicles. But who knows: sooner or later, the Chinese manufacturers already mentioned may also fill this gap in the range.