Fully electric vehicles still account for a tiny proportion of car sales, but that could change in the next few years, because these upcoming models push the boundaries of performance, range and desirability.
Demand for electrified cars has surged in the last four years, with registrations increasing from around 3500 in 2013 to almost 119,000 in 2017. However, they still represented only 5.6% of the UK car market – and the majority of that was plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rather than fully electric models.
The reason for this is that most of today’s fully electric cars have quite a limited range between charges, making them unsuitable for long journeys. But a host of manufacturers are preparing to launch new models that solve this issue, while also offering stylish looks and innovative technology. Here we take a look at what’s coming when.
Audi e-tron Quattro SUV
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The Audi e-tron Quattro SUV concept was shown off at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2015, and at the Geneva motor show in 2018, Audi unleashed three prototypes to prowl the streets of the Swiss city (we’re sure it had nothing to do with trolling Jaguar and its I-Pace launch). The production car that you’ll be able to buy will launch at the Brussels motorshow in August 2018. It will go head-to-head with the Jaguar I-Pace (which is on sale now), but has some cool features that will make it worth waiting for.
Audi says it will be easily capable of travelling up to 300 miles on a single charge, can be fully recharged in 50 minutes, and can achieve 0-60mph in less than 5-seconds – if you attempt this, expect the 300 mile range to take a bit of a hit.
The concept version has OLED panels all around the front cabin, which displays a wealth of information, including what’s going on around you, as there aren’t any wing mirrors. Expect the production cars to have normal mirrors, but stick with the cool light. Audi says it’ll cost about the same as a well-specced A6 saloon. So expect that to mean a starting price in the region of £50-60k. Being a futuristic car, the e-tron SUV also has a range of lasers and cameras dotted around the outside to enable self-driving capabilities.
The e-tron Sportback – previewed by Audi Elain in Frankfurt in 2017 – is another concept car for now, but will launch in 2019 as a full production model for an estimated £50,000. It looks a lot like the A7, but has huge 23-inch wheels to give you a commanding view of the road. The road going car will be smaller than the e-tron Quattro listed above and will come to market around a year before this car is available to buy.
The Sportback will be a rival car to Jaguar’s I-Pace and will have three electric motors giving it 496bhp that will see it go from 0-60mph in 4.5-seconds. Audi says the e-tron SUV Sportback can be recharged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, and will have a driving range of 311 miles.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which is available in most Audi vehicles, is likely to feature once again, along with a duo of touchscreens in the centre console which provide haptic feedback.
BMW iX3 Electric
BMW has confirmed an electric version of its X3 SUV will be available to buy in 2020. It will eventually be joined by electric versions of the X4 and 7th-gen 3-series.
The electric X3 SUV is likely to look similar to the petrol/diesel X3 SUV that was recently launched. That means it should be similarly sized, and have similar space inside as the Audi e-tron Quattro, and Jaguar I-Pace. Tech will be much as the i4 – BMW’s fourth generation electric architecture – with a front-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheels. The iX3 is a clear sign of BMW reacting to an ever expanding market, but it’s odd that it’s taking the company so long to get the must-have SUV-body style with an electric powertrain to market, given that the i3 has been on sale since 2013.
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BMW confirmed at the Geneva Motor Show 2018 that it will introduce an i4 in the early part of the next decade, and that it will be based on the 4 Series Gran Coupe to give it a sportier look than many bulky and tall EVs. It’ll land before the larger i5 (see below), which was previewed by the i Vision Dynamics concept. While not officially confirmed, power will likely come from a front-mounted electric motor that sends power to the back wheels, it’s BMW’s latest electric architecture, which will also appear under the forthcoming iX3 electric SUV from the Munich brand.
Autocar, who broke the i4 story, believes the car will have similar performance to the 335d GT, which itself produces 350bhp. It will likely have a range of 310 miles when it launches and seems likely to be one of the sportier EV offerings debuting around the turn of the decade.
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BMW unveiled the i Vision Dynamics concept coupe at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017. It previews a mid-sized saloon car, in the BMW i range that’s likely to be called i5 when it launches in 2021. It’s bigger than the company’s 3-Series saloon, but smaller than a 5-Series and designed to sit between the i3 and i8 in the electric BMW i range.
The family-sized car will be capable of reaching 60mph in under 4 seconds, go on to a speed over 120mph and be able to last up to 372 miles on a single charge. Let’s hope it arrives with the same futuristic design displayed on the concept version.
Faraday Future FF-91
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A huge question mark hangs over the striking FF-91. It should have been launched in 2018 – after all, this car debuted at CES in early 2017 and the company opened order books for those wishing to place a deposit. But since then, Faraday has been threatened with bankruptcy, shed plenty of its workforce and work has stopped on its factory. Still, we hope the company makes it.
The FF-91 has a huge 126-inch wheelbase, but that makes for a huge interior. The panoramic sunroof, rear and side windows use Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal Glass, which passengers can tap on to tint the windows and let less light in. Don’t expect to get a conventional rear-view mirror inside, as Faraday Future has replaced it with a widescreen monitor instead. It’s used to show live footage from a camera on rear of the car, along with cameras on the sides, so you can see literally everything around you.
Another thing to be thrown out is a key. Instead, you use your phone to unlock the car, or if you don’t have it with you, your face becomes your key. The FF-91 is able to individually recognise each user and will automatically adjust the seat position, climate control, entertainment preferences and driving routes based on your individual tastes.
The 1,050bhp electric power unit will accelerate to 60mph in 2.39-seconds and will have a driving range between 378 and 435 miles. Faraday Future says the battery can be completely recharged in 1 hour.
Faraday Future’s first production car, FF-91 hits the road in 2018
Byton EV SUV
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Byton joins Faraday in the Tesla-rivalling, start-up car brand stakes. Launched at CES 2018, Byton brought the credibility Faraday perhaps lacks, by offering anyone a test-ride around the parking lot in its prototype SUV. The company says the real car – which it claims will look “95 per cent of the concept” will go on sale some time next year – for a scarcely credible $45,000. This base model, should be good for 250 miles of range, and 0-60mph in around 5 seconds.
When we rode in the car at CES, we came away impressed, mostly be the enormous “coast to coast” cross-car screen. At 49-inches wide and 10 inches deep, it makes a Tesla’s 17-inch display look just a bit small. But the Byton impressed with its clever design, generous space and – well – the fact it doesn’t look too weird. Designed in Silicon Valley and Munich, it’s funded by and will be built in China. First sales will be in its home market, but the company plans to export to Europe and the US in time. If everything works out, expect an early-2020s on sale date in the UK.
Byton SUV concept: Can it take on Tesla and succeed?
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The Fisker EMotion is an electric car designed by Henrik Fisker – the man responsible for designing the BMW Z8 and Aston Martin DB9 to name a few – and is due to be released in August 2017. It will be Fisker’s rival to a Tesla Model S, not just in power, but in price too.
New proprietary battery technology developed at the Fisker Nanotech battery division will give the EMotion a 400+ mile range, and it will eventually support autonomous driving modes thanks to a radar and camera integrated in the front of the car.
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Ford announced at the Detroit Motor Show 2018 that it will invest $11 billion in electric vehicles, and plans to have 40 electrified vehicles on the road by 2022, 16 of which will be fully electric, while the rest will be plug-in hybrids. The new cars won’t necessarily be completely new models though, but rather electric versions of current models that are popular amongst customers. The company already sells an electric version of the Focus in some markets.
They will comprise a mixture of saloons, trucks and SUVs, and the company has plans to introduce a high-performance electric utility vehicle by 2020 and will begin manufacturing a hybrid version of the F-150 truck in the same year.
Honda Urban EV
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It’s long been a sceptic about EVs, but last year Honda announced plans to join the electric party, with its Urban EV. A cute concept, that’s shorter than a Jazz but with space for four inside, Honda’s making bold promises that the production car – which will go on sale in 2019 – will look very much like the concept. Expect it to gain wing mirrors and lose the chatty front and rear displays, but keep the chilled out, simple form language, large glazed areas and – to our surprise – that ultra-wide screen display inside.
Honda’s not confirmed prices or range yet, although Autocar have been tipped the range is likely to come in at around 150 miles. Interestingly, Honda also showed a concept last year, for something called a “Honda power manager” – this device, a kind of fully connected and integrated charger – would potentially integrate into your smart home and allow vehicle-to-grid power flow, which electricity companies and power grids have great interest in, as if they can occasionally use your car to balance the grid demand, it could negate the need to build new power stations to meet the extra demand electric cars have the potential to create.
Mercedes EQ C SUV
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Mercedes plans to introduce 10 electric “EQ” models by 2022, and it’ll start with this – the EQ C SUV, which will be similarly sized to the firm’s mid-sized, premium GLC SUV. Previewed by the “Generation EQ concept” the firm showed in 2016, the brand from Stuttgart has been busy testing prototypes ever since, ahead of a late-2019 launch date. The EQ C will compete with the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron Quattro which arrive ahead of it and (from 2020) the BMW iX3.
Confirmed details are still relatively scant, however Mercedes has previously suggested a range of around 310 miles and a sub 5-second time for the 0-62mph sprint time. As ever, the range won’t be attainable if you’re set on using that kind of performance all the time. Still, the Mercedes is likely to be luxurious and feature a new, all-touch screen interface along with plenty of space. There’s no word on prices, but expect parity with the Jaguar and Audi, so in the high £50,000 to £60,000 range.
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Mini has already confirmed it will be producing a plug-in hybrid version of the Cooper hatchback, but a fully electric version, called the Mini E, will be available to buy from 2019.
Like with the plug-in hybrid version, Mini’s CEO Peter Schwarzenbauer says the electric version of the Cooper will arrive with new battery technology that will offer superior performance compared to other electric vehicles currently on the market. That’s likely to mean a range of over 200 miles, with performance to embarass a Cooper S petrol.
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Polestar is Volvo’s electric performance brand and its first car officially goes on sale in 2019. It’s a slight cheat in this list, because the Polestar 1 Coupe is in fact a hybrid – there’s a large battery capable of 150km (or 90 miles) range alone – but it’s supplemented by a turbo petrol motor, bringing the 1’s total power output to 600 horsepower.
The Polestar is visually similar to the Volvo Concept Coupe shown in 2013, but it’s a fully bespoke car, with all new metal, although it uses Volvo headlamps and dashboard. It’s being built in a bespoke new factory in Chengdu, China and is constructed partly from carbon fiber. Polestar has confirmed however, that the Polestar brand will become all electric, with its next car – named, surprisingly, the ‘2’, set to be an all electric hatchback or crossover and the third vehicle (shocking, called Polestar 3) a large SUV. If you’re interested in the 1, the company is taking orders from the 13th March. You’ll need to put down a $3,150 deposit, but the company hasn’t announced the outright price to buy of the powerful coupe. It will be available on a subscription-style service too, where you can simply pay a monthly amount for the car and all your maintenance in one.
Porsche Mission E
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Porsche unveiled the Mission E at the Frankfurt Motor Show towards the end of 2015. The Mission E is a four-seater sports car with the Tesla Model S set firmly in its sights. It can’t quite match the Model S’s Ludicrous Mode 0-60mph of 2.9 seconds, but at 3.3-seconds, the Porsche won’t be left far behind in a drag race.
The Mission E Cross Turismo that the firm unveiled at the 2018 Geneva motor show evolves the concept as it moves towards production and shows us that the (real) Mission E which you’ll be able to buy from the end of 2019, isn’t likely to be quite the looker that the original concept was. Still set to be a four-door, four-seat saloon (ignore the jacked-up Sport Turismo body of the Geneva concept), the Mission E will keep the concept’s passenger side screen display, curved OLED driver display and floating digital console.
One of the Mission E’s biggest selling points though, is its recharge time. When it goes on sale at the end of 2019 for around $80,000, the Mission E will use a new 800 volt charging system that will give recharge it to 80 per cent in just 15 minutes. So if you do run out of juice on a journey, if you can get yourself to a charging station you’ll be back on the road in the time it takes you to grab a coffee and a sandwich.
Porsche Mission E: Electric Tesla-killer coming soon
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Rimac, the Croation hypercar manufacturer, has announced a follow up model the Concept One – which Richard Hammond famously crashed – and it looks set to be one of the fastest cars on the planet. It has a claimed 0-60mph time of 1.85-seconds, which makes it faster than the Tesla Roadster and a range of 404 miles on a single charge.
Rimac says the 1888bhp car will go on to a top speed of 258mph and can recharged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes. It will go into production later this year and will be limited to a 150 car run.
Skoda Vision E
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Skoda has an electric SUV of its own in the works. Called the Vision E for now, the concept car is to be one of five new electric cars from Skoda to be on the roads by 2025.
It’s based on the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen ID Cross and the Audi e-tron Sportback. It’s therefore likely to have a 310 mile driving range and a top speed of 112mph. Skoda hasn’t revealed a 0-60mph time just yet, but it will have a 302bhp power unit, with all of those horses being available on demand.
Two motors, one on each axle, work in unison to deliver power where it’s needed to provide maximum grip and stability. Clever tech features include being able to automatically find itself a parking space and park, and drive by itself in traffic jams or on motorways.
Skoda suggests that, when the Vision E arrives in the early 2020s, you won’t need to plug it in, as there’ll be inductive charging floor panel that can be fitted in your garage, but if you don’t have space to put in the floor panel, a quick charge plug-in cable will get it back up to 80 per cent in 30 minutes.
A digital screen will replace the analogue instrument cluster, and a larger touchscreen will be fitted to the centre console to handle all things infotainment. You’ll also be able to wirelessly charge your phone with a charger in each door.
Tesla Model 3
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The Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla you can buy. You’ll note the use of “is” in that sentence, when this is a story about future EVs. With the Model 3, the “is it here, is it the future” gets a bit complicated. Half a million people have reserved Tesla’s most affordable car, which starts at $35,000 in the US. The first customers have got their cars over in the States, but as production delays have hit, those in the UK – and beyond the US more widely – will be waiting until 2019 to get their Model 3. Place an order now, in the UK, and you’ll likely be looking at a 2020 delivery.
The $35,000 is just the starting price of course. That’s for the entry-level 220 mile range Model 3. It does 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, but if you’re prepared to pay extra, a “long range” version will crack 60 in 5.1 seconds and does 300 miles on a single charge. Unlike Tesla’s S and X models, if you buy a Model 3, don’t expect to get free use of Tesla’s Supercharger network, but you can pay per use. The Model 3 seats five, features Tesla’s Autopilot system (if you pay extra for it) and information in the minimalist cabin is all displayed through a single, landscape-orientated 15-inch centre display screen.
Tesla Model 3 pre-orders hit 276,000 within the first 3 days
Volkswagen ID Concept
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The ID Concept is one of three ID electric vehicles planned by Volkswagen, to be released from 2020. The Concept is the smallest of the three, but is still a full-size 5-door car.
It will eventually, in 2025, have an autonomous driving mode that will see the steering wheel retract into the dashboard at the touch of a button. The ID Concept will have a driving range of between 249 and 373 miles from a single charge, and the battery can be topped up to 80 per cent in 30 minutes with DC fast charging. The electric motor itself produces 168bhp.
Because there’s no need for space to be taken up by a large engine, VW has managed to give the ID Concept a similar amount of interior space as the Passat, but in a car that’s roughly the same size as a Golf.
There’s no official world on pricing just yet, but VW says it will be offered at “an attractive price”, when it does go on sale.
Volkswagen ID Concept preview: Electric atonement?
Volkswagen ID Crozz
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The ID Crozz will be Volkswagen’s all-electric SUV that will go on sale from 2020. Like the ID Concept, the ID Crozz will get an autonomous driving mode from 2025, complete with retractable steering wheel.
Like the Faraday Future FF-91, the ID Crozz can remember each driver’s personal preferences for things such as climate control and seating position, and will activate them when each individual driver approaches the car.
An 82kWh battery is found in the floor of the car, and this produces a Skoda Vision E matching 112mph top speed and driving range of 310 miles. Power is sent to the rear wheels by default, but it will show the front ones some love if the car feels extra grip is needed, or you can permanently engage an all-wheel drive mode.
A 10.2-inch display will adorn the centre console and handle all the infotainment functions, while a secondary 5.8-inch display in front of the driver will show information relating to the car.
If you know you’re going to be out the house and unable to accept a delivery, you will be able to grant couriers access to the boot of the Crozz so you can drive home with your packages.
There’s no word yet on how much the ID Crozz will cost when it goes on sale.
Volkswagen ID Buzz
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The ID Buzz is the third ID electric vehicle due to go on sale in 2022. It references VW’s historic Microbus and will able to seat up to eight people, with an interior that can be constantly changed around.
Two electric motors will give the ID Buzz a total power output of 369bhp to propel it to 60mph in around 5-seconds. It will be limited to a top speed of 100mph, will have four-wheel drive and a 372 mile driving range. You will be able to recharge the battery to 80 per cent, which VW says will be enough for 298 miles of travel, in 30 minutes.
Like the other two ID vehicles, the Buzz will have a retracting steering wheel to enable an autonomous driving mode, and it will have cameras mounted on the outside in place of conventional wing mirrors.
There’s no official word on how much the ID Buzz may cost when it goes on sale.
Volvo 40.2 concept
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Volvo has revealed its first all-electric car that will hit the roads in 2019 after confirming last year that it would make the move to electrified power next year. The 40.2 (an official model name has yet to be announced) will look very much like the concept image above. It will be a coupé style hatchback with a projected 310 mile range.
Pricing hasn’t been revealed just yet, but the CEO of Volvo’s USA division, Lex Kerssemakers has previously said the company would be aiming for a Model 3 matching price of between $35,000 to $40,000.