The floodgates are about to open and we’re set for an onslaught of new electric cars in the months ahead.
The major manufacturers are readying their zero emission warriors for battle and the likes of Mercedes, Volkswagen and Jaguar will try to position themselves at the head of the pack with new electric cars.
Of course, the big guns are behind the times. Tesla has established its position as the absolute benchmark, the yardstick by which the others will be measured.
While you can order a Tesla right now, too, some of the new electric cars aren’t even close to signed off. So, we don’t actually know the final details of some of the best upcoming cars and we’ll have to wait for full disclosure.
Here, though, is our selection of the best new electric cars that you’ll see in the year ahead.
Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ
The flagship model of the new Mercedes sub-brand is a breath of fresh air and Mercedes promises that the concept car that blew the crowds away at last year’s Paris Motor Show is 90% of the finished version.
This SUV carries the weight of Mercedes’ electric efforts on its shoulders and is the first of a wave of cars to come from the Stuttgart marque. It’s a landmark moment for the company, which has set to work on its own Gigafactory in Germany, so it has to be a great car.
Mercedes claims a range of up to 310 miles, although that’s on the European cycle and we can probably expect to see around 250 miles according to the EPA figures.
The battery pack can be scaled up to 70 kWh and an impressive power output of 300 kW, the SUV is set to be a beast that can take the fight to the mid-range Teslas.
Expect a 0-60 mph time of less than five seconds, but it’s the interior that excites us the most. Mercedes is already ahead of the pack and there are more groundbreaking cars in the offing.
But this is a slick set-up, with a 24-inch TFT screen as an instrument cluster, a second touchscreen on the center console that is totally free from mechanical controls. Even the wing mirrors are gone, replaced with cameras that show an image on the interior door panels. It’s a light, airy and inviting cabin. Outside the lights that replace the vents are clever and stylish.
The EQ may well get usurped in the tidal wave of electric cars that are on the way. But, right now, it’s the one new EV we’re really looking forward to driving.
Porsche Mission E
German sportscar legend Porsche will deliver the Mission E in 2020, but it is already building up to the big fight with Tesla and its other main rivals. The motoring press is salivating like Pavlov’s dog and it’s easy to see why.
It’s a four-wheel-drive, (447 kW) 600 bhp supercar with four-wheel-drive thanks to a brace of motors. Porsche reckons it can charge up to 80% battery life in just 15 minutes, thanks to a new 800 V charging system, and the car can cover 310 miles on a single charge.
As you’d expect from an iconic sportscar manufacturer, the Mission E will also be seriously quick. It won’t, however, get anywhere near the Tesla Model S P100D in terms of pure acceleration. Porsche is claiming a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 s, which is fast and yet well behind the Tesla flagship.
Design wise, the Mission E is a work of art, with suicide doors and a shape that fits somewhere between the Porsche 911 and Panamera. It’s angular at the front end, and yet overall, it’s one of the sexiest cars we have for you here.
Porsche has bet big on the Mission E, so even though it won’t be on sale for years then you can expect to see it on the road and in the press before too long.
Audi E-Tron Sportback
The German manufacturer teased us with the electric R8 for years, but then they showed us the E-Tron Sportback and all was forgiven. This monster crossover SUV will hit the actual market in 2019, but rest assured that it will be on the road in 2018 and we simply can’t wait to see this one.
It’s a beauty and a beast and a complete and radical design departure for the notoriously conservative Stuttgart marque. Just look at it. We really don’t need to sell this angular design and snub nose front that is mated to a body that reminds us, a little, of the BMW X6.
Traditional lights will give way to digital projectors and the Audi will have an illuminated badge, too. Sexy!
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It comes with 320 kW of power, although Audi has promised an intriguing boost function that will deliver up to 370 kW. That’s the electrical equivalent of 496 bhp and that’s good enough for a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 s. If anything, that number seems a little conservative. The Audi will have a 95-kWh battery pack that should easily top the 310 miles that Audi has promised us a bare minimum by the time the car hits the road.
Essentially an electrified version of the F-Type, albeit heavily revised, this car will hit the market in 2018 and it’s aimed squarely at the Tesla Model X.
It isn’t the most radical electric car in terms of design and it even comes with traditional grilles on the front that really don’t have any intrinsic cooling purpose. But it’s an elegant car nonetheless and the cab forward design, glass roof and raked windscreen should make it a great driving experience.
With a 90-kWh battery pack and a 220-mile range, this is one of the most exciting electric cars that we can’t drive yet. The 295 kW (394 bhp) motor isn’t a match for some of the machines on this list, but with 516 lb/ft of torque then nobody should complain that the Jaguar isn’t fast enough. That’s because Jaguar claims that it will hit 60 mph in less than four seconds, which is seriously quick for a car with that kind of power.
The interior is an elegant blend of a Tesla-style center console touch screen, a TFT instrument panel and typical Jaguar luxury.
The British marque kept its electric plans relatively quiet, but it has exploded on to the scene with the I-PACE. It has joined the Formula E field to perfect its technology and it already claims to have a battery pack that can charge up to 80% in 90 minutes. For all of these reasons, the I-PACE makes our list of best new electric cars to keep an eye on!
We don’t even have a name for the new Volvo model, but we do know it will be on the road by 2019. It’s another crossover SUV and it looks the part on the early renders, although it’s absolutely recognizable as a Volvo.
We do know that the new car will come with a 100-kWh battery pack, so it should offer pretty serious performance or a vast range. Volvo has clearly stated it’s aiming at a 250-mile range, though, and we can’t see the company trying to challenge Tesla’s iconic P100D when it comes to performance.
So, does it need that vast battery pack? Maybe not, but then Volvo clearly has something in mind. It also intends to market the car for around $40,000, which sounds like a bargain, and it will be based on the 40 Series platform.
Volvo intends to bring another, more luxurious new electric car to market in 2019. That will be based loosely on the XC90 and will come with a larger price tag. But this is the car that has the potential to make a real impact.
Rimac Concept S
Mate Rimac was distracted for a while, rebuilding the Concept One prototype that Richard Hammond spectacularly crashed on a Swiss hill climb for The Grand Tour. So, the Concept S might suffer a slight delay.
It’s around the corner, though, and when this 1032 kW (1350 bhp) monster touches down, then it could well produce a clean sweep of electric car lap records and assert the Croatian firm’s dominance in the electric hypercar sector.
This is the tougher, stronger version of the Concept One that still blows us away. It comes with racing aerodynamics, including a massive rear wing and diffuser, and it looks pretty much like a track-only car. It isn’t, but it gives the impression that it could be hard work on the road. It is going to be brutally fast when it arrives. Expect a 227 mph machine that can burst through 60 mph in less than 2.5 s.
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It comes with in-wheel motors, which allows for supremely advanced four-wheel-drive and torque vectoring. That also means you can tune the car to your liking, from safe and steady understeer to wild and lairy powerslides.
We have fallen in love with the look of the Concept One and while the Concept S is a little less cohesive thanks to the aero appendages, it’s still a thing of wonder.
Tesla Model Y
The Tesla Model 3 is stealing all the headlines right now and rightfully so, but within the next year we should have the final model in the slightly bizarre S-3-X-Y line-up.
Now, we won’t actually have the finished production car. That will come in 2019, but we should at least have a complete prototype and a much clearer vision of what it will look like.
This compact SUV will help Tesla expand exponentially, because it’s another affordable car that shouldn’t cost much more than the Model 3. How much more? We’re really not sure right now. We’ve got teaser images to go on and the most basic information.
For a start, the Model Y will be built on a totally new platform, now that Tesla has given up on the concept of using the Model 3 architecture. What else do we know? Well Elon Musk has promised a revolutionary wiring system, the end of the 12V lead-acid battery and a revolutionary production line. That’s not much help when it comes to the finished car, though.
Logic dictates that the Model Y will come with a largely-similar powertrain to the Model 3. That means a maximum size of 75 kWh, with a series of smaller and cheaper options, too. Expect a minimum range of 215 miles, but the caveat is that there are two solid years of development left to come and battery range could go through the roof between now and then.
It’s going to be an epic car that Tesla thinks could be even bigger news than the Model 3. Only time will tell.
Ford got left so far behind in the electric car race that the CEO and a number of senior managers were shown the door. Now the Blue Oval is playing catch up and Bill Ford has promised us an all-new CUV by 2020. It’s a long way away, but Ford has argued that it wants to make a 300-mile car that it can sell at an affordable price.
We’re basically guessing at the spec at this point, as Ford has revealed so little about the car. We do know that Ford has worked tirelessly on its self-driving system and that should be a highlight on this car.
Ford has to get back in the game, in a hurry. So we’re expecting to see a wave of publicity on this new car before too long. You can’t buy it for a while, but we’re sure we’re going to get information by the bucketload as the Blue Oval reasserts itself in the zero emissions sector with a bunch of new electric cars.
The Japanese manufacturer was a market leader in the hybrid world, but it has lost its way as of late and the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Clarity, with its 80-mile range, has simply baffled the world. But Honda will follow up in 2018 with two lithium-ion-powered electric cars. One is just for the Chinese market, but the other will be a global car that could restore the marque’s reputation.
How? We’re not entirely sure. We really don’t have any details to go on.
All we know is that Honda is promising a revolution in the way power is fed to and from the car, which suggests that it could feed excess power back into a home battery. The company also believes it can create 150 miles of range with a 15-minute charge, which the Clarity couldn’t achieve with a “full tank”.
Honda has finally grabbed the bull by the horns as far as electric cars go, and the next generation NSX is almost certainly going to be an electric hypercar. We will have to wait and see what comes first, though, and a simple, mid-range machine with solid mileage would be a massive improvement on what we have right now.
Honda is simply too good to go down without a fight and we’re sure they’re going to launch some solid new electric cars next year. We can’t wait to see them.
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That’s it for our overview of the coolest new electric cars coming soon on the market. Which one’s your favorite?