29 electric cars to look forward to in 2021
Barely a week into 2021 and things don't feel a great deal different to 2020 – a year many would rather forget! However, there is plenty to look forward to in the world of EVs, so in order to whet your appetite, here's an A-to-Z of some of the major EV launches taking place in 2021.
Audi Q4 e-tron
Likely to be the volume seller of Audi's EV launches this year, the Q4 e-tron mid-sized SUV is the largest car in Audi's stable to use the MEB platform. An 82kWh battery promises a range of up to 310 miles alongside 125kW charging to deliver 80 per cent in 30 minutes. Twin motors mean it'll be punchy, hitting 62 in 6.3 seconds. The regular Q4 e-tron is due in February with the Sportback likely to follow in the summer.
Audi e-tron GT
Also due in February is Audi's answer to the Porsche Taycan. The e-tron GT uses the same J1 platform and is broadly the same size. A 96kWh battery offer 248 miles of range whilst the 800V electric architecture enables ultra-rapid, 350kW charging. With the twin motor version offering the best part of 640bhp, it'll keep up with the Taycan Turbo. Like the Taycan, the lower reaches of the e-tron GT model range will be filled in after the launch of the high-power versions.
The BMW iX is the brand's first purpose-built, next-generation EV. Developed from the iNEXT concept and with styling that could be called controversial, it's not due for launch until towards the end of the year. But if you can get over the way it looks, there's a lot to like, including a 500bhp powertrain, 100kWh+ battery and over 300 miles of range. BMW's R&D Head has been quoted as saying 373 miles is possible thanks in part to BMW's fifth-gen eDrive technology. The iX should give other premium electric SUVs a lot to worry about.
Also likely to launch in late 2021 and no less challenging on the eye, the BMW i4 is the brand's first bespoke electric saloon. It's based on the new 4 Series Gran Coupe and will be a new challenger in the performance EV saloon field. It should compare favourably to cars like the Tesla Model 3 thanks to an 80kWh battery offering around 375 miles of range, along with over 500bhp.
An electrified X3 rather than a bespoke EV, the iX3 will allow BMW to compete in the ultra-popular mid-sized premium electric SUV segment. Its familiarity of design will almost certainly work in its favour. Due in March 2021, it combines a 74kWh (net) battery with a single 282bhp motor driving the rear wheels. Up to 279 miles is possible, whilst 150kW charging enables 80 per cent state of charge in 34 minutes. At £61,900 it isn't cheap, but then again, nor is the competition. Expect it to do well.
Hitting the roads in the next few weeks is the Citroën e-C4 – the brand's first foray into the compact electric hatch segment. As well as the tried-and-tested powertrain offering a 50kWh battery and 136bhp, it brings with it all-new styling which we quite liked, but could also be somewhat polarising. We also liked the high levels of kit, 217 mile range and comfort on offer. Starting at less than £29,180, it's a good all-rounder. Check out our review.
Essentially a restyled VW ID.3, the el-Born is CUPRA's first full EV. Where CUPRA reckons the el-Born will differ from the VW with which it shares, well, almost everything is in the driving dynamics stakes. Aside from revised suspension, the CUPRA gets the 201bhp rear-drive motor and 77kWh (net) battery, good for 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and 310 miles of range. It's due in March.
Likely to follow in the footsteps of the MINI Electric, the new Fiat 500 brings the hugely popular small hatch (and FCA Group) into the EV era. Initially, at least, the new 500 will be electric only. It'll also be the first four-seater convertible EV on sale, though a hard top will likely be the big seller. Two battery options (23.8kWh and 42kWh) and two power outputs (94bhp and 116bhp) mean it's possible to spec a 500 for less than £20k. However, we suspect most people will opt for the more powerful car with the larger battery (offering 199 miles of range), which starts at £23,495 for the hatch and £26,145 for the convertible when it goes on sale in March.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
It feels like we've been waiting a lifetime for the Ford Mustang Mach-E, but in spring Ford's first purpose-built EV will finally hit the road. We got a first look at European spec cars last March and there's plenty to look forward to, with up to 332bhp and a 99kWh battery giving 335 miles in top-spec form at launch. Further down the line a GT version will raise the performance bar thanks to 459bhp and 612lb-ft of torque. The base car will start somewhere around £40,000 with a higher spec launch edition likely to tickle the £60k mark.
GMC Hummer EV
Whilst it's not likely to make it over here (given that GM pulled out of Europe a few years ago), the Hummer EV is noteworthy in the way it's reinvented an American icon in electric form. Everything about the Hummer EV is big in top spec form, such as the 120kWh battery, 1000bhp and 350kW charging. Though trumping this is the 11,500lb-ft of torque. It'll have huge off-road capability, and even has four-wheel steering enabling it to 'crab walk' to avoid obstacles. The car hitting the road this year is the top-spec version which will start at $112,595.
Hyundai Kona Electric – revamp
Hyundai's popular Kona Electric is a reasonably priced, well equipped EV with a genuine real-world range of 300 miles. In short it ticks a lot of boxes. The 2021 version gets new styling – which we think is an improvement – as well as the latest Hyundai infotainment, driver aids and safety technology. Powertrains are unchanged. Find out more about the new Hyundai Kona Electric.
Hyundai has created the IONIQ sub-brand to cover its new-generation EVs. These will use a brand new platform, named E-GMP, as well as a world-first switchable 400V/800V, bidirectional electronic architecture. The IONIQ 5 is the first car we'll see and it will take the form of a small SUV which takes design cues from Hyundai's '45' concept. It's due to be revealed in the coming weeks but it's touch and go as to whether it'll be on sale before the end of 2021.
Kia's new bespoke EV
It doesn't have a name just yet, but we do know that in January, Kia will reveal its version of the IONIQ 5 noted above. It'll have Kia's design language, so should look good, but otherwise we expect it to share the exact same components and powertrains. Look out for a forthcoming news story!
Excuse us while we fail to get too excited about the Lexus UX300e, but the Japanese brand's entry into the EV market will be available in March. With a 54.3kWh battery and 201bhp motor, it's good for just under 200 miles, though its maximum 50kW charging means the relatively small battery still takes over an hour to charge at its maximum input. What you do get is a smorgasbord of Lexus equipment and quality, as well as a million km or 10 year battery warranty. It will start at £43,900.
Series production of the £2 million electric hypercar is due to start mid-year with customer deliveries following soon after. All 130 of the first run have sold, so Lotus's gambit has paid off. The Lotus Evija is more than a party piece; it's an engineering and technological tour de force by the company, and heralds the start of a purely electric future. Of course, the numbers are fun to talk about: 1973bhp of go, 1254lb-ft of twist, 0-62mph in two-point-something seconds and 0-186mph in nine seconds! A 70kWh battery means it'll even do 250 miles on a charge. Consider it a game changer.
The Lucid Air has the potential to be one of the most exciting EV launches of the year – if it lives up to the hype. It'll take the fight to Tesla and quite possibly beat the best that Elon Musk can offer, offering level 3 autonomous driving, a seriously luxurious interior with a 34 inch wraparound glass cockpit display and powertrains that make other EVs look obsolete. Coming in Q2 this year, the Dream Edition represents the halo car in the range, packing 1080bhp and a 503 mile range. A Grand Touring Edition capable of 517 miles will follow. At the top end, the Air will cost £132,000, but a base-spec car will eventually bring the entry price down to £62,500.
Taking to UK roads in March, the MX-30 is Mazda's first EV. It's possible to draw similarities with cars like the Honda e, in that the Mazda is endowed with a small battery and is designed to cater for the journeys most people make, most of the time, rather than a family road trip. That somewhat goes against its small SUV practicality, but that aside, it's a stylish looking thing. With 35.5kWh, 124 miles is the WLTP range. From £25,545, the MX-30 is a left-field choice, but it remains to be seen if Mazda's assertion pays off that a short range is all people actually need.
Mercedes is beginning its EV offensive in 2021 with eight fully-electric EQ-badged Mercedes' on sale by 2022. The EQA is one of the first out the gate, joining the compact SUV EV segment. We don't actually know much about it at this time, with the official launch happening later in January. Watch this space for more information.
Think EQA but slightly bigger and you're there with the EQB. A slightly larger SUV, it will take to European roads before it makes its way to the UK. Rumours are that it'll be capable of over 300 miles, but we wait to find out at the launch event. Both the EQA and EQB are based on a new platform.
Based on all-new architecture, the EQS is the electrified version of Mercedes' flagship limousine. It's actually going to be built on the same line as the ICE-powered S-Class and is being touted as able to deliver the same serenity and luxury as the petrol versions. Up to 435 miles of range has been touted, but we wait to find out the final statistics.
Unlike the cars noted above, we know the details of the Merc's electric MPV. Up to eight can be seated in it, but the full Mercedes vibe is probably best encapsulated in the six or four seat versions. An array of front and passenger infotainment and the brand's renowned quality comes as standard, as does a 90kWh battery and 201bhp motor, enabling the large MPV to travel 213 miles on a charge. It isn't cheap, though, costing from £70,665 and hitting the roads imminently.
What many are considering the electric version of the Qashqai; the Nissan Ariya will supplement the LEAF and enable one of the original EV adopters to compete in the mid-sized SUV segment. Two battery sizes will be available – 63 and 87kWh with a twin motor version using Nissan's new e-4ORCE four-wheel drive system. In top-spec, 87kWh form, it'll get 302bhp, do 0-62 in 5.7 seconds and have 285 miles of range. The top-spec single motor version will be able to achieve up to 310 miles on a charge. It'll be available later in 2021.
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
Effectively a shooting brake version of Porsche's mighty Taycan, the Cross Turismo retains the same powertrains, infotainment and tech as the regular car. And this is no bad thing; the Taycan is one of the very best EVs that money can buy. The Cross Turismo is expected in spring having been delayed from its initial planned launch late last year.
Škoda Enyaq iV
Škoda's first ground-up EV, the Enyaq iV uses the VW Group's MEB platform and will compete with cars like the Kia e-Niro, Hyundai Kona Electric and Vauxhall Mokka-e. It'll come packed with Škoda's latest infotainment and driving tech, as well as a surprisingly roomy interior, and if one desires, recycled materials. Four power and two battery options will be available, including a vRS performance version with 301bhp. Prices start at £30,450 and the Enyaq iV will go on sale in the spring.
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla knows that after several years of being almost untouchable when it comes to performance, range, charging and autonomy, companies like Lucid aren't just catching up; they're threatening to overtake. Similarly, the Porsche Taycan is dynamically superior, so Tesla had to act and the Model S Plaid is its answer. With 1100bhp and a top speed of over 200mph, as well as up to 520 miles on a charge, it just about beats the Lucid Air in the numbers one-upmanship game. It starts at £130,980 and should hit the road before the year is out, though we are yet to see the launch car in the flesh.
Tesla Model Y
We called the Tesla Model Y 'an inflated Model 3' given its size and where it sits in the Tesla Range. A base-spec car with a 50kWh battery and single motor on the rear axle will still have sub-six second 0-60 performance and 170kW charging. At the top of the range, the Performance model will have a 75kWh battery and up to 580bhp, meaning supercar acceleration and just less than 300 miles of range. The Long Range and Performance models are due soon, with the standard car to follow. Prices will start at just under £30k for the standard range car.
Vauxhall's popular Mokka small SUV gets the electric treatment this year. It uses the PSA group's standard EV powertrain, which is nothing spectacular – albeit it is tried and tested. Where the Mokka-e stands out is in its styling, as it is the first Vauxhall to use the brand's new 'Vauxhall Visor' front end. Inside, it's also going to be the first Vauxhall to get an uplifted level of standard technology which the brand says is more akin to that found in the segment above. Deliveries are due to start in April.
Like the Škoda Enyaq iV, the ID.4 uses the MEB platform in an SUV guise. The ID.4 will eventually get a range of powertrain options, which we suspect will mirror those found in the Škoda. In launch guise, we know that the Volkswagen ID.4 will get a 77kWh battery which, combined with the 201bhp rear motor, will enable the car to drive for up to 323 miles. Rapid charging at 125kWh will add 200 miles in just 30 minutes. Much of the tech and infotainment will be carried over from the ID.3 – which is no bad thing – whilst up to 1575 litres of luggage space will make the ID.4 a practical family wagon. Prices are to be confirmed prior to a spring launch.
Volvo XC40 Recharge
Arriving to the first UK customers imminently, priced from £52,155, the Volvo XC40 Recharge is the brand’s first purpose-built, pure electric car. A 78kWh battery offers a range of around 250 miles whilst the twin motor setup delivers 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds thanks to 402bhp and 487lb-ft. Tech-wise, the Volvo follows Polestar in being powered by Google’s Android operating system, benefitting from over-the-air updates and the suite of Google features anyone with an Android phone will be familiar with.