Best electric cars 2020 – what’s coming and when
We might only be a couple of weeks into 2020, but already there is much to look forward to in terms of high-profile EV launches this year. In fact, over the next 11-and-a-bit months the choice of EVs in the UK is going to experience an unprecedented uplift.
Last year was a stellar year for EVs in a variety of ways. More models than ever were available to the public to buy. The number of charging stations surpassed the number of petrol stations (now standing at around 10,000). Franchised dealer networks improved their EV sales processes. Oh, and Tesla smashed an 'unbreakable' window at its Cybertruck launch.
In total, the SMMT suggests that we can expect 23 EVs to be launched in 2020, so let's take a look at what’s worth getting excited about – from the mundane to the exotic.
1. Vauxhall Corsa-e
Vauxhall’s first foray into the world of EVs comes in the form of its evergreen (and now just green) small hatch. Inside and out, the Corsa-e looks almost identical to its combustion-powered siblings, but underneath it’s powered by a 134bhp electric motor which draws energy from a 50kWh battery, giving it a 205 mile range. Those underpinnings also form the basis of the Peugeot e-208.
2. Peugeot e-208
If you like the Corsa-e’s stats but don’t like the brand or the car’s styling, then the good news is you can have it wrapped up in a Peugeot bodyshell. The 208 is enormously popular across the continent and aside from the funky looks, it is well equipped for the money – which undercuts the Vauxhall fairly significantly.
3. MINI Electric
Let’s be honest here, the MINI Electric is going to fly out of the showrooms. Its seven-ish seconds to 62mph time and go-kart like handling will ensure it fits the bill of its Cooper branding, but the compromise comes in the form of its 32.6kWh battery. This affords it a range of 145 miles, but it does mean it’s light, quick to charge and perfect for most everyday journeys.
4. Honda e
Honda’s first EV could be viewed as a Japanese take on the MINI in many ways. The Honda e has retro-cool styling, a small footprint, the promise of dynamic performance and a relatively small 35.5kWh battery to give it a range of 125 miles. The Honda trumps some of its rivals in the dynamic stakes with 50:50 weight distribution, rear wheel drive and 148bhp under the bonnet. It should be a barrel of laughs!
5. Skoda Citigo-e IV, SEAT Mii and VW e-Up!
We’re bundling these three together as they’re the same car once you peel away the badges and subtle styling differences. For the e-Up!, the new version is a distinct improvement whilst the Mii and Citigo-e IV are brand new. Range is around 161 miles and they will all come in five-door only. An 81bhp motor provides enough grunt for the odd motorway detour and in the case of the Mii, it will now only be available as an EV.
Price: From £19,300 for the Mii
Available: From February
6. Fiat EV 500
Fiat Chrysler Group is late to the EV party –its deeply unsuccessful original 500 EV aside. However, Fiat is sticking its neck out and making the next 500 EV-only. We don't actually know a lot about it, except that the brand has spent $700m getting its Turin factory ready to turn out 80,000 units per year. We do know that Fiat will go up-market with the EV 500 – certainly initially – with lowlier editions for more mass-market appeal coming further down the line.
Price: Est £27,000
Available: Late 2020
7. Volkswagen ID.3
Stepping things up from the city cars, the VW ID.3 is probably the brand’s most important car in a generation and, thanks to the MEB platform, is the start of an electric push by which VW will see much of its fleet go electric over the next decade or so. Available with two battery sizes, the larger offers up to 342 miles of range. The smaller will still do the business at 260 miles, and thanks to its lower price will open up the EV market, through a renowned and highly-regarded brand, to an entirely new generation of buyers. As a footnote, SEAT should be launching its version of the ID.3, called the el-Born, at the Geneva Motor Show.
Price: Less than £27,000
8. Kia Soul EV
The Soul was Kia's first full EV and the second-generation car promises a host of upgrades over its forebear, thanks by and large to the fact it shares the same powertrain as the Kia e-Niro – a car we're really rather keen on. With the Soul EV being slightly smaller overall, it should trump the e-Niro's 279 miles and like most new Kia's today, will also punch above its weight in terms of standard equipment and technology.
Available: Early 2020 (probably March)
9. Peugeot e-2008
Sharing much with the e-208, the all-electric B-segment SUV will bring Peugeot into a competitive part of the market. It has the same 134bhp and 50kWh battery, however its slight size and weight penalty lobs 12 miles off the e-208s range, with the e-2008 achieving 193 miles. Inside it comes with Peugeot's latest 3D i-cockpit, the usual Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as the MyPeugeot app through which buyers can remotely configure the car.
10. DS 3 Crossback E-Tense
Think Peugeot e-2008 as above, but more DS-ey. That means plush interiors and a focus on comfort with hydropneumatic suspension. When we tested it we liked the styling, interior comfort and light feel to the driving experience as well as the fact that it doesn't compromise in any way when compared to an ICE car. It's not as fast or as well laid out as some rivals, but it's a strong entry to the EV world for DS.
11. Volvo XC40 Recharge
Volvo has big electric ambitions and the XC40 Recharge is its first pure EV – the first of what will eventually be a full range of EVs. It's a serious piece of kit; two motors (one front, one rear) offering up 402bhp meaning 0-62 takes just 4.9 seconds. A 78kWh battery means it's good for 250 miles and thanks to 150kW DC charging can be juiced to 80 per cent in just 40 minutes. It's a tech-fest too, being tied into Google via an Android-powered infotainment system that will be updated iteratively.
Price: TBC but c. £50,000 for a launch edition
Available: Autumn 2020
12. Tesla Model Y
Arguably the biggest name in EVs is entering the compact crossover market with the Model Y. Lifting many components from the ultra-successful Model 3, the Y is surely destined to echo that success thanks to its (almost) mass-market pricetag, range and performance. These are up to 336 miles and as little as 3.5 seconds to 60. And all of this is with seating for up to seven adults. It'll also come with a new version of the company's supercomputer semi-autonomous driving system.
Available: Autumn 2020
13. BMW iX3
This will be BMW's first car in its all-new and much-anticipated range of EVs. However, rather than being a purpose-built EV like the i3, the iX3 is an electrified version of its X3, so it still looks very car-like. It'll be packing two motors, one front and one rear, with somewhere in the region of 500bhp potentially on tap. A 70kWh battery will enable it to travel around 250 miles on a charge.
Price: £55,000 est
Available: Autumn 2020
14. Polestar 2
The Chinese-Swedish brand is gunning for a slice of the Tesla market with its Polestar 2, and we can see the appeal. Its Volvo S90-based exterior design is attractive and distinctive, its interior minimalism and Google-powered infotainment likewise. Underneath it shares the same powertrain as the Volvo XC40 Recharge which means twin motors producing 402bhp, 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, a 78kWh battery and over 300 miles on a charge.
15. Ford Mustang Mach-E
One of 2019's big reveals, the Mustang Mach-E is not only Ford's first 'proper' EV; it's also the first time in 55 years that the Mustang name has been used on something other than a sports coupe. It'll compete with the Tesla Model Y and comes in several states of tune with similarly varying price points. Top-spec cars get a 99kWh battery offering 370 miles of range and 332bhp. A Mach-E GT version with 459bhp is already being planned.
16. Porsche Taycan
Some motoring journalists have called the Taycan the best EV money can buy, and we really wouldn't argue too hard with that – if money isn't an object of course. Porsche called it the beginning of a new era for the brand, and it brought with it numerous pieces of typical Porsche engineering brilliance, like its two-speed gearbox and ability to do flat-out acceleration runs all day. Over 750bhp and a proven real-world range of over 250 miles in Turbo S form, it even managed a lap of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in seven minutes 42 seconds. The Taycan has rattled Tesla – and that says it all.
17. Audi Q4 e-tron
Audi's e-tron is a superb EV in almost every way, but it is pricey and it is big. Whilst the Q4 isn't exactly going to be small and cheap, it will bring entry into an Audi EV down to a more realistic price point. It's based on the MEB platform – like the VW ID. family – rather than the larger MQ platform that the e-tron uses. It'll sit somewhere between the ID.3 and e-tron not only in terms of size, but also performance with standard Quattro and 302bhp pitching it right in the middle. An 82kWh battery should see 300 miles on a charge comfortably.
Price: £50,000 est
Available: Late 2020
18. Pininfarina Battista
Have you got around £2 million knocking about and want an electric hypercar? Well, the Battista is the car for you! Packing around 1900bhp, knocking 62mph down in less than two seconds and topping out at 186mph around 10 seconds later it'll be... alarmingly fast. Due to a massive 120kWh battery it should still manage 300 miles with a feather-light right foot.
Price: £2 million
Available: Probably not – only 150 will be made hitting the road late 2020
19. Lotus Evija
A wave of limited production, uber-powerful electric hypercars is on its way over the next two years and Lotus's effort, the Evija, is looking like one of the most complete prospects at this moment in time. Its performance should eclipse even the Battista, with 1973bhp enabling it to hit 186mph in nine seconds (with 124 to 186mph taking less than four seconds) and a top speed of over 200mph.
Price: £1.7 million
Available: Nah – but the 130 being produced will hit the road mid 2020
20. Rivian R1T
An upstart EV pick-up manufacturer that has clearly gotten under Tesla's skin, Rivian's R1T is a 'pick-up designed for the EV generation'. Which, loosely translated, means that like its US petrol-powered forbears, will be ludicrously overpowered, massive and utterly unsuitable for the UK's roads. But that won't necessarily stop it coming here. With clever packaging, 745bhp and lots of torque it should just about sneak into 2020 on the road.
Price: £60,000 est
Available: Very late 2020