While to many consumers full electric-powered vehicles may still seem like the rides of the future, the genre’s day may have finally come. With at least 18 new models coming to market in the months ahead—including cars, SUVs, and even pickup trucks—this is shaping up to be a watershed year for plug-in vehicles.
Why buy an EV? For starters, electric cars still carry a certain cachet of ownership. Elon Musk built Tesla into a powerhouse automaker by offering EVs that appeal as much for their “coolness” as their capabilities.
Despite some still regarding EVs are little more than glorified golf carts in terms of their performance, they’re actually livelier than comparable gas-powered rides. Even a modestly powered EV can feel as fast from a standing start as a sports car because an electric motor generates 100 percent of its available torque instantly and continuously. Some are able to reach 60 mph in as little as three seconds (or less). What’s more, since the battery pack is mounted beneath the passenger compartment, an electric car inherently has a lower center of gravity that contributes to quick cornering abilities.
Though the up-front cost may be higher than a comparable internal combustion vehicle, charging an EV at home can be much cheaper than visiting a gas station for a weekly fill-up, especially with a gallon of regular grade fuel approaching—and exceeding—$4.00 in some parts of the U.S. Plus, maintenance costs are much lower because EVs don’t need fluid and filter changes or tune-ups, and they eschew many wear-and-tear engine components like spark plugs, radiator, alternator, belts, hoses, and an exhaust system; they use a one-speed transmission with far fewer moving parts than a typical automatic gearbox. Regular service visits are typically limited to rotating the tires, replacing the windshield wipers and cabin air filter, and checking brake pads and other components.
Plus, there still exists a one-time $7,500 federal tax credit for EV buyers, though it’s since been phased out for Tesla and General Motors EVs. The Biden administration has proposed extending the credits for all automakers and even increasing them depending on where a vehicle is built and whether union labor is involved, but its eventual enactment is uncertain. Several states offer incentives of their own for EV buyers and lessees.
And if you have an affinity for Mother Nature, you can drive an EV assured that you’ll be spewing zero tailpipe emissions into the atmosphere that contribute to climate change. While the overall environmental impact will vary depending on the source of electricity, with areas supplied by renewable resources faring the best in this regard, the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded that EVs are generally responsible for less pollution than conventional vehicles in all 50 states.
What’s more, most of the latest EVs preclude so-called “range anxiety” by being able to run for more than 250 or even 300 miles on a charge, which is sufficient for extended commutes and road trips alike. Public charging stations are poised to expand across the U.S. that afford faster charging times; automakers including Audi, Ford, Hyundai, and Lucid give buyers free charging credits to help seal the deal.
Bit that’s not all. Here’s a look at some of the hottest new electric vehicles poised to reach dealers’ showrooms in the coming months that just might convince you to “plug in and turn on.”
Audi e-Tron GT: Following on the heels of Audi’s e-Tron SUV and the e-Tron S four-door coupe is the all-new e-Tron GT. Related to the Porsche Taycan, it will reportedly come with dual electric motors generatng 469 horsepower in its base model, with as much as 637 horses available in its highest trim. Its range is expected to be 238 miles, and its sticker price should start at just over six figures.
BMW I4: While not the brand’s first all-electric entry—that would be the eccentric i3—the I4 looks to be a more mainstream model. It’s wrapped in brand-specific styling that includes BMW’s massively toothy front grille, albeit as a design element. Output is expected to be 335 horsepower, with an running range at around 300 miles.
BMW iX: Expected this spring is BMW’s electrified SUV. A dual motor powertrain is claimed to produce 516 horsepower with a 300-mile range. It’s not cheap, however, with a base sticker price pegged at $82,300.
Cadillac Lyriq: The first salvo in Cadillac’s electric car revolution will be the svelte and stylish Lyriq. Coming this spring, it promises more than 300 miles on a full charge, and will offer a full range of bleeding edge tech features that includes GM’s Super Cruise hands-free highway driving system and a massive 33-inch dashboard display. It’s expected to start at around $60,000.
Ford F-150 Lightning. The electric-powered version of the F-150 pickup is hoped to be Ford’s lightning in a bottle when it debuts later this year. With dual motors generating 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, it can tow a large boat or trailer. It provides both a rear cargo bed and spacious under-hood “frunk” storage, and has the ability to tap the battery pack to power worksite tools or provide electric power to your house in an outage. Expect an operating range of 230 to 300 miles, and an MSRP that starts (albeit for a de-contented work truck) at just under $40,000.
Genesis GV60: Genesis will be jumping into the EV pool this year with the GV60 hatchback. It’s related to, but will reach far more upscale than either the upcoming Kia EV5 or Hyundai Ioniq 5. It will be sold in both rear- and all-wheel drive versions and is expected to run for as much as 280 miles on a charge with the former, and somewhat less with the latter.
GMC Hummer EV: While the original Hummers were considered environmental nightmares, the name is now being applied to a full-electric pickup truck (and later an SUV) with zero tailpipe emissions. Three electric motors combine to out a ridiculous 1,000 horsepower and 11,000 pound-feet of torque to the pavement. Both a novel “Crab Mode” and four-wheel steering enhance its off-road abilities. The Hummer pickup expected to run for an estimated 328 miles on a charge, with the first models just rolling off the assembly line.
Hyundai Ioniq5: This attractive small crossover SUV is part of what will be a sub-brand of Hyundai electric vehicles. The EPA rates it at a maximum 310 miles on a charge, and it can power devices away from home, and even charge other EVs as necessary. Pricing starts at around $44,000.
Kia EV6: Kia’s alternative to the Ioniq5 is the EV6. It features swept-back styling, an upscale cabin, and promises a maximum range of 220-310 miles, depending on the model. The performance trim is said to muster a 0-6- mph time at around four seconds. Expect pricing to be in the mid-$40,000 range.
Lucid Air: The fledgling brand’s initial offering is a sleek and sumptuous large luxury sedan that manages between 451 and a class-leading 516 miles on a full charge. It’s packed with technology that includes a massive 34-inch curved driver’s display, though it’s pricey. The base model is priced at around $77,400 and reaches all the way up to $169,000 in its top Dream Edition trim.
Mazda MX-30: Mazda’s first EV is a small crossover SUV with a reasonably affordable cost of entry in the low-$30,000 range. On the downside it musters a mere 100 miles on a charge, which effectively negates its potential utility for many motorists.
Mercedes-Benz EQE/EQB: Following the earlier introduction of Mercedes’ S-Class-based flagship EQS, is the midsize electric EQE sedan that can be fitted with an extensive list of over-the-top amenities. The EQE boasts a 410-mile operating range, albeit with a base price that starts at around $102,500. Later in the year, the compact EQB SUV will debut with three rows of seats and an operating range around 260 miles on a charge.
Subaru Solterra/Toyota BZ4x: Expected at around mid-year, these two new expressively styled small SUVs were created in partnership between the two automakers. The Solterra comes standard with all-wheel drive and a tall 8.3-inch road clearance for modest off-roading and is estimated to achieve more than 220 miles on a charge. The BZ4x (now there’s a mouthful) is said to go for up to 250 miles in its standard front-wheel drive configuration, and will likely come close to the Solterra’s rating when fitted with AWD.
Rivian R1T/R1S. The long-awaited debut models from startup automaker Rivian, the R1T pickup truck and seven-passenger R1S SUV leverage four motors to produce a combined 835 horsepower, with a three-second 0-60 mph time and a range of more than 300 miles on a charge. Towing capacity is at a maximum 11,000 pounds for the pickup and 7,700 pounds for the SUV. The R1T starts at $67,500, with the R1S at $70,000.
Volvo C40 Recharge: This is the first Volvo to be designed and executed solely as an EV. Coming later in 2022, it’s a small all-wheel drive four-door hatchback that packs dual electric motors and is estimated to run for 220 miles on a charge. Pricing starts at $58,750.