So, 2030 it is. By then, all petrol and diesel cars will be off sale, and with the exception of some long-range plug-in hybrids, if you want a new car you’ll only be able to buy electric.
Fortunately, the supply of electric cars is starting to come on stream, and next year will see a new electric model launched by almost every major mainstream manufacturer selling cars in the UK.
So what have we got to look forward to? Well, quite a lot, actually. For those who can afford an electric car – and, crucially, for those for whom one fits into their lives – the plethora of new models arriving in 2021 runs the gamut from perky urban runarounds up to opulent luxury saloons. In between, you’ll find family-friendly SUVs, sporty hatchbacks, and even a louche four-door coupé. Here are our top picks.
Audi RS e-Tron GT
It’s been a long time coming, but this long, low four-door coupé from Audi finally looks set to arrive in showrooms next year. Expect its price tag to put it squarely up against the Tesla Model S – and with underpinnings taken from the Porsche Taycan, a car that’s already impressed us, that makes it a very tempting prospect indeed. We reckon the Audi will feel slightly softer and less aggressive than the Porsche, too, which should make it an excellent cruiser.
As its name suggests, BMW’s new iX3 is in fact little more than an electric version of the current X3, but it’s important because it’ll be priced toe-to-toe with the Jaguar i-Pace. Its familiar form factor will undoubtedly deter some customers while bringing in others, but the iX3 will surely be less divisive than the confusingly-named iX, another electric SUV which is due to join it in the BMW line-up later in the year. Either way, expect tidy handling and a useful interior – but the real test will be whether it can win over I-Pace owners looking to replace their cars as their leases come to an end.
It might look broadly the same as the old car, but in fact the new Fiat 500 is completely different – right down to the electric powertrain under the skin. Fiat hasn’t made it to the boutique electric car party first, so the 500 will have to face competition from the Honda E and Mini Electric that are already on sale . But with competitive pricing and a longer range than either of those rivals, the 500 looks as though it’ll put up a good fight. What will matter most, however, is whether it can woo owners of the old, petrol-powered 500 as their leases come to an end – and whether it can convince them to make the switch to electric.
Ford Mustang Mach E
Much noise has been made on social media about Ford putting the famed Mustang badge on an electric SUV, but whether you support that decision or not (or, indeed, couldn’t care less) there’s no denying how important the Mach E will be for its maker. Not only will it have to have the chops to overcome Tesla’s significant market lead, but it’ll have to feel special enough to win back buyers who’d normally feel more at home behind a premium badge. And of course, if it’s to justify its name, it’ll have to drive pretty well.
Yes, the next Jaguar XJ will be an EV. What is the world coming to? Well, don’t write it off just yet, because if the i-Pace is anything to go by, Jaguar knows a thing or two about building a fast, luxurious electric car that’s good to drive, so we’re hoping for more of the same. And while we’ve yet to see what it looks like, we’re promised a car that stays true to Jaguar’s maxim of grace, and space, as well as pace. Expect it to break cover towards the end of 2021.
But the Ariya won’t have things all its own way, as the Volkswagen ID.4 will be vying for the same EV SUV customers as the Nissan Ariya (see below). As you might expect, this crossover is based around the same mechanicals as its hatchback sibling, the ID.3, and will therefore come with similar battery and power options. Of course, because it’ll sit taller, it’ll likely offer more space inside, though it’ll be less efficient and there’ll also be a price premium to match. You’ll get a choice between rear- and four-wheel drive, and we’re also expecting a GTI-style performance version, badged the ID.4 GTX, to join the range later on.
It’s fair to say this high-rise hatchback’s idiosyncratic won’t be for everyone, but they do at least stand out from the current crossover crowd. Given parent company Peugeot’s form with pure electric cars, hopes are high that it’ll score another win here, and if that’s the case, the E-C4 could end up being quite a tempting buy for anyone looking to get into an affordable, family-friendly EV. This electric version will join petrol and diesel variants in the range, too, so if you like the look but don’t have anywhere to plug in, there are alternatives.
This swoopy SUV will be the first model to sit on Nissan’s new electric architecture, which will be shared with Renault and Mitsubishi, and the company is promising not only exciting driving dynamics, but also an impressive range of 310 miles from the 87kWh battery pack. If you don’t need need that much range, you’ll be able to opt for a 63kWh battery that’ll get you 223 miles between charges, and while you’ll get a single motor and front-wheel drive as standard, you’ll be able to pay extra for four-wheel drive with a twin-motor set-up.
Cupra El Born
This is in fact Seat’s version of the Volkswagen ID.3, as you can easily tell by taking a glance at the profile, which is all but identical. However, given it’s badged as a Cupra – Seat’s premium-ish, sporty-ish sub-brand – we can expect the El Born to have a plush interior and sharper driving dynamics, which could make it an interesting counterpoint to the softer, gentler VW. Expect it to come with a large battery and a powerful electric motor, though we might also see more affordable versions based on the lesser ID.3s join the range later on.
The first of Hyundai’s Ioniq sub-brand cars to be launched, the 5 was recently spied undergoing testing while heavily disguised, and is expected to be revealed toward the end of 2021. It’ll take the form of a compact SUV, and rumours suggest its styling will draw heavily on the smart Hyundai 45 concept car (pictured above) that was shown at the Frankfurt motor show in 2019. Hyundai’s electric cars have shown its rivals the way home in recent years, so expect the Ioniq 5 to post extremely competitive range and efficiency figures.
Do you fancy any of these new EVs, or are you entirely turned off by all of them? Have your say in the comments below.
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