The huge number of fresh models for 2021 underlines a massive swing to EVs
A look ahead to the cars that are due here this year underlines the dramatic growth in the choice and range of pure electric models. I can only imagine what will be on sale in another year or two. For now, though, let’s see if there is something there to catch your fancy. I’ve picked out 12 I think are noteworthy.
1 Among a clutch of Audi models due this year, one stands out. The e-tron GT flagship arrives in the summer and, as such, becomes the basis for the marque’s first electric high-performance model range. Such is the technology in the production-based RS e-tron GT that they are describing it as a ‘milestone’.
2 The new electric BMW iX3 SUV will make headlines. Due by the summer, I expect it to make an impact. With a range of up to 458km, thanks to battery technology it develops 286hp and can cover 0-to-100kmh in 6.8 seconds.
3 The Fiat 500 electric car is due in March and I think this could be an ideal town runaround. These small cars — those already here include the Honda e, Mazda MX-30 and Mini electric — will I believe, become a much more popular option for more urban dwellers.
4 Ford are bullish — to say the least — about the Mustang Mach-E all-electric crossover. It’s due in early summer and they tell me they expect several hundred to be bought in Ireland — online at that — over the first year. It’s got power, serious pace and starts around the €50,000 mark. The GT version develops 487PS and zips to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds. The Mach-E has either single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive and, depending on model, can travel a claimed 610km between charges. One to watch.
5 Kia’s first dedicated battery electric vehicle will be introduced around August. Details are sketchy enough at this stage but I’m told it will be worth waiting for. Realistically, an August arrival pushes it into 2022-buying mindset but you never know. They will be anxious to make an impact this year.
6 The first small electric car from Lexus — the UX 300e — is just in dealerships this month. It has a claimed range of 305km and comes with a 54.3kw battery. You’ll remember it for this one fact if nothing else: there is a 10-year or one-million kilometre extended battery cover.
7 If one set of figures can sum up the extent of the swing to ‘electric’ it has to be those from Mercedes. Of the 23 new models scheduled this year, five will be fully electric and 12 will be plug-in hybrids. The one I’m looking out for in the middle of them all is the August arrival of the S-Class-inspired EQS saloon. Expect a stunning-looking car that I think will break moulds visually and technologically.
8 MG’s ZS electric compact SUV crossover has just been introduced here for 2021 sales. It’s got a claimed range of 263km and has a lot of tech on board. The starting price is well under the €30,000 mark. Apart from that, there is the attraction of a seven-year warranty. And there are more models to come.
9 Nissan’s electric autumn arrival, the Ariya coupé crossover, can cover a claimed 500km on one charge. That’s the sort of range, if realistic, that changes people’s minds about electric cars. There will be five core models — with 63kWh (estimated 360km range) and 87kWh batteries (500km range).
10 Opel’s new electric Mokka (322 range) arrives in late March (alongside petrols and diesels). Its looks are impressive. Apart from being electric, that’s why it’s here — to show that electric does not need to be boring, or functional, to look at.
11 I’ve driven Skoda’s first electric crossover, the Enyaq, and I think it’s got something about it — it was excellent on Irish roads. With a range of options and a claimed top range of 510km, the downside is they are only getting 300 models for the year. It’s a pre-June arrival. I’m told a coupé version will be revealed before the end of the year.
12 Volkswagen ramps up its EV drive with a compact SUV called the ID.4 which is effectively on sale this month. They expect 1,700 people to buy one in 2021. That’s a high number in the first year of a new electric model but Volkswagen have strong winds of change behind them with EVs so it will probably happen.
Pricing starts from €42,995 but there will be a model coming in May (with a 58kWh battery and 340km range) that will cost less than €35,000.
It’s based on the same MEB electric platform used for the ID.3 and will eventually come in both rear- and all-wheel drive, with four different power outputs and two choices of battery size.
Speaking of the ID.3 … there will be will be an entry-level version with a 45kWh battery and a range of 330km for under €30,000 from April.
Happy New Year.