Last year marked a big breakthrough for electric cars; the majority of major manufacturers invested heavily in developing electric drive-trains and subsequently added an array of appealing battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models to their rosters.
By the end of 2014 there were over 17,000 plug-in cars and vans on UK roads with that number expected to more than double by the end of this year.
As noted by Dr Ben Lane, Managing Editor of Next Green Car: “2015 will see a continuing roll out of battery electric and plug-in hybrid models as UK motorists become more accustomed to electric drive-trains. This year will be the year when EVs start to considered as ‘normal’.”
The future is only looking bright for electric mobility and there a number of exciting EV prospects expected to feature prominently this year. Below is Zap-Map’s list of top 10 electric vehicles coming soon in 2015:
1. Tesla Model X – BEV
Originally scheduled for 2013, Tesla recently announced that the eagerly anticipated Model X crossover will be launched in the third quarter of 2015. Despite being larger than the Model S, the all-wheel electric drive will give the Model X a similar level of performance (that’s 0 to 60 mph in around 5.9 seconds!). With 10% additional weight, the expected driving range will be slightly less; around 170 miles for the 60 kWh battery pack or 230 miles for 85 kWh battery. One the striking features of the next Tesla will be its rear ‘Falcon’ doors which open upwards instead of swinging outward. Final pricing has yet to be announced. Although it’s been a while coming, with the new Model X, Tesla is unlikely to disappoint.
2. Volkswagen twin-up! – PHEV
The twin-up!’s 55kW powertrain consists of a 0.8 litre TDI diesel engine working in conjunction with a 35kW electric motor. The energy storage system includes a lithium-ion battery (energy capacity: 8.6 kWh), a conventional 12V battery for on-board electrics, and a 33 litre capacity fuel tank. On the official test cycle, the twin-up! delivers a combined fuel economy of over 250 MPG with a CO2 emissions of just 27 g/km. In zero-emission operation the PHEV can cover a range of 31 miles and is anything but a slouch: the twin-up! accelerates up to 62 mph in 15.7 seconds and has an all-electric top speed of 80 mph. Pricing to be announced.
3. Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive – BEV
The Mercedes-Tesla relationship is evident (and welcome) in the B-Class ED with the drive-train and battery pack coming from the California-based company. Capable of 125 miles per full charge, the B-Class ED provides electric motoring in a quality package with more reserved styling than some other brands such as the BMWi range. While the motors can deliver up to 179 bhp (Sport mode), two other driving modes are available: ‘Economy’, where power is limited to 131 bhp; and ‘Economy Plus’ with just 87 bhp and a maximum speed of 70 mph. Expected to be priced from around £27,000.
4. Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid – PHEV
No doubt encouraged by the huge success of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volvo will bring its own plug-in SUV to market in 2015, in addition to the usual range of petrol and diesel engines. While all will offer four-wheel drive, for the first time there will also be a front-wheel drive option. The XC90 PHEV will also feature a collection of entertainment and safety technology including a 9.3 inch screen compatible with Apple’s new CarPlay interface and Volvo’s new collision avoidance system. The XC90 range is priced from £45,750.
5. Volkswagen Passat GTE plug-in hybrid – PHEV
Now in its eighth incarnation, the new Passat range includes the GTE, the first Passat with a plug-in hybrid drive. Powered by a turbocharged direct injection petrol engine (TSI) and an 85kW electric motor, the GTE is capable (on the official test) of over 141 MPG (petrol) and 13.0 kWh/100km (electric) with CO2 emission of under 45 g/km. On a full tank and fully recharged 9.9 kWh lithium-ion battery, the new PHEV has a total driving range of over 620 miles. In ‘E-Mode’, the Passat GTE can also cover a distance of up to 31 miles with zero emissions. AC charging options include standard (or ‘slow’) charging at 2.3 kW from a domestic socket in 4.25 hours or an optional a home 3.6 kW charger which provides a full charge in 2.5 hours. Anticipated pricing from around £20,000.
6. BMW X5 e-drive – PHEV
The BMW X5 e-drive concept was first unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show and is seen as the logical next step for the successful X5 series. Combining a four-cylinder combustion engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and lithium-ion battery, the plug-in hybrid can driver approximately 19 miles solely on electric power. There is a choice of three driving modes, depending on requirements and situation – the intelligent hybrid drive option for a balance between sportiness and efficiency; pure electric and therefore emission-free driving; or Safe Battery mode to maintain the current battery charge. According to BMW, the X5 e-drive is capable of 74.3 mpg and on average emits 90g of CO2 per kilometre. Estimated to be priced at £55,000 – £60,000, the X5 e-drive is on course to directly compete with the Volvo XC90 PHEV.
7. Renault Zoe 2015 (new battery) – BEV
Renault’s battery-electric Zoe, the second best-selling EV after the Nissan LEAF, will be revitalised by a smaller and more efficient electric motor in 2015. By reducing the motors size, Renault expects a 10% increase in the Renault Zoe’s official 130 mile range. Renault also claims the improvements will reduce charging time by 20-30 minutes when using low-level power supply such as a 3kW 3-pin slow charging unit. The upgrades to the Zoe will be added to all new models from Spring 2015 Renault say.
8. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV S – PHEV
Following on from the successful Outlander PHEV launch in 2014, Mitsubishi plans to release the Outlander PHEV-S. Power for the Outlander PHEV-S is expected to come from the same four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol and twin electric motor system that drives the original car. This will see up to 204bhp sent to all four wheels, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 11 seconds and a 106mph top speed, whilst offering 148mpg and emissions as low as 44g/km CO2. The main difference will be in appearance, offering a refined interior and exterior design that will magnify the Outlander PHEV’s unique driving experience. Pricing to be announced.
9. Audi Q7 Quattro plug-in hybrid – PHEV
The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, which will be launched soon after its conventionally powered counterparts in the spring, is the first plug in hybrid from Audi with a diesel engine. It is also the world’s first diesel PHEV with quattro all-wheel drive in the premium SUV segment. It returns the equivalent of up to 166.1mpg, which corresponds to less than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometre and can travel just under 35 miles on battery-electric power alone. Pricing to be announced.
10. Peugeot Quartz – PHEV
The Quartz plug-in hybrid concept mixes elements of a crossover vehicle and a saloon, to bring a new take on the SUV segment. It uses a plug-in hybrid drive train comprising of a 1.6-litre petrol engine supplemented by two 85kW electric motors, driving each axle. When the vehicle is in ZEV mode, it utilises the electric motor only and can cover up to 31 miles on a single battery charge. Peugeot have estimated the vehicle will not reach production until 2016; it will be interesting to see if the striking design mellows between now and then.