With the UK ban on new petrol cars less than a decade away, the next 12 months are set to be the busiest ever for an industry accelerating towards an electric future. Here’s our pick of 2021 EVs from A to V
The motor industry is to face more change this decade than in its last century, as bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars arrive by 2025 in Norway, followed in 2030 by the UK, Denmark, Germany, India and Sweden.
For the UK ban specifically, the government has said all new vehicles sold from 2030 onwards must be hybrid or fully electric. The sale of new hybrids is to be outlawed from 2035.
Nine years isn’t very long for the car industry, an historically slow-moving beast that plans new models years in advance and retains engine designs for decades. Arguably kick-started by Tesla eight years ago, the shift to electricity has picked up pace in the last couple of years, and for 2021 that trend will continue.
Dozens of new electric cars are expected from almost all mainstream manufacturers, and for almost every budget. Here is a look ahead at the new electric cars we will be excited to see in 2021.
Audi e-tron GT
The rival the Porsche Taycan, the e-tron GT will be an electric sports saloon, Audi’s second battery-powered car (after the e-tron SUV) and, crucially, the brand’s unofficial flagship vehicle. A total of 582bhp will be sent to all four wheels, resulting in a supercar-baiting 0-62 mph time of 3.5 seconds.
The Audi’s 90kWh battery pack will achieve a range of 248.5 miles using the WLTP standard, and with its big battery pack slung low into the floor, the e-tron GT’s handling should be up there with its Porsche Taycan cousin. Also shared with the Porsche will be a rapid 350kW charging system for industry-leading battery top-up times (if you can find the right charger).
Audi Q4 e-tron
Also coming from Audi in 2021 will be Audi’s Q4 e-tron, a medium-sized electric SUV using the same MEB platform as other members of the Volkswagen Group and fitting in just below the existing Q5.
Dual motors will send a maximum output of 225kWh to the car’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, meaning a claimed 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds. Audi says the car’s 82kWh battery pack, occupying the floor of the car, will be good for a range of over 280 miles using the WLTP standard.
Shown off as a concept at the 2019 Geneva motor show, the Q4 e-tron will be revealed in production form in 2021, and it’ll be followed in 2022 by a coupe version likely called the Q4 Sportback e-tron.
As you may well have deduced, the iX3 is an electric version of the current BMW X3, a mid-size SUV that is the company’s best-selling vehicle. To sit alongside petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions of the X3, the iX3 uses the same body, chassis and interior as the rest of the range.
Below the floor sits an 80kWh battery providing a WLTP-certified range of 285 miles. This sends power to a single, 282bhp motor driving the rear wheels, meaning there is no AWD option; this is strictly an on-road SUV.
Mercifully better looking than the BMW iX (below), the iX3 is available to pre-order in Premiere guise for £58,850, with the first UK deliveries arriving in the summer.
The production version of BMW’s iNext concept raised eyebrows when it was revealed in November, and not necessarily for the right reasons. Challenging looks of its “monolithic presence” aside, the car is a family SUV with all-wheel-drive from a pair of electric motors, over 500 horsepower and a 0-62mph time of under five seconds.
The smart interior features a pair of large digital displays, elegantly illuminated touch controls and an hexagonal steering wheel. We suspect some of the concept-car details might be dialled down ahead of the car going on sale in late 2021, but as a signal of electric intent for BMW, it’s certainly a bold one.
Also expected from BMW in 2021 is the i4, which was shown off in concept form in early 2020. Essentially an electric version of the 4-series, the i4 is expected to be a big seller for BMW as its electrification mission shifts from the fringes with the i3 and i8, to the mainstream.
BMW has quoted a range of up to 372 miles for the i4, which is the only stat we have for now. We expect the car to have a futuristic interior similar to that of the iX.
Expected in early 2021, the first electric incarnation of the Citroen C4 will share the same modular CMP electric platform, developed by the PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall) and also used by the Vauxhall Corsa-e. The Citroen will be fitted with a 50kWh battery pack sending 134bhp to the front wheels and offering a range of up to 217 miles.
Sharing the same platform as the Volkswagen ID.3, the Cupra El-Born gets to call itself the first electric hot hatch. Spun out of SEAT, Cupra is now its own electric brand with a focus on performance. The Cupra El-Born has an 82kWh battery pack (of which 77kWh is usable), a claimed range of 310 miles, and a fast-changing system capable of adding 161 miles in 30 minutes.
There’s no 0-62mph time just yet, but instead Cupra has announced a 0-31mph time of 2.9 seconds and a sporty driving character to match the interior’s deep bucket seats. A lesser model with a 62kWh battery will also be offered, promising a range of 261 miles.