For several years now Tesla has had a lock hold on the luxury performance electric car market but this is due to change.
Part of that was its plan, says CEO Elon Musk of the “disruptive” company that pushed EVs into the public consciousness, while capturing sales from the proud automakers of Europe.
A big part also for why carmakers in the next couple years will roll out the first of genuinely nice EVs to come is in no small part due to regulations which serve as a prod of a different sort.
Just about every carmaker has EVs in the works, or will, and this all comes after many had first resisted the idea – some tried to push diesels instead – but now they are coming to terms with new realities.
Some EV fans will say they are “late to the party” but that may be a narrow view. Actually the plug-in market is a sliver of the whole, and there is tons of upside potential.
In the favor of the fashionably late automakers who are now proffering EVs because they have to, is they are experienced in manufacturing, sales, distribution and are all profitable.
Does this guaranty them success? No, and they are otherwise playing catch-up, but their experience cannot hurt, and for the consumer it in any case means competition which was the goal from the start.
Following are four due in the near term.
Mercedes ELC Crossover
Expected late 2018 as a 2019 model is the ELC electronic crossover from the brand with the silver star.
Mercedes’ crossover based on the GLC (pictured) could have 536 horsepower and 248 miles range, making for an entertaining car indeed.
Expected also is a Tesla-like in-floor battery, wireless charging, and it would stand as a viable alternative to the Model X.
Given Tesla is a moving target, the Germans likely know that and final specs and positoning should make the ELC competitive enough.
A price as low as $55,000 would certainly help, being not too steep for a longer-range EV from this brand, and midway between a $37,500 Chevy Bolt and an $88,000 Model X.
Audi e-tron Crossover
Sized between a Q5 and Q7, the three-motor, all-wheel drive e-tron with 300 miles range – probably somewhere in the middle 200s under U.S. EPA – is another Model X alternative to be.
Actually, not at all shy, the former purveyor of “clean” TDI diesels and recalcitrant avoider of EV technology from years back, recently boasted it will be “the first real premium manufacturer doing a premium electric SUV.”
Remember: the pride of ownership of German metal starts with the pride emanating from the top of those who tout “German engineering.” And, for all anyone knows they may be right.
It’s likely quality control and attention to detail will be high, though don’t be surprised if sales are fewer than the Model X.
This vehicle to be built in Belgium marks just one of 30 battery electric cars coming in the wake of the VW Group’s diesel emissions scandal, but was actually in the works several years prior.
Jaguar i-Pace Crossover
Motivated by in-house built electric motors developing a total of 400 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet torque, Jaguar promises “in excess of” 220 miles range from a 90 kWh battery and 0-60 in 4 seconds.
Although not ludicrous speed, this is right quick and Jaguar says the unique architecture let it “tear up the rulebook on vehicle layout.”
Expect also handling and braking to match the speed, and put another way: it ought to be a compelling ride.
Charge time with 50-kW DC fast charge may require 90 minutes to replenish 80 percent of the power. Whether specs improve between now and then is an open question.
As we’ve seen with Tesla which builds modularly constructed cars, increased motor power and larger batteries may be possible, but there’s no official word at this stage on that.
Porsche Mission E
It had been rumored for some time that an all-electric “Pajun” or Panamera Junior, would show up in 2015 in Frankfurt, and the 600-horsepoer Mission E is it.
The alternative to a Model S also may not be ludicrously quick with 0 to 62 mph in under 3.5 seconds, but that is not slow at all. And, don’t underestimate the allure of a balanced driver’s car from a company familiar with decades of racing and legendary sports cars.
Other novelties include an 800-volt electric system and ultra fast charging via cord or inductive charging.
Range may be in the 250-300-plus range from the car about a foot shorter than the large Panamera sedan.
Porsche is serious about this one too, and has put out videos, and is spending about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to build the Mission E at its Zuffenhausen plant in Stuttgart, Germany.
Not a compliance car therefore, Porsche’s chief executive Oliver Blume has predicted the Mission E electric supercar will make up 10 percent of the company’s sales, or 20,000 units.