The EV market is now in full swing, with nearly every major automaker competing to release the next “best” electric vehicle. With Fall just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the new batch of EVs slated to hit the US market between now and early 2015.
BMW is by now no stranger to the EV market. In fact, its foray into plug-in electric cars can be traced back to the initial trial release of the BMW Mini E and ActiveE back in 2012. Since then, BMW has developed a full line of EVs under its new “Project I”, and the BMW i8 will become the latest addition to its innovative line of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
If one were to go by appearance alone, the BMW i8 is clearly being marketed as a sports car. It features a sleek, aero-dynamic body with swan-wing doors and impressive design visuals. But underneath the hood, the i8 boasts some serious specs. Its 7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery delivers enough juice for about 37 miles of all-electric range. Beyond that and the combustion engine kicks in to deliver another 300 miles of range. The turbocharged three-cylinder engine/electric motor combined delivers 357 horsepower – which is enough to accelerate like the M3. Early reviews report that handling is precise and the regenerative breaking is top-notch.
With such stunning visuals and performance capabilities, the BMW i8 may be revolutionary for all automobiles – not just EVs.
BMW i8 Release Date:August 2014
Volkwagen has decided to tackle the US EV market with the new Volkswagen eGolf, and some would say it’s about time. But as Lars Menge, general manager of product strategy cheekily remarked “We’d rather do it right the first time.”
Mind you, Menge has conveniently glossed over the fact that several successful EVs have been released over the years (Tesla anyone?), but realistically Volkswagen has likely learned a lot from the experiences of other companies.
The Volkwagen eGolf is geared towards the mid-range of the automobile market. With a 24.2-kWh battery pack and a 115 horsepower electric motor under its hood, the eGolf can deliver up 118 miles of range. Plus it includes a striking range cool features such as three driving modes (normal, eco and eco plus), four modes for regenerative breaking, and a “parking heater”, which is supposed to keep the car warm while parked.
Early reviews suggest the car handles well and accelerates easily to 60 mph in 10.4 seconds.
Pricing details have not yet been released, but it seems likely the car will list for around $35,000.
Volkwagen eGolf Release Date: November 2014
Kia Soul EV
The funky-looking Kia Soul is in the process of getting an EV overhaul. On the outside, the EV version of the popular Soul looks similar to the gas-powered original, with a few modifications to set it apart.It features an aesthetically pleasing two-tone color scheme that comes in three different paint combination. The front grill has been filled-in to accommodate the charging port and the back features LED taillights.
The Kia Soul is powered by a 27-kWh battery pack located below the floor. Its 81-kWh electric motor gives the hatchback 109 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, enabling the car to achieve 0-60 mph in around 12 seconds.
Overall, the all-electric Kia Soul is a solidly-built car with enough features to keep EV drivers satisfied. The car will be yet another key contender on the mid-range EV market and will likely be a solid choices for families due to its extra space compared to other EVs.
Kia Soul Release Date: Q3 of 2014
Tesla Model X
No EV round-up would be complete without mentioning what Tesla has got in the works. The California-based company has surpassed all expectations in the EV market and is constantly looking for new ways to innovative.
The Tesla Model X is the company’s newest iteration in the works and is sure to be yet another step forward for the company. The Model X is a crossover SUV developed from the full-sized sedan platform of the Model S. The car will feature all the bells and whistles of a typical Tesla vehicle including falcon-wing doors for rear passengers and two trunks (one in the back and one in the front where an internal combustion engine would normally be located).
Consumers will have the option of purchasing the Model X with either a 60 or 85-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving the vehicle 210 or 270 miles of range respectively. The vehicle will also likely outperform most other cars on the road, achieving 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Tesla Model X Release Date: Q2 of 2015
Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.