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Nissan’s fully electric Leaf was one of the first electric vehicles that’s helped shape the new generation of vehicles that are coming to market today. It came with navigation, leather seats, plenty of trunk space, and a surprisingly fun driving experience, mostly as a result of the instant torque of electric motors. However, it was only able to deliver about 100 miles (160 km) of highway driving, making a cross-country trip almost impossible.
If you wanted to make a trip across countries in an electric vehicle, you would have had to pay nearly $35,000 for the tesla cheapest model. With it’s network of extremely fast charging stations, and with 250 miles of electric range on a charge, it was (and still is) the best way to plan a fully electric family road trip.
Today’s electric cars have come a long way, and many will be offering the same level of electric range as the expensive Tesla, at a fraction of the price. Between now and 2020, several new electric vehicles are being developed, and will be offered at a price similar to today’s family cars. What follows is an overview of what models to expect, and the ways in which they might help make the world a little bit greener.
There’s also a electric vehicle tax credit for Americans, and Canadians. Similar incentives are also available in the UK and the European Union, which make it even more economical to chose an electric vehicle instead of a diesel or gasoline car. All the manufacturers listed below make it easy to find the incentives available to you on their website, so check them out to get a better picture of how electric vehicles can be an affordable option for your next car.
Chevrolet Bolt (Release Date: Already Here!)
Chevrolet’s Bolt offers 220 miles (380 km) of electric only driving with enough interior space to carry a college dorm room-worth of luggage or supplies for a weekend camping trip for the family. With a starting price under $37,500, you get a relatively well equipped hatchback with the most space in it’s class, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, a rear-view camera, and self-sealing tires. You can also upgrade to a whole suite of safety features, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, having some of the best technology available on the market.
The Chevrolet Bolt has a host of awards, including the North American Car of the Year, the MotorTrend Car of the Year, and a IIHS Top Safety Pick. You can also control a whole host of features of the car remotely using an app, which allows you to check the amount of range remaining and if your vehicle is charging. You can also start pre-heating the car before you leave the house in the morning in the middle of winter, or cool your car before you jump into it on a hot summer’s day.
Tesla Model 3 (Release Date: Early 2018 for California, Late 2018 – Mid 2019 for Other Markets)
Tesla is making a more affordable electric vehicle with the same kind of range as it’s more expensive first model. Starting at $35,000 in the United States, the Model 3 will not have a regular tachometer, instead having only a central display that can control all the features of the car. It can tell you your speed, show you the map to your destination, control the car’s climate, open the sunroof, and stream music from your phone. This level of simplicity makes the vehicle less cluttered, as there are no buttons to press.
Tesla also will sell the Model 3 with a self-driving system, which when fully available, will not require the driver to pay attention while on long-distance highway travel. Using a host of cameras that surround the vehicle, a separate computer system interprets the pictures to guide the vehicle safely through traffic. This Tesla self-driving system is called “Tesla AutoPilot”, and it looks to shape the future of the automobile to eliminate driving accidents and fatalities. This system is still being tested, but once fully tested and with regulations in place, expect to have a Tesla that could replace taxis in major cities.
2nd Generation Nissan Leaf (Late 2017)
Nissan first delivered the Nissan Leaf to every market in 2011, and it’s been a long time coming for it’s next generation of the vehicle. While not officially unveiled, the next generation is expected to have about 160 miles (about 260 km) of electric range. Nissan is also developing advanced technology features similar to Tesla that would enable long-distance driving with minimal driver input or attention.
This includes an automated parking system for parking lots, where the car will park itself in parallel, straight in or back-in without the need for any driver inputs on steering, accelerating or braking. It also includes features that will guide the vehicle around turns, hold it in a straight line, guide it through gridlock traffic and adapt its headlights to direct them around turns.
Pricing is expected to start at around $30,000, but will not reach above $40,000 even with the advanced technology explained above. The new Leaf should also look more mainstream, while maintaining its efficient performance. Being that Nissan was the first to bring a mass-market electric vehicle to market, expect the next generation of Nissan Leaf to be even more impressive than the first generation.
Jaguar I-PACE (Second Half of 2018)
The Jaguar I-PACE is one of the most interesting and performance oriented electric vehicles coming to market in the coming years. Jaguar has built its brand on horsepower, as well as elegant design. The new I-PACE is Jaguar heritage, but with a modern and efficient take on that model.
With 400 HP and the torque of the electric motor, the I-PACE can go from 0 – 100 km/h (60 mph) in about 4 seconds, has tons of interior space as it’s designed as a crossover, has a greenhouse interior as a result of the high amount of windows. Keeping with the modern feel, it also features integrated touch screen controls, offers over 385 km (240 miles) of range, can be recharged to 80% in 90 minutes or less, and the interior that uses sustainable and recycled materials.
Jaguar has also been developing their concept through its involvement in the all-electric racing series called “Formula E”. They have been able to test the propulsion and performance of their electric vehicles, and have incorporated their experience with high performance racing in developing a vehicle that can act both as a family vehicle, and a high-performance racing machine. Expect the I-PACE to cost around $90,000 for a base model, with more advanced safety and performance features available for an additional cost.
Audi Quattro E-Tron (Second Half 2018)
Audi has also gotten behind electric mobility, and as a result of being a Volkswagen brand, many upcoming models will feature an electric powertrain. The Q6 will be the first all-electric model from the German automaker, and will feature a crossover with over 400 horsepower and over 250 miles of range.
It will feature minimal styling inside, with a central touchscreen that controls most of the features of the car. It will also likely be equipped with one electric motor at the front, and two at the rear, providing independent all-wheel drive. This should make it easy to accelerate quickly, and keep the car plowing through snow and weather with no problems.
Being a luxury brand, expect the Audi Quattro E-Tron to be one of the nicest electric vehicles to drive around in once it gets released near the end of 2018. Expect the Audi Quattro E-Tron to cost around $80,000.