Volkswagen has released the ID.4 into the global market, following the ID.3, which is only available in Europe. The ID.4 is an SUV crossover, currently the most popular platform for car buyers. As you would expect, the ID.4 comes in a range of specifications. Its European launch date is February 2021, and all ID.4s were rear-wheel drive. Volkswagen on the other hand will roll out all-wheel-drive models throughout the year; there will also be a less-expensive base model. The handsome shape and styling of the ID.4 will make it a desirable and popular electric car. Volkswagen claim that it will go 250 miles between charges, and single-motor rear-wheel-drive models will produce 201bhp, but when the dual-motor all-wheel-drive version is released, you can expect a gutsy 302bhp.
The ID.4s interior has an uncluttered contemporary design with high-tech features. Drivers are treated to ambient lighting and generous storage space too. ID.4s come with cloth seats as standard, but you can choose the optional "Statement" package. This option includes faux-leather power-adjustable front seats. These also keep you calm when picking your way through urban traffic with a gentle massage.
Volkswagen has designed the ID.4 to feel like a mainstream crossover. It's just that this one has an electric motor and a battery pack rather than a traditional ICE. It will satisfy people looking for a smart, quiet, and comfortable way of getting around that isn't too quirky.
Another EV from the VW group worth keeping an eye out for would be the Skoda Enyaq. It uses the same MEB platform as the ID.4, but this one is less sporty and is set to have a much longer range of 316 miles. Skoda is releasing two versions of the Enyaq. One is the '60', which has a 62kWh battery pack and a 132kW motor. The other would be the '80' and it has an 82kWh battery and a 150kW motor. In addition to that, both versions are rear-wheel drives. Later in the year, we can expect a vRS version that adds another motor to the front axle, making it a four-wheel drive.
Skoda claims that you can expect up to 242 miles between charges from the Enyaq 60, and up to 316 miles on the 80. The Skoda Enyaq is an attractive-looking SUV, just slightly longer than a Volkswagen Tiguan. The interior is dominated by a massive 13” central freestanding touchscreen and a fully digital cockpit in the form of a 5.3” display, with four different layouts. It even has an onboard digital voice assistant, called Laura, that understands fifteen languages.
AUDI Q4 E-TRON
One of the more interesting vehicles coming out of Audi is their Q4 E-tron, a compact SUV built to take on rivals from BMW, Volvo, and Mercedes. The Q4 E-tron is also based on Volkswagen's MEB platform and will have a range of 280 miles, with a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds. The exterior design is typically Audi, with smooth lines, a huge grill, and a stately road presence. Moreover, the technology incorporated into the cabin takes everything up a notch. Its focal point is its new augmented reality head-up display. This projects important information directly into your field of vision. For example, you get real-time SAT-NAV instructions that move around, telling you where to go and what to do. It will also guide you by projecting markers in front of your eyes. This is a safety feature for when you get too close to the car in front of you or stray out of your lane.
The Q4 E-tron's interior includes a floating centre console. This not only houses Audi's largest-ever touchscreen infotainment system, but it offers more space for your legs too. Audi has done their best to use recycled materials where possible in the Q4 E-Tron's interior, enhancing its green credentials. Each axle has a motor mounted on it, making the Q4 E-Tron four-wheel drive. Together, these motors produce 302bhp giving it a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds, while the 83kWh battery pack provides the car with a 280-mile range. The Q4 E-tron is one of twelve fully electric cars Audi intends to roll out by 2025. In this electric lineup, we expect to see a reviewed E-tron GT, the A9 E-tron luxury saloon, and a fully electric successor to the Audi R8.
AUDI E-TRON GT
Sticking with Audi, we have to mention the Audi E-tron GT. This is the sister car to the Porsche Taycan, sharing the same platform and much of the same technology. The E-tron GT is the most exciting EV from Audi within a sea of SUVs of varying sizes. Initially, we can expect two versions of the E-tron GT. The E-tron GT Quattro and the higher specced E-tron GT RS. Both versions have a motor on each axle to give them four-wheel drive, and both have a two-speed gearbox, which is also found on the rear axle of the Taycan. The Quattro version has 469bhp, but it also has a boost that gives you 525bhp for 2.5 seconds in launch control.
This gets you to 62mph in a not too shabby 4.1 seconds and runs all the way to 152mph. However, if this is too slow for you, the RS has you covered with 590bhp or 637bhp with its boost. This makes it the most powerful RS model ever, completely overshadowing the RS6. The RS gets to 62mph in 3.3 seconds, about half a second slower than the Taycan Turbo S, and 1.3 seconds slower than the Tesla Model S Plaid, and a top speed of 155mph. This is still incredibly fast, but it provides a less brutal experience than the Porsche, making it more of a fast GT car than an all-out supercar.
MUSTANG MACH E
The Mustang Mach-E is Ford's first fully electric car, which makes it extremely important. Its name is slightly controversial for some, as it is associated with classic muscle cars, yet here it is on an EV. Walking around the Mustang Mach-E reveals no Ford branding anywhere to be seen, which may or may not be a permanent characteristic. Using the Mustang name allows Ford to sell cars on the back of an established cool brand. Even so, it is difficult to see how they will tie the branding in with the other seventeen EVs they plan to release in 2021. However, branding aside, the Mustang Mach-E is a well-executed SUV crossover designed to take on the Polestar 2 or Jaguar I-Pace. You can choose your Mustang E with either a 76 or 99kWh battery pack. There is also single motor rear-wheel drive or twin motor four-wheel-drive options.
Ford claims the range to be 370 miles, which is one of the longest ranges for an electric car at the moment. The base model has 254bhp, and the most powerful version at the moment has 332bhp, but all are restricted to 111mph. There will be a 480 bhp GT version coming out later in the year with a 3.5 second 0-62 time. If the range is more important to you than speed, Ford will also be releasing the Extended Range version. Inside of the Mustang E, there is enough space to comfortably seat five adults and a 100-litre boot to carry all their stuff. As with many EVs, the Mustang E's cabin is dominated by a 15.5" screen to control the infotainment system and the auto-pilot modes. To wrap it up, the Ford Mustang Mach-E promises to be a great electric crossover. It is the car that will launch Ford into a new era, which is what the original Mustang did in 1965.
PORSCHE TAYCAN CROSS TURISMO
By 2025, half of all Porsches sold in Europe will either be electric or hybrids. This trend is gaining momentum thanks to the Taycan Sport, outselling Boxters and Caymans individually in 2020. Nonetheless, the Taycan Cross Turismo is set to speed up the momentum. This is an off-road version of the Taycan, which is a bit taller and has much more room inside. It launches in Europe initially with four different powertrains, all blisteringly fast. The top-spec version offers 483bhp, 0-62 in 4.1secs and a 281-mile range.
But then the Turbo versions will have 616bhp, with a boost of 670bhp, getting you to 62mph in 3.3 seconds. But if you want to go even faster, the Turbo S can do it in 2.9 seconds, thanks to its 750bhp. The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo has some interesting options that will appeal to its outdoorsy target market. For example, there are a couple of pricy electric bikes to choose from and a new bike carrier that allows you to use the rear tailgate when it is mounted.
TESLA MODEL S PLAID
In 2020, Tesla revealed the Model S 'Plaid'. It is an electric car with three motors, giving an astronomical 1,020bhp. This is enough to get you to 62mph in under two seconds, which is comfortably on a par with million-dollar hypercars. At first glance, this new version of the Model S doesn't look much different from older ones. If you are a Tesla connoisseur, you will notice that the bumper is slightly different, as is the rear diffuser and the wheel design. Tesla has updated the interior completely, adding more screens and an unusual steering wheel that looks like it has been cut in half. It remains to be seen if this will make it into European cars, though. The screens have a lot more processing power too, so you can play more involved games such as Witcher 3, which is used extensively in Tesla’s marketing material.
The most useful feature of this new Model S is the 390-mile range. This is getting close to traditional internal combustion engine cars and with the ever-expanding Supercharger network, the Model S is an attractive all-rounder. The 'Plaid' is not the end of the story, as Tesla has revealed the new 'Plaid Plus'. This version boasts 1,100bhp, a sub-9-second quarter-mile time, and a top speed of 200 mph. Even with this insane amount of power, you can get over 520 miles on a charge. The Plaid isn’t cheap, as prices start at around €120,000. Though, depending on your specification, this is similar to the Porsche Taycan and the Audi E-tron GT. It's a tough decision, but a nice one to have.
If you saw the TV series "The Long Way Up", where Ewan McGregor and Charlie Borman rode electric Harley-Davidson motorbikes from Argentina to L.A, you may be familiar with the Rivian R1T electric pickup trucks. Customers are expected to be taking deliveries of their R1Ts in June 2021, but the R1T is an exceptionally fast pickup truck that reaches 62mph in 3 seconds. It does this with a motor attached to each wheel, which also gives it immense torque for scrambling up steep hills. Using a unique platform, the Rivian R1T's battery, drive units, suspension, braking, and thermal system are all below the top of each wheel. This drops the centre of gravity significantly, but it also means that there is loads of space in the cabin. The Rivian RT1 looks very nice, too, with its clean lines and well-proportioned body.
It is longer, wider, and taller than a Nissan Navara and weighs 2.6 tonnes, so this is not a small car. As the models are rolled out, you can expect three battery sizes to choose from. There will be a 180kWh battery at launch with a 643km range, and a 135kWh battery with a 480km range. Later on in the year, there will be a 105kWh battery with a 370km range. A neat feature of the R1T is that you can actually charge it by towing it in an emergency. To put these figures into perspective, the 135kWh battery version has a total torque figure of 14000Nm, and 0-60mph in three seconds flat. 100mph is reached in under seven seconds, with a top speed of 124mph. This is impressive for any car, let alone a big heavy pickup truck.
The BMW iX is an all-electric SUV, which signifies the future of BMW. BMW will roll out the iX late in 2021. The whole car is based on its interior design, which is cozy, relaxing, and minimalist. However, its performance figures suggest that it's far from relaxing. It features a two-motor drivetrain with 500bhp, which gives it a 0 to 62mph time of under five seconds, but it has a claimed range of around 375 miles. Inside the cabin, you will notice the clean look thanks to subtle microswitches and the clear crystal iDrive controller with a touch-sensitive surface. In contrast to this clean look, the main touchscreen protrudes from the dash, but its curvy frameless design is elegant. Externally, it has the usual design cues of a BMW SUV, but with a more simple style.
The exterior elements that draw the eye are the polygonal wheel arches and the huge double kidney-shaped grill, which are all part of BMW's new design language. As the iX is all-electric, that massive grill is no longer used for cooling an engine. Instead, it now hides the driver-assist equipment. BMW has come up with some other clever ways to give iX a clean look, such as flush door handles and the screenwash reservoir hidden under the front BMW badge. When the iNext concept car was revealed, BMW talked about an autonomous E.V, which hasn't yet materialized in the iX. Still, it has a lot of computing power, which is BMW's first step in creating an electrical architecture that will enable self-driving in the future.
Historically, the Mercedes S-Class has always been a pioneer of technology. If it appears on an S-Class, you can be confident that it will be on other cars within a couple of years. This is why the Mercedes EQS is one to watch. The Mercedes EQS is the pure-electric Mercedes the world has been waiting for. The thing we need to pay attention to here is the claimed range of up to 477 miles between charges. It will be available with either 329 or 516bhp and a new type of battery with 90 or 107.8 kWh capacity. When plugged into a 200 kW charger, the EQS can get 186 miles of range in just 15 minutes. To help with its impressive range, Mercedes has built the EQS to be the most aerodynamic production car ever made. Images of the undisguised car show its shape to also be utterly gorgeous. As with any Mercedes S-Class', the interior of the EQS is a special place to be. The dash comprises a triple touchscreen setup behind a single pane of curved glass. Both the driver and passenger have screens that automatically know when you are looking at them.
They automatically illuminate and dim accordingly. The list of technology involved in the EQS is extensive, from an Infotainment system with artificial intelligence, level three autonomy, and a HEPA filter to protect you from nasty particles getting into the cabin. It even has an Energising Comfort system that can read your smartwatch to calm you down or wake you up when necessary. The EQS will lead everything from this point when it comes to luxury cars. So, it is proof that the future of luxury cars is silent and autonomous when required. Still, whether you are driving or not, the high-tech interior will either keep you entertained or relaxed. The EQS is very fast, but not as fast as the Porsche, Audi, and Tesla options mentioned above. Though, eye-watering performance and handling are not conducive to a relaxing and pleasant experience. There is a good chance if you have one of these, you will be sitting in the back anyway.