The electric car revolution has well and truly begun. The world’s major car manufacturers are throwing their full weight behind electrifying their fleets, charging times and infrastructure are constantly improving and with new all-electric models being announced more frequently than ever, it’s never been a better time to go electric.
This huge commitment to EVs and creating the most cutting edge technology means there’s some seriously cool cars on the road right now and more coming to the market over the next few years. So let’s take a look at what Formula E’s mighty manufacturer teams have in store.
So first up, let’s look at a manufacturer that was one of the early mass adopters of production EVs, BMW. A manufacturer we know well, not just because of their Formula E racing credentials, but because the all-electric BMW i3 and the electrified i8 have been course cars, and the Official Safety Car for the championship’s entire existence.
The future of BMW’s electric fleet is looking exciting too, with the recent launch this year of the iX3, the all-electric version of the immensely popular X3 SUV. Design-wise, it closely resembles its petrol-powered counterpart as opposed to any futuristic-radical styling like we’ve seen with the i3 and i8.
The iX3’s electric powertrain and single electric motor can push out 286bhp from an 80kWh battery and has a WLTP range of 285 miles.
BMW’s upcoming additions to their electric fleet correspond perfectly with the manufacturer’s progression in Formula E. Success on the race track means success on the road, and with multiple wins to their name over the past few seasons we're now seeing the fruits of the learnings in Formula E being integrated into its road cars.
Mercedes-Benz has been going about its business relatively quietly on the EV-release front with the EQC, but having just completed their first season as a manufacturer team in Formula E, they’re preparing to take big strides into the EV market in 2021.
First up, the Mercedes-Benz EQA - a compact Car first previewed in 2017 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. There’s only concept specs and stats so far but the EQA is scheduled to go into production by the end of the year with a strong focus on a fascinating electric customer experience and a suitable range even for mid- to long-distance travelling.
More from Mercedes hitting the road in 2021 with a sleek new EQS all-electric saloon. Mercedes officially confirmed a range of more than 700km (435 miles) for the EQS and a halving of its charging time compared to current models which is hugely impressive and is most certainly going to raise a few eyebrows.
Mercedes has announced recently that by 2022, the manufacturer intends to have multiple electrified variants across all segments on offer, made up of mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids but at least ten fully electric models.
The concept version of Audi's upcoming electric SUV, the Q4 e-tron, was revealed at 2019's Geneva Motor Show but a production version is scheduled to be on sale in 2021. It definitely borrows styling from the e-tron, and size-wise it’ll slot in just beneath the Q5 in Audi’s SUV line-up.
Interestingly it won’t use the MLB platform used by the larger e-tron and will instead use the VW group’s MEB platform, the same as used by the VW ID range. As a result it’ll have around 100bhp less than the full-size e-tron but around 100 more than the VW ID hatchbacks built on the same platform. The concept car already gave a realistic preview, coming with an 82kWh battery with a range of up to 310 miles (WLTP).
A second electric entry for Audi in 2021 comes with the Audi e-tron GT. It’s an electric grand tourismo, and will share the J1 performance platform with the Porsche Taycan. The two German giants have teamed up to better compete in the EV market with outsiders such as Tesla. It’s going to be interesting to see what cars are borne out of this platform in years to come.
The e-tron GT is predicted to use a 90kWh+ battery good for 248 miles of range, with 350kW rapid charging capabilities meaning you can charge 80 percent of the battery, around 200 miles, in just 20 minutes. That’s some seriously fast charging. Twin electric motors producing 582bhp mean the e-tron GT should be capable of 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 3.5 seconds and a 149mph top speed.
2021 will see the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, the more rugged, roomy derivative of the Taycan hit the road. The Cross Turismo is the next stage of a full-scale attack on the EV market from Porsche, following on from the success of the Taycan.
Following this, we’ll see a fully electric version of the company’s biggest seller, the Macan as part of Porsche’s second, fully battery-powered model series. The company is anticipating that by the middle of this decade half of the entire product range will be sold as fully electric models or partially electric plug-in hybrids.
Earlier in 2020, we were treated to the announcement of the new Nissan Ariya electric SUV. The crucial new model is set to go on sale in 2021 as a rival to the Tesla Model Y and VW ID.4, sitting above the hugely successful Leaf in Nissan’s EV line-up.
The Ariya sports some pretty bold styling, listed to have a range of up to 310 miles or 500km (WLTP) depending on the options, and a 389bhp performance version. Nissan aren’t pulling any punches claiming the Ariya will “mark a new era for electric vehicles” by combining high levels of tech with “exciting” handling.
It’ll be sold in five versions, single motor front-wheel and twin-motor four-wheel drive, with a choice of a 63 or a 87kWh battery. The twin-motor powertrain uses Nissan’s new e-4orce four-wheel drive system, which they call the “spiritual offspring” of the system used in the widely appreciated Nissan GT-R.
A range-topping e-4orce Performance model will use the 87kWh battery but produce 389bhp and have an up to 285-mile or 460km (WLTP) range, covering 0-62mph in a claimed 5.1 seconds.
Moving on to British team and manufacturer Jaguar. The I-PACE is the Jaguar which tore up the rule book to become the world’s first premium all-electric SUV, and has gone on to win more than 80 global awards.
Earlier this year a refreshed version of the highly regarded I-PACE was released, offering a new, faster and more intuitive infotainment system, greater connectivity, quicker home charging, more driver assistance technology, and an even more distinctive design.
Following the plug-in hybrid DS 7 CROSSBACK E-TENSE 4x4 300, the DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE, another road vehicle developed alongside a Formula E race program, went on sale last year staking its claim in the rapidly growing premium electric market.
Packed full of cool design quirks and luxury features, the E-TENSE has an 100kW electric motor and a smooth yet punchy powertrain making it a bit of an eyebrow raiser for potential EV owners. Range wise, it counts a WLTP range up to 200 miles or 320km between charges and 100kW rapid charging capability meaning 30 minutes of charging on an equivalent rapid charger will give you an 80 percent charge.
July 2020 saw the launch of the NIO EC6, the latest EV offering from the Chinese company and Formula E manufacturer team. NIO may be on to something special with this EC6 electric SUV, a super-stylish, sporty, low-drag design with a very impressive claimed NEDC range of up to 382 miles or 615km on the top spec 100kWh battery option, and not without haste thanks to a 0-62mph (0-100kph) time of 4.5 seconds - rapid!
That performance is thanks to its 160 kW PM motor in the front and a 240 kW induction motor at the rear. Available to order now with deliveries hitting the road in China very soon.
We’ve talked quite a bit about the 1900bhp Battista hypercar over the past year or so, but word has it, it’s on course to reach first customers from 2021 with only 150 models of the pure-electric £2 million masterpiece being made in Italy.
Automobili Pininfarina says that Battista is the most powerful road-legal car ever produced in Italy thanks to four motors, one for each wheel, that collectively deliver up to 1900bhp and 1696lb ft of torque making it good for a sub-2 second 0-62mph time and 0-186mph in less than 12 seconds.
With Formula E team Mahindra Racing’s reserve driver Nick Heidfeld helping with its development, the Battista has a 217mph top speed and can travel over 300 miles between each charge thanks to its 120KWh battery. Does anyone have a spare £2 million lying around?
So there we have it, Formula E’s manufacturer teams showing that they mean business in the electric world, both on and off the track. That's some list of EVs set to hit the streets in the next year or so...