Originally published on EV Obsession.
The new year is upon us, and it’s time to run down another list of the new electric vehicles that should be arriving in the US and Europe in the coming 365 days. Without much knowledge of the EV markets outside of North America and Europe, I’m sorry to say that this list of new electric cars is limited to those two continents*. In no particular order (other than the order my memory and Google skills have chosen), here are the new electric cars, SUVs, and crossovers that should be available to consumers in 2015.
Tesla Model X
The Model X is surely the most-awaited electric vehicle of 2015. Perhaps the most-awaited EV of all time… though, the broader accessibility of the Model 3 may have it beat. It is supposed to be a super-high-performance, utilitarian, luxury SUV or crossover with falcon-wing doors. If it matches the concept vehicle (and note that Elon Musk has promised it will be even better), no other SUV or crossover should compete with it. It’s greatest downside is that it will be priced similar to the Model S, which is to say, it will be out of the reach of most. Delayed a couple of years now, the Model X is supposed to hit the market in the second half of 2015.
BMW X5 eDrive
Perhaps the closest competitor to the Model X, the BMW X5 eDrive is a plug-in hybrid electric SUV that will have its fair share of performance, luxury, and high-tech features. It will be able to learn your driving habits and teach you how to drive more efficiently, it will be able to avoid crashes that some drivers would fail to escape from, and it will probably have a bit more “luxury” than the Model X. On the other hand, it won’t have the acceleration, seating capacity, or looks of th Model X. In order to compete, I’d think the X5 eDrive would have to be quite a bit more affordable than the Model X, which might be hard to pull off.
VW Passat GTE Plug-in
The VW Passat GTE Plug-in, unveiled in 2014, is expected to go from 0 to 60 mph in under 8 seconds, which is respectable for an average-priced car. Of course, being electric, that will feel much faster than a gasoline car with the same time. It will also have a very high top speed of 136 mph. It’s all-electric range will be very good for a plug-in hybrid: 31 miles (though, that figure may be for Europe, and the US one would be quite a bit lower than the Europe one due to more rigorous testing). Sporty, sleek, and with decent specs, if the price is right, this one could sell. Unfortunately, the VW Passat GTE Plug-in is just set for release in Europe at the moment, probably in 2015.
Audi A3 e-Tron
The Audi A3 e-Tron is already on sale at over 100 German dealerships, but it is on this list because it is expected to make its US debut in 2015. There’s already a US webpage for it, and you can sign up for updates. It’s another plug-in hybrid electric car (this seems to be the theme in 2015, quite different from 2014). The electric-only range is estimated to be 18 miles, which is not spectacular, but is at least better than the Toyota Prius Plug-in. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in a 7.6 seconds. It has also landed a difficult 5 stars in Europe’s safety ratings. I think it’ll be hard for the Audi A3 e-Tron to compete with the Chevy Volt or Ford Energi models on value for the money, but some will prefer the e-Tron’s looks and the Audi brand, and the President of Audi of America, Scott Keogh, contends that this is not going to be a “compliance car.” We’ll see.
Audi Q7 Plug-in
The Audi Q7 is another plug-in hybrid from Audi. This SUV/crossover will reportedly be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds — hard to beat in this class. The highly awaited luxury plug-in from Audi has a good shot of lifting Audi out of the doldrums of electric inactivity and toward the top of the list for EV enthusiasts. We’ll see.
The Rimac Concept_One is no everyman’s car. It is an electric supercar out of Croatia that costs a fortune… as in, $1 million. Needless to say, most of us will be lucky to even see one of these, let alone touch one, let alone ride in one, let alone own one. Still, it’s a beauty worth mentioning, and I’m hopeful it will get produced in 2015. As of now, 88 initial cars are planned for production in 2015. The Rimac Concept_One can reportedly go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, and has a horsepower of 1,088. Yep, that’s a “supercar.” Rimac Automobili recently landed a good bit more investment in order to produce the initial 88 cars.
2016 Chevy Volt
An updated version of the popular Chevy Volt is supposed to be sportier and should benefit from advancements in battery technology. Reportedly taking design cues from the C7 Corvette Stingray and adding a fifth seat, my guess is that an even broader portion of the market will find this version of the Volt fits their needs and desires. With the tremendous satisfaction of first-generation Volt buyers, the 2016 Chevy Volt (Volt 2.0, as many are calling it) could see great sales. I hope so!
Volvo XC90 T8
The Volvo XC90 T8 is yet another plug-in hybrid electric SUV expected to hit the market in 2015. (Are you noticing a trend?) As we reported previously, “Volvo claims that the new T8 ‘Twin Engine’ setup is good for 25 miles of pure electric driving, and delivers a total output of 400 HP with more than 470 lb-ft of torque while producing just 60 g/km of C02,” and Volvo claims that the 2015 Volvo XC90 T8 will offer the best performance and fuel economy in its class.
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Plug-in, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Plug-in, & Mercedes-Benz C-Class Plug-in
It’s expected that a plug-in hybrid version of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV (formerly called the Mercedes-Benz M-Class or ML-Class) will hit European and US showrooms in 2015. Not much is known about the vehicle so far, but it has been spied lapping the Nurburgring.
Word on the street is that Mercedes will also be releasing an E-Class plug-in hybrid and a C-Class plug-in hybrid. The E-Class plug-in was recently spied in snowy weather, and the C-Class plug-in was spotted earlier this year in Germany. Clearly, not a lot is known about these vehicles yet, but keep an eye on our Mercedes category for all of the latest Mercedes plug-in car news (we’re going to be obsessive this coming year).
Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in
The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in has been on the market in Japan (its birthplace) and Europe for a couple of years now. However, it should finally (after a couple of delays) come to the US in the second half of 2015. Furthermore, it is supposed to come with some notable changes, so it won’t really be the same vehicle as is found (and very, very popular) in Europe and Japan. If the price is right, this electric SUV/crossover could certainly steal buyers away from the Model X, BMW X5 eDrive, and plenty of other electric vehicles.
*OK, I lied: this one is just going to be available in China, but it’s such an attractive and promising plug-in that I thought it had to be mentioned. BYD was an unchallenged leader in the plug-in car market when it brought the e6 to town. After unveiling the BYD Qin plug-in hybrid about a year ago, that vehicle has really taken Chinese EV sales to another level. The Tang looks even more attractive and I think will help to mainstream electric vehicles in China. It is another plug-in hybrid, and accelerates to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. BYD is hoping to sell thousands of Tangs a month, a feat few electric vehicles have reached.
As a fun side note: The Qin beat 19 other cars in a race when it was launched, including the Porsche 911 and Golf GTI. The Tang will be launched in a similar fashion, and BYD writes: “If any challenger of any standard-stock luxury class Car beats Tang, BYD will provide a reward of 10,000 RMB per challenger.”
Volvo S60 Plug-In
A diesel-electric plug-in hybrid version of the Volvo S60 has been on the market in Europe for awhile, but the US and China don’t really do diesel, so it has been off limits in the world’s biggest auto markets. Volvo is reportedly working on a gasoline-electric plug-in version of the S60, which is aimed at China but could very well end up in the US… we hope!
BMW 3 Series Plug-in
As it promised, BMW is continuing the electrification of its entire lineup. It recently announced a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW 3 Series, which we are hopeful will hit the market in 2015. As covered over on Planetsave: “The drive system of the new PHEV prototype possesses an output of around 245 hp (183 kW), and maximum torque of around 400 N·m (295 lb-ft). The prototype averages about 2 liters/100 km (117.5 mpg US) with regard to fuel consumption, and about 50 g/km with regard to CO2 emissions. When in all-electric mode, the prototype can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h (74.5 mph), and possesses a range of around 35 kilometers (22 miles).” Note, however, that the range is probably based on European testing, and will likely be closer to 15 miles in the US.
Note that I just updated my full list of electric cars on the US & EU markets, and will do so throughout the year as more information is made available.