Afters years of rumors about the next generation of electric cars, we finally have some real vehicles on the docket. Breakthroughs in technology, dropping battery costs, and a horse-race between automakers have yielded products that must be considered game-changers: 200-mile EVs that will run consumers $35,000 or less after incentives. Future electric vehicles are arriving sooner than we thought.
This wave of plug-in vehicles has the potential to upend the industry as it stands, and Tesla won’t be the only one playing on the field. Every major automaker either wants or needs to have volume plug-in sales to stay relevant as a brand and compliant as a corporation. By 2020, most will have their next-gen EVs on the U.S. market. Here are the five electric cars that will change the auto landscape.
1. Chevy Bolt EV
The next generation will kick off in 2016 with the arrival of the Chevy Bolt EV. GM’s first-to-market entry will deliver a substantial 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque to grab drivers’ attention. Though some may take issue with the Bolt’s styling, the spacious interior and impressive cargo capacity with the back seats down score it points in the utility department. Chevy says it will reach 60 miles per hour from a stop in seven seconds or less. It starts at $37,500 before incentives are counted.
2. Nissan Leaf 2.0
We have not seen a prototype or gotten details on specific future electric vehicles Nissan will produce, but we know there is a model in the works that will crack 200 miles. Around the time of the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, the automaker revealed it would deliver a 60 kWh electric car in the coming years and incorporate design elements of the IDS (Intelligent Driving System) Concept it premiered at the October event. Rather than a next-gen Leaf, expect a brand-defining product by the 2018 model year.
3. Tesla Model 3
Tesla started the clock on mainstream EVs when it posited the 200-mile concept years ago, and so far the company’s Model 3 is the one that has most captured the imagination of consumers around the world. Whether or not Tesla fills the 400,000 pre-orders or not, this rear-wheel-drive EV featuring at least 215 miles of range is already a game-changer for the industry. Elon Musk is pushing to bring the brand’s $35,000 EV to market faster, but the end of 2017 seems like the earliest possible delivery date.
4. Volkswagen e-Golf
While Volkswagen does not have a volume-selling EV on the U.S. market, this fact will change when the next e-Golf makes its way to America. Billed as a way to flash the auto group’s superior technology while dimming the unflattering spotlight of Dieselgate, this model will be a crucial part of the manufacturer’s rebound. According to company executives, the electric version of the Golf due in 2018 will top 186 miles in actual range. We’ll see if that date gets adjusted according to the competition’s moves.
5. Hyundai electric SUV
If SUVs and crossovers remain the dominant sales force in the industry, why are most future electric vehicles sedans? We expect a crossover Model 3 to come eventually, but Tesla already has its hands full with the sedan. Hyundai, on the other hand, is reportedly planning to make an electric SUV as the company’s first long-range EV. Company officials confirmed the SUV to Korean news sources, saying such a product could arrive by 2018. When Hyundai’s Ioniq nameplate debuts in 2016, we’ll have a better idea of what we can expect.