Top 10 Hottest New Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

  • Brian Leon is a freelance automotive journalist and former Associate Editor of the New York Daily News Autos. He is currently a master student at Uppsala University in Sweden studying marketing and completing a thesis in the area of trust in autonomous vehicles.

can be reached at brian.r.leon@gmail.com
  • Brian Leon is a freelance automotive journalist and former Associate Editor of the New York Daily News Autos. He is currently a master student at Uppsala University in Sweden studying marketing and completing a thesis in the area of trust in autonomous vehicles.

can be reached at brian.r.leon@gmail.com
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With diesel going the way of the dinosaurs after numerous emissions scandals, 2019 is set to be the year of the EV. Nearly every manufacturer is planning to introduce a fully electric vehicle in the coming years, and many are adding plug-in electrification to core models, giving buyers more options than ever for a car that comes with a plug.

Luxury manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche are all set to release the first in an entire range of new EVs, and a few startups and major brand off-shoots are getting into the game as well. It’s not all for the well-heeled, however, as mass-market EVs are getting longer ranges and lower base prices.

From SUVs to pickup trucks to pure sports cars, these are the 10 hottest EVs and PHEVs we’re most excited about.

Audi E-tron

2019 Audi E-tron electric SUV
Audi’s all-electric E-tron, the first in a series of EVs from the automaker, will boast a range of around 250 miles and a starting price of $75,795. (Audi)

Audi has been teasing an all-electric SUV for what seems like decades, but the production E-tron is finally here and will even reach U.S. dealerships soon.

It sports the same angular LED lights, trapezoidal “grille,” and sharp styling as other Audis in an attempt to look as normal as possible. In terms of performance, this amped-up Audi should provide about 250 miles of range and can be recharged to 80-percent capacity on a public Level 3 charger in just 30 minutes.

The E-tron will start at $75,795 (including the $995 destination charge) when the base model comes out, but First Edition E-trons will be available to those who reserved them in the second quarter of 2019. That version is priced from $87,695.

BMW 330e

2020 BMW 33e plug-in hybrid sedan
BMW is committed to electrification of its entire lineup, even if sedans are dropping in sales. The new 2020 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid will feature more range, more power, and faster charging times over the outgoing model. (BMW)

BMW has had a plug-in version of its popular 3 Series for years now, but with a limited range and a fairly high asking price, the 330e hasn’t exactly been flying off dealer lots. In association with the full redesign of the 3 Series, however, the Bavarian brand announced a new plug-in 330e due for the 2020 model year, boasting a bigger battery, longer electric-only range, and more performance.

Boosting capacity from 7.6 kWh to 12.0, the new 330e is expected to provide 37 miles on a full charge on the European cycle, so U.S. figures are subject to change. With 252 combined horsepower on tap, the 330e also includes a temporary extra boost feature from the electric motors that bumps horsepower by 41 to 293 hp, fitting for a sports sedan.

BMW iX3

2020 BMW iX3 plug-in hybrid SUV
With a funky faux grille and some EV-esque accents, the BMW iX3 brings full electrification to a popular compact luxury crossover for 2020. (BMW)

The electrification at BMW doesn’t stop with plug-in hybrids, as the popular X3 crossover is due to get a Chinese-built EV version for the 2020 model year.

With a claimed range of nearly 250 miles and a charging time of 30 minutes with a Level 3 public charger, the iX3 should compete directly with the Audi E-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC. That “Ultimate Driving Machine” spirit seems to be alive and well with the iX3, though, as system horsepower is expected to total 268, which is 20 more than the standard gas-powered X3.

Kia Niro EV

2019 Kia Niro EV
It may be somewhat overlooked, but at less than $40,000 and with a claimed range of 239 miles, the Kia Niro EV could be a big step in bringing electrification to the masses. (Kia)

Quietly, the Korean conglomerate of Hyundai and Kia is releasing some seriously impressive EVs this year, at least on paper.

As part of the plan, the hybrid Kia Niro gets an electric-only version with a claimed range of 239 miles from a 64-kWh battery pack. The electric motor manages 201 hp and a massive 291 lb.-ft. of torque, and just 30 minutes of DC fast charging can add 100 miles of range back to the batteries.

With an expected base price of around $38,000, this humble Kia could be a big step in bringing more affordable EVs to the masses.

Mercedes-Benz EQC

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is a full-fledged commitment to an electric future from the German powerhouse, using an existing platform and all-new EV tech. (Mercedes-Benz)

Not to be outdone by its rivals at Audi and BMW, Mercedes-Benz has already dropped the sheet on its own electric-only SUV, the EQC, due this year as the first model in the fully electric EQ range of vehicles.

Built alongside the GLC-Class and using the same platform, the EQC adds two electric motors and an 80-kWh battery pack for 402 hp, a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds, and a range of up to 279 miles, though that seems on the low side for its battery size.

Look for the production model in dealerships at some point this year.

Polestar 2

Polestar 2 aerial photo of rear decklid
Though we’ve yet to see the full product, Polestar’s upcoming second model, the Polestar 2, will be a 4-door liftback and compete in terms of price and range with the Tesla Model 3. (Volvo)

Volvo’s sub-brand Polestar has gone through some interesting changes in recent years, starting as a factory supported racing and tuning outfit and transforming into an electrified performance-oriented spinoff.

Its second proprietary model, after the 600-plus-hp plug-in hybrid Polestar 1, will be a 4-door liftback called the Polestar 2. Estimated to make 400 hp and provide 300 miles of range, the Polestar 2 is based on the compact Volvo XC40 platform, is expected to cost around $50,000, and will compete directly with the Tesla Model 3.

Porsche Taycan

Porsche Mission-E concept car at a charging station
Perhaps the most hotly anticipated EV of 2019, the Porsche Taycan is expected to fully challenge the Tesla Model S with an expected 600 horsepower and 300 miles of range. (Porsche)

Porsche’s popular Mission-E concept has been given a name: Taycan. While pronunciation will certainly be subject to personal preference, this all-electric 4-door is expected to directly challenge the Tesla Model S in terms of price and performance. We haven’t seen a production model yet, but Porsche says to expect over 600 hp and 300 miles of range, with the ability to add 250 miles back in just 15 minutes of charging on a new Tesla-esque system.

Rivian R1T

Rivian R1T electric pickup truck
The electric pickup truck is finally a reality with the R1T, the first project from Detroit-based startup Rivian. (Rivian)

With the current EV revolution in full swing, the only thing missing was an electric pickup truck. Thanks to Detroit-based startup Rivian, our wish has finally been granted, and the numbers are promising.

The robot-faced R1T boasts several storage cubbies thanks to a lack of an internal combustion engine and drivetrain components but boasts battery packs up to 180 kWh and a claimed range of over 400 miles. Coupled with a towing capacity of 11,000 pounds, a zero-to-60 mph time of just 3 seconds, and a base price of less than $70,000 (not including federal tax credits), you may not know Rivian now, but you likely will soon.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster in Red
No list of hot EVs would be complete without Tesla, which aims to shake up the supercar world with the second generation of the Roadster that started it all. (Tesla)

We’ll be holding our breath for a full-fledged production model, but on paper, the second-generation Tesla Roadster could offer mind-blowing performance.

Set to debut in 2020, Tesla’s Elon Musk originally claimed a 200-kWh battery pack, a range of 620 miles, and a zero-to-60 mph time of just 1.9 seconds. A select few have gotten to ride in prototypes and the performance seems to stack up as advertised. And, with an expected price of more than $200,000, this could be the first bonafide electric supercar.

Volvo S60 T8 eAWD Polestar Engineered

2019 Volvo S60 T8 eAWD Polestar Engineered
Quietly, Volvo released a high-performance plug-in hybrid sports sedan with the help of its Polestar division. The S60 T8 eAWD Polestar Engineered boasts 415 horsepower and serious exclusivity: only 20 examples are available nationwide. (Volvo)

Though you may not have heard of it yet, one of the coolest plug-in hybrids you can buy in the U.S. is set to debut this year. Its full name is the Volvo S60 T8 eAWD Polestar Engineered, but we’ll just call it the S60 T8 for now.

While only 20 units will be available through the Care by Volvo subscription service (for $1,100 a month), the lucky few will be treated to 415 hp and 494 lb.-ft. of torque, not to mention all-electric driving range for shorter trips. A garden-variety T8 plug-in will also be available, but with slightly reduced power figures and performance features.


About the Author

  • Brian Leon is a freelance automotive journalist and former Associate Editor of the New York Daily News Autos. He is currently a master student at Uppsala University in Sweden studying marketing and completing a thesis in the area of trust in autonomous vehicles.

can be reached at brian.r.leon@gmail.com
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