Just a few years ago, people shopping for an electric vehicle only had a few choices and none of them were particularly affordable. More and more automakers have stepped in to fix that problem, to the extent that now it’s relatively easy to find an all-electric vehicle for less than $40,000. That’s not to say that upscale EVs have fallen off the map. In fact, the exact opposite has happened.
Tesla has dominated the EV conversation for years now, but worthy competitors from big-name premium brands are starting to hit the streets. Nearly every European luxury automaker has either already released a vehicle or has announced plans to produce an EV for the U.S. market in the near future. The upscale EV space is about to get very crowded, so we wanted to gather a list of the top names in the game. Here are four premium electric vehicles to keep your eye on:
(Photo: Jaguar Land Rover)
Jaguar’s award-winning I-Pace is the elder statesman our list, but that’s just because it’s the only one actually for sale at the moment. In its first year on the market, the Jag took home trophies for 2019 World Car of the Year, Best Design, and Best Green Car, making it the first vehicle to win all three categories. Ian Callum, the famed Jaguar design boss, oversaw development of the I-Pace as one of his last projects before leaving the company.
The I-Pace has a range of 234 miles, which falls short of Tesla’s Model X, but the Jaguar’s price tag is smaller as well. The starting price of $69,500 buys a panoramic sunroof, auto-leveling headlights, navigation, and advanced safety tech like lane keep assist. Stepping up trim levels and options can make the I-Pace a very expensive purchase, but many of the best features are standard on the base model.
The e-tron is a brand new electric crossover, and is Audi’s first effort in the segment. It slots into the company’s lineup between the smaller Q5 and larger Q8, both of which are gas-powered models.
It might seem odd that such an expensive car can feel like a bargain, but the e-tron’s base price of $74,800 makes it a relatively “affordable” option when it’s judged against a Tesla or the new Porsche further down our list. The Audi’s price tag also includes a long list of luxury features like navigation, leather, a panoramic sunroof, Virtual Cockpit, premium audio, and a long list of advanced safety tech.
Though its EPA-estimated range of 204 miles doesn’t match that of the Tesla’s Model X or the I-Pace’s 234 miles, the e-tron’s party trick is its DC fast-charging abilities. The Audi can regain 54 miles of range in ten minutes and reach up to an 80 percent charge in just half an hour. The number of public chargers that can hit the e-tron’s supported 150-kW rate is small but growing, so for now the e-tron’s fast charging may not be a huge advantage for all buyers.
The EQC is the first in a series of all-electric vehicles that Mercedes-Benz will sell under a new sub-brand it calls “Mercedes-Benz EQ”. When it hits the road for the 2020 model year, the EQC will sport electric drivetrains at each axle that delivers all-wheel drive with a total of 402 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque. The company also says its new crossover will have fast-charge ability that can recharge from 10 to 80 percent in just 40 minutes. The EPA hasn’t released range numbers for the EQC yet, but European agencies have rated it between 277 and 293 miles on a full charge. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t translate directly to EPA estimates.
We don’t have pricing details yet, but we do know that the EQC will get the full Mercedes-Benz treatment with a host of standard and available luxury features. On board every EQC, we’ll see a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster matched by a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, LED lighting, all-wheel drive, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability, and selectable driving modes. There will be an available AMG Line, which should include upgraded wheels and tires, sporty exterior bodywork, and exclusive interior features.
The Porsche Taycan is one of the most talked about vehicles of this year. Everything about the car is extreme, from its ultra-exclusive price tag to its insane power delivery numbers. When it hits the streets in early 2020, the Taycan will be one of the fastest cars on the road, and a quick look at the specs make it easy to see why. The “base” model will come with 616 horsepower and will be capable of “overboost” that bumps the number to 670 hp. The Turbo S trim pushes the envelope further to a max power number of 750 hp and 774 pound-feet of torque. Porsche says the higher output version can run 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds.
The base price of just over $150,000 is not for the faint of heart (or wallet), but it does buy quite a few standard features. The list includes leather upholstery, navigation, heated front and rear seats, park assist, lane keep assist, 20-inch wheels, and a laundry list of performance hardware.