What’s next for electric cars: the most interesting models coming this year

As we start off 2021 and gaze into the automotive future, electric cars are all over it. In August, 2020 electric vehicle (EV) sales had already reached 1.6 million in the US. Tesla, currently the only all-electric vehicle manufacturer in the US market, sold 499,550 cars in 2020. That’s a considerable increase from the 367,500 they delivered in 2019.

California and Massachusetts have passed laws that all new cars sold there must be electric by the year 2035, and more states will likely follow. (It may sound like a long time, but for such a consequential change to the automotive landscape that’s actually quite aggressive!)

Most manufacturers, from Nissan to Porsche, now have at least one all-electric model in their lineup. In addition to the lack of carbon emissions, EVs can be much more affordable to own than gas-powered, as charging them at home is virtually free—typically just a couple of dollars a month—and most utility companies provide deeply discounted rates for EV owners who charge overnight, during off-peak hours.

What’s next for electric cars?

As innovation and production move faster, we’re seeing more and more electric car options on the market. Here are some of the most interesting EVs slated to hit US roads in the coming year.

Audi E-Tron GT

You might recognize the E-Tron GT from Avengers: End Game. Maybe you remember (as I do) being deeply confused by the raucous roar of an engine emanating from what you were pretty sure was an electric model. 

The Audi E-Tron GT concept

Here’s the deal: the E-Tron GT is in fact just as quiet as any other electric car in real life, but for the movie, that silent approach wasn’t really dramatic enough for the scene. So the producers asked Audi’s engineers to find a way to make it make noise. And they did.

It’s a pretty gorgeous car, though, at least in its pre-production form, and is a very close sibling to the Porsche Taycan. It has the same architecture as the P-car, and cranks out 590-horsepower with two electric motors—one on each axle.

Fisker Ocean

You might remember the name Fisker; celebs like Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio drove the marque’s Karma back around 2012. It came to an abrupt end in 2014, when Fisker ran out of money and shut down. (The Fisker Karma has been updated and re-launched by a new company and is now on the market as the Karma Revero.)

The Fisker Ocean aims to be an affordable luxury crossover EV

The Fisker Ocean is a new model by Henrik Fisker, who has relaunched his company and will release the Ocean in 2021. Fisker designed some of the most iconic cars in recent automotive history: the BMW Z8, the Aston Martin Vantage, and the Aston Martin DB9. The Ocean is an innovative convergence of luxury and sustainability, and its interior is largely made from recycled materials.

Rivian

Rivian is another all-new American EV company launching its first models in 2021; it has an SUV and a pickup truck, both starting around 70k. 

Rivian’s forthcoming R1S

Each model has a range of 300+ miles, and buyers can upgrade that to 400+ miles as a $10k option. They also go from 0-60 in a scant 3 seconds, which is amazing and also begs the question of whether an SUV or pickup needs or should have that kind of acceleration, but… such is the capability of electric motors.

Lucid Air

Lucid is another brand-new all-electric car company. Headquartered in California, and opening a factory soon in Arizona, it’s clearly taking aim at the higher-end part of Tesla’s market. The styling cues are reminiscent of the S, Model 3, and Y. Where Lucid diverges from Tesla is the price point; their entry trim level starts much higher than the base Model 3, at $70k, and their limited edition flagship is $160k. 

The Lucid Air is a more luxurious alternative to the Tesla

The Air is more luxuriously appointed than any of Tesla’s models, with premium materials like walnut trim and full-grain Nappa leather interior on all but the entry level ‘Pure’ model. (Bearing in mind that the next rung up from the entry level is $86k, so the niceties don’t come cheap!) Even the Pure model, while lacking leather, is still strikingly different from Tesla’s spartan interior in terms of both design and materials.

EVs for the end of the world

In the newly-forged Dystopia Utility Vehicle category, we have a couple of trucks that would make Mad Max proud. It might be tough to find a place to charge an EV, in post-apocalyptic times. But with range options from 200 to 500 miles, you can cover some ground before it all goes dark.

The Bollinger B1’s retro boxy look belies its impressively cutting-edge technology

The Bollinger B1 has angles that make a Land Rover Series III look curvy. It’s got an aerodynamics-be-damned retro appeal. But if you want something more futuristic, the Tesla Cybertruck has got you covered. And it’s fairly massive; it seats six, and the slightly larger variant has a full-sized pickup bed.

The Tesla Cybertruck is probably ready for just about anything

It also may have the best doomsday protection, with a ‘nearly impenetrable exoskeleton’ (yes, Tesla calls it an exoskeleton) and Tesla armor glass, which is supposedly bulletproof—at least against small caliber rounds—but didn’t fare so well when Tesla’s head of design threw a steel ball at it during the public unveiling.

2021 promises to be an exciting year for EVs, and we can’t wait to see (and drive) the production versions of these models!

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