If the signs up until now are anything to go by, 2016 is set to be the year the EV is taken seriously and is launched into the mainstream. Last year, several big manufactures showed intentions of introducing more electric cars into their line-ups and sales of electric cars were up across the world. I have picked out four of my favourites EVs to keep an eye on over the next 12 months. The future is here…
BMW i8 Plus
Since BMW launched the i8, there have always been small niggles that needed to be ironed out. One of these was the distinct lack of performance, but that could be sorted out with the arrival of a high performance i8 later this year.
Unlike previous hot BMWs, the hot i8 will not be named i8 M, with BMW instead rumoured to be taking a leaf out of Apple’s book and dubbing it the i8 Plus or i8+. Power will be upped to 450bhp from 357bhp and 0-60mph will be under four seconds. The i8 will also go on a diet in order to keep it lightweight with a more stripped out interior and unpainted carbon fibre panels.
Prices are rumoured to start at over £110,000, the new i8 could be a limited run as an experiment for BMW’s ‘i’ division to tread the ground in high performance electric cars. Exciting just got better.
Last year, Aston Martin revealed that it would be building an all-electric version of its super saloon, the Rapide. Replacing the iconic 6.0-litre V12 will be a battery pack, while electric motors at each wheel will convert the RWD Rapide to 4WD.
Details are still quite scarce with production aimed at the end of the year. There would be just a small difference in weight meaning handling and performance should remain unaltered and Aston can keep the luxurious interior of the Rapide.
A range of 200 miles is the target but expect it to come at a hefty price. Figures near £200,000 are anticipated for the electric Rapide. Aston has also decided to try and remain tasteful with the naming, which can often be an issue for EV cars (see below), by calling it RapidE. Very classy.
Excitement has been buzzing around Tesla’s new Model X, which is expected to revolutionise the SUV market. It promises to be all guns blazing with the electric powertrain from the Model S P85D meaning 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and over 600bhp making it one seriously quick SUV.
There will also be a P90D version arriving later promising even more performance. The Model X also features the much-talked about ‘Falcon Wing’ doors which open upwards and are fitted with sensors to avoid any unfortunate dents or scrapes in car parks and open automatically when the driver approaches.
With its stylish looks, practical seating for seven, more technology than NASA and its green credentials, this might just be the perfect car for the modern world. Depending on price of course and knowing Tesla, it won’t come cheap…
Could a new dawn of hot hatchbacks be upon us? Peugeot seems to think so when it launches its first hybrid hot hatch this year. The 308 R Hybrid teams a 267bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo from the RCZ R to two 114bhp electric motors attached at each axle. This will mean a top speed of 155mph and 0-60 in 4.0seconds making it compete with the VW Golf GTI and the upcoming Ford Focus RS.
After the success in reviving its performance cars with the 208 GTI, Peugeot is keen to up the ante further and tackle the kings of the hot hatches. It is unclear whether the bold two-tone paint scheme will stay or not but the looks are set to remain identical to the concept car last seen at the Frankfurt motor show. No word yet on price but we can expect it to be competitively priced with both the Golf GTI and the Focus RS.