As is customary at the end of a year, Zap-Map takes a look at what the next 12 months has in store. The good news is that 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for plug-in cars, with a number of confirmed models on their way. There are some others that are technically industry rumour-mongering – but they’re plenty sensible enough for our books to feature.
Here we take a quick look at some new plug-in models we can expect to see on sale in the UK in 2018. Zap-Map cast’s our eye over a dozen of the most exciting – one for every month.
Setting off alphabetically, we see Audi’s all-electric SUV first revealed back at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The name might change a little, but the use of the e-tron badge is practically guaranteed. That’s for a premium SUV that looks set to compete with the likes of Jaguar and Tesla in the long-distance EV market.
Expected to have a range of more than 300 miles, the concept produced just shy of 500hp for an EV with supercar-baiting performance. Add in the fact that the e-tron is just the start of a new generation of electric vehicles for the VW Group, and this is a model that should prove a key one next year.
BMW i8 Roadster
The i8 Roadster is set to bring drop-top driving thrills to the plug-in sportscar market. It’s not going to sell in huge numbers considering the hefty price tag, but it’s always good for a manufacturer such as BMW to have a ‘poster car’. If the i8 Roadster is anything like the coupe – and we have no reason to believe it won’t be – the convertible is likely to be very good indeed.
That’s not taking into account the i8 Coupe’s updated systems either, with the supercar set for an improved battery pack for a longer range and improved efficiency over the current model. A few styling and equipment tweaks complete the package, which is one of the best cars to put a smile on your face you could hope for.
The new and updated i3 range will be boosted by a sporter ‘s’ model for the first time from next year. The promise of a more rounded i3 line-up has already won the compact BMW EV the Next Green Car Supermini Award 2017, and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of one to see what the hot-hatch is like.
The ‘standard’ i3 is plenty fun enough already, so the i3s promises much, and like will be available as both pure-EV and REX too. The rest of the i3 range gets sharper styling and revised equipment too, as the EV market shows no signs of slowing down yet.
We’re not certain yet whether the X3 will be available as a PHEV or pure-EV just yet. But there have been announcements that the popular SUV will have some sort of plug-in powertrain, and it is expected in 2018. A pure EV would be a bold move even for a company that has an electric portfolio as wide as BMW’s. Then again, with the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace on their way, the X3 could be a ready-made rival.
Expect the car to have an iPerformance badge at a minimum then, but it is hoped that the i Division will get their hands on it properly and make the X3 a pure-EV. Either way, the X3 is a big seller, and to have an electric version available to buy will only improve BMW’s electric range further.
Hyundai Kona EV
An all-electric version of the Kona is confirmed for production, and has all the attributes to quickly become one of the best selling electric cars in the UK. The compact crossover market is thriving, so for Hyundai to have a pure-EV available in the sector with no direct rivals could see the Kona EV sell like the proverbial gateaux fresh from the oven.
A range of more than 200 miles will pitch it against the EV market leaders from the off, which will help tempt more buyers into EV ownership who hadn’t previously looked at it seriously.
The snappily-titled Next Green Car Next Generation Award 2017 winner, Jaguar’s I-Pace has really caught the imagination of EV fans. It’s the first pure-EV model due from Jaguar Land Rover, but the company is putting its weight behind an electric future, as exemplified by the fact it was one of the earliest manufacturers to join Formula E, and has even set-up a one-make support series using the I-Pace in full-on race spec.
A real-world range of more than 300 miles is promised following testing of development models, and Jaguar’s design team have been working hard to make the I-Pace both look like a Jaguar, and like no Jaguar we have ever seen before. As mentioned above, the electric-SUV is going to have some competition in 2018, but the ingredients look like Jaguar is on to a winner straight out of the box.
Range Rover / Range Rover Sport PHEVs
We’ve combined the two models here because they are very similar and use exactly the same powertrain. Just as Jaguar is getting ready for an electric year, Land Rover isn’t going to miss out on this plug-in potential and has launched PHEV versions of its flagship Range Rover, and popular Range Rover Sport.
An electric range of 31 miles is quoted, and considering that many a Range Rover / Sport are used for local work, it would make sense for plenty of buyers to go electric. Starting prices are north of the £70,000 mark, but that won’t put some customers off. If you think that Jaguar Land Rover will start 2018 with no electric models available to drive off a forecourt, and end it with three at the very least, it’s going to be a busy year for the company.
Mercedes Benz A-Class
We don’t know yet what the A-Class will look like exactly, or that it is definitely going to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Apart from that uncertainty, the Merc makes this list because it is likely to look like the image below, and it’s also likely to take on the VW Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron in the battle of the plug-in premium hatchbacks.
The concept looks very similar to the production model if spy-shots doing the rounds are anything to go by, and we can expect the now tried and tested PHEV powertrain from the likes of the C 350e to make an appearance – though a next generation version would be even more welcome obviously.
Mercedes Benz GLC F-Cell
Though the first Mercedes on this list is the least concrete model mentioned, the next – this GLC F-Cell – has been confirmed for production, and it’s an interesting model. The world’s first production plug-in hydrogen fuel cell hybrid, the GLC F-Cell will be able to run for more than 300 miles on hydrogen power, and take just a few minutes to refuel.
There will also be the option to charge the battery from a plug though, just like a conventional PHEV, which will give drivers further to go between hydrogen fill-ups. It’s not likely to change the car market overnight, but ideas like this could become far more normal in the next couple of years, and credit should go to Mercedes for putting it into production.
Nissan LEAF 40kWh
Here we are; the big ‘un, the best-selling EV in the world, and the first second-generation EV to go on sale – the new Nissan LEAF is a big deal indeed. The headline is a much longer range than the outgoing model, with 235 miles officially quoted, though there is also a lot of equipment packed into the new LEAF, and styling that will do less to put non-LEAF fans off buying one.
With sales still holding up strongly on the out-going model, we can expect the new LEAF to carry on where the 24kWh and 30kWh models left off – namely to remain the best-selling EV in the world.
Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo E-Hybrid
Porsche continues to roll-out its Le Mans-developed hybrid technology, this time in the new Panamera estate. The company has been shocked as to how popular the E-Hybrid PHEV versions of its line-up are proving, and the big-booted Panamera isn’t likely to buck that trend.
Yes it’s fast and expensive, but underneath is a genuinely good PHEV powertrain that allows for an all-electric range of more than 30 miles. For an indication of how much Porsche rates its PHEVs, the fact that the E-Hybrid variants of its Panamera range are the flagship models should give you a good idea.
There are going to be two plug-in versions of the stylish compact SUV due – a PHEV and pure EV. It’s not likely we’ll see the EV in 2018, but that still means a TwinEngine variant will be on sale next year from Volvo, and the Swedish firm’s PHEVs are very good indeed.
The XC40 will be the smallest and lightest of its PHEV range, and has the potential for class-leading economy figures. Add in the fact that Volvo has designed the platform and powertrain specifically to be electrified and, like the Kona EV, the XC40 is in the right market at the right time. Again, we predict big things for this plug-in crossover.