The electric car industry has had a very good year in 2016, with new models released throughout the year and increasing range and efficiency all the time. Thankfully, 2017 looks as though that will continue, as the plug-in car market warms up to wha is expected to be a bumper 2018-2020 if manufacturer’s plans are anything to go by.
Until that time though, we’re not exactly going to be feeding off scraps as the below models show. New electric models from the likes of the BMW Group, VW Group, Hyundai-Kia, Daimler, Toyota, and Volvo account for most of the world’s biggest car makers.
It’s clear that going electric is not only handy for a bit of marketing, but it’s becoming big business too. With so many companies competing against each other, a ‘range-race’ has already started, with each new model trying to out distance its competitors, literally.
In alphabetical order, here are Zap-Map’s picks for the electric cars to watch on 2017. We’ve had to leave some off the list, but the below are the most important models due to arrive in the UK in the next 12 months.BMW 530e
Filling in the gap between the 330e and 740e PHEVs, BMW is bringing out a 530e in 2017 under the expanding iPerformance banner. With a number of new plug-in models having arrived in 2016, it seems BMW shows no sign of slowing down, electrifying one of its most important models.
With CO2 emissions of 46 g/km and a weighted combined 141.2 MPG, expect the 530e to be a big hit with company car drivers. At least they will be able to make the most of the car’s 29 mile electric range with a suite of driver systems that will hold, charge, or drive in electric only mode.Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid
The Hyundai Ioniq has already proven itself to be one of the best new cars of 2016, and 2017 sees the final version arrive in the shape of the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid. Using a 1.6 litre Kappa GDI petrol engine and electric motor, emissions figures are quoted at 32 g/km CO2.
This is mostly thanks to a 45 kW electric motor and 8.9 kWh lithium-ion battery offering an electric range of 31 miles. The PHEV version of the Ioniq shares the rest of the range’s high levels of safety equipment and interior kit, and should provide a useful middle ground between the conventional hybrid and pure-electric models.Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
It’s been come time coming, but the hugely popular crossover market is finally getting plug-in models – with not one but two electric versions due in 2017. One of which is Kia’s Niro Plug-In Hybrid.
The new PHEV will use the Niro hybrid’s sensible but excellent foundations and improve efficiency further with plug-in capability. Powertrain details haven’t been released yet but it is expected the Niro will use the same system – and hence share similar economy statistics – as found in the above Ioniq PHEV, since the two brands are part of the same company.Kia Optima SW Plug-In Hybrid
Set to become one of the most practical PHEV on the market, the Optima SW Plug-In could be a dark horse in the electric car sales charts in 2017. Large, stylish, and with an excellent PHEV set-up, the plug-in Kia will look to challenge the likes of Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV and the Volvo V90 T8 TwinEngine in the large plug-n hybrid market.
Looking to offer excellent value, the Optima SW PHEV will use the 2.0 petrol engine ane electric motor set-up as found in the Optima saloon. This returns an electric range of 33 miles, 37 g/km CO2, and 176.6 MPG in the smaller booted model ,and similar statistics can be expected with the Optima SW.Mini Countryman E
The secont plug-in crossover confirmed for 2017 is Mini’s Countryman. Using a three cylinder 1.5 litre petrol engine combined with an electric motor, the Mini has an official fuel economy figure of 134.5 MPG.
Emissions are rated at 49 g/km CO2, while the Countryman’s electric range is said to be 25 miles. Features such as Auto eDrive will help maximise that though, with the BMW Group’s auto hybrid system very good at making the most of an electric powertrain’s potential.Smart ED range
Towards the end of 2017, Smart will offer a pure-electric model in each of its three models – the fortwo, fortwo cabrio, and forfour. Range is not set to be the largest – between 96 and 99 miles depending on the model – but considering these EVs are designed to nip around the urban environment, that’s not expected to impact on sales.
Relatively fast, easy to pilot around town, and likely to be a hoot to drive, the Smart range will feature a 17.6 kWh battery, so even topping up won’t take long at all on a fast 22 kW charger.Toyota Prius Plug-In
If the new Prius managed to fill in the gap between hybrids and PHEVs, the new Prius Plug-In looks to get in the space between PHEVs and range extended vehicles. With an electric range of more than 30 miles and CO2 emissions of just 22 g/km, the new addition to the Prius range will apparently return 282.5 MPG.
The car’s 8.8 kWh battery will be helped by a number of systems, not least a roof-top solar panel, while the Prius Plug-In’s hybrid powertrain uses the latest elements designed by Toyota for maximum efficiency.Volvo 40-Series
With Volvo’s pledge that every model in its range will have a plug-in version available, the new 40 Series range is likely to be very important for both Volvo and the car industry as a whole. As Volvo’s smallest, and therefore cheapest and most accessible, range the 40 Series line-up will include a V40, S40, and XC40 – hatchback, saloon, and SUV respectively.
Pictured are the 40.1 and 40.2 concepts, which will form the basis of a the new 40-Series designs. Built on a new CMA platform, all will be available as PHEV variants, and there will be pure electric models due either this year or next too.Volvo V90 Cross Country T8 TwinEngine
Yup, Volvo again. But the reason is that the Swedish brand is pushing forward quickly with eletrifying its line-up. Alongside PHEV versions of tha S90 and V90 due in 2017, a new V90 Cross Country is planned too.
Continuing a proud Volvo tradition of off-road estates, the V90 XC T8 TwinEngine will offer much of the capabilities of an SUV, but with a fraction of the environmental impact. A 2.0 petrol engine and electric motor combination will return 124 MPG and 44 g/km CO2 in V90 form – already an all-wheel drive model – so the V90 XC will be very similar.VW e-Golf & Golf GTE
With the entire Golf range getting a significant range update next year, the e-Golf and Golf GTE are included in the German company’s plans. New equipment levels inside and sharper styling out will be the biggest visible changes for the Golf GTE, which is set to keep its existing – but excellent – 1.4 TSI and electric motor powertrain, good for 31 electric miles.
However, the e-Golf will get a huge improvement in electric range, up almost 50% compared to the existing version. The 2017 e-Golf will have a quoted range of around 186 miles, which will bring the VW up to scratch when compared against the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq and BMW i3, while beating the Nissan Leaf too.