There’s a distinct possibility that 2019 could become “the year of the EV”. The number of important new models due out in the coming 12 months is huge, and will provide a real stride forward for the plug-in car industry.
Below, we take a look at the new models due for launch in the UK in 2019, either arriving on British roads before the year’s out, or shortly after.
As always, there will be some models launched this year that are not known about at the time of publication. Equally, some of the models on this list may be delayed for some reason – and there are a good number of vehicles that we haven’t been able to squeeze into a Top 10 list mentioned at the bottom of the piece.
So take a look below, and start getting excited about what the coming year holds for EV fans.
Starting with Kia, we have a fixed launch date for the e-Niro, which is due to arrive n April. The all-electric crossover will join the Hyundai Kona Electric in offering a long electric driving range at mass-market money.
Due to be available only with the 64 kWh battery – other markets will be offered the 39 kWh model too – the e-Niro is a practical family car, with a very useful electric range. Official WLTP figures of more than 280 miles seem eminently achievable, and there is plenty of performance available too, thanks to a 150 kW electric motor.
Considering it will come with a price tag of a little over £30,000, and combines two of the UK’s fastest growing market segments – EVs and crossovers – the Kia e-Niro is expected to sell like the proverbial freshly baked gateaux.
Volkswagen’s ID. could well become the most important car launched in 2019, and in fact the German manufacturer is pitching it as being as crucial to the company’s success as the original Beetle and best-selling Golf.
Comparable to the popular Golf, the ID. badge is confirmed for a Samba-bus inspired MPV, and a coupe-SUV in the next few years. However, the hatch will be along first, and likely be the biggest seller.
Based on a new electric-only MEB platform, the ID. will come with three battery sizes available eventually, and the option of two- or four-wheel drive. Versatile and quick, the ID. is supposed to have the practicality of a Passat in the footprint – and price – of a Golf.
From the previous Volks-EV to something more high-end, Porsche’s Taycan is certainly not going to sell in huge numbers, but is a very important model for the industry nonetheless. Early reports indicate that its driving range will be at least a match for Tesla’s line-up, though with greater flexibility in terms of performance. Most importantly though, is the ultra-rapid charging capability that will see the Porsche accept up to 350 kW.
Despite having a battery that will be around the 100 kW mark, this means a conventional rapid top-up will take only around 10-15 minutes on the right charge point. Compared to a Nissan Leaf for example, it will take less than half the time to rapid charge, but add more than twice the range.
Tesla Model 3
As Porsche expands into Tesla’s territory, so Tesla expands its range into other manufacturers’. The Model 3 has been well received in the US, with demand far outstripping supply initially. With manufacturing issues ironed out though, Tesla is now selling its smallest model in other markets, with the UK set to get right-hand drive versions in the second half of 2019.
Quick, spacious, and with a driving range of between 220 and 310 miles on a single charge depending on specification, the Model 3 is a challenger to BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, and Lexus, offering pure-electric motoring at the traditional small-executive price tag. Expect a fair few company car drivers switch from their petrol, diesel, or PHEV saloons to the Model 3 in the next year or so.
Mercedes Benz EQC
What the ID. is to VW, the EQC is to Mercedes. The German manufacturer is launching its own electric sub-brand – EQ – and the EQC is the first model to come along wearing the three-pointed star. The family-SUV will instantly compete with Jaguar’s I-Pace and the Audi e-tron in terms of range, price, and specification.
CCS rapid charging at up to 110 kW and a WLTP range of 250 miles are confirmed, with plenty of performance for most drivers too. The EQ badge will be worn on a number of models – and is already found on the Smart range – but launches with the EQC. Considering the popularity of SUVs and rapidly increasing EV market, it’s a sensible choice for Mercedes, and will be unusual as one of the few EVs capable of towing a trailer.
Audi’s e-tron badge – like efforts from VW and Mercedes Benz with ID. and EQ respectively – will be fitted to a range of models, but this SUV is the first to wear it without any prefixes. Previously linked with the A3 and Q7 PHEVs, the e-tron badge will be electric-only going forward, and the stylish SUV looks fit to wear it.
A range of around 250 miles and capable of charging at up to 150 kW, the Audi e-tron is also the first production car in the world available with cameras in place of wing-mirrors. It’s a little more efficient, but greater engineering work has been put in beneath the surface, with the e-tron’s brake energy recuperation system claimed to be capable of extending the range by 30% under normal driving conditions.
Honda Urban EV
Despite being an early leader in the hybrid vehicle market, Honda has fallen behind the times in terms of electrification. However, with the confirmation of the Urban EV going into production this year, it comes back towards the top of the league – particularly in terms of desirability.
Specifications are light, but the compact hatchback should have a considerable range if any of 2019’s other planned offerings are to go by. Add in the styling inside and out, and the Honda Urban EV looks set to win over an army of fans to the electric vehicle market. It came close to winning the Next Generation prize at the recent NGC Awards 2018, and there are few models on the market that could potentially have such a huge effect on a company’s future as the Urban EV. If Honda gets it right – and there are no signs to say it won’t – it could have a huge hit on its hands.
Nissan Leaf e+
Nissan promised a longer-range version of the Leaf Mk II from launch, and the e+ model sees those promises delivered. Fitted with a 62 kWh batter, the Leaf e+ has a quoted range of 239 miles – though that’s a forecast from Nissan, since the model has not been homologated for testing yet.
Included with the larger capacity battery is an uprated motor, now producing 160 kW and 340 Nm of torque. It allows for improved acceleration and greater comfort at higher speeds, and the Leaf e+ has the same interior space as the 40 kWh model. Technology like the e-Pedal and ProPilot systems remain, with uprated interior equipment too, for the model due in summer.
Polestar is a new-ish name in the industry, moving from racing team, to official Volvo tuning arm, to electric-only EV performance brand in just a few years. It’s launch model is the Polestar 1, which is hands-down one of the best looking cars set to arrive in 2019.
The good news is that it’s described as an EV supported by a petrol engine. With everything on song, the 1 will produce 600hp and 1,000 Nm of torque, but in less hurried circumstances, it will cover more than 90 miles on a single charge, and can be driven as a range-extended model too.
Looking to bring electric motoring to the performance sector, the Polestar 1 is a grand tourer that can be driven around for a considerable time on electric-only power. It only strengthens Volvo’s reputation as one of the most forward thinking manufacturers around.
The name is not yet known, but Mini has confirmed that a pure-electric version of its popular hatch will go into production. Due for launch this year, the Mini Electric looks set to be a match made in heaven, with plenty of drivers loving the agile handling of the Mini. Combine this with a responsive electric powertrain, and the Mini should be as close as possible to its famed ‘go-kart’ like driving experience as can be, without removing all the bodywork and three of the seats.
Details are scarce to non-existent, but the Mini Countryman PHEV already makes good use of BMW’s powertrain from the 225xe. To expect similar parts sharing with the new BMW i3 120Ah would not stretch the imagination too far, so a WLTP range of around 200 miles (WLTP) and a 0-62mph time close to the 7 seconds mark would be reasonable guesses.
The best news to come from this list is that the above 10 models are a pick of some of the best new cars due this year. There are a number of models that didn’t make the cut, but which may well turn out to have a greater impact. The new BMW 330e for example will sell in large numbers for electric vehicles, but remains as a PHEV for now. The BMW iX3 is pure-electric though, and due in 2019, to rival the options from Jaguar, Audi, and Mercedes Benz.
Going up against the Hyundai/Kia crossovers will be DS Automobiles’ DS 3 Crossback E-Tense later this year, which brings the French firm’s unique style to the mix. The new DS will be built on a platform that will underpin the likes of the next Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208 – both likely to be available within the next 12-24 months as an EV.
EVs and PHEVs from the likes of Volvo, Skoda, Jaguar, Infiniti, Seat, and Bentley are also expected, representing a huge range of models available come the end of 2019.