Four electric cars from LA that show us the future
The electric SAV
What? BMW iNext
Everything BMW boffins know about electrification, autonomy and connectivity – not to mention driving dynamics – is going into their new electric SUV, or as BMW prefers it, SAV for sports activity vehicle. The next member of the electric ifamily, the car is being previewed in Los Angeles by the Vision iNext concept and as you can see it makes for a very avant garde design response to rivals like the Jaguar i-Pace and Audi e-tron. Like the exterior, the cabin develops themes first seen in the i3 but takes them way into the future with a minimalism that BMW has dubbed ‘shy tech’ – lots of it but all of it out of sight until you need it.
The electric super coupe
What? Audi e-tron GT
When? Late 2020
We have seen the Audi e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback, now meet the e-tron flagship model, a four-door coupe with a real performance focus to both its looks and its electric drivetrain. Making its world debut in concept form at the LA show, the e-tron GT boasts a mighty 590PS (582bhp) from motors on both front and back axles. Acceleration should not be lacking – Audi says 0-62mph in 3.5secs and to 124mph in just over 12 seconds – while with 90kWh batteries the range aims to hit the 248 mile mark under the WLTP regime. With that power, those looks, a centre of gravity as low as that of the R8 and the good folk at Audi Sport in charge of turning concept into production car, the e-tron GT could be a real blinder.
The electric van
What? VW ID Buzz Cargo
The Beetle may be no more but heritage looks are still hip at VW in the cheery form of the Buzz, an electric commercial vehicle take on the old Bulli, or Microbus. We have seen ID (VW’s moniker for its electric range) before and this is another chance to see how it shapes up in van form. But you don’t have to be a genius to see its possibilities as a zero-emissions minibus or campervan. Batteries in the new MED platform can be either big or small to offer ranges between 205 to 350 miles, supplemented by solar panels on the roof.
The electric crossover
What? Kia Soul EV
The Soul, Kia’s fun/quirky (delete as required) boxy and tall crossover has an electric version in the range at present – but this all-new Soul takes battery power into the next generation. To go with its new body – still as fun/quirky as ever – is a new electric drivetrain with almost twice the power (204PS, or 201bhp) of the old one, and 64kWh batteries for what Kia promises will be a much improved range. A DC fast charger is fitted as standard. Acceleration is now much sportier and, Kia promises, it will offer a far more dynamic drive. UK price (old Soul EV was £30k) should be confirmed early in 2019.