To everyone holding out for more electric car range for your money, it appears the industry has heard you.
Just two years ago $35,000 could pay for a nicely equipped EV with 84 EPA-rated miles range, and while that’s still the case, on the horizon are five EVs that could deliver 200 miles for nearly the same outlay.
Despite the fact that 75 percent of drivers only need 40 miles or less per day – the original rationale justifying sub-100-miile EVs – the demand for more is certainly there.
This is true also as certain advocates tout the benefits of smaller, lighter, less-costly batteries in their 100 more-or-less-mile EVs – with some even sneering at those who say they want more range, and thus battery.
But consumers generally do want more, don’t they? Even better is when they can get more for less money, or at least more for the same.
With news coming everyday of automakers scrambling to meet the need – if not with instant gratification – for the new normal of 200 miles for under $40,000, we have five cars counted.
Details on a few are sparse as very little substantiated info is available, but here’s the list.
2017 Chevy Bolt
Automotive giant General Motors fast tracked its compact crossover that’s surprisingly roomy thanks to smart design and a flat floor encasing a liquid-cooled 60-kWh LG Chem battery.
This one’s first because it will be first to market, with production believed as soon as October – and it had only been shown as a concept in January 2015.
Priced from $37,500, it won’t have AWD, or Ludicrous Speed or a network of DC fast chargers like a certain other competitor GM does not often name called Tesla, but it looks promising.
The vehicle’s engineers have not been able to disguise obvious pride in the car able to zip to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds, with a motor that has as high as 97 percent efficiency and promising more than 200 miles EPA rated range.
A rebadged variant of the Bolt headed to Europe known as the Opel Ampera-e is also pending.
GM says the Chevy Bolt will be sold in all 50 U.S. states, and it is “not a compliance car,” but more details and dealer ordering are due not very long from now, so stay tuned.
Ford Mystery EV
Less is known about what Ford has up its sleeve, but its President and CEO Mark Fields contradicted a previous statement that it would not build a 200-mile EV, by saying Ford would seek to lead the class of affordable 200-plus mile EVs.
Consider how far things have come since April 2012 when it was disclosed the battery in the Focus EV cost somewhere between $12,00-$15,000, or $552 and $650 per kilowatt-hour. This was considered outrageous when one could get a gas-powered Focus for $22,000.
On April 28, Fields was asked on a conference call about being competitive with the current crop of pending more-affordable 200-mile EVs, and his response was Ford wants to lead segments in which it competes in terms of cost, quality and range.
“Our EVs come down to making sure we’re the best or among the leaders in those areas,” Fields said. “When you look at some of the competition, clearly that’s something we’re developing for.”
This was widely interpreted to mean a Tesla Model 3/Chevy Bolt competitor is in the works.
Little more is known about when it will be introduced, but in December, Ford announced investment of $4.5 billion in EV research with and add 13 new electrified vehicles by 2020.
With a commitment like that, could Ford have more than one EV in mind? Could one be called the Model E, a name Tesla wanted? We shall see.
Next Nissan Leaf
Nissan has told Japanese media a few times “range anxiety” will no longer be an issue, and it has a 250-mile-capable battery in a test mule, but little is known about the next Leaf.
You see, Nissan has a conflict of interest. It is called “cannibalization” of sales, and its present concern is selling product in hand, which consists of the 84-107-mile 2016 Leaf.
It’s believed the generation-two Leaf could be here by 2018, is to be more “mainstream” in appearance, and priced in line with the competitors.
We’ll know more when Nissan decides it is in its best interest to share.
Others have told Nissan it is in its best interest to rush it to the market given the Bolt is about to steal its thunder in a big way.
Let’s see if that happens.
2018 Hyundai Crossover SUV
Even as the automaker is preparing a 110-mile Ioniq (pictured), and telling media its data shows this is enough range, the outlook has changed.
The new SUV is expected to get its own platform, and reports have it that range could go as high as 300 miles in time, though 200 is the immediate goal.
Also likely is Kia will use the platform and make its own branded 200-mile EV, but so far we have not seen this announced.
2018 Tesla Model 3
Last, and not needing an introduction is the Model 3 which arguably deserves credit for setting this new 200-mile benchmark.
Shown at the end of March, it has been anticipated for several years, and is a culmination of a multi-stage plan Tesla has had to make a “mass market” EV.
Prices start at $35,000, range starts at 215 miles, and the line starts way back there … now with more than 370,000 reservation holders and counting
Tesla has said to look for it by late 2017, but it’s believed it’s not likely to get here before 2018.
In all, 2018 and forward is shaping up to look like a good year for the EV market, and by then what will be have? A dozen or more EVs in this price-for-performance class?
Time will tell.