We’re featuring some of the highly anticipated plug-in electric cars expected to launch this year.
Alphabetically, here are the top 7 new plug-in electric cars we’re most looking forward to see this year:
1. Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in-hybrid will go on sale from 2014 and is a genuine Audi with top sporty performance.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron offers 150 kW (204 hp) of system power and achieves average consumption of only 1.5 liters per 100 kilometers (156.81 US mpg) of gasoline.
In the electric mode its operating range is up to 50 kilometers (31.07 miles), with the TFSI engine adding a further 890 kilometers (553.02 miles).
From 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph) – the Audi A3 e-tron adds an extra highlight to the sporty character of the compact premium car line. In accordance with the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid vehicles, its average CO2 emissions are a mere 35 grams per km (56.33 g/mile) – equivalent to consumption of 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilo-meters (156.81 US mpg).
The price in Germany will be around 37,000 euros (about $49,000 US).
2. BMW i8
The BMW i8 embodies a revolutionary, future-focused interpretation of the driving pleasure for which BMW is renowned. It was purpose-designed as a plug-in-hybrid sports car offering agile performance and outstanding efficiency. An exceptionally lightweight and aerodynamically optimized body – including a passenger cell made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – plus advanced BMW eDrive drive system technology, a compact, highly turbocharged 1.5-liter gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.
The three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8 develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric motor draws its energy from a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a conventional 110 volt power outlet as well as a 220 volt electric vehicle charger, and sends its power to the front axle. This bespoke plug-in hybrid system, developed and produced by the BMW Group, enables a range in everyday driving of up to 35 kilometers (approx. 22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (approx. 75 mph) on electric power alone, coupled with a “glued-to-the-road” all-wheel driving experience headlined by powerful acceleration and a dynamically-biased distribution of power through enthusiastically taken corners. The more powerful of the two power sources drives the rear wheels and uses the electric boost from the hybrid system to deliver hallmark BMW driving pleasure while at the same time offering groundbreaking levels of efficiency. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 4.4 seconds, yet average fuel consumption – as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles – stands at the equivalent of 94 miles per US gallon from launch.
BMW i8 will go on sale from June 2014
The 2014 Cadillac ELR comes equipped with standard advanced technology features such as Cadillac CUE with Navigation accessible through a large, eight-inch, full-color capacitive-touch screen, light-emitting diode, or LED, front and rear exterior lighting, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, the Safety Alert Seat and the exclusive Regen on Demand feature, allowing the driver to temporarily regenerate energy from the vehicle’s momentum via steering-wheel paddles.
Powering the ELR is a combination of pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending 1.4L gasoline-powered electric generator. A T-shaped, 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is located along the centerline of the vehicle, between the front and rear wheels to make the most of weight distribution. The pack supplies energy to an advanced electric drive unit to propel the vehicle.
The 2014 Cadillac ELR is capable of a total driving range in excess of 300 miles. Using only the energy stored in the battery, ELR’s initial range is about 35 highway miles, or 82 MPGe, of electric driving, depending on terrain, driving techniques and ambient temperature. Official EPA estimates are not yet available.
Initial sales of the 2014 Cadillac ELR electrified luxury coupe will begin in January in all major U.S. metropolitan areas featuring provocative design and extended range electric vehicle technology.
The 2014 Cadillac ELR has a starting price of $75,995, including a $995 destination charge.
4. Kia Soul EV
Last year, Kia confirmed its plans to offer an all-electric version of the company’s Soul urban passenger vehicle. The Kia Soul EV will go on sale in the US and Europe sometime in 2014, making it Kia’s first electric car marketed outside of Korea.
The Soul EV takes its design cues from the recently-launched second-generation Kia Soul. Equipped with a high-capacity 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV is expected to offer a driving range of more than 120 miles on a single charge.
The Soul EV makes charging easy by plugging into any standard outlet. Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 240v outlet, or 25 minutes on ‘fast’ charge with 100 kW output.
The front-wheel drive Soul EV prototype test cars currently under development are built on modified versions of the 2014 Kia Soul and are powered by a 109-hp electric motor, producing a generous 210 lb.-ft. of torque. The motor delivers its power to the front wheels through a single speed constant ratio gear reduction unit. Accelerating from 0-62 mph in less than 12 seconds with a top speed in the region of 90 mph, the Soul EV promises to remain true to the Soul’s fun-to-drive reputation.
5. Porsche 918 Spyder
The Porsche 918 Spyder celebrated its debut in a production form at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The 918 Spyder is the continuation of the traditional Porsche DNA in a ground-breaking sports car concept. Designed from the start to be a high-performance hybrid, the 918 Spyder boasts an unprecedented combination of performance (offering the 887 hp output of a super sports car) and the virtually silent motion of an electric vehicle.
The Porsche 918 Spyder is able to accelerate from 0 – 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and offers an average standard fuel consumption of between 94 mpg and 85 mpg. The 918 Spyder also allows a combustion engine to be combined with an electric motor-based drive to further optimise the dynamic performance of the vehicle.
Porsche planned to manufacture 918 units as a 2014 model year and production started on September 18, 2013. Sales in the United States are slated for early 2014. Pricing for the 918 Spyder will start at US$845,000.
6. Volkswagen e-Golf
The Volkswagen e-Golf, which was presented in a world premiere in Frankfurt, is driven by a 85 kW / 11h HP electric motor. The motor produces its maximum drive torque of 270 Nm as soon as it starts off. The results: the front-wheel drive e-Golf reaches 100 km/h (0 – 62 mph) in 10.4 seconds. On a motorway, the speed of the five-seat front-wheel drive car is electronically limited to 140 km/h (87 mph).
7. Volkswagen XL1
The Volkswagen XL1, which looks like it could have driven off the set of a sci-fi movie, is the most fuel-efficient production car in the world, with a European combined fuel consumption rating of 261 mpg and CO2 emissions of 21 g/km. Thanks to its plug-in hybrid system, this two-seater can also cover up to 31 miles as a zero-emissions electric vehicle.
To achieve this incredible fuel economy, Volkswagen engineers married an incredibly efficient, diesel-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain with a lightweight carbonfiber structure and the best aerodynamics of any production car in the world. The XL1 weighs just 1753 pounds, has a coefficient of drag of just 0.189, and uses a 48-horsepower two-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TDI Clean Diesel engine that is mated to a 27-horsepower electric motor, a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. Thanks to this formula, this super-efficient Volkswagen can cruise at a constant 62 mph while using just 8.3 horsepower. In all-electric mode, Volkswagen XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover more than 0.6 miles (one kilometer).
The 261 mpg fuel consumption figure is a record for a production car, showing that Volkswagen is in the automotive industry’s technical vanguard. The XL1 also has a top speed of 99 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.
Just 250 XL1s will be produced at the Volkswagen factory in Osnabrück, Germany, priced at approximately $145,000.