Electric SUVs On The Horizon
With SUVs and crossovers by far the most popular vehicles in America, it’s not surprising that there’s a long list of forthcoming electric entrants in that format. Electric sedans, wagons and minivans will be much more scarce—though the electric pickup segment is shaping up as quite robust.
These SUVs come in all sizes, shapes, market segments and price points. All benefit from advances in battery technology, meaning that 200 miles of range is becoming a bare minimum, with DC fast charging in 30 minutes. Most of these cars will benefit from an available $7,500 federal income tax credit, but not those from Tesla or GM, which have reached the 200,000-vehicle limit. Consumers in 2021 already have some good choices, and they’re about to be dazzled with up to 20 new entrants. Here are 17 announced as of mid-2021.
Set to launch in the first quarter of 2022, the fully variable all-wheel-drive BMW iX midsize SUV will offer 516 horsepower and start at a fairly steep $83,200. If you’re wondering about the size, it’s similar to the X5 in dimensions and utility, and has a 118-inch wheelbase. The two-row iX is boxy, but also very aerodynamic, with a 0.25 drag coefficient. Range is a credible 300 miles, via a large 115-kilowatt-hour battery pack. It can reach 62 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds, and tops out at 124 mph. Adaptive suspension is a plus, and there’s a wide range of options. BMW already has a plug-in hybrid X5 with a big 24-kWh battery, 30 miles of range and a price $21,000 lower.
This startup is launching a pickup (B2) and SUV (B1) simultaneously, both priced at a heady $125,000. They’re powered by twin electric motors yielding 614 horsepower and 667 pound-feet of torque, enabling 4.5-second zero-to-60 times and a 100-mph top speed. The B1 sports a 120-kilowatt-hour battery, and offers 200 miles of range. Towing capacity—critical for the rugged, go-anywhere B1—is 7,500 pounds. The SUV has a two-speed transfer case with high and low ranges, and 15-inch ground clearance. It should be very capable off-road. Production is supposed to start late in 2021.
With a planned 2022 launch and a target price of $45,000, the Byton M-Byte is a cross between a hatchback and a crossover, with a futuristic look. If it does make it to a U.S. sale, it will be one of the very few Chinese-made vehicles on the market (the Polestar 2 is another). The M-Byte will be available in rear- and two-motor all-wheel drive, with battery sizes of 71 kilowatt-hours and 95 kilowatt-hours. The rear-wheel drive, with the smaller battery, offers 270 horsepower and 200 miles of range. With all-wheel drive, there’s 402 horsepower and 240 miles. A standout feature is the 48-inch screen spanning the dashboard, and front seats that pivot 12 degrees to each other when the vehicle is parked. It’s tech-oriented.
The Lyriq, available in the first half of 2022 as a 2023 model, has a starting price of $59,990. More than 300 miles of range is promised, via GM’s new BEV3 electric vehicle architecture with the Ultium Platform battery system that the company developed with supplier LG Chem. Both two- and four-wheel drive versions will be available, with the introductory model purported to produce 340 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The Cadillac will feature GM’s Regen on Demand that will enable one-pedal driving. The interior is expected to be luxurious, with a big 33-inch screen and available SuperCruise autonomous driving capability.
The Hummer electric SUV (with a shorter wheelbase than the accompanying pickup truck) is a serious off-road contender with more than 300 miles of range and serious onboard technology, including four-wheel steering that enables it to go sidewise (“CrabWalk”). The buyer can choose between two- and three-motor versions, with the latter offering off-the-wall specs that include 830 horsepower. The SUV’s big battery is a massive 178 kilowatt-hours. The upmarket version should be able to reach 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. There’s an optional Extreme Off Road Package that includes protection for the undercarriage, a locking front differential, huge 35-inch all-terrain tires and more. On sale in 2023 as a 2024 model, the SUV will initially be available only as a $105,595 Edition 1. That’s the least-expensive variant not on sale before spring 2024.
Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Jeep Wrangler Magneto
As a plug-in hybrid, the 4xe (with 21 miles of electric-only range and up to 49 miles per gallon equivalent) is available now, and is reportedly selling quite well. The car combines a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a storage battery and electric motor. As a concept car shown earlier in 2021, the Wrangler Magneto EV (based on the Rubicon) sports an electric motor with 285 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, connected to a six-speed manual transmission complete with clutch. That combination yields 6.8-second zero to 60 times. The Magneto carries a 70-kilowatt-hour battery pack, but no range was offered. It’s unclear when a fully electric Jeep will be offered, but a plug-in hybrid 4xe version of the Grand Cherokee as a 2022 model is reportedly coming.
With prices starting at an estimated $40,000 to $45,000 and available this fall, the Ioniq 5 is a crossover from Hyundai’s electric sub-brand. It’s expected to have range of 300 miles, and fast charging speeds with 800-volt architecture. Of course, two- and four-wheel drive versions (the latter with slightly lower range) are available, with between 225 and 320 horsepower. The battery size is 77.4 kilowatt-hours, though smaller sizes will be available in other markets. The top-line Limited trim adds features such as a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels and parking assist. The company is planning an interesting marketing campaign for the 5 that includes up to three-month test drives.
The EV6, set to ship in January 2022, shares a platform with Ioniq’s 5 and adds a high-performance version. The EV6 will have up to 300-mile range (depending on trim). Like the Ioniq, the EV6 can tap into 800-volt DC fast charging, enabling adding 210 miles of range in 18 minutes. Kia claims that the top trim will produce 576 horsepower, with zero to 60 in less than 3.5 seconds.
In March, Aston Martin Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll said the company planned to build an electric sports car along the lines of the Vantage and DB11 at its Gaydon, England assembly plant, and a battery SUV in St. Athan, Wales (where it builds the DBX SUV). Mercedes is an Aston investor and supplier, and has provided engines to the company. Mercedes could also supply electric platforms and drivetrains. In 2019, at the Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin showed the futuristic Lagonda All Terrain Concept, which it described as “a near-future study that continues the evolution of a design language that could be seen in production Lagonda models as soon as 2022.” The plan then was for Lagonda, a dormant sub-brand for Aston Martin, to be the company’s electric division. But that idea has now been scrapped, and no actual Aston Martin electric models have been shown.
Lexus sells the UX 300e electric EV, but only in Europe. It plans a ground-up electric vehicle to be introduced next year. A hint of what it might be was revealed with the LF-Z Electrified midsized SUV design concept, shown earlier in 2021. In 2020, it showed Direct 4, an EV drivetrain with dual electric motors, each producing 201 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The company said that by 2025 it would produce “more than 10 BEVs, PHEVs and HEVs.” Also in 2025, Lexus said it would have electrified options on all of its products.
In the fall, Mazda will debut its first electric car, a subcompact crossover SUV that will be joined by a plug-in hybrid in 2022. The MX-30 will initially be available only in California, but will go national in 2022. Planned to sell for around $30,000, the MX-30 (borrowing nomenclature from the Miata) will be supplied with a 35.5-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a 144-horsepower, front-mounted electric motor. With such a small battery, range will be low—124 miles on the generous European WLTP cycle. There will also be a plug-in hybrid version with a rotary engine range extender. Mazda may have located a sweet spot at the lower-priced end of the spectrum, as the price is estimated at $35,000 to start.
All the company’s new models ride on the new Electric Vehicle Architecture. The Mercedes EQB, based on the GLB crossover and available with three rows, is intended to come to the U.S. in 2022, as is an SUV version of the EQS sedan. We were to have gotten the midsized EQC SUV, but that one “will not be offered in the United States for now.” The EQB, priced to start at around $40,000, has both front- and all-wheel-drive versions, with (at least in Europe, where there will be two versions and a 66.5-kilowatt-hour battery) power up to 268 horsepower. The EQS SUV will be produced in the U.S., at the company’s plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The EQE luxury sedan will also have an SUV variant, which will appear shortly after the EQS. Mercedes adds, “The EQA SUV is being considered for the U.S. at this time.” There could also be a G-Class with batteries, but spokeswoman Catherine Edwards says, “We have not made any announcements regarding an electric G-Class.”
Nissan says there will be both two-wheel and dual-motor e-4ORCE all-wheel drive versions of the Ariya, and that reservations are coming later this year for cars that will be delivered early in 2022. Pricing is around $40,000 for versions with a 63-kilowatt-hour pack. The long-range version with 87 kilowatt-hours (up to 300 miles) is not yet priced. Base Ariyas will offer 215 or 239 horsepower (depending on battery pack) and 221 pound-feet of torque. Though power is modest, the one-motor Ariya will reach 62 mph in 7.5 seconds, making it quicker than the Rogue. And the AWD version is something else again, with 389 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. It can reach said 62 mph in 5.1 seconds—bringing it close to Mustang Mach-E territory. Nissan was an EV pioneer with the Leaf, which is still in the lineup. For Ariya, Nissan is abandoning its proprietary CHAdeMO fast-charging spec for the near-universal CCS DC fast-charge format used by all US EVs except Tesla.
Porsche Macan EV
Porsche already has the Taycan EV, and in 2023 it will have an SUV stablemate in the form of an electric version of the bestselling Macan. Riding on the separate Premium Platform Electric platform, it will trump the Taycan 4S’ 227-mile range—a British publication says 400 miles. It will charge quickly, too, because it uses the Taycan’s 800-volt architecture. There may be only one—big—battery pack size for the U.S., but both front- and all-wheel-drive versions.
Rivian claims its SUV can drive through three feet of water, rock crawl ultra-steep grades, and traverse any terrain with 14 inches of ground clearance. The quad-motor version will reach 60 mph in three seconds with “the on-road handling of a sports car.” Towing is up to 7,700 pounds. There will be a panoramic sunroof and vegan leather on the seats. The seven-seat launch model will sell for $70,000 at first-ship later in 2021, with up to 410 miles of range. After launch, there will be a model with 250 miles, and another longer-range version. Battery sizes are 105, 135 and 180 kilowatt-hours.
This concept, shown in April, was jointly developed with Subaru, sits on the new e-TNGA battery platform and is approximately the size of a Toyota RAV4. Toyota said in showing the all-wheel drive design study, with a long wheelbase and short overhangs, that it would have “around 70 electrified models globally by 2025. This future lineup will feature 15 dedicated BEVs, including seven carrying the bZ (Beyond Zero) brand moniker.” The bZ4X production model will initially be sold in Japan and China, with worldwide sales to begin in mid-2022. The plans for the U.S. are forthcoming.
SUV EVs Already Available
And here’s what’s on the U.S. market in 2021 among electric SUVs:
- Tesla Models X and Y
- Volkswagen ID.4
- Jaguar I-Pace
- Mustang Mach-E
- Volvo XC-40 Recharge
- Polestar 2
- Chevrolet Bolt EUV
- Hyundai Kona
- Audi e-tron
- Kia Niro
|Future Electric SUVs|
|Vehicle||Ship Date||Range (Miles)||Battery (kWh)||Hp||Base Price|
|BMW ix||Early 2022||300||115||516||$83,200|
|Bollinger B1||Late 2021||200||120||614||$125,000|
|Byton M-Byte||N/A||240||71, 95||270, 402||N/A|
|Cadillac Lyriq||Early 2022||300+||100||340||$59,990|
|GMC Hummer EV SUV||2023||300+||178||Up to 830||$105,595 launch edition|
|Ioniq 5||Fall 2021||300||77||225-320||$40,000 to $45,000|
|Kia EV6||Early 2022||300+||58, 77.4||167-576||$45,000 estimated|
|Mazda MX-30||Early 2022||124 WLTP*||36||144||$35,000 estimated|
|Mercedes-Benz EQB||2022||260||67||268||$40,000 estimated|
|Nissan Ariya||Early 2022||up to 300||63, 87||Up to 389||$40,000 estimated|
|Porsche Macan EV||2023||up to 400||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Rivian R1S||2021||up to 410||105, 135, 180||Up to 754||$70,000 launch model|
|* WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) focuses more on city driving. EPA rating is about 10%-20% less, varies by car.|