It wasn’t that long ago when Tesla seemed like the only company making cool electric cars that you’d want to drive.
If this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show is any indication, that niche no longer belongs exclusively to Elon Musk. After months of signs suggesting a shift in global momentum toward an electric future, some of the world’s most established automakers are starting to reveal what they’ve been working on for the EV world.
The results are not only promising but surprisingly provocative, offering a glimpse of an automotive future that is beginning to feel substantially real. Scroll down for some of the most intriguing examples on display this week.
The MINI Electric Concept
Unveiled by BMW in Germany in August, MINI’s electric hatchback is the company’s first electric concept car. The vehicle will be powered by a lithium-ion battery, but the automaker hasn’t released details about the concept vehicle’s range or efficiency. With the car’s bold yellow accent bar and flashy rims, company officials have touted its design.
“We wanted to create a unique car, a car which has character,” Christopher Weil, head of MINI’s exterior design automotive design at BMW, said in October. “Our aim was to create a car which is beautiful.”
The MINI will be manufactured at the company’s plant in Oxford and will go on sale in 2019, according to BMW.
Jaguar’s I-PACE Concept
Jaguar’s first electric car was on display this week. In addition to zero emissions, the I-PACE Concept offers future drivers 400 horsepower and 0‑60 mph in around 4 seconds, according to the company.
“Our tomorrows will be lit by brighter suns and driven by the noble absolute forces of the universe, and there is a science to such great power,” Jaguar boldly — and dramatically — proclaims in a preemptive strike against those who say electric-powered vehicles are for wusses and hipsters.
The I-PACE will be available beginning in the second half of 2018.
Just because it vaguely looks like something that could’ve landed on the beaches of Normandy during World War II, doesn’t mean the Bollinger Motors’ no-nonsense, sport-utility truck isn’t fully electrified. The boxy truck offers all-wheel drive, 360 horsepower and 6,000 pounds of towing capacity, a 200-mile range and a top speed of 127 mph, according to the company.
Bollinger describes the truck “as perfect for ‘rangers, builders and do-it-yourselfers’ — a slightly different demographic than the usual Model X or Nissan Leaf consumers,” auto news website Jalopnik notes.
The company says prospective buyers can “reserve a spot in line” on their website for the truck, which is expected to cost about $60,000.
Volkswagen’s iconic microbus hit its cultural peak during the counterculture days of the 1960s and 1970s. Though variations of the original model are lionized on Instagram by off-the-grid types everywhere, Volkswagen is hoping a new generation of electric microbuses will again capture the popular imagination when they return to dealerships in 2022.
Volkswagen estimates the bus will have a 300-mile range and a front trunk, like the original VW Beetle.
“Our goal is clear: We want to make the fully electric, fully connected car a bestseller around the world.,” said Herbert Diess, chairman of the board of management for the Volkswagen brand. “The iconic car of the electric age must be a Volkswagen.”
BMW i8 Roadster
Able to reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and with a striking exterior that includes butterfly doors and a soft top, the BMW i8 Roadster looks the part of a flashy sports car. And yet, the i8 — which BMW calls “an icon of progress” — is a plug-in hybrid with a 330-mile range. An electric motor drives the front wheels, while a gasoline engine handles the rear.
Assuming the $200,000 Tesla Roadster makes it past production hell and actually hits the road, it will probably face off with vehicles like the i8.
The i8 is already available for about $145,000.
Volkswagen’s I.D. Crozz
The Volkswagen electric concept vehicle I.D. CROZZ, is expected to offer a range of more than 250 miles from a single charge. The company claims owners will be able to charge the vehicle’s battery to 80 percent capacity in only 30 minutes.
The car is expected to arrive at dealerships in 2020. “The cockpits of tomorrow will be packed with technology and still have more comfy room for you,” Volkswagen says.