Nearly 200,000 purely battery electric powered passenger cars were sold in the UK last year, indicating the huge growth in sales even as the government scaled back its grants to incentivise their adoption. With fuel prices soaring and continuing tax advantages for those running EVs as company cars they still make financial sense for a lot of drivers, the fact they’re now fashionable and acceptable as mainstream choices likely to see that number grow further. That’s helped by the growing number of desirable electric cars in the market, that choice increasing further into 2022 as more and more manufacturers electrify their range and new ‘second-gen’ cars built on dedicated platforms unlock even greater range and performance. Here are some we’re especially looking forward to.
The eight best new EVs launching in 2022
Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric
With a decade of experience in the field, 400,000 pure electric cars sold and over 10 billion electrified kilometres covered by their owners it’s fair to say Renault has impressive EV cred. The new, fully electrified Mégane, is a big deal too, given it officially embodies the brand’s second-gen hardware with a new purpose-built platform developed with Nissan. Born of the ‘Renaulution’ initiative, due to be built at the firm’s ‘ElectriCity’ and carrying the latest ‘Nouvelle Vague’ styling, once past the cheesy marketing speak there is – thankfully – real substance (and style) to this new Mégane. Two battery options will offer up to 292 miles of range and you’ll have the choice of 130PS (96kW) or 218PS (160kW) motor outputs. For all the trendy crossover stance the centre of gravity is apparently 90mm lower than the current ICE-powered Mégane, thanks to a super-thin battery pack slung low between the extended wheelbase.
Mercedes has been taking its sweet time over transitioning from ICE to electric, the first fruits of its EQ range little more than battery-powered conversions of existing models jazzed up with fancy wheels and different grilles. They drive well and feel suitably premium but limited range and performance betray the compromises required and it’s only with the pure-electric EQS we see what Mercedes is really capable of. The styling is somewhat anonymous but the tech within is dazzling, especially with the optional Hyperscreen package available on 2022 deliveries and standard on the high-performance Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+. With three screens integrated into one giant glass panel stretching across the dash, it will deliver a truly futuristic driving experience, the 658PS (484kW) EQS 53 boasting range of over 350 miles and performance worthy of the AMG badge.
Like its Alliance partner Renault, Nissan has huge experience in EVs and is channelling that into the first of its next-gen products, the Ariya. Sharing the same all-electric platform as the new Mégane, the Ariya is a bigger, more conventional SUV shaped car and will, in the first instance, be available with more power and performance than its Renault relative. The two-wheel-drive entry-level model has a 63kWh battery good for up to 223 miles, this increasing to over 300 miles with the larger 87kWh battery. If performance rather than range is your priority you can pair this with a more powerful twin-motor, e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive setup promising an electrified twist on the same in Nissan’s legendary Skyline and GT-R models. Pricing starts at just over £40,000 while the top model is knocking on £60,000 – a stretch for Nissan against premium brands like Polestar, Audi and Jaguar but one it seems confident the Ariya’s style and performance lives up to.
The bluff-looking iX may seem to trample over the engineering idealism that inspired the brand’s first electrified products, the i3 and i8. But the unapologetic SUV stance is actually underpinned by many of the same ideas, including the part-carbon construction and fixation on aerodynamic efficiency. Honestly. The innovative and highly efficient motor design reduces dependency on rare-earth materials in its construction and delivers an impressive 326PS (240kW) with around 250 miles of range on the standard 71kWh battery. The xDrive50 version meanwhile has over 500PS (368kW), a hefty 105kWh battery and is good for well over 350 miles. Still not enough? OK, try the 619PS (455kW) iX M60 which covers a similar distance, just faster. Common to all, BMW’s ‘shy tech’, a luxuriously minimalist interior and nifty Hans Zimmer ‘engine sounds’ prove there’s more to the iX than controversial looks.
ORA CAT 01
Amid the predictable willy waving about battery sizes, 0-62mph times and four-figure torque outputs it’s nice to see an interesting EV pitched at more real-world needs and budgets. ORA might not be a familiar name to European customers but its position within China’s Great Wall Motors group proves it has some real weight behind it while the generous response to its electric supermini suggests a receptive audience. The quirky, vaguely retro styling has certainly grabbed the attention while the technology beneath compares well with more established rivals like the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and similar. A starting price of around £25,000 and five-year warranty should give confidence in both the powertrain and the twin-screen tech inside, the choice of two battery sizes meaning the CAT 01 should be able to operate beyond its obvious urban comfort zone.
While established in other markets Genesis is a new face for European buyers, and faces an uphill struggle against the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar and Audi. Especially with the seemingly unadventurous petrols and diesels the range has launched with. Thankfully parent company Hyundai has some great electric tech at its disposal and, with the GV60, we have a premium spin off the architecture underpinning the impressive Ioniq 5 and its Kia EV6 relative. So we know the foundations are sound. It looks handsome, too, with sleek lines outside and a premium interior with plenty of tech. Based around a common 77.4kWh battery the line-up will include a long-range rear-wheel-drive version and two all-wheel-drive, twin-motor options, the latter with a combined output of 435PS (320kW) and 0-62mph in four seconds dead. It’ll even have a drift mode, should such things appeal.
Volvo’s electrified performance brand has got off to a strong start thanks to the striking looks and excellent performance of its stylish Polestar 2 crossover. This will be followed in 2022 with its next model, the Polestar 3. Described as “an aerodynamic electric performance SUV”, the Polestar 3 will be built at Volvo’s new plant in South Carolina for access to the all-important US market. From what can be made out from the images of the camo-clad prototype the 3 builds on Polestar’s sleek, minimalist design language and will feature “autonomous highway piloting” in a clear intention to move on Tesla’s lead in this field. No small ambition but with the weight of Volvo and Chinese owners Geely behind it Polestar is squaring up to be a serious contender.
No, not the latest offspring of Elon Musk but – rather – the first all-electric car from supposedly straight-laced Toyota. Having arguably launched hybrids to the mainstream the Japanese brand is going all-electric in earnest, the ‘bZ’ of the typographically awkward name signifying its ‘Beyond Zero’ ambitions. Starting at just shy of £42,000 the bZ4X will face inevitable comparisons with the equivalently priced Nissan Ariya and has a similarly futuristic and angular look. Front- and all-wheel-drive models will be available sharing a common 71.4kWh battery and with a relatively modest sounding 204PS (150kW) and 218PS (160kW) respectively. Best case range for the FWD version will be in the region of 280 miles, the generous wheelbase meaning plenty of interior space and room for all the family.
Which EV are you most excited about?
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