THE ELECTRIC REVOLUTION IS ON THE HORIZON

Ever since the debut of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1885, virtually no other invention has changed the fabric of human society like the car. Facilitating transportation to the masses that allowed for freedom that had never been experienced before, the automobile is surely one of the most significant milestones in human development.

Contrary to popular option however, many of the world’s earliest cars were in fact not powered by the Karl Benz’ internal combustion engine but rather by electricity, a power source incredibly well suited to urban transportation as it required little maintenance, easy of operation and provided a refined ride. However, the earliest electric models were primitive by contemporary standards and as the United States and Europe began to model their national infrastructures around a new source of energy, the electric car gradually faded into obscurity.

Today, almost a hundred years after the first electrics roamed our cities, the era of technological expansion and climate change has led to a resurgence. Today, electric cars have long ranges, lower prices than ever before and offer unique driving characteristics that make them highly desirable compared to many internal combustion engine powered vehicles. Thus, in this edition of torquedaily, we’ve compiled articles on all the latest and greatest electric vehicles that are either currently on sale, or will be arriving in the next few years, that promise to disrupt the automotive landscape in a manner that hasn’t occurred in over a century.

Since its initial debut in 2016, the Tesla Model 3 has quickly cemented itself as the vanguard of the electric vehicle segment, and as of March 2020 is the best selling electric car ever produced, coming in at a cumulative amount of over 500,000 units. The success of the model can be attributed to a plethora of variables that in conjunction with one another have made the Model 3 not only one of the most aspirational electric vehicles, but also one of the most aspirational across the entire global vehicle market, surpassing longstanding competitors from legacy automakers such as the highly regarded Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series in many markets. The vehicle is extremely multi-faceted as it intelligently combines impressive electric range and performance with surprising practicality, safety and technology.

In order to ensure that their best selling model to date remains competitive in the contemporary marketplace, Tesla has unveiled a host of revisions to the car for the 2021 model year, contrary to the Californian company’s usual strategy of gradually implementing minor changes one at a time. Since Tesla dissolved their official press outlet earlier this year, (the most credible source now being Elon Musk’s Twitter which isn’t saying much) the changes to the compact executive car have been observed via Tesla’s official configuration tool. In comparison to many mid-cycle refreshes, the aesthetic and technological alterations to the Model 3 are relatively minor but should allow it to remain competitive. These consist of progressive aesthetic changes to both the interior and exterior, supplemented by improved vehicle efficiency and several new features.

First and foremost, starting on the outside, the aluminium-imitation trim adorning the side windows has been replaced by a glossy-black finish, similar to that adopted on the newly-introduced Model Y Crossover, which provides an overall more sporting aesthetic. Iterative improvements have also been made to wheel designs that contribute to efficiency by marginally reducing the drag coefficient of the vehicle, along with the inclusion of the intriguingly named “Uberturbine” wheels on the Model 3 Performance, also borrowed from the Model Y.

Similarly, changes to the interior of the electric saloon are relatively minor, but they should improve the aesthetic design and inherent functionality of the interior. There is now a heated steering wheel with a metallic-style finish and a new center console, which replaces the controversial “Piano Black” version on early cars which provided a minimalistic touch but accumulated scratches with ease. Thus, it has been replaced with a new design that adopts a Matte-finish along with a new wireless charging bay. With regard to improvements in efficiency, the standard-range plus now has 263 miles of range, an increase from 250 miles of range and the Model 3 Performance now has 315 miles of range, up from an officially stated 299. These increases of range have apparently been facilitated by the revised exterior design, more efficient motor design and improved software, although without a press outlet it is virtually impossible to confirm this information officially...unless you have a hotline to Musk himself.

Further convenience features have also made their way into the Model 3, which aim to make it a more luxurious automotive experience such as a powered boot lid and double-panel glass windows such as those found in higher end vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and others. Overall, while it must be said that the changes to the Model 3 are relatively minor, in the next few years competition from traditional automakers such as the Volkswagen Group and Daimler AG will begin to trouble the Model 3’s monopoly over the segment if it doesn’t remain competitive and attractive to consumers.

Do you find the new changes to Tesla’s most affordable vehicle to be sufficient and if so have they convinced you to purchase one? Let us know via the ongoing discussion on our social media outlets.

On the surface, the new VW ID.4 is merely another compact SUV from the Volkswagen Group's abundant corporate stable but is actually far more significant than that. First and foremost, it is based on Volkswagen's impressive MEB platform, which has been engineered exclusively for vehicles with electric powertrains and is set to underpin more than 300 models by the year 2030.

This comes as part of Volkswagen's aggressive electrification strategy that relies heavily on the process of economies of scale and cross-utilised componentry and has already been used on the electric VW ID.3 hatchback, which has been a highly important product strategy for the group following the highly publicised and damaging Dieselgate scandal. For reference, VW first-ever electric SUV will be highly practical for a vehicle with such a comparatively small footprint and overall dimensions.

Thus, the ID.4 is marginally larger than the equivalent Tiguan but smaller than a Touareg or Atlas larger SUV. The design is somewhat conservative for a contemporary electric vehicle, but in our opinion we think this will make it considerably easier for consumers to transition from existing internal combustion engined counterparts to electric vehicles. The new SUV borrows many of the aesthetic characteristics from other vehicles across Volkswagen’s copious portfolio, but predominantly from the compact electric ID.3 with which it shares much of its components and technology. The overall shape is aerodynamic and sleek, especially compared to the somewhat squarish proportions of the similar Tiguan, and is adorned by a slim LED strips that span the front and rear fascia of the vehicle along with an elegant “floating roofline” which hides some of the inherent visual bulk of the car and giving it a more sporty appearance in profile.

Inside, the minimalistic theme continues with two digital displays controlling  and providing the predominant amount of information from the car, which can be optionally ordered in either a conventional black or eye catching if subjective white. The remainder of the interior is somewhat sparse but practical and easily accommodating of a several children, animals and any other manner of accoutrements they bring. Perhaps the most important aspects of the new ID.4 however, are not the design nor the practicality but its impressive technological capability and highly competitive price. VW themselves have stated that the ID.4 is the most important launch in the company’s history since the original Beetle, demonstrating just how serious the Wolfsburg marque are in capturing market segment from not only Tesla and other EV manufacturers but from the entire vehicle market itself.

Hopefully the launch of the new ID.4 will be considerably less controversial than the launch of the Beetle however, which was unveiled in an “interesting” political context. To facilitate their lofty aspirations, the ID.4 will be able to attain a minimum of 250 miles upon launch in the most affordable variant which itself is priced at a very impressive $39,995 before government incentives, undercutting the comparative Tesla model Y by over ten thousand dollars. Further expediting upon this is the when VW’s ID.4 production plant in Tennessee begins production of the new vehicle in conjunction with the existing plant in Wolfsburg, the price should be reduced to approximately 35,000. 

The Tesla model S may have been on the electric vehicle market since 2011 but the Californian company has ensured it has stayed competitive in the electric vehicle market place by continually introducing a host of iterative improvements along the way. During Tesla’s highly anticipated recent Battery Day Event, the company unveiled the latest performance variant of the model S, which surpasses the previous Ludicrous car with the new nomenclature of “Plaid”.

The car will adopt a tri-motor configuration that facilitates an almost unbelievable 1,100hp+. A mesmerising, if highly unnecessary, amount in a performance saloon. In turn, this will allow the new performance version for the Model S to attain a 0-60 time in under two second making it the fastest production car available to purchase when it goes on sale in 2021. Unlike many electric offerings the Model S Plaid will continue accelerating well beyond its impressive 0-60 time of two seconds on to a top speed of 200mph.

The current Model S performance is able to achieve a range in excess of 300 miles which is already impressive but the Plaid should, if Tesla is able to achieve it, produce a range of in excess of 520 miles. Despite the impressive claimed capabilities of the Plaid Model S, it must also be said that by the time it goes on sale at the end of next year the car will be over ten years old with few revisions and perhaps a little outdated compared to some of the upcoming competition.

For almost a decade, Tesla has been recognised as the global leader in the production of mass-market electric cars with the unprecedented success of its Model S and 3 saloons that have gone on to dominate their respective market segments in many global markets, a product of their yet unmatched technological capabilities and a never-ending cascade of publicity. While the company has already been challenged by many of the legacy automakers such as Audi and General Motors along with a host of new startups, none have as of late managed to knock the Californian brand of its pedestal. However, a fellow California startup may be one of the first to revert this trend. After four years of concepts and teasers, Lucid Motors has released the fully production-ready variant of their Air EV.

Rather than trying to market a more attainable EV than Tesla or the other European luxury brands, Lucid Motors is positioning their Air EV as a technological pacesetter of the battery-electric industry and will thus be more luxurious and capable than any other electric vehicle currently on the market today. In its inception the Air EV will be a very pricey affair, setting the customer $169,000 for the range-topping variant before local or national incentives. While this price is considerably higher than the blatant majority of EVs currently available to purchase, the specifications and capabilities are at unprecedented levels.

First off, the Air "Dream Edition" will be capable of attaining a mesmerising 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds but perhaps even more impressively has the equivalent of 1080hp! The Air will continue to accelerate all the way to a top speed of 168mph which is higher than either the Tesla Model S Performance and Porsche's Taycan EV. The vehicle sets an arguably even more impressive benchmark for EVs as when equipped with 19-inch aero wheels and the range-topping 113kWh battery-pack, can achieve a range of 503 miles. This is over a hundred miles more than the current leader, the Tesla Model S Long Range Variant and more than double that of the sporting Taycan Turbo S.

Inside the Air is adorned with the now-customary touchscreens, although this particular model comes equipped with an impressive if distracting 34-inch curved glass display. The car is set to enter production in Arizona late this calendar year and we will have to see whether it will be capable of taking Tesla's crown for the producer of the most advanced electric vehicles
.

Last year Porsche unveiled their entry into the electric vehicle market with the all-new Taycan, which upon release was only available in the performance-orientated Turbo and Turbo S variants. Since then Porsche has released the more affordable and efficient Taycan 4S which retains the same rear motor configuration as its more expensive siblings but has a smaller and less powerful frontal motor.

To expand upon the Taycan's appeal as a more sporting and conventionally-luxurious alternative to equivalent vehicles from Tesla, a rear-wheel-drive model has debuted in China which comes available with either a 79.2 kWh or 93.4 kWh battery configuration. The lighter weight and more efficient powertrain allow the RWD Taycan to theoretically achieve a range of over 300 miles which should be easily achievable as Porsche has been notably conservative with their range estimates on other electric models.

Like a true Porsche, performance hasn't been compromised either, with 476hp and 5.4 0-60 time. Thus far the model has only been confirmed for the Chinese market but may become available in traditional markets under significant demand. The Stuttgart marque has also confirmed a host of updates for the rest of the Taycan range as well that should ensure it retains its position as a more sporting alternative within the electric category. New options include a revised colour palette that consists of Ice Grey, Coffee Beige and the eye-catching Frozenberry Metallic, a heads-up-display and a smart GPS based air-suspension that is capable of remembering the location of potholes and speed bumps and adjusts the height of the car accordingly if it encounters those obstacles again. Performance has also been augmented in the new over-the-air update meaning that the Taycan will reach 0-60 in a mere 2.4 seconds.

Subscribe For Free


For the full edition of our Everything Electric segment, subscribe for free to our newsletter where we publish subscriber-exclusive content and more comprehensive articles.
Torquedaily