Not In The Past 100 Years Of Automotive History Has There Been Such Significant Disruption, Change And Excitement, As Witnessed Today. The Concept Cars Of Today Paint A Future Well Beyond The Imagination Of Yesterday!
Electric Cars: The Basics
For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:
- Types Of Electric Vehicles: A Short Guide
- Should I Buy An Electric Car In 2021?
- Top 20 Jargons Used In The Electric Vehicle Industry!
- UK Plug-In Electric Car Grant 2021
- What Is The Difference Between Conventional Hybrids and Plug-In Hybrids?
- Electric Car Home Charging OLEV EVHS Grant
- Best Electric Cars 2021
- Electric Cars Range: What Is WLTP?
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With the constant excitement in the global electric vehicle sector, it is challenging to keep track of all the new electric concept cars, EV unveilings and launches. We have tried to highlight a few key ones for you.
What is a concept car? The showcasing of ‘concept cars’ is not a new ‘concept’. Harley Earl, a designer for US automotive behemoth, General Motors is largely credited with inventing this concept. In general, concept cars never move to production cars. It is a ‘tool’ used by automobile companies to showcase their latest technology, design and vision for the future. It is also used to evaluate feedback from the market, to further aid their development plans.
In fact, the process is imperative for launching successful production vehicles. For example, the German luxury automotive company Porsche had unveiled the Porsche Mission-E concept electric car at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015. This concept eventually moved to production as the four-seat all-electric Porsche Taycan.
It is without an iota of doubt one of the most exciting times in automotive history to introduce concept cars. The canvas of the traditional automotive sector has been discarded, as incumbent companies and new entrants jostle for capturing the fast disrupting automotive sector. Technologies like battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), autonomous driving, connected ecosystems and artificial intelligence (AI) are some of the key factors transforming the automotive sector beyond recognition.
Below are some of the electric concept cars and upcoming electric vehicles!
- The Sony EV concept sedan was announced at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) show and the EV is called the Sony Vision-S.
- So far Sony has not made any comment regarding selling the electric car to the public (from prototype to production), but used the CES platform to showcase the multitude of sensors and in-car entertainment technologies paramount to the future of autonomous driving. The Vision S electric car has 33 sensors. Sony has leveraged its core expertise to develop the car, to include, imaging and sensing technologies.
- Sony has collaborated with a number of companies to include Continental, Qualcomm, Benteler, Blackberry, Gentex, Nvidia, Magna and Bosch to create this EV prototype.
- The four-seater has two 200 kW motors (front and rear) and is capable of 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds. Top speed: 149 mph.
- The cabin envisions a future of autonomous driving where “people will eventually be relieved from car operations.” The company intends to create a driving experience, whereby it’s a new kind of mobility. The interior will have 360 reality audio to create an immersive audio experience. The cabin entertainment is extended further with enjoying videos and movies.
- The EV will be incorporated with Sony’s ‘safety cocoon’ for the fast approaching self-driving era. The electric car will be packed with safety technology like driver monitoring, parking assistance, advanced camera monitoring system and oval sensing.
- The concept is developed on a new EV platform that will also be suitable for different types of EVs to include coupes, sedans, SUVs and MPVs.
- Lexus, the luxury vehicle division of the Toyota Motor Corporation, the Japanese automotive company, unveiled the all-electric compact Lexus LF-30 Concept SUV at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. The name refers to the 30th anniversary of the company, Lexus (established in 1989) and to the year 2030, a vital year in the company’s electrification ambitions.
- Lexus is not new to the world of lower emission road transportation. The premium automotive brand has already developed a portfolio of hybrid electric vehicles, to include, the CT Hybrid, UX Hybrid, NX Hybrid, RXL Hybrid and more. The company launched its first hybrid, the RX400h in 2005.
- The company has gained knowledge and experience of battery management, power control modules and electric motors. All vital for its electrified ambitions. However, the company did not have an all-electric car (BEV), until recently, in November 2019.
- In November 2019, Lexus, unveiled its first all-electric battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the Lexus UX 300e. The company aims to have an electrified version of all its models by 2025. The company is also committed to fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
- The four-seater Lexus LF-30 EV concept features distinct gullwing doors with the potential of achieving an iconic status. The bold futuristic styling of the Lexus Electrified Concept heralds a ‘leap forward’ for its bold vision of zero-emission road transportation (2030). The LF-30 concept is not expected to move into production in the near future. The interior also captures innovations like autonomous driving technology, core to the company’s electrification ambitions. The concept also has ‘steer-by-wire system’ and a ‘human-centred cockpit concept’ with a look ahead to 2030. According to Lexus, “The cockpit was designed on the new Lexus concept of ‘Tazuna’, inspired by how a single rein can be used to achieve mutual understanding between horse and rider’. The steering controller-mounted switches and head-up display have been coordinated to a high degree.” The EV glass extends from the windshield all the way to the rear seats. Passengers have the ability to adjust the ‘opacity’ of the glass to increase or reduce privacy.
- The EV concept has four in-wheel electric motors, with a potential 536 bhp. 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds with top speed at 124 mph. The vehicle could be front, real or all-wheel drive, depending on the circumstances. The concept uses the Lexus Advanced Posture Control technology that ‘regulates the drive-power output from high-torque electric motors to adjust vehicle posture in tune with human sensibilities.’
- The LF-30 has the following dimensions: length (mm)-5090, width (mm)-1995, height (mm)-1600, wheelbase (mm)-3,200. Total weight: 2,400 kg.
- The LF-30 concept has a 110 kWh EV battery with an WLTP range of 310 miles. As in a number of pure electric cars, the battery will be housed under the vehicles floor.
- Hyundai unveiled the all-electric retro-styled 45 concept EV at the 2019 International Motor Show(IAA) in Frankfurt. The EV concept is Hyundai’s vision of its next-generation of electric vehicles to include electrification, autonomous technologies and intelligent design.
- The name ‘45’ pays homage to Hyundai’s Pony Coupe iconic concept (1974), the vehicle that introduced the world to Hyundai 45 years ago. The name is also linked to the 45-degree angles in the front and rear of the vehicle. The EV concept has a strong ‘retro’ styling. The 45 design is also inspired by aircraft from the 1920’s. The concept strips away ‘complexity’ and celebrates the ‘clean lines and minimalistic structure of the original coupe concept’. According to Hyundai “Taking a look to the past is essential for moving forward.”
- The sharp exterior design is balanced by a less aggressive interior styling, focused on comfort and ‘living space’, as is the case with autonomous concepts. The layout of the seats is also designed for future autonomy, to include forward seats turning inwards, as the electric vehicle drives in autonomous mode. The Hyundai EV concept also includes cameras to aid autonomous driving to include side mirrors being replaced by cameras. According to the South Korean automotive company, “The concept reimagines the in-car experience in the age of electrification and autonomous technologies.”
- Little is known regarding the technical specifications to include drivetrain, range etc., but this is not surprising as it is an early stage concept model. Nevertheless, the concept gives us an interesting glimpse into the future of design and styling DNA, referred to by Hyundai as ‘Style Set Free’. It is also clear that auto manufacturers like Hyundai, are assessing in detail ‘cabin layout and styling’ that best meets the needs of future autonomous mobility. Though cars will be used for transportation, the ‘engagement within the cabin’ is set for an incredible paradigm shift. EV concepts like the Hyundai 45, only hint at this future!
- The BMW i4 is an all-electric four-door premium coupe expected to be on sale in 2021 (BMW confirmed this at the 2018 Paris Motor Show).
- It is based on the iVision Dynamics concept that made its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.
- The i4 is an electrified powertrain of the 4-series and looks similar to the 4-series Gran Coupe. It is slotted between the BMW i3 hatchback and the BMW i8 sports.
- The i4 is part of the line-up of pure electric cars to be introduced by BMW. The German automotive company expects to launch as many as 25 electric vehicles by 2025, with 12 expected to be battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
- The battery electric vehicle will be assembled in Munich (Germany) and will be the first all-electric saloon for BMW. The i4 includes the fifth generation BMW eDrive Technology.
- Expected to include lightweight carbon-fibre construction, which is currently featured in the BMW i3 and the BMW i8.
- BMW is deploying a ‘flexible vehicle architecture’ that will be used by both internal combustion engine (ICE)vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs).
- The design has also been inspired by the BMW iNext SUV concept unveiled at the 2018 Frankfurt Motor Show.
- Positioned to compete head-on against the very successful Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model S , the i4 will have a range up to 372 miles on the new WLTP cycle (it could be the case that the i4 will be available in different battery sizes and ranges).
- Prices yet to be confirmed but expected to start from £55,000.
- The age of all-electric hypercars has commenced. Hypercars is a term used to describe high-performing supercars. Hypercars are unusual and limited edition vehicles.
- U.K. based automotive company Lotus Cars, well known for their sports and racing cars, has introduced Britain’s first pure electric hypercar, the Evija. It is also the first fully electric supercar from an established automotive manufacturer.
- Lotus Cars is now owned by Chinese automotive behemoth Geely, headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
- Originally codenamed the Type 130, the name Evija is derived from Hebrew and means ‘the first in existence’ or ‘the living one’. It made its debut at the recent Monterey Car Week.
- According to Russell Carr, Design Director “The Lotus Evija is a true Lotus, in that it elegantly balances stunning aesthetic forms with ingenious technical solutions to create a beautiful car with innovative design features.”
- The battery electric vehicle (BEV) will have a range of 250 miles under the more stringent WLTP cycle.
- A top speed of over 200 miles, with a sub 3 seconds 0-62 mph acceleration. An astonishing 1972 bhp and 1254 lb ft torque.
- The company will manufacturer 130 units. Deliveries will commence in 2020.
- Prices at £2.4 million. You can reserve one for £250,000.
- You may have not driven in the ubiquitous all-electric Nissan Leaf, but I assume you have seen it several times on U.K. roads. In fact, the all-electric Nissan Leaf is one of the best selling electric cars globally, with more than 400,000 sold. Yes, there are more Nissan Leaf electric vehicles on the roads than the hugely successful Tesla Model 3 .
- The Japanese automotive behemoth, Nissan Motor Company, is keen to leverage its enviable experience and track record with the Nissan Leaf pure electric car, to launch an all-electric compact SUV.
- Surprisingly, it has taken Nissan much longer to introduce a new EV model, given its leadership position in zero-emission mobility.
- According to a report from Automotive News, Nissan has already shown the battery electric vehicle crossover SUV to dealers in the U.S. Initial impressions and feedback is encouraging.
- The Nissan battery electric vehicle (BEV) will be based on the IMx crossover concept, unveiled in 2017 at the Tokyo Motor Show.
- The pure electric SUV is expected to have a range of up to 300 miles on a single charge, placing it favourably in comparison to other available electric SUVs. As an example, the range for the Tesla Model X is 315 miles, while the Jaguar I-PACE has a range of 292 miles.
- The electric SUV is expected to be built on the Nissan’s new EV platform, with potentially impressive performance figures. The all-electric crossover is expected to achieve 0 to 62 mph in under 5 seconds.
- Prices are yet to be ascertained, but we can expect the Nissan electric SUV to be more ‘affordable’ than some of the premium electric SUVs with a similar range
- Developed from ground-up on a dedicated platform to meet the needs of ‘daily urban commute’.
- An ultra- compact zero-emission ‘city car’ that can accommodate 3 adults and has 155 litres of cargo space. If converted to a single seater then cargo space increases to 760 litres.
- The battery electric vehicle is packed with technology to include the new Android Automotive OS platform.
- ‘Affordability’ a key DNA in the value proposition to customers.
- Emission-free range between 100 km and 300 km (WLTP) depending on EV battery option chosen.
- Prices commence from £15,100 to include VAT and the U.K. government £3,500 plug-in car grant (PiCG). An additional £3,000 for the larger 24 kWh battery option.
- Can be ordered in three body finishes: Scandium, Titanium, Graphite. The ‘minimalistic and uncluttered’ design is quintessentially Scandinavian and one we at e-zoomed applaud.
- Battery warranty: 60,000 miles/ 5 years: 75% of battery capacity level.
- Deliveries: 2020.
- The ID. Space Vizzion wagon concept is the seventh EV concept from VW. The electric vehicle made its debut on 19th November 2019 at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show and is part of the VWID. family. Other EVs in the ID. family portfolio also include the ID.3, ID.Crozz and ID.Buzz. The ID.3 is already in production.
- The Space Vizzion production all-electric estate model is expected to be available in late 2021 in Europe and the following year (2022) in the US. It is also expected to be sold in China. It is based on the modular all-electric MEB architecture, the VW electric vehicle platform.
- The 82 kWh lithium-ion powered battery electric vehicle (BEV) has a claimed range of up to 367 miles (WLTP) on a single charge. 0-60 mph acceleration in 5.0 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 109 mph. (275 horsepower/205-kilowatt electric motor). The production model is expected to be available in rear or all-wheel drive.
- The Vizzion will have fast-charging capability (150 kW DC).
- The ID.Space Vizzion concept is four-seater, but the manufacturer may add a third row with three additional seats. The interior upholstery is eco-friendly and is manufactured from recycled apple waste. The concept comes with all bells and whistles to include 22-inch allow wheels. The EV concept does live up to its name, with a sizeable boot space of 586 litres.
- Expect to see the augmented-reality head-up display in the production version along with a 15.6-inch centre console screen. As seems to be the trend, the electric vehicle does not have door handles i.e. illuminated surfaces need to be touched to open the door. Not clear if this will actually be incorporated in the production model, as there is always a difference, in some cases large, between a concept model and a production model. Moreover, we do expect further changes to the styling.
The Single Motor RWD (rear-wheel drive) can achieve 0-60 mph <6.5 seconds with an zero-emission range of 250+ miles. The Dual Motor AWD can achieve 0-60 mph <4.5 seconds with an zero-emission range of 300+ miles. The Tri Motor AWD can achieve 0-60 mph <2.9 seconds with an zero-emission range of 500+ miles.
The pricing commences at just under US$ 40,000 for the base model (250 miles range and 7,500 pounds towing capacity). The next model (300 miles range and 10,000 pounds towing capacity) is priced at US$49,900 and the top of the line model is priced at US$ 69,900 (500 miles range and 14,000 pounds towing capacity).
For those early adopters with an appetite to ‘stand out’, the Cybertruck will not disappoint. The eco-friendly truck can fit up to 6 individuals.
The all-electric truck is expected to commence production in late 2021, with the Tri Motor AWD production to commence in late 2022. You can pre-order on the Tesla website and have the option to also choose the ‘full self-driving’ option.
It is difficult to predict if this radically designed pickup truck will be accepted by a more ‘tradition belt’ of pickup drivers. My initial sense is that it will be challenging to truly make an impact that challenges the current dominance of the traditional automotive companies in this segment.
- The Tesla Model Y, an all-electric compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) was unveiled by Tesla earlier this year in March 2019 (pre-production model). The unveiling of the Tesla Model Y was a very quiet affair in comparison to the recent press hysteria over the unveiling of the all-electric Tesla Cybertruck.
- The Model Y is a Tesla Model 3 based crossover with inspiration also taken from the Tesla Model X SUV. However the Model Y will not have the iconic ‘falcon wing doors’ used in the Model X.
- The Model Y has been developed to further increase the ‘mass market appeal’ of Tesla pure electric cars. A strategy very similar to the successful Tesla Model 3. However, unlike the Model 3, the Model Y will have room for up to seven adults with an optional third row. The extra seats will reportedly cost an additional US$ 3,000 and will not be available immediately.
- The Tesla Model Y will be available in three variants: Performance, Long Range AWD and Long Range RWD. The Performance variant achieves 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, the Long Range AWD in 4.8 seconds and the Long Range RWD in 5.5 seconds. In comparison, the Tesla Model 3 Performance model can accelerate 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
- The Model Y Performance variant has a 298 miles (WLTP) zero-emission range. The Model Y Long Range AWD and Model Y Long Range RWD have a WLTP range of 314 miles and 336 miles respectively. In comparison, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD has a range of 348 miles (WLTP).
- The Performance variant has a top speed of 150 mph, the Long Range AWD: 135 mph and the Long Range RWD: 130 mph.
- The battery electric vehicle (BEV) is packed with technology, to include, 12 sensors to detect nearby vehicles, a 160 m forward facing radar for a long-range view of distant objects and 360 degrees cameras to provide maximum visibility. The Model Y has ‘Full Self-Driving’ capability.
- The ID. Buzz is the electric successor to the Microbus. The Buzz is an electric minivan. It was first unveiled as a prototype at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.
- It is the second EV concept to be announced by VW. The battery electric vehicle (BEV) is based on the MEB architecture, the VW electric vehicle platform. It has been designed to ‘recall the original Type 2 Microbus’. The first VW Bus was sold in the United States in 1950. The ID. Buzz will be the seventh generation of the VW Bus.
- The ID. Buzz concept is expected to have a zero-emission range of 300 miles with a 111 kWh EV battery pack. It is expected to be equipped with fast charging capability, charging up to 80% within 30 mins (150 kW). Indications so far suggest that the ID. Buzz will be available in two variants. The lower end EV is expected to be powered by a 83 kWh battery and a rear-mounted electric motor (268 bhp), with a range of 200 miles.
- The ID. Buzz concept will also feature VW’s autonomous technology ‘ID. Pilot’ and augmented navigation (AR head-up display). The electric vehicle will also feature ‘intelligent LED lights’.
- Expect top see the production vehicle in 2022.
- The ID. Crozz prototype was unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show (April). The ID. Crozz II was shown at the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show (September) The production model will be launched for sale in late 2020.
- The all-wheel drive battery-electric vehicle (BEV) will have an 83 kWh lithium-ion battery with an expected range up to 310 miles (NEDC) on a single charge.
- The EV will have a top speed of 180 km/h and a power output of 225 kW (300 bhp).
- The eco-friendly electric crossover is expected to be priced around US$ 40,000 (£30,000). The pricing strategy is expected to increase the ‘mass market appeal’ of the EV.
- The production model of the ID.Crozz has been spotted testing on roads, with production potentially at VW’s Emden factory in Germany.
- The Citroen Ami One battery-electric vehicle (BEV) concept is targeted at young city drivers in urban geographies.
- This all-electric two-seat city car was unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, a crucial year as the French automotive giant celebrates its 100th anniversary. Citroen has already gained experience in the fast evolving electric vehicle industry with the Citroen C-Zero electric car. Production of the C-Zero has stopped and only available as a used vehicle.
- Citroen is committed to manufacturing a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) or battery-electric vehicle (BEV) for every new model. It aims to have an electrified version of every vehicle in its portfolio by 2025. Other Citroen EV concepts include the Citroen C5 AIRCROSS SUV hybrid concept, Citroen SURVOLT concept, Citroen CXPERIENCE concept and the Citroen 19_19 concept car.
- The electric cube-shaped concept car falls between the Renault TWIZY and the Smart EQ with compact dimensions (2.50m long, 1.50m wide, 1.50m high). The EV concept is designed to cater for ‘young urbanites’ consumers that are less concerned about ‘cars’ but more concerned about mobility, in particular, affordable, convenient and low-emission mobility. Though the car could be sold outright, the main theme is around ‘rental’ and ‘shared’ mobility.
- Though Citroen’s success till date has been won in ‘rural mobility’ (2CV), the group is focusing its efforts for future mobility on the urban landscape. The Ami One electric concept is well suited for urban sharing mobility schemes. In the UK, average distance per trip is a mere 12 miles and in the case of city driving, even shorter. Concepts like Ami One are being designed to meet the needs of shorter commutes.
- The minimalist interior design helps enhance ‘cabin space’ and keep manufacturing costs down. The doors have a wide opening, easing access to the vehicle for two individuals. As one would expect, the Ami One electric concept engages with a smartphone and relays vital information to the mobile app. One can also stream music via Bluetooth speakers. The doors lock and unlock via the smartphone.
- The top speed is approximately 30 mph, which is appropriate for city driving and could have a zero-emission range up to 60 miles. Again, perfectly adequate for city needs. Charging is expected to take 120 minutes.
- The Nissan AWD Ariya electric car was unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. The mid-sized concept EV crossover is an expansion from the IMx concept unveiled in the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show (IM is the title Nissan uses for future-thinking self-driving and EV propulsion ideas). The Ariya does not use the IM nomenclature. The body style, though a significant improvement from the Leaf, does have a sense of ‘familiar’.
- The Ariya EV is expected to have dual electric motors (front and rear) and come packed with technology, to include radar and ProPilot 2.0 sensors (Nissan’s award-winning driver assistance system). It will also combine navigated highway driving with hands-off single-lane driving capability.
- Little is known about the performance, but some commentators suggest the electric crossover will have a zero-emission range up to 300 miles and accelerate 0-60 mph in 5 seconds. The near-production electric crossover concept may shift to production in the near future.
- The interior is minimalistic, as we now expect to see with most electric cars, with upholstery sympathetic to the environment. According to Nissan ‘in keeping with the Japanese notion of beauty in subtlety, the Ariya concept interior visuals reflect a timeless, modest sensibility’.
- Nissan is keen to rebrand its position in the EV sector, despite the success of the Leaf battery-electric vehicle (BEV). The automotive manufacturer is keen to ‘upgrade’ the Nissan brand perception in the EV sector from ‘practical and affordable’ to ‘premium’. The pure electric crossover Ariya is expected to be priced as a premium EV.
- Nissan’s CEO, Makoto Uchida, is keen for the company to pursue a pricing strategy that enhances profitability, a change in direction from the past ‘discounting’ strategy pursued by Nissan, in particular with the Leaf.
- The Ariya is expected to be available in different EV battery capacities with both single and dual-motor options.
- BMW has given us a glimpse of its vision for future mobility at the IAA Cars 2019 (Frankfurt), with the unveiling of the new BMW i Hydrogen Next fuel cell development vehicle. It is the first of BMW’s partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation in regards to hydrogen fuel-cell technology.
- This is part of the broader commitment by BMW towards zero-emission driving. The Munich based automotive manufacturer views fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as an important ‘alternative and addition’ to battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
- The i Hydrogen Next will be part of the broader electrification strategy of the company which includes the launch of 25 electric vehicles by 2025.
- The hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle is excepted to be based on the current BMW X5 SUV, though with a distinctive ‘i model’ representation . The company expects to manufacture a limited series of the hydrogen fuel SUV in 2022.
- Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have some distinct advantages over the current available production battery electric vehicles.
- FCEVs have longer ranges than pure electric cars and faster refueling times than battery recharging times. An FCEV is filled like a conventional petrol or diesel car and can be filled under four minutes. However, the number of available public refuelling stations is very limited, and certainly far fewer than electric vehicle public charging points.
- BMW’s commitment to hydrogen fuelled vehicles is far beyond just one FCEV model. The BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation jointly launched the ‘Hydrogen Council’, a global initiative to promote ‘a hydrogen-fuelled energy revolution’.
- Prices yet to be confirmed but expected to start from £55,000.
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