A friend who lives in Palo Alto recently remarked that while he is looking for a new car, he doesn't want a Tesla (which are the wheels of choice in his rarefied California neighbourhood).
“I’m open to buying an electric, but I am waiting for a sports car that gets me excited. I don't want a Tesla. Too pedestrian." Ouch. Elon Musk might be thrilled to learn his cars are so mainstream now that someone has called them pedestrian. This guy is one of those Silicon Valley types who can buy whatever car he wants, so this got me thinking about what exciting new electric wheels are in the pipeline at the OEMs. Here are a few new models I think could make waves on Vancouver’s rainy roads.
Popping open the scissor doors on an i8 never gets old, trust me. It's almost as fun as driving one. The current model is a gas-electric hybrid, but BMW has a prototype powered by a fuel cell. This version would have the kind of range that is only limited by where you can fill up the fuel tank. In Vancouver, hydrogen is available at the Shell station on Granville Street at Marine Drive. More fuelling stations will be on-line in the next year with the second opening in Burnaby, near BCIT.
Jaguar E-type Zero
It's true, Jaguar is electrifying one of the world's most iconic cars. Considered by some to be the most beautiful automobile of all time, the E-Type Zero is a fully factory-restored and converted original E-type with a zero emission powertrain. Available in 2020, the price tag will be somewhere in the range of $500,000. This is one classic Jaguar that won't spend half the year in the shop. The only maintenance you'll have to worry about is topping up the window-washer fluid.
Porsche has said the 911 will be the very last of its models to go electric, so we eagerly look to the 718 Boxster and Cayman. The German automaker is busy producing prototypes in Stuttgart, and my vote is for the gloriously under-appreciated Cayman. At press time, an all-electric production Cayman is only rumoured. The mid-engine lends itself well to a conversion to electric, but it could be 2022 or longer before we see an electric Cayman. Porsche's first fully-electric car, the Taycan sedan coupe, arrives in 2020 to challenge Tesla's Model S, proving Porsche has an aggressive electrification program in place, with more to come.
Aston Martin Rapide E
The British automaker's track tests rate the Rapide E top speed at 249 km/hr. The electrifying take-off is capable of gluing your wingman's noggin to the headrest with a zero to 100 kmph in less than four seconds. The electric motors produce over 600 emission-free hp and 700 ft-lb of torque.
Car designer Henrik Fiskar would really like to sell you an Emotion, but you may have to wait for this one. The team at Fiskar is working on developing solid-state batteries that could be a tech game-changer and lead to the possibility of an ultrafast five-minute charge. Estimated range could be an impressive 640 km. Like the Fiskar Karma, the Emotion has a muscular, low, beamy body design. Four gull-wing doors open to reveal a luxurious four-seat cabin. Fiskar reportedly drives his Emotion – a beautiful prototype – around LA doing 0-100 kmph in three seconds.
For the past several years, the Korean automaker has been "all in" on hydrogen while the German automakers play catch-up. In a matte charcoal shade, this SUV looks just cool enough to make our list for the early adopters who will get an impressive 570 km range out of one tank. Hyundai is cranking up production of this first-to-market fuel cell SUV, but demand is so strong for the car in their home country, they did not have quantities enough to send to Canadian dealers this year. But they are coming. Pricing will start at $73,000. If you would like to try before you buy in Vancouver, join Modo. The car-sharing network currently has two in its fleet.
Audi e-tron GT
We look forward to Spiderman's choice in hot wheels, Audi's sleek e-tron GT, which Audi has confirmed will be built in the same production facilities as the R8...interesting. The rumour mill continues to churn for the adored, poster-worthy R8. Will engineers replace the V10 with a full battery electric system? Could they power their supercar with a hydrogen fuel cell? It would be a shame if Audi retired the R8; it's such a showstopper, so they must electrify it somehow. Let's think positively charged thoughts.