The vehicle industry has come to a historical crossroads. After a hegemony of more than 120 years, the combustion engine is slowly getting ready to pass the torch to its electronic successor, especially since the European Union is forcing vehicle manufacturers, via the imminent CO2 quota, to increase the greening speed of its range. Does that also mean that 2020 will be written in the history books as the year of the electric breakthrough? Only time (and the client) will tell, but the manufacturers have clearly already done their homework…
Audi Q4 e-tron
If vehicle manufacturers truly want a breakthrough, they must rather look for cheaper alternatives for the current generation electro-pioneers. Audi also understood the message and will present a more compact and affordable alternative for the 80,000 Euro E-tron at the end of 2020. The Q4 e-tron is based on the electric MEB platform of the VW group, will have two electric engines (one on each shaft) that jointly generate 306 horsepower, and a 82 kWh battery, which with a range of approximately 450 kilometres.
Just like mother-house Volkswagen, Ingolstadt has also been sitting on a previously unseen electro-offensive. However, that does not take anything away from the fact that the brand with the four rings will also release one of its classic driven blockbusters: the Audi A3. The German MQB-based middle-class car will for the first time be using (mild) hybrid technology, where a starter / alternator and a 48-volt vehicle power (12-volt for the diesels) must further reduce the fuel consumption. Clients will be able to choose from a hatchback and a four-door saloon, the three-door and the cabriolet will permanently disappear from the vehicles on offer.
With the i3 and i8, BMW was the first premium brand that had a separate sub-division for electric vehicles, but with regard to electric SUVs, the vehicle manufacturer from Beier was definitely chased along by both Audi (with the e-tron) and Mercedes Benz (with the EQC). Next year München will once again level the playing field with the iX3, an electric X3 with 270 horsepower and a driving distance of 400 kilometres.
Citroen C4 & C5
Now that Citroen has blown out 100 candles, the brand is preparing for a particularly fascinating 2020 with the double chevron. We are especially looking forward to the return of the C4, which will operate on an extended CMP platform of the Peugeot 208. This implies that besides the traditional petrol- and diesel engines there is also room for a 100 percent electric variant. Slightly higher up in the range we are also expecting a successor for the C5 berline that disappeared, which shares technical genes with the current Peugeot 508.
Fin-a-lly! After a career of almost 12 years and more than 30(!) special editions, Fiat will finally release a new generation of the madly popular 500. In anticipation of the low emission zones that we will find in more and more European cities, this Italian city car (which will debut in March at the Genève trade show) opts for a 100 percent electric drive.
If you ever wondered what the Japanese equivalent of the Fiat 500 would look like, you would definitely imagine something close to this Honda e. Just like the new Cinquecento, the mischievous pocket calculator has the same neo-retro-design and electric power. The manufacturer also chose a relatively compact battery (the driving range is approximately 220 kilometres) to make this Honda e one of the cheapest electric vehicles on the market.
Land Rover Defender
A shock wave was felt in the vehicle world in September when Land Rover (after more than 70 years!) presented a successor for the mythical Defender to the world. The ruthless workhorse from yesteryear has become a modern and contemporary off-roader, as can be seen from the plug-in hybrid drive-line that we will find under the bonnet from next year. But, the former-Land Rover will still be available with traditional combustion engines. With the launch, clients will be able to choose from four power sources, where the number after the letter represents the horse power: the D200 and D240 are two-litre four-cylinder diesels. The P300 is also a 2.0 four-cylinder, using petrol though.
Lynk & Co 01
China, not coincidentally the largest consumer of electric vehicles, also wants to play an important role on the European vehicle market. Under the impulse of Geely, who purchased a part of Daimler, Lotus and Volvo, among other things, it seems that they will also succeed, especially now that they are about to release their own Chinese brand on the European market with Lynk & Co. This ’01’, based on the Volvo XC40, will get the ball rolling next year, and the vehicle will be assembled in the Belgian Volvo factory in Ghent. It is clear, this is a vehicle to keep a close eye on…
Another vehicle that the entire motor industry is waiting for in anticipation, is the electric variant of the Mercedes-Benz A class, which will go through life as EQA. The obvious rival for the Volkswagen ID.3 (which we will get back to shortly) will have a maximum driving range of approximately 400 kilometres, even if – just like with Volkswagen – different batteries will be offered based on the transfer profile. Currently Stuttgart is not giving any more information, even the entry-level price is a well-kept secret …
Mini Cooper SE
Eleven years after the Mini E, the electric pilot project that led to the first BMW i3 in 2013, the German parent company will bless its British electro-pioneer this spring with a fully fledged EV variant. The Mini Cooper SE will be fitted with a 33 kWh battery and a 184 hp electric-engine, a combination that gives Mini the opportunity to offer an excellent compromise between smooth performance, a low weight (1,345 kilograms) and a respectable autonomy. On paper, the manufacturer recorded a sprint of 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds and the WLTP homologated driving range is 232 kilometres. Charging is possible with an (optional) three-phase charger, which will charge the battery up to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes.
Renault Captur (E-Tech)
The Renault Captur, last year’s bestselling compact SUV in Europe has just been completely revamped. In addition to the new (borrowed from Clio) platform, Renault also introduced a brand new plug-in hybrid variant, which will next year join the offer to drastically reduce the average emission figures. The E-Tech version will have a 9.6 kWh battery, which will allow the French SUV to cover approximately 45 kilometres on electric power only.
Over the last year, all the focus at ludospaces was on the renovated delivery van trio from the PSA camp, but next year it is Renault’s turn to attract the attention of cost-conscious families, with a brand new Kangoo generation. The important news – apart from the refurbished and more appealing design – is that the third Kangoo generation will also be launched on the market as electric Z.E from the start, which will quickly overshadow the EV versions of Peugeot, Opel and Citroën (whose units will only arrive in 2021)…
The sixth generation of the Opel Corsa, one of the fixed values in all kind of European charts, is the first to be developed under the PSA flag. This is especially noticeable under the surface: for example, the CMP platform of the Peugeot 208 and DS 3 Crossback serves as the technical basis. This way, Corsa is also, for the first time, launching its completely electric Corsa-e on the market, with a 50 kWh battery that will allow the German city-car to travel approximately 330 kilometres. The interior of the new Corsa is clearly more classic than Peugeot’s much-discussed i-Cockpit and receives – apart from the gear lever borrowed from Peugeot – a digitized instrument panel.
Talking about Peugeot: apart from the revamped 208 – which also competes with the revamped Renault Clio to become dominant – Sochaux will introduce a new generation of the 2008 next year. Given the resounding success of the 3008 and 5008, it is only logical that the compact SUV will adopt the style code of its big brothers, even if the Frenchman based his technical blueprint on the aforementioned 208. Apart from the classic 1.2 PureTech turbo petrol (100, 130 or 155 hp) or the 1.5 BlueHDi diesel with 100 or 130 hp, there is thus also an electric e-2008, which is similar to the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro… and the other cousin from the PSA camp, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.
They may not be good at thinking of names, but apart from this, Polestar, the electric sub-brand of Volvo, definitely deserves the benefit of the electric doubt. After the Polestar 1, a plug-in hybrid sports car with 600 hp, the brand will definitely put itself on the map with this Polestar 2, a medium-size crossover on the Tesla Model 3 format that fits the two electric engines on a 78 kWh battery package. The drive combination results in 408 hp and 660 Nm, good for a sprint to 100 in less than 5 seconds. Another important factor: the driving range of the Polestar 2 will, according to the WLTP measurement, be approximately 500 kilometres.
Tesla Model Y
Tesla has been seeing black snow in recent years with the disastrous production start of the Model 3, but it seems that the dark clouds above the heads of Elon & co are busy clearing. The American electro-pioneer wants to shift into an even higher gear with this Model Y, a SUV that is based on the Model 3 that will be launched on the local American market next year and that will arrive in Europe by 2021. Under the surface, the Tesla relies on the known drive technology, with a selection from a Long Range with rear-wheel drive (540 km autonomy), a Long Range Dual Motor (four-wheel drive, 505 km autonomy) and a Performance (four-wheel drive, 480 km autonomy and 0 to 100 in 3.7 seconds). The Standard Range entry-level version, which is estimated to cost 35,000 Euro, will follow later.
In mid-2020, Volkswagen will start supplying the ID.3, a medium class electric vehicle that – according to the vehicle manufacturer – will be as pioneering as the Beetle and the Golf. Naturally, this medium class electric vehicle is based on the brand new modular MEB platform that the Volkswagen group will use in the next few years to manufacture many electric VWs, Skodas, Seats and Audis, The name suggests that there may also be smaller (ID.1, ID.2) and bigger (ID.4? ID.5?) models in the pipeline, which could possibly be based on the I.D. Buzz-, I.D. Crozz- and I.D. Vizzion- concept cars. In order to attract the widest possible public, Volkswagen offers its ID.3 in three different battery versions: an entry level of 45 kW that guarantees a driving range of 330 kilometres, a medium-size variant of 58 kW (420 km action radius) and a top version with 77 kW and a WLTP driving range of 550 kilometres. All versions will have an electric engine on the rear shaft, with a peak capacity of 170 hp.
Last, but definitely not least, we need to mention Mister Popular on the European vehicle market: the Volkswagen Golf. The launch of the Golf VIII was postponed for a while to keep all eyes on the novice ID.3, but it will take a while before the spiritual successor equals the success of its forefather, which has been built more than 35 million times in the meanwhile. The basic recipe behind the Golf VIII therefore hardly changes, although the familiar contours would conceal a “thorough technological upgrade”. Expect mild hybrid versions and a double GTE offer in two different capacity versions. More news will follow on 24 October, when we will finally get to see the new Golf in all its glory…