New electric cars 2020
If 2019 was the year that manufacturers dipped their collective toes into the world of electric cars, 2020 is the year when they're fully taking the plunge. It really is the year that the electric car starts to become just 'the car'.
This list is filled with models that set the tone for the future electrified output of most major manufacturers, with some launching all-new line-ups to herald new directions, such as the ID. moniker from Volkswagen, and others bringing new electric life to familiar models, such as the Peugeot 208 and Fiat 500.
Read on to see our list of the most important electric cars of 2020.
Audi e-tron Sportback
Hot on the heels of the Audi e-tron, the Audi e-tron Sportback is set to arrive in 2020 sporting the more dynamic coupe-like body seen here. It’s based on the same mechanical underpinnings as the standard e-tron, with two variants; a 50 quattro with a 71kWh battery capable of 216 miles of range, and a 55 quattro version with a 95kWh unit and 278 miles of range. The latter of those will harbour more power – 402bhp, to be exact – and will be capable of 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. Yet that's not even the most powerful variant of the e-tron Sportback, since a new 'S' performance model is also due; this will be the brand's first electric performance car, packing 496bhp and a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds.
Citroen C4 Electric
Citroen has confirmed that the C4 family hatchback will be returning in electric form. However, rather than being based on the current Peugeot 308, it'll sit on brand-new underpinnings specifically designed to accommodate 50kWh battery, in order to deliver around 200 miles of range. The electric Citroen C4 may well be available both as an SUV-style family crossover, as well as a more conventional hatchback. It'll be a rival for the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback, using the same platform as the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e.
Fiat 500 electric
The new Fiat 500 is set to go all-electric in 2020: petrol versions of the previous-generation model will continue to be sold, but from hereon in if you want a new 500, it'll be electric. Orders are already open for the all-electric 500, which stays much the same size as the existing 500 but takes on slightly edgier, more modern styling. A 117bhp electric motor drives the front wheels, and it'll be offered with three driving modes and variable brake-regeneration that will include a one-pedal driving mode for around town. At launch, it'll only be offered as a convertible and in a high-spec trim, prices for which will start from under £30,000 after the UK government grant. It'll compete with likes of the Honda e and MINI Electric.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ford has somewhat hijacked its famous muscle car's name for the launch of its first electric vehicle: the Mustang Mach-E. Fortunately, it's promising the performance to justify the move, with the most powerful version set to make 459bhp. Two battery sizes – 75 and 99kWh – will be offered alongside various power outputs, although the longest-range model is targeting a figure of 370 miles. UK prices start at just over £40,000: order books are open now, but sales won't begin until early 2021 due to factory shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Honda e takes a different approach to the electric-car recipe: the company has gone to great lengths to make it as light and as agile as possible in order to make it fun to drive. This means the battery – a 35.5kWh unit – is relatively small, and the 136-mile claimed range makes the e best suited to urban buyers. The starting price of £26,660 isn't cheap, but the kit on board earned the electric city car our 'best car technology' prize at the 2020 DrivingElectric Awards.
Polestar – formerly the performance tuning arm of Volvo – is now a standalone brand with a focus on sporty, electrified models. Its first car, the Polestar 1, has already set the tone with its 592bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain, and 2020 bring the company’s first pure-electric car – the Polestar 2. It's a four-door coupe to rival the Tesla Model 3 and gets a driving range of 292 miles from a 78kWh battery, with prices to start from £46,400. It's got some performance guts, too, as the dual electric motors deliver 402bhp and a 0-62mph time of under five seconds.
When revealed in 2019, the Peugeot e-208 caught the attention of the motoring world with its distinctive design. It's also one of the first household-name models to offer a pure-electric option alongside conventional petrol and diesel motors, and has been joined by the Vauxhall Corsa-e that shares the Peugeot's platform and motor. The e-208 offers 211 miles of range from a 50kWh battery, with a 134bhp electric motor that delivers usefully punchy performance. It’ll be compatible with 100kW rapid charging too, with an 80% top-up expected to take just half an hour.
Following the e-208 is its bigger brother, the Peugeot e-2008 SUV. Closely related to the DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE, the e-2008 uses the same 50kWh battery as the e-208, returning slightly less range – 193 miles – owing to its larger profile. Capability for 100kW rapid-charging technology will also feature, meaning recharging times will be up there with the best in class. Our recent drive in the e-2008 confirms it feels ready to compete with the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro.
The Spanish manufacturer has confirmed that its all-new, electric SEAT el-Born will join its range in 2020, based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform, which will also underpin the Volkswagen ID.3. The new electric SEAT will have an official range of around 260 miles from a 62kWh battery, with a 0-62mph figure of 7.5 seconds and 100kW rapid charging replenishing the battery in some 47 minutes. Prices have yet to be confirmed.
Tesla Model Y
The Tesla Model Y – a small SUV based on the Model 3 – was originally intended to join the range in 2019, but has since been pushed back to 2020. The car should take many of its design cues from the larger Model X, although that car’s remarkable ‘falcon wing’ rear doors aren’t likely to feature. A Long Range version of the Model Y should allow 300 miles of driving on a single charge, with an entry-level Standard Range model managing 230 miles. Starting prices in the US should dip under $40,000; UK figures are usually similar, so expect something just under £40,000.
Order books for the Vauxhall Corsa-e have already opened and first deliveries will take place later in 2020. Including the UK’s plug-in car grant, prices start from £27,665, which may seem a tad steep, especially given that the 50kWh battery only delivers 205 miles of range; a fraction less than the Peugeot e-208 and substantially less than the Renault ZOE.
However, monthly finance of £270 could put the Corsa-e on plenty of buyers’ radars, and such a big-name model promises to persuade a lot of new buyers into an electric car for the first time. Not only that, but company-car tax makes electric cars virtually free for employees, and being such a well established fleet choice the electric Corsa could also be a big contender for many large fleets.
With 15,000 pre-orders within a week of reservations opening, the new Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback certainly hit the ground running. Three trim levels will be available, although UK customers will be restricted to just one initially: the mid-range ID.3 1st Plus. It gets a 58kWh battery and 261 miles of range, as well as 2,000kWh of free rapid-charging on the IONITY network.
A 45kWh and a 77kWh model will join the range after launch, offering a range of 205 and 342 miles respectively. Prices haven’t been announced, but expect the ID.3 1st to cost from around £26,000 after the government grant has been deducted. Orders for the UK are set to open in July 2020.