By Vincent Aubé , 2019-03-18
It’s gotten pretty hard for even a day to pass without there being some mention of electric mobility in the automotive industry. We have been witness to this staggering explosion of interest and innovation in the domain of green vehicles for a few years now, but 2019 is proving to be a particularly fertile and febrile period for new hybrid, plug-in and all-electric vehicles – and Canada’s market is being as upended as any in the world!
We published our first Hybrid and Electric Car Guide in the summer of 2017, and the immense interest drew begged for a follow-up last year. Interest has only grown since then, so we’re back this year with a comprehensive look at all the models that in their way contribute to reducing fossil-fuel emissions around the world.
As in the past, we’ve included important figures like base prices, as well as links to relevant reviews we’ve published and specifications of certain models.
One other change in the domain is worth noting for 2019: this year, with Ontario’s cancellation of its EV rebate program, only two provinces currently offer incentives to buyers of electricity-powered vehicles, Quebec and British Columbia.
The big news in 2019 from Audi is the arrival of the e-tron SUV ($90,000), which will take direct aim at the Tesla Model X even with the substantial price difference between the two all-electrics. Its range is given as 400 km, although as per usual it will realistically be less than that in real-world conditions.
The Munich-based manufacturer has its hand in electric mobility for several years already and has produced a number of plug-in models to date – but only one 100% electric vehicle, the i3 ($49,000). Last year BMW added a more-dynamic i3s variant with a stronger powertrain.
It’s also possible to order an extended-range version of the i3, which comes with a small combustion engine.
In the all-electric segment Chevrolet’s lone entrant is the Bolt ($44,800). Like the Volt, the little Bolt was a pioneer in the field of electric vehicles, principally for the 383-km range and the dynamic performances it delivers.
The Chevrolet Bolt will have to watch out, however, as here comes the little Kona Electric ($45,599). Here’s an EV in utility garb that delivers an impressive 415 km of range. The Korean automaker also proposes the IONIQ Electric ($37,899); this one could use with a boost to its battery capacity, if you ask us. Maybe in 2020…
Who could have predicted that Jaguar, so long saddled with a reputation for stultifying conservatism, would turn to electric mobility? With the I-PACE crossover ($86,500), Jaguar has come up with its own answer to Tesla. The performance capabilities are clearly up to snuff, and the original design it sports has been universally acclaimed. The range of 377 km isn’t bad either, especially for the automaker’s first foray into all-electricanism.
For the Kia brand the 2019 model-year can officially be summed up with one model, the first-generation Kia Soul EV ($37,795); with just 179 km of range, however, it’s going to struggle to attract buyers. The smart move is to wait for summer 2019 and the 2020 model-year edition of the Soul, as well as the new Niro EV; both of them are expected to get a range of 384 km.
While Toyota is considered to have played the biggest part in democratizing hybrid technology, Nissan played the same role in the story of all-electric cars. The Nissan LEAF ($36,698) is built to meet the needs of city-dwellers, especially now that is has more muscle available from its powertrain and an increased range of 242 km.
Starting the spring, Nissan Canada will also bring to market the LEAF PLUS ($43,998), blessed with enhanced performance capabilities and even more importantly a boost in range, to 363 km.
Things are a little less rosy over at Smart. The Fortwo ($29,050) went electric a few years ago and currently sells for a price that’s completely out of proportion for the tiny range of 93 km it delivers (the convertible version’s range is 92 km). With such poor value-for-dollar, it’s hardly surprising that sales of the car have plummeted since owners had to start plugging it in to be able to drive it.
By this point, is there even a need to point out the impact the independent manufacturer based in California has had on the automotive landscape? With the Model S ($96,650), the Model X ($102,300) and the Model 3 ($47,600) already on the market, Tesla has just revealed its long-awaited Model Y compact SUV, which should be ready by fall 2020.
There’s more. The company is working on its Roadster, which could also be ready in 2020, and has made noises as well about producing a pickup – and why not, after all Tesla is an American automaker. The presentation of the new Rivian electric pickup probably had something to do with that as well…
The giant automaker based in Wolfsburg, Germany is on a well-publicized electric offensive, and we should start to see the results of that in 2020. Until we get there, VW does offer the e-Golf ($36,720), a compact car that retains all of its sprightly performance capabilities even in all-electric form.