We like Jaguar’s first electric production model, describing it as ‘a brilliant car which drives superbly, is well built and stylish. The fact it happens to be powered by electricity is a bonus.’
Now one of the older EVs (it was launched in 2018), we still think the design and feel of its plush interior make this car stand out, and the way it drives is up with the best too.
Design-wise, the i-Pace is a crossover between a luxury SUV and a big five-door hatchback, and has all-wheel drive, courtesy of a pair of motors powered by a 90kWh battery pack.
This is a heavy car, but boasts light on its feet dynamics, and if you’re prepared to take a hit on range, it’s a rapid one too -think 0-62 in 4.5 seconds. Demerits? Real world range of around 200 miles is, well, starting to be a bit off the pace, and the Jag’s infotainment system isn’t its strongest feature, but overall, we think the i-Pace is good news.
Incidentally, the i-Pace wasn’t Jaguar’s first attempt at going electric. In the 1980s it experimented with a battery powered XJ6 saloon with, we think, hub motors.
Korea’s answer to Lexus is now offering electric traction for its ultra-comfortable G80 saloon.
Unlike the smaller GV60 EV, which shares its technology with the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5, the G80 is not a ground up electric car, but an ICE adaptation. That doesn’t prevent it from being well realised and dripping with kit.
Good examples of this are road reading adaptive suspension that provides a wafting ride, self-driving technology, and the ability to plug in a thee pin domestic appliance, such as a kettle, so your chauffeur can brew up whilst you’re elsewhere doing something expensive. Options don’t run to a kettle but do include a solar charging roof panel.
Vital statistics? The car’s 87.2 kWh battery can be fast charged to 80 percent in a little over 21 minutes, and its claimed range is upwards of 323 miles. Twin motors produce 365bhp, which is sufficient to propel it to 62 in 4.9 seconds.
Although dynamically very capable, the G80 is perhaps a little soulless to drive, but then, driver interaction will probably involve Genesis’s owner concierge service, which employs a single point of contact, rather than worrying how its steering feels.
Audi’s imposing Q8 e-tron was a big luxury SUV with a small range. Officially, entry level versions would cover 181 miles between charges, but in truth you could knock 30-40 miles from that figure. Charging was also expensive and time consuming.
Owners weren’t impressed, so Audi upgraded the battery pack, tweaked the Q8’s motors and aerodynamic detailing, and the car will now manage between 281 and 330 miles depending on the model. Charing times have dropped too.
The car has also been given a revised front end, and other blink and you’ll miss them styling upgrades.
The Q8 has expansive passenger space, and is a comfortable place for a quartet of adults. Fixtures and fittings are tasteful and well made, and the Q8’s interior exudes class. The only things to disturb its serenity are slightly noisy electric motors and a bit of tyre roar.
Some rivals are yet more efficient, spacious and possibly better value, but thanks to its range boost, the civilised Q8 e-tron is now a far more credible contender in the luxury SUV sector.
What can we say about this giant car’s brutal styling? Unique? Distinctive? Hideous? You decide.
As a luxury car to be driven about in -at which point you can’t see the outside- it certainly fits the bill, and is an extremely soothing way of getting about.
In Britain, only the long wheelbase xDrive 60 model is being offered. This is powered by a duo of electric motors, producing some 795Nm of torque, which this 2.7 tonne car needs. Its range of 387 miles might not match the Merc EQS’s 452, but is still good for such a leviathan.
Even before you look at the options list the thing costs from around £108k. Those options include voice actuated doors, a glass roof with multiple lights that can change colour, and a giant movie screen that emerges from the ceiling.
Silence and serenity are watchwords of the way this car drives, and we reckon that if gear and refinement are your bag, it’s the best electric limo if not the most conventionally good looking.
Unkind observers might suggest that if a chest freezer and a cardboard box had a love child it would resemble the BMW iX, another aesthetic one off from BMW.
However, as an EV it has an envelope of abilities that are little short of extraordinary, and it’s certainly a luxury SUV.
It’s new from the ground up, with a carbon fibre frame, it also makes use of light alloys and re-cycled plastics and fabrics, and the energy used to make it comes from renewables.
The iX 40 has a 71 kW battery, hits 60 in 6.1 secs, and posts a WLTP figure of 364 miles. Shell out another £20,000 for the iX 50, and its vital statistics are a 105.2 kW battery, 4.6sec 0-60 and a 391 mile range.
Charging? The iX can take up to 200 kW, and with a DC raid charger hit 80 per cent replenishment in 40 minutes or less.
Weighing around two tonnes, the car isn’t overtly sporting to drive, but it it’s a great touring vehicle, although the ride is quite firm.
The spacious interior is stuffed with convenient features and interesting touches, such as headrest mounted speakers and heated armrests. Click here for our video review.
As something to look at, the iX might be challenging, but as something to live with, it’s beautiful.
The Taycan Cross Turismo is a cross pollination of an estate car, luxury sports utility and Porsche’s spectacularly fast and capable Taycan saloon.
We keep extolling that car’s virtues, which the Cross Turismo shares with added space for passengers in the back and a more substantial boot. The payback is styling with a fat backside and a rather hefty look, abetted by SUV-style side cladding. In the Cross Turismo this aesthetic comes with a raised ride height, and off road-ish suspension settings.
It’s unlikely that many owners put these features to the test, and the Sport Turismo ditches them but keeps the extra space and fatter derriere.
The GTS Sport Turismo makes use of a 93.4 kWh battery and puts out 590 bhp, something that abets a 37 sec 0-62. Smart software helps the car travel upwards of 312 miles between re-charges.
The all-wheel drive GTS comes with the 93.4 kWh ‘Performance Battery Plus,’ has 590 bhp of over boost power and can power from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds. With a range of up to 312 miles, the four wheel drive GTS model has an 'efficient drivetrain control strategy', which basically uses clever software to extend the range.
Computer controlled, adaptive air suspension ensures the car gets round bends with the expected verve.
4. Tesla Model S
The Model S more or less invented the luxury EV segment, and the modern electric car come to that, but in recent years Tesla appeared to give up selling it in Britain.
Now the car is back and improved, but sadly no longer with right hand drive. Examples currently in stock are left hook only. It’s the same story with the Model X luxury SUV.
To sweeten the blow of having to drive a wide car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, Tesla is offering three years unlimited Supercharging or two grand off the price of a right hand drive Model 3 or Y.
The Model S first graced UK roads in 2014 and has seen incremental improvements to its performance and range. The new one is slightly lighter and most of the panel work has allegedly been re-profiled. Build quality both inside and out -a long standing Tesla bugbear- is said to be better than before, if not class leading. Inside the touch screen which controls most of the car’s functions is now landscape rather than portrait. Instead of a conventional steering wheel, you are confronted with a games console like yolk arrangement, which some drivers love, but others find fiddly in town.
Kit includes Tesla’s clever semi-autonomous Autopilot system, and whacky features including a sketch pad option, and making the sat nav graphics resemble an arcade game. It has a range of those too.
Performance and charging times? The range-topping Plaid has a trio of motors producing 1,020 hp, a claimed 1.99 sec 0-60 time and 200 mph top speed. Tesla quotes a WLPT range figure of 373 miles, and we reckon it will achieve a still good 300 miles in the real world. Plug the car into one of Tesla’s Superchargers for fifteen minutes, and it’s makers recon the thing is good for a 200 mile trip.
All this remarkable stuff doesn’t stop us wishing that British Model S owners had the option of a circular steering wheel located on the right of the cabin.
Guiding a wide 1,000bhp car around British roads with the steering wheel on the wrong side is not for the faint hearted.
Mercedes’ first clean sheet electric car design, the EQS, is as big as an S Class, but rather more engaging to drive.
Technological talking points include a massive 1.41 m, cabin-wide ‘hyper screen,’ which is an £8k option. For the UK market some of its features, such as a movie watching facility for passengers, have been deactivated, but the screen is still an amazing thing.
So is the lack of noise. The EQS is one of the quietest cars yet made. Unsurprisingly it comes with a ‘too many to list’ roster of equipment, including an ‘intelligent recuperation programme’ that teaches the driver to barely touch the brakes. This is something aided by distance control sensors and motor control systems that predict when the EQS needs to slow down and makes this happen automatically.
Did we mention the four wheel steering, or the enormous 1,800 litre boot, the 452 mile range and 31 minute fast charging time? Doors close automatically if you make a gesture at them (what sort of gesture is not explained), and rear passengers get ‘warming pillows’ and ‘hot stone massages,’ whatever they are.
All this stuff comes in a huge, air sprung, four wheel steered car that we reckon handles like a MINI. Sort of.
With a 120 kWh battery and claimed 520 mile range, the Lucid Air could be the most credible Tesla Model S beater yet.
Built in America, the Mercedes E Class-sized Lucid Air is one of the most spacious luxury EVs going, and in range topping limited run Dream Edition form has 1,096 bhp on tap, is limited to 167mph, on the way reaching 60 in around 3 seconds.
Lucid started life making race car batteries, and uses a bio-directional charging system which is claims means that the Air can be a source of energy rather than just a user of it. Charging rate? Lucid reckons 12 minutes on a fast charger will net around 200 miles.
There are mutterings of a UK launch this year, but the car has been around for a few years now, so we’ll see.
Critics might scoff at the Spectre’s Bond franchise referencing name, but Rolls’ first production electric car is a remarkable thing.
Weighing just over three tonnes, this two door coupe is hefty, but despite its blockish looks the car has a slippery 0.25. drag co-efficient. Even the Spirt of Ecstasy bonnet mascot has been re-profiled so that it shoves less air out of the way.
The Spectre has a couple of BMW-developed electric motors, producing 577 bhp and 900 Nm of torque, providing the impetus for a 4.5 sec 0-62 time. With a beefy 102 kWh battery on board Rolls claims a range of 329 miles, although we suspect real world use would be rather less. A 10-80 per cent fast charge should be 34 minutes.
The car doesn’t have a suite of driving modes -Rolls thinks its customers shouldn’t be troubled with such things- but it does possess road reading suspension, and enormous alloy framed, rear hinged self-closing doors, each containing nearly 5,000 star like LED lights, part of a Dan Brown novel-length list of features.
There are quicker, more frugal and perhaps more innovative premium electric cars than this one, and we might quibble at the often quoted mantra that Rolls-Royce make the best cars in the world, but as the world’s best car for arriving in, the Spectre gets our vote.