2021 is set to be a bumper 12 months for cars with plugs. From small SUVs to luxurious limos, there will be new electric and plug-in hybrids for all budgets – there'll even be a crazy city car that's designed to revolutionise urban mobility.
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If your idea of a Vauxhall Mokka is a rather unhappy looking car that drives around with a car rental firm sticker in the back window, you’ll unlikely get excited about the news of a new Mokka. But trust us, this new Vauxhall looks set to be a star of 2021. Why? Well, underneath the super sharp new body, it’s essentially a Peugeot 2008 so it comes with petrol, diesel and electric power. The Mokka-e (the electric one) is Vauxhall’s version of the e-2008 and that’s an excellent little SUV with 135bhp and a 201-mile range from a 50kWh battery. Vauxhalls could get a lot more interesting from now onwards.
The new Mokka isn't a car you'd mind getting allocated at the rental desk
If Citroen is feeling in a good mood, its new plastic fantastic Ami may arrive in the UK in 2021 and we really hope it does. In its homeland, quirky French people can order one in a department store, supermarket or on the Internet. Lease deals start at less than £20 per month and it’s delivered to people’s homes. Intended as a city car, non-car-licence-owning French moped riders can get behind the wheel aged 14 and whizz along for up to 44 miles thanks to a tiny 5.5kWh battery. Like the Renault Twizy, it’s charged up with a three-pin plug and there’s a lovely joie de vivre character about it. If it comes here it could cost as little (or as much, depending on your viewpoint) as £7,000. We just hope they take the speed limiter off, as the 28mph maximum imposed in France could be a bit embarrassing. Read our first drive review here.
It might look like a festival toilet, but the Ami is better than a moped and cheaper than walking
Just like the Peugeot e-208, the new Citroen C4 will come in petrol, diesel and electric versions. The latter, called ë-C4, is the one we’re interested in for obvious reasons, and if it’s anything like the e-208 it’ll be a fine car. It’s Nissan Leaf sized but with styling that mixes SUV with coupe. The ë-C4 gets the same 134bhp electric motor and 40kWh battery pack from the e-208 and a 203-mile range. The interior is more conventional than you’d find in a Peugeot but the exterior look is nicely wacky.
Add one part coupe, one part SUV and a splash of classic Citroens. Mix well and serve
Tesla Model Y
It’s another Tesla and one we’d bet a million kWs on being another roaring success in the UK, if the Model 3 is anything to go by. The Model Y is essentially a taller, more SUV-like version of the Model 3 saloon (that briefly became Britain’s best-selling car during the coronavius lockdown) which will please families who think the Model 3 is a little too small. Just like a Christmas assortment tin, there will be plenty of choice of models at launch and this’ll develop over time. When it arrives in 2021 (it’s already on sale in the US), there will be Standard, Long Range and Performance versions with ranges from 240 to 335 miles. And while it may be similar in size to an MG ZS EV, the Model Y comes with seven seats. Read out first drive review here.
As Tom Jones once said, Y, Y, Y delighter
Hot on this year’s ID.3 hatchback is… ummm… the ID.4. This SUV-like electric VW is the more important car as it’ll be sold around the world compared to the Europe-only ID.3, and when you remember VW sells more Tiguan SUVs than Golfs these days, you can bet the ID.4 SUV will be a hit. As is the way with an increasing number of EVs, there will be various versions of the ID.4 with 52 and 77kWh batteries and two- and four-wheel drive available. You’ll be able to drive 217 miles in basic versions and a Tesla-rivalling 323 miles in the top spec models. Sounds great but the ID.4’s biggest headache will be the Skoda Enyaq. Read our ID.4 first drive review here.
Volkswagen would like you to keep your eyes on this ID.4 and not look at the car below. Please
Easily one of the most important electric cars of 2021 purely on account of the fact it’s one of the cars the VW Group plans to beat Tesla with and it’s pretty cheap. Arriving in Spring 2021, the Enyaq is a family SUV that’s similar in size to a Skoda Octavia Estate, and yet costs considerably less than Volkswagen’s new ID.3 hatchback. Even more unbelievably the ID.3 is also considerably smaller. Prices kick off at a frankly amazing £30,450 and just like the VW ID.4 SUV, there will be a variety of Enyaqs – 62 and 82kWh batteries, two- and four-wheel drive models and there will even be a hot vRS version.
Check out the Czech that requires a smaller cheque
Cupra el Born
Yet another car to use the VW Group’s new electric car ‘platform’, the Cupra el Born is essentially a lightly made over version of the Volkswagen ID.3 and it’s being marketed as an electric hot hatchback. If the el Born looks a little familiar then you’d be right as the concept version was originally revealed with SEAT badges. But in an attempt to give its performance brand a bit of spice, VW Group has ditched the SEAT badges for Cupra ones. It’ll be rear-wheel drive with 201bhp and will have a 77kWh battery giving 310 miles of range. It looks great but buyers will need to fall in love with the copper-coloured detailing, though.
The copper Cupra might not be your cuppa tea
If you wanted a new electric car wearing a Hyundai badge in 2021 then you’ll be disappointed as the firm has hived off its Ioniq name (used for a Toyota Prius-like hybrid and electric hatchback) and created a new standalone brand building electric cars. It’s similar to what Volvo has done with Polestar and made a cool, modern and premium brand. The first new Ioniq will be the fantastic looking 5 – a slightly retro-looking crossover that’s based on Hyundai 45 concept car revealed last year. The 5 will be followed by two more models due for release over the next four years.
Unlike rain on your wedding day, this is Ioniq.
Audi Q4 E-tron
Audi’s naming strategy has caused a lot of us to scratch our heads but in the electric world all you need to know is that ‘E-tron’ is Audi-speak for electric. There’s already the E-tron and a coupe-like version of that car called the E-tron Sportback, which all seems straightforward enough, but in 2021 there will be a Q4 E-Tron. The Q4 bit tells us it sits between the Q3 and Q5 in Audi’s SUV range, but while those models are petrol and diesel powered, the Q4 is electric. Confusing, right? It also sits beneath the E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback to muddy the waters even further. It’s powered by two electric motors – one on either axle – which should give around 302bhp, and a 82kWh battery pack will give around 280 miles.
Audi's badge makers love models like the Q4 E-tron Sportback
Fiat New 500
We may have already driven the new Fiat 500 but you’ll have to wait until early next year before it arrives – but it is worth the wait. Fiat has kept all the character of the outgoing car – and of course the 1957 original – and given it a dollop of quality. It’s pure electric now and with a hefty 42kWh battery, it’ll do 199 miles – way more than the MINI Electric and Honda e. The 500C Convertible will come first – don’t ask us why – followed by the hatchback (the one which will sell more), but with prices starting from £26,995 for the hatchback and £29,000 for the convertible it isn’t cheap.
Our first drive review is here.
42kWh + 500 = 199 miles. That's > MINI
Lotus hasn’t launched a fully new car for 12 years but the Chinese-owned British brand intends to rectify that by giving us an all-new model in 2021. It’ll be an all-electric hypercar with 2,000bhp. Yes, you read that right – 2,000bhp. In an instant the brand from Norfolk will have the world’s most powerful car and Lotus only intends to build 130 of them. Lotus also says it will launch in late 2021 and while it’s easy to scoff at that prospect, Lotus is serious about the project. And with Chinese firm Geely paying for it, it’s very likely to happen.
With 2,000bhp, this Lotus will be an in tents experience
Ford was due to start deliveries of the Mustang Mach-E in 2020 but it’s pushed it back to 2021 – giving people more time to come to terms with an electric SUV wearing the famous Mustang name, luckily. If you’re one of those who can live with the idea of an electric Mustang SUV – and we can – then you’re in for a treat as it currently goes further on a single charge than any rival – up to 370 miles! There are various versions including a performance model with 333bhp and every Mach-E gets a modern interior with a huge 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen. Ford has been off the pace when it comes to electric cars for years, but the Mach-E changes that.
A 370 mile range. That's the Mustang tally.
We all know BMW really shook things up with the i3 and i8 seven years ago. The i brand really set a marker point in the world of electric cars, but since then BMW has rather neglected EVs and concentrated on brash SUVs instead. Next year, however, we’ll see an all new i model – the i4 – and it’ll be 3 Series saloon sized and will take on the Tesla Model 3. It’ll have a very big 80kWh battery giving 373 miles and it’ll be rather quick too with over 500bhp. But can you live with that grille?
Beauty is in the i4 of the beholder
Jaguar is giving its XJ flagship a serious makeover. Jag is taking all it has learnt with the I-Pace SUV and intends to build more electric cars – and the XJ limo will be one of them. The XJ has always been the Jag that defines the brand, so it’s no surprise the new one will come with electric power. Rumour has it’ll ditch the saloon body style it’s had since 1968 and have a more practical hatchback instead. And like the I-Pace, it’ll use two electric motors and become four-wheel drive for the first time in the model’s history. You can expect in excess of 300bhp, gorgeous styling and a sumptuous interior to blow the Tesla Model S off the road. We've not yet seen pictures, except for a grainy teaser picture.
Coming soon to a (Downing) Street near you - the Jag XJ
Always the leader when it comes to next-generation car technology, Mercedes revealed the brand new S-Class in August 2020 and again it sets the luxury car rulebook that all others must follow. At the car’s launch, a great deal was made about the petrol mild-hybrids and quietly in the background was news of the plug-in hybrid version. The S580e uses a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a 28kWh battery, giving it an electric range of 62 miles. That’s double the range the outgoing S560e could manage and really shows how far the plug-in S-Class has come in a short period of time. It’s probably going to be rather fantastic and will be the plug-in luxury limo to beat.
Another smart way for millionaires to avoid tax - the plug-in S-Class