The best new electric cars for 2023

Ginny Buckley

23 Mar 2023

Electric car launches have been coming thick and fast and the choice of models has never been greater, but some of today’s offerings might not be quite what you’re looking for. With that in mind, we’ve polished up’s crystal ball to have a look at some of the cars that are due this year to see if they are worth the wait. 

1. Fisker Ocean

The Ocean is an all-electric SUV which is roughly the size of a ŠKODA Enyaq or Volkswagen ID.4. at 4,640 long, 1,930 wide and 1,615 high. It is built on an all-new lightweight platform developed by Fisker and will be available in front wheel drive and all-wheel drive forms when the full range is available.

The range will launch with a top-spec Edition One model that will come with a £59,000 price tag and a projected range of around 340 miles. More affordable versions with lower ranges are set to follow later next year and into 2024, with the promise of an entry level model priced under £35,000. 

Although the Ocean will have a 400 volt electrical system rather than 800 volt system as fitted to the Kia EV6, Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Porsche Taycan, Fisker claims that both battery options will be able to DC fast charge at speeds of up to 250kW. This would put it on a par with Tesla, which offers a similar speed from a 400 volt system. Should this be the case, the Ocean will be able to add around 100 miles range in under eight minutes and an 80% charge in under 30 minutes.

Fisker hopes to make waves with the new Ocean
Fisker Ocean Review

2. Ford Explorer

Ford will finally add a second model to its electric line-up in 2023 in the form of the Explorer crossover. It uses Volkswagen’s MEB platform (the framework that underpins all the German brand’s ID. models) as a base for the new car thanks to a technology-sharing deal signed by the two firms two years ago. Thankfully, the technology is Ford's own though.

Ford has previously said that it will build two cars based on the MEB platform, including a van and maybe even a sporty car. Maybe we could get an electric Capri?

Production has already been earmarked for Ford’s Cologne plant which is undergoing a multi-million euro refit as the brand turns it focus to electric cars.

The Explorer is based on the bits of electric Volkswagens

3. Smart #1

The Smart brand has spent over twenty years making dinky city cars, so the #1 is a bit of a culture shock. The car is a five door family vehicle that’s longer than a VW ID.3

The electric Smart is a close relative of the aforementioned Polestar 4 whose sub structure its makers insist on calling ‘Sustainable Experience Architecture,’ which is about as meaningful as ‘Sustainable Experience Underwear,’ but never mind. 

The electric Smart will be launched with a 66kWh battery, and has a claimed WLPT range of up to 275 miles. It will have a fast charging capability of 150kW and an AC charging maximum of 22kW. A projected charging time of 30 minutes is claimed to get 10-80% replenishment. 

This will power a single, rear mounted 268bhp electric motor that will power get the car from 0-62 in 6.7 seconds. With 343Nm of torque on tap, the #1 has plenty of grunt.When the Smart was demoed to us, we thought it was an interesting car that would have been even more interesting with a bigger boot and softer ride, but if you want to know what else we thought about it, click here.

Tom is so impressed with the Smart, he wants to give it a big hug
Smart #1 Review

4. Hyundai IONIQ 6 

Some car makers like to make their cars look similar, just bigger and smaller. Not Hyundai. With the 6, it is taking the IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6’s underpinnings but clothing them in a slippery saloon body. 

The car will become part of a much-expanded IONIQ range of pure electric cars. The 6 is longer, lower and narrower than the IONIQ 5, but has a slightly shorter wheelbase to accommodate a greater rear overhang, for aerodynamic purposes. That rear end also features full width LED lighting that can perform de rigeur visual party tricks and a swooping roofline that merges with the base of the car’s boot lid. 

The interior mixes button and twin touch screen controls, and a pair of ‘winglet’ shaped screen on the far ends of the dash in place of door mirrors. There are also clever ambient lighting effects and classier trim materials than the IONIQ 5. 

Range and charging? The car features an 800 volt system promising an 80% charge in as little as 20 minutes. Expect 77.4kWh two-wheel-drive versions to be joined by dual motor all-wheel-drive siblings. We reckon the former will be good for up to 330 miles between charges. 

The car is scheduled for UK launch very shortly with pricing between £50,000 and £60,000.

Six of the best? New IONIQ features the best bits of the Kia EV6 in a slippery body
Hyundai Ioniq 6 Review

5. Polestar 3

Polestar is set for a busy year. In addition to updating its Polestar 2 with bigger batteries, longer ranges and a tweaked design, the Swedish brand will also start production of its second fully-electric model, the Polestar 3.

The Polestar 3, which we’ve already had a close look at in the studio, will launch with a 107kWh battery pack (usable) as standard, which, according to Polestar, can deliver a driving range of up to 379 miles on the WLTP cycle. Polestar sees the 3 as a car that will tempt buyers away from luxury combustion-engined SUV such as the Range Rover Sport, BMW X7 and Porsche Cayenne. When framed like this (all these cars are £75k+), the Polestar’s £79,000 starting price makes more sense.

And for those who really can’t get enough Polestar, the brand is also tipped to unveil the Polestar 4 later this year ahead of a 2024 launch. 

Polestar's range is adding up. The 3 takes the form of a estate/SUV hybrid and is due before the end of the year

6. Kia EV9

Set to take a bow in the first quarter of this year, the Kia EV9 will follow in the footsteps of the brand’s award-winning EV6. Aimed squarely at the American market for large SUVs (which is vast), don’t expect the EV9 to be something for urban streets. Set to rival cars like the Range Rover in terms of dimensions, the EV9 will come with seats for seven and an enormous cabin.

Like the EV6, the 9 will be built on Kia’s clever E-GMP underpinnings that come with ultra-fast charging (thanks to its 800 volt electrical system) and vehicle to load (V2L) function that allows owners to run 240 volt electric items from their car. No technical details have been released, but it is expected that entry level models will get the same 77kWh battery pack currently offered in the EV6, along with an even bigger pack for high-spec models. All wheel drive will be standard. Expect prices to start at between £48,000 and £55,000 when UK sales start in the autumn. 

Ginny Buckley with Kia EV9 Kia is ramping up its electric range and will 'go large' with the new EV9 next year
Watch preview video

7. Lotus Eletre

Described as a ‘Hyper-SUV’, the Eletre is a far cry from the lightweight sportscars which have defined the brand. However, Lotus claims that the Eletre has borrowed design and engineering cues from its past models which promise to make it go further and faster. Even the cheapest versions, which will start at around £100,000, will have a power output of around 600bhp and be capable of a 0-60mph time of less than three seconds. 

Charging will be fast too, with the Eletre capable of accepting a 350kW feed. This is said to add 250 miles of range to the 100kWh battery in just over 20 minutes. On full charge the car should be capable of driving 373 miles.

The Lotus Eletre's safety systems can detect when the car is about to run over an presenter. We hope.
Lotus Eletre Review

8. Mercedes EQE and EQS SUV 

The low slung EQE saloon, whose profile is not entirely unlike the Ioniq 6, is already on sale here but we will have to wait until next year for its sports utility stablemate. This car is set to make its world debut in the middle of October. 

A five seater, it will slot in below the bigger, bells and whistles seven-seat EQS SUV, and offer a more dynamic driving experience than the larger car. Its maker also claims that the EQE SUV will be one of the roomiest cars in its class. 

Expect plenty of familiar Merc EQ design touches in an interior with a massive centre console and the option of a full width digital dash. Other technical bits of to look out for include air suspension and four wheel steering.Running gear will be similar to the EQE and EQS saloons, but rear drive derivatives have the potential to travel 400 miles plus between charges. Expect AMG performance twin motor all-wheel-drive version to have bulldozer like torque properties.

Mercedes has only released pictures of the interior of the EQE SUV so far. It's posh.
Mercedes EQE Review Mercedes EQS SUV Review

9. MINI Cooper

MINI has some big plans for electrifying its range and is set to expand its battery-powered line-up with a host of new models. First up will be what is effectively a direct replacement for the current three-door MINI electric. That will arrive next year and will be built in China instead of the UK, where the current one is manufactured. The new version has been co-developed with Chinese brand Great Wall Motors, which uses the same underpinnings for the Ora Funky Cat. 

If you want your MINI to be a little less mini, you’ll need to hang on until 2024 when a fully electric Countryman arrives. Like the hatch, it will switch production bases and will be built at BMW’s plant in Leipzig, where it will roll down the line that once assembled the BMW i3. It will share its platform with the new BMW iX1 and will grow in size over the current model. 

A third electric MINI is also expected to join the line-up in 2024. Based on the Aceman concept, the new Clubman is likely to be closely related to the hatch version and will be a second model produced in China. 

New 2023 Cooper hatchback will be the first of three all-electric MINIs to arrive in the next two years
MINI Preview

9. Peugeot e-308 hatch and Estate

If you’re looking for a sensible compact hatchback or estate, there’s great news on the horizon in the form of the new fully-electric Peugeot e-308. Both models come with a new 51kWh battery pack and motor that Peugeot claims is significantly more efficient than the drivetrain fitted to its current all-electric offerings. Thanks to the new tech and the e-308’s slippery shape, the French brand claims a WLTP figure of 248 miles, which is considerably more than the e-2008 and e-208 can manage. 

The addition of an estate is likely to prove popular with buyers who don’t fancy an SUV and crave the large boot and long load area that only an estate can deliver. Expect a price tag in the region of £35,000 when it arrives. 

You'll be feline fine next year if you've been hanging on for an electric Peugeot 308

10. Porsche Macan

Porsche - a brand famous for its gas guzzling sports cars - may seem an unlikely torchbearer for the electric car revolution, but the German giant has huge plans to electrify its range. The game-changing Taycan saloon has shown that Porsche wants to be at the forefront of the sector while its plans to replace its best-selling 718 Boxster and Cayman with pure-electric versions show that German brand isn’t scared of making big decisions. 

The Macan SUV is set to be Porsche’s second fully electric car and - although it's delayed while they fiddle with the software - it is still expected to make an appearance later this year. While the petrol-powered version will continue on sale (after a facelift), the electric version is an all-new car, built from the ground up to be electric. It will have the same ultra-fast charging capability of the Taycan and, of course, the same warp speed performance. No details as yet in terms of battery size, but expect packs in the region of 85kWh for the biggest-selling models. 

Porsche will be Macan no excuses if its battery-powered doesn't live up to expectations

11. Rolls-Royce Spectre 

The car plutocrats with a conscience have been waiting for, the Rolls-Royce Spectre coupe will be the luxury brand’s first battery powered production offering, and is likely to reach the first lucky customers towards the end of the year. 

The two-door coupe will cost around £300,000 and is a true technological tour-de-force. 

Although we still don’t know many of the technical details it is clear that the Spectre will borrow most of its battery and drivetrain from the new BMW i7 and iX ranges. It means the Spectre has a very big battery with around 110kWh, and Rolls has confirmed a range of around 320 miles. 

There will be decent fast charging speeds too, so your chauffeur won’t have to spend too long waiting at the service station.

11. Vauxhall Astra hatch and Estate

For buyers who don’t want an SUV and prefer the idea of driving a normal-looking car that doesn’t shout ‘I’m electric’ from every angle, the new Vauxhall Astra-e could be right up your street. Based on the same underpinnings as the Peugeot e-308 (Vauxhall is part of the Stellantis Group that owns Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat and Vauxhall), the Astra is likely to be a bit hit in the UK. Like it’s smaller sibling, the Corsa-e, the Astra-e will feature a slick, unfussy driving experience and a neat, well-made cabin. 

Like the Peugeot e-308, it will be powered by a new 51kWh battery pack and a fresh front-mounted motor that Stellantis claims is the most efficient in the sector. Although Vauxhall has yet to release any official figures, we’d expect it to offer around 245 miles of official range and rapid charging at up to 100kW. That means a 10-80% top up on a rapid charger will take around 25-30 minutes. Prices are likely to be around £35,000. 

Blue 2022 Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer front 3/4 shot, UK numberplate, office building in background Buyers looking to load up on boot space should seriously consider waiting for the new Astra-e estate

12. Audi A6 e-tron 

These days every other Audi you see is a jacked-up sports utility, but the company used to be best known for its swish saloons like the A6. It hasn’t given up on them, hence the incoming, latest generation A6, which will have an e-tron electric version. 

A couple of years back a thinly disguised prototype appeared as a four-wheel-drive concept car with twin motors producing 469 bhp and providing supercar levels of performance. There will be twin motor production versions too and you can also expect gentler, two-wheel-drive A6 e-trons. 

Rapid charging will feature, using Porsche Taycan-like 800 volt technology. When paired to an appropriate rapid charger the A6 e-tron will have sucked up enough juice to travel about 200 miles in around ten minutes. Fifteen minutes after that it will have taken on up to 80 per cent charge. 

The car is designed to cleave the air efficiently and even the paint is engineered to reduce drag and deflect solar radiation, keeping the Audi cooler so its air con doesn’t have to work as hard. 

Whether the prototype’s headlamp technology, which can project text and even videos, will make it into production cars remains to be seen, but it would certainly provide a bit of essential one-upmanship over the Tesla Model S. Expect prices of £50k upwards.

Audi is planning on adding an electric estate to its line-up in the form of the A6 e-tron

13. BMW i5 

For decades BMW’s 5 series executive big saloon has been the Audi A6’s direct rival, so it’s no surprise that an i5 all-electric version will take on the A6 e-tron. 

In very basic terms the i5 is likely to take the i4’s technology and clothe it in a large, four door body - with a Touring estate rumoured for 2024. This means model for model power outputs are likely to be similar, with the entry level i5 eDrive 40 mirroring the corresponding i4’s 250 kW motor. 

There will be single motor rear drive and all-wheel-drive twin motor derivative with up to 536bhp of power on tap. Range is likely to be at least 300 miles between charges. 

Production is set to get underway next year. Oh yes, the styling is more traditional BMW than the recently revealed, and determinedly odd new 7-Series and i7.

14. Fiat Panda 

The current Panda is basically a re-working of a design ideas that are over twenty years old. Its replacement is to be very different, not least because it will be powered by electricity. 

In 2019 Fiat celebrated its 120th birthday with a show car called the Centoventi, which paid tribute to the original 1980 launched Panda by being very square indeed. A toned down version of the Centoventi is likely to make production wearing Panda badges. 

It may not have the show car’s back hinged rear doors and we’ll see if the car’s detachable panel work and different sized ‘plug in your own’ dashboard makes the production cut, but it gives a very good idea of how the car will look. It’s likely to be bigger than the outgoing Panda and have a less-is-more minimalistic aesthetic that will be a modern day take on the original version.

The new Fiat will Panda to your every need. As long as you need a small electric car

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