Rock down to electric avenue

Here are electric cars available this year and next, with prices starting at $99,999

Audi e-tron 50 Sportback.
Audi e-tron 50 Sportback.PHOTO: ST FILE

The slow take-up of electric cars has largely been to do with carmakers being slow in rolling out battery-powered products.

Even now, some companies are focusing on fulfilling domestic demand at the expense of right-hand-drive markets such as Singapore.

For those thinking of plugging in soon, here are the models available now or arriving in the coming months that suit various budgets and needs.

AUDI 

The e-tron is about the size of the Audi Q5. It is 4,901mm long, 1,935mm wide and 1,616mm tall, with an ample wheelbase of 2,928mm and a luggage capacity of 660 litres.

With two electric motors producing 300kW of power, the e-tron 55 ($370,901) sprints to 100kmh in 5.7 seconds and has a range of 400km. The less potent e-tron 50 costs $330,960.

The e-tron 50 Sportback ($341,461) has a lower power rating of 230kW, hits 100kmh in 6.8 seconds and has a range of 347km. It is not as sizzling as the e-tron, but has a sleeker profile and better efficiency.

The e-tron GT is Audi's version of the Porsche Taycan. It has 434kW on tap and is expected to hit 100kmh in around 3.5 seconds before going on to 200kmh in just over 12 seconds.

The top speed is regulated at 240kmh to maximise range (more than 400km). The car should be in the showroom well before Christmas.

Next year, the e-tron S is expected to land. The first production car to have three motors (two in the rear) making 370kW and 973Nm, it may be the sharpest-handling e-tron yet.

Then the 475kW RS e-tron GT will arrive to nibble at the heels of the Porsche Taycan Turbo.

Prices of the e-tron GT, e-tron S and RS e-tron GT are not out yet, but are expected to hover below equivalent Taycan prices, which currently ranges from $340,000 to $744,000 before the certificate of entitlement (COE) and options.

BMW 


PHOTO: BMW

The i3S ($216,888) is an evolved version of BMW's first electric car, the i3 (The Straits Times Car of the Year 2014). This tall hatch not only produces zero on-site emissions, but it is also manufactured using green processes and materials.

And it has very cool rear-hinged rear doors, like a Rolls-Royce.

The China-made iX3, an electric variant of the X3 should arrive by the third quarter of the year.

Its 210kW motor propels it to 100km in 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 180kmh. It has a range of up to 459km and an estimated price tag of $250,000.

By year-end, the iX will debut. This new-generation EV is the size of an X5 and should arrive by the end of the year. It is available in two variants - a 370kW and a 240kW.

In the first quarter of next year, the i4 four-door coupe should touch down. It will be available with different battery sizes, with a driving range of up to 590km.

The most powerful i4 has 370kW and will hit 100kmh in just over four seconds. Estimated starting prices are $390,000 for the iX, and around $250,000 for the i4 at current COE rates.

BYD  


PHOTO: ST FILE

The new e6 (from $115,388) is much better-looking than its predecessor, which is used as taxis, but its performance has not improved.

Its main proposition is its fast charging time. The car is able to accept 40kW AC chargers (available at SP Group's network) and when plugged into one, it takes only 1.8 hours to juice up from zero to full.

As most users will not wait till the battery is empty to recharge, filling up from 20 to 80 per cent can be done in 50 minutes or so.

The M3e (from $108,388) may look and drive like a commercial van, but is the only electric multi-seater available here today.

HYUNDAI


PHOTO: ST FILE

The Ioniq Electric ($137,888) offers all the amenities of Hyundai's compact saloon, but is clean and quiet.

Since its update, it has a range of around 300km, which is adequate for Singapore. With 100kW and 295Nm, it is also sufficiently nippy, making it the most driveable Ioniq in the range.

The Kona Electric ($138,888, Standard Range) is a small battery-powered crossover that offers slightly less space than its Ioniq cousin but packs as much punch.

With 100kW and 395Nm on tap, it hits 100kmh in 9.9 seconds (same as the Ioniq Electric).

JAGUAR


PHOTO: ST FILE

The dramatic I-Pace (from $385,999) was ST Car of the Year 2019. The low-slung crossover-like car is still as alluring today, with its immense acceleration and superb handling.

The twin-motor all-wheel-drive hits 100kmh in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 200kmh. It has a real-world range of more than 300km.

KIA 


PHOTO: ST FILE

The Niro EV is slightly bigger than the Hyundai Kona, while sitting a tad lower. Its 2,700mm wheelbase is 100mm longer than the Kona's, translating to more legroom for rear occupants. The Niro also has a bigger boot and lots of premium amenities.

Its only downside is its relatively high price. Available only in Long Range variant, it costs $154,999.

LEXUS 

The UX300e may be Lexus' first electric car, but is an amazingly complete product. It offers an unmatched blend of power, driveability and efficiency - all in a premium package with unbeatable build quality. The only drawbacks are its relatively high price ($255,800) and incompatibility with fast chargers here.

MERCEDES-BENZ 


PHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ

The subcompact EQA is an entry-level model estimated to cost around $200,000 at current COE prices.

The introductory front-wheel EQA250 has 140kW, 376Nm and a 486km range. It should be in showrooms in the third quarter of the year.

The EQC compact crossover was unveiled here on Tuesday.

The all-wheel-drive EQC400 clocks a respectable century sprint of 5.1 seconds. Prices are expected to start from $304,888.

It will be followed by the flagship EQS limousine in the first quarter of next year.

MG 


PHOTO: ST FILE

The ZS EV offers the biggest bang for the buck among electric cars here. Its budget-friendly price ($128,888) does not come at great expense to quality, utility or driveability.

It is also pretty stylish, with lines seemingly inspired by Mazda.

By the way, the MG was last year's best-selling electric model.

In August, the MG 5 station wagon will land. The pricing is expected to be similar to that of the ZS EV.

MINI 


PHOTO: ST FILE

The instant torque that comes with electrification suits the Mini E ($170,888).

Although not especially bristling on paper, the easy accessibility to seamless shove makes the battery-powered Mini entertaining at the wheel.

The model has just been facelifted. Changes are largely cosmetic, but the Mini App is now able to send notifications to the owner's smartphone, informing him of the car's charging status.

NISSAN 


PHOTO: NISSAN

The second-generation Leaf ($143,800) has 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque, versus its predecessor's 80kW and 254Nm.

The figures translate to zippy performance, even in Eco mode. The car's real-world range of around 250km is double what the first-generation model offered. Like the Lexus UX300e, it is not compatible with fast chargers here.

Next year, the Ariya will arrive. The modern-looking compact comes in several variants - two-and four-wheel-drives in either 63kWh or 87kWh form.

Outputs range from 160kW/300Nm to 290kW/600Nm, allowing the cars to accomplish century sprints of between 5.1 and 7.5 seconds, and top speeds of 160kmh to 200kmh. Driving range is between 388km and 497km.

Singapore will get the 87kWh all-wheel-drive variant. It is expected to be priced around $250,000.

OPEL 


PHOTO: OPEL

The sexy e-Mokka crossover was supposed to arrive later this year, but a worldwide chip shortage has delayed production. It will now land in the first quarter of next year -just in time for the latest road tax revisions which will make mass-market electric cars less punitive to own. Besides its eye-catching exterior, the e-Mokka boasts a panoramic digital screen that is similar to what Mercedes puts in its new cars. It is expected to be priced just below $120,000.

PORSCHE 


PHOTO: ST FILE

The Taycan is the sportiest, cleverest and most fun electric car you can buy.

It is also extremely fast-charging, with the ability to recoup 100km of range in merely five minutes at an appropriate charging point.

Voted ST Car of the Year 2020, the electric Porsche is available here in the following guises - 300kW rear-wheel Taycan ($340,558), 350kW all-wheel Taycan 4 Cross Turismo ($384,758), 390kW all-wheel Taycan 4S ($462,058), 420kW Taycan 4S Cross Turismo ($487,158), 500kW all-wheel Taycan Turbo ($600,058), 500kW all-wheel Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo ($605,958) and 560kW all-wheel Taycan Turbo S ($744,058).

Cross Turismo is wagon in Porsche-speak. All prices exclude COE and options.

RENAULT


PHOTO: RENAULT

In the environmental race, small is almost always good. That is the proposition of the subcompact Zoe hatchback. It is sold out, but management units are available at $99,999.

With a real-world range of around 290km from a 41kWh battery, the cheerful ride is decently efficient but not extraordinarily frugal.

Its austere interior means the car is not as resource-intensive as more elaborately equipped rivals - another environmental brownie point.

TESLA

The Model 3 offers Porsche-matching performance at Toyota prices.

The Standard Range rear-wheel variant (around $113,000 excluding COE) hits 100kmh in 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 225kmh.

The all-wheel-drive Performance variant (around $155,000 before COE) hits 100kmh in 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 261kmh.

Tesla Singapore's sales portal opened in early February, but is expected to put its first cars on the road only next month.

VOLKSWAGEN


PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN

The ID4 sport utility vehicle is slated to arrive next year, followed by the ID3 hatchback.

The Tiguan-size ID4 has a declared range of 400km, while the Golf-size ID3 has a range of around 420km.

Both sport very clean and aerodynamic designs and are expected to be priced some 20 per cent more than their respective combustion engined siblings.

That means just below $200,000 for the ID4 and around $150,000 for the ID3 at current COE rates.

•Follow Christopher Tan on Instagram @chris.motoring

•Prices are correct as at June 8.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2021, with the headline 'Rock down to electric avenue'. Subscribe