The next generation of electric cars will be the exact opposite of boring

The electric car snowball has been growing rapidly in recent years and, at this point, it’s only a matter of time before the trend will make the transition to norm. While nowadays most carmakers offer some sort of electrification in their lineups, 2020 is expected to bring a sustained push in this direction, with more and more manufacturers joining (or strengthening) the electric bandwagon.

What are we looking at exactly? For starters, a lot of “first-ever” electric cars coming from reputed brands that have a solid history in a given field – take Porsche and sports cars, for example.

Then, we should be in for the rise of unusual suspects, such as China’s BYD, joined by promising startups like Rivian and even boutique carmakers – that’s right, we’re looking at Croatia’s Rimac Automobili but also Pagani, which has recently signaled the intention to build an all-electric hypercar.

So, without further ado, here’s what we think should be on every car enthusiast’s watchlist when it comes to electric cars with coolness as their middle name.

Honda e Prototype

2020 Honda Urban EV
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Honda’s e Prototype is an evolution of the 2017 Urban EV Concept but not a production model yet, as the name clearly points out. However, the series-produced car (you’ll only get it in Europe, by the way) will likely be a slightly toned-down iteration, yet there’s still a chance it might retain the better part of the concept’s neat features.

We’re talking extinct side mirrors replaced by cameras, pop-out door handles, four dashboard screens and a fair share of physical buttons (thumbs up for that, Honda), the tinted glass roof (not ideal when looking to save weight, especially in an electric car, but at least it looks fancy) and a wood-clad cockpit à la BMW i3.

Why does it matter?

Honda e Prototype is 95 percent production-ready
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Besides the cool factor, Honda’s e Prototype looks like a prime candidate for urban areas – which are already suffocated by traffic congestion and pollution.

Now, Honda claims a range of over 200 km (124 miles) and a fast-charge feature that juices up the battery to 80 percent in just 30 minutes, which in theory is more than enough to cover the usual trip to the supermarket/mall/office or any errand-running you might have to do.

Plus, in the presence of a good-coverage metropolitan charging network, we can see the e Prototype’s road-ready variant as an interesting choice for commuters.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Honda Urban EV.

Porsche Taycan

2020 Porsche Taycan Exterior Spyshots
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Porsche’s Taycan (formerly known as Mission E) arrival is perhaps the brand’s most expected launch – if we ignore the 911, naturally. At the time of writing, test mules have already completed the better part of the testing phase that literally put the pre-production prototypes through hot and cold.

The Taycan is trumpeted to pack a powertrain that allows it to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.5 seconds and attain a maximum range of 500 km (miles) NEDC. Most impressive feature, though? The ability to charge the battery with 100 km (62 miles) worth of range in just four minutes or 400 km (250 miles) in 15 minutes thanks to an 800-volt fast-charging system. Just to see the big picture here, Tesla’s Supercharger stations employ 480-volt outlets.

Why does it matter?

2020 Porsche Taycan Exterior Spyshots
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Well, it can powerslide, judging by what Porsche’s letting us see in terms of pictures taken during post-R&D testing. And let’s face it – performance car lovers will definitely keep the fire burning in their bellies even in the electric era, so the Taycan has high chances of fueling that, mostly because it’s built up by a company that’s been making thrill-inducing cars from day one.

What’s more, the Taycan will lead the way for other electric Porsches but also pave the way for fellow carmakers.

You might have heard that Porsche is working together with BMW, Ford, and Daimler on a 400-charger network in Europe (fitted with 350kW chargers) and plans to install 2000 AC charging points nearby various points of interest such as hotels and restaurants located in up to 20 markets. And guess what – these won’t be solely dedicated to Porsche models.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Porsche Taycan.

Aston Martin Lagonda SUV

2020 Aston Martin Lagonda SUV Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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It’s still early days for the Lagonda SUV, which will come out of the All-Terrain Concept shown here. Although it won’t be Aston Martin’s first SUV – the DBX takes that biscuit, whatever comes out of this prototype will set the foundation for a new sub-niche – the luxury electric car. How luxurious, you might wonder?
Well, speaking to Autoblog at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer at Aston Martin revealed that the production version of the SUV will use cabin materials such as alpaca, Swarovski crystals and silk. The steering wheel will incorporate a digital display but here’s the true icing on the cake: according to Aston Martin, the car’s key will levitate between the two front seats thanks to a set of electromagnets. Mind officially blown.

Why does it matter?

2020 Aston Martin Lagonda SUV Exterior AutoShow
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The incoming roadgoing version of the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept matters because, well, the 1% will still want to go from A to B in style and we can think of a bunch of potential buyers from the Middle East jumping for joy at the sight of this.

So, that’s number one.

Number two: it will likely trigger responses - or “offensives” if you prefer carmaker press blurb jargon - from Aston Martin’s counterparts, i.e., the likes of Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and perhaps Mercedes-Maybach. Which, in turn, will stimulate the search and development of new materials and technologies which, at some point in the future, could become available for the masses, through more affordable cars.

Read our full review on the 2020 Aston Martin Lagonda SUV

Audi e-tron GT

Audi Teases an E-Tron GT That Could Battle the AMG GT 4-Door and 8-Series Gran Coupe on Electricity Alone Exterior
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When we first saw the e-tron GT, the first thought that came up was: right, we can imagine Iron Man driving this thing. Some moderately good news, though: your name doesn’t have to be Iron Man to drive it – just make sure you own a fat bank account when the road-going model launches.

Until then, the concept’s 434 kW (582 horsepower) routed to the electric Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive setup under the supervision of Audi Sport’s magic wand will have most Audi fans drooling.

Vector in the matrix LED headlights, sharp-as-ever looks and a tad more practicality than you’d expect, now that there’s no internal combustion engine to kill space (450 liters in the trunk and 100 liters offered by the frunk)

Why does it matter?

2018 Audi e-Tron GT Concept Exterior
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The third child of the Audi e-tron family is important in a context where Audi might decide not to retain the services of the R8 in the future. Which, by the way, is one of the most sought-after supercars out there if we look at Google search queries as reported by Veygo. The e-tron GT must also make up for the major flop known as the Audi R8 e-tron, which lasted just one year on the market and disappointingly racked up sales of less than 100 units.

Thanks to input from sister company Porsche – yes, Audi will get access to Porsche know-how in developing the e-tron GT’s production version – this will be yet another proof that you can still enjoy performance and exciting looks without gulping down gallons of gasoline or have your designers draw cars that look more like household appliances. Plus, we could see technology normally used in Le Mans and Formula E racers reach the streets.

Read our full review on the 2020 Audi e-tron GT.

VW ID BUZZ

2020 Volkswagen Van Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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VW started a flurry of hip looks and downright coolness with the T1 Microbus (aka Bulli) – and it is bound to get a modern twist thanks to the carmaker’s development of the ID BUZZ.

Here’s what we know – the ID BUZZ will be fully electric (two motors will take care of that, while also providing all-wheel-drive abilities) and packed with all sorts of smart tech – think fancy HUD tech that uses augmented reality, a steering wheel that’s migrating towards the idea of a tactile interactive touchpad, and screens instead of mirrors - all wrapped up in a massively attractive outer shell.

Why does it matter?

2017 Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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First and foremost, we can’t think of a classier way of hauling your surfboard.

On a more serious note, just like the Honda e Prototype, you’re supposed to best employ the ID BUZZ in urban settings, but it focuses on the people carrying task to a greater extent, offering space for more than two or four passengers – again, this is something you want in crowded cities: less cars that are able to move more people.

In addition, it also explores the utilitarian side of such an electric vehicle – VW says a cargo-oriented version is coming with Level 3 autonomous tech, which could easily be integrated in a fleet serving delivery companies or small business owners that need to move stuff on a daily basis. Yet again, it is highly important that the ID BUZZ is served by a charging network with adequate coverage to efficiently show its skills.

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Volkswagen Van.

Tesla Roadster

2020 Tesla Roadster
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620 miles of range per charge

Well, where do we start? The hype generated before and after Tesla officially announced its second Roadster is a standalone argument in favor of its coolness. But if that’s not enough, maybe the insane specs can change your mind: 0-60 mph (96 km/h) in 1.9 seconds, 0-100 mph (161 km/h) in 4.2 seconds, 8.8 seconds needed to clear the quarter mile and 10,000 Nm of wheel torque topped by a claimed maximum range of 620 miles (998 km). Does this sound a bit out of this world? Of course, it does.

Why does it matter?

2020 Tesla Roadster
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Active aerodynamic elements
If Tesla can deliver it in the said configuration with the claimed specs, then the new Roadster will redefine the performance-oriented electric car.

It will also set the pace for future, similar contraptions, but most of all, it will shut up those who can’t look further than V-8, V-12, and diesel engines – not that the first two categories are less enticing – and simply cold-shoulder the potential of electricity in cars just because they can.

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Roadster.

Rimac C_Two

2019 Rimac C Two
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Specs out of the way, perhaps the greatest ace up the sleeve for Rimac’s C_Two will be the exclusivity. With just 150 units planned, this car will be a rare sight around the world.

Moreover, Rimac is confident that it will rewrite the hypercar rules not by adding electricity into the mix, but by baking two different personalities into the C_Two: that of a track car and a grand tourer – which is something McLaren hasn’t quite succeeded in doing with the Senna, since driving it on public roads swiftly turns into a grueling task on longer trips.

And yeah, we all know the C_Two is a technological tour de force, but it is details like the exquisite aero wheel design, the doors that take with them a part of the car’s roof when opened and the car’s computing power of 22 MacBook Pro laptops that burn a hole into our brains.

Why does it matter?

2019 Rimac C Two Exterior
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Well, certainly not because Richard Hammond crashed a perfectly functioning Rimac Concept One – which, by the way, turned out a profitable accident that allowed Rimac to sell three cars the exact same day.

As we see it, the Rimac C_Two will encourage more boutique carmakers to step up and develop all-electric supercars.

It will also provide a hard nut to crack for all the other brands doing that already – competition is necessary for progress, remember? – as well as options for buyers. Look at it this way: would you rather look for cars in a single-brand market or would you like to have a poll to choose from?

Read our full review on the 2019 Rimac C_Two

MINI SE

2017 MINI Electric Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Since we mentioned competition earlier, the MINI SE would go after the Honda e Prototype if we look strictly at the funky-fresh bunch of small electric cars. Moreover, it will offer a similar electric range (120 miles, which is roughly 193 km, while the Honda e Prototype promises 124 miles of range or 200 km).

Sure, we don’t expect it to retain the same amount of visual flair or the cheeky color scheme as seen on the MINI Electric Concept from 2017, but we do hope it will keep alive the nippy on-the-road behavior MINI got us accustomed to over the years.

Why does it matter?

2017 MINI Electric Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Again, it’s a matter of having alternatives.

With longer trips out of the question for this kind of electric car, you might want a vehicle that zaps from lane to lane and makes your heart beat faster even if it means you’ll have to dodge other cars or navigate through tight streets and narrow parking lots to unlock its full potential.

The inception of the MINI SE will also set the first brick for BMW’s plans of turning MINI into an electrification-friendly brand, according to Automotive News – in other words, every model MINI churns out will be available with some sort of electrification, be it hybrid or fully electric.

Read our full review on the 2017 MINI Electric Concept.

Rivian R1T pickup truck

The 2020 Rivian R1T Electric Truck Middle Fingers Tesla with a 3-Second Sprint to 60 mph and 400 Mile Range Exterior
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Rivian has been around since 2009, but its notoriety in the car world is as shorter as the name of its all-electric pickup truck. So, why do we think the R1T is cool?
Well, we might fall into the trap of subjectivity, yet it simply looks right and announces something the automotive realm hasn’t seen so far – an all-electric pickup truck that can also deliver stunning performance. Not to mention that in designing its interior, Rivian turned its attention to the furniture and hiking gear industries.

Just to put things into perspective here, the most potent Rivian R1T makes 14,000 Nm (10,325 pound-feet) of torque and blasts the 0-60 mph (96 km/h) interval in 3 seconds. It can also carry a maximum load of 800 kg (1,763 pounds) and pull 5,000 kg (11,023 pounds).

Why does it matter?

The 2020 Rivian R1T Electric Truck Middle Fingers Tesla with a 3-Second Sprint to 60 mph and 400 Mile Range Exterior
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For a change, it challenges the upcoming Tesla Pickup.

Secondly, provided Rivian does deliver on this, it will show that a startup can develop its own electric cars from the ground up.

Hopefully, others will follow. Thirdly, if sedans (even of the electric ilk) can’t fight the menace of SUVs, then at least we’ll be able to choose between a hunchback SUV-coupé and a much cooler and practical pickup truck body type. Lord knows we’ll take the pickup anytime.

On the practicality side, an electric pickup possesses all the traits of an apt workhorse. Sans the traditional engine, gearbox, and differential(s) there’s more room for storing or carrying stuff. You also gain a frunk (R1T’s offers 330 liters of space) and other potential storing spaces. Plus, you get to keep the bed. Can you see the win-win situation here?

Read our full review on the 2020 Rivian R1T pickup truck

BMW Vision iNext

The BMW iNext Points To the Future Of The Automaker's Electric SUVs Exterior
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Try to ignore the SUV body, and you’ll learn to appreciate its other quirks – such as the suicide doors and the high-life interior that mixes pretentious color hues such as Purus Rosé and Enlighted Cloudburst with materials like Jacquard seat upholstery. Sure, we must cast a shadow of doubt as to how many of these spoils will reach production, but one can dream, right?

As if that wasn’t enough, BMW is showing us what it can do in terms of body paint with a sort of chameleonic, mesmerizing hue called Liquid Greyrose Copper, which can change color “from warm copper to dark rose.”

Why does it matter?

The BMW iNext Points To the Future Of The Automaker's Electric SUVs Exterior
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The Vision iNext bears significance not just for BMW and its electric future. Its ambitious aim is to place you at the center of, well, everything - a world that’s made of connectivity, technology, autonomous driving combined with the same spirited driving shown by the brand’s models, lavish interior and, an all-electric powertrain.

In a nutshell, if we were to bring together all the traits of every entry in this list, then we would get the Vision iNext’s goals. The concept previews a car that will try to bring you the best of all worlds – we just hope the beaver face won’t stick around for the production version. Will BMW be able to set a high bar with it and turn it into a future benchmark? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW Vision iNext

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