Electric cars are evolving fast - the SMMT reports there are 15-times more models on the market now than there were 10 years ago. So what's in the pipeline from some of the UK's biggest car brands, and what can we expect from the top electric car models in 2022-23?

 

Bentley

In May 2022, Bentley confirmed the Flying Spur Hybrid is its most efficient vehicle ever, with a combined range of 500 miles. The hybrid has a 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine boosted by a usable battery capacity of 18 kWh, and can drive up to  26 miles in pure electric mode.

The announcement followed Bentley's call for engineers in April 2022, when the brand revealed it had 100 vacancies to fill as part of an ambition to release a new electric model each year for five years from 2025.

 

BMW

The new BMW 7 Series, unveiled in April 2022, is due to launch at the end of 2022 with the all-electric i7 xDrive60, before the hybrid 750e xDrive and M760e xDrive follow in spring 2023. The new line-up includes increased use of sustainable and recycled materials, with 100% of the electricity used in its manufacture coming from renewable generation.

 

Fisker

Fisker announced Project Ronin in May 2022, the third vehicle under development by the carmaker after the Fisker Ocean and Fisker PEAR. CEO Henrik Fisker said: 

"The aim is to achieve the world's longest range for a production EV, combined with extremely high levels of performance." 

Named after the 1998 Robert De Niro movie, Ronin is under wraps until August 2023 but is expected to have an all-vegan interior.

 

Hyundai

In April 2022, Hyundai announced the specs for the 2023 IONIQ 5, including a new 77.4 kWh battery and enhancements to range and power. The 2023 model will offer up to 315 miles and 325 PS (metric horsepower). 

The IONIQ 5 Namsan Edition is built for visibility, with unobstructed camera views in place of conventional rear-view and wing mirrors, and a full-length sun shaded vision roof.

 

Kia

The all-new Kia Niro hits the road in Q3 2022. The Niro was first shown to the world as a 2013 concept car before its launch in 2016, and is the second car on this list with links to Robert De Niro. The Hollywood star appeared in commercials for his namesake in 2019, although the Kia reportedly gets its moniker from a shortened form of "near zero" in reference to its ultra-low emissions.

Over half of new Niro’s sold in the UK are fully electric, with over 70,000 sold since 2016. The e-Niro was the second-biggest selling EV in the UK in 2021. Will its successor take the top spot in 2023?

 

Lotus

In March 2022, at a glitzy livestreamed London launch event, Lotus introduced the Lotus Eletre, dubbed the first all-electric hyper-SUV in the world. It's many 'firsts' for Lotus, including the marque's first model in a non-sports segment, its first five-door production car and its first 'lifestyle EV'. 

Lotus’ managing director Matt Windle said: 

"The Eletre is a hugely significant moment in our ongoing transformation of Lotus. We are delivering on our commitment to move the business and brand into completely new segments."

 

Mazda

Due to hit UK roads in autumn 2022, the Mazda CX-60 line-up includes Mazda's first plug-in hybrid technology powertrain. This gives the flagship Mazda CX-60 SUV a 2.5-litre petrol engine with a 17.8 kWh battery and a 100 kW electric motor. The Mazda CX-60 PHEV has a range of up to 39 miles in pure-electric mode, emissions as low as 33 g/km and a maximum speed of 124 mph.

 

Mercedes-Benz

Following hot on the heels of the Mercedes-Benz EQS luxury saloon and EQE executive saloon, the EQS SUV is an all-electric seven-seater with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The top-of-the-range EQS 450+ is rear-wheel only, but offers the biggest range on a single charge, reaching up to 536-660 km with zero emissions.

 

Nissan

Nissan have been pioneers of the electric car segment since its early days and, at the start of 2022, the brand announced a completely new electric compact car coming to the European market. 

The EV doesn't yet have an official model name, but it is slated to take the place of the Nissan Micra as the marque's entry-level model. Those are some big tyre tracks to fill.

A month later in February, Nissan followed up by announcing a new hybrid powertrain for the Nissan JUKE. Guillaume Cartier, chair of Nissan for the AMIEO region (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania) said: 

"The JUKE Hybrid, which will join the line-up later this year, will represent another milestone on our strategic ambition to have a fully electrified range by 2023."

Offering fuel consumption improvements of up to 40%, the JUKE Hybrid gets 80% of its power from EV power during urban driving, with electric-only start-up at all times.

 

Renault

Also in January, Renault announced the all-new Renault Austral hybrid SUV has entered the final real-world road-testing phase ahead of launch. These 'confirmation runs' will take months to complete, with a fleet of 100 Australs to drive 2-million kilometres on public roads and on the track. The Austral has a petrol hybrid powertrain with expected emissions of 105 g/km.

In May, Renault also opened the priority list for the upcoming all-new Renault Megane E-Tech 100% Electric. Over 7,000 customers have already signed up for information about the model, which comes in three different specs with a maximum range of up to 280 miles and top-up charges adding up to 186 miles of range in just 30 minutes.

 

Watch this space

It’s worth remembering that the manufacturers’ stated mileages may not always be achievable on a day-to-day basis, as the range achieved depends on “real world” driving conditions; however, there is no doubt that electric mileage ranges are continuing to extend and therefore appeal to more and more drivers because of this. 

With new models, upgraded specs, and software updates announced on a regular basis, the best electric cars of 2023 might not yet be in the public domain. But it's interesting to see carmakers considering other aspects of sustainability, including renewable power used during production and recycled or vegan materials used in interiors.

Although issues like fuel efficiency and maximum range will always grab the headlines, it's clear that EVs are becoming more of a lifestyle choice from entry-level to luxury. That holds plenty of promise for the coming years, as high-spec comfortable interiors with all the usual power-guzzling mod cons become the norm.