While 2015 represented a slight step back for electric vehicle sales in America, the numbers were somewhat misleading. Several models were phased out during the year, which led to slumps for cars that no longer existed. It wasn’t until a record December that EV inventories got back to normal, and the market responded in kind.
For 2016, the fate of the industry is tied to top sellers like the Tesla Model S, Chevy Volt, and Nissan Leaf, all three of which received upgrades last year. But 2016 also marks the year when several breakthrough models will reach consumers for the first time. That includes the first electric model offering 200 miles of range at a price around $30,000 (post-incentive).
That highly anticipated EV will not be alone. Automakers from every part of the globe will deliver new plug-in hybrids and pure EVs to U.S. dealerships before the year ends. Here are 10 electric vehicles to watch for in 2016.
1. 2017 Ford Focus Electric
While the Ford Focus Electric was a pioneer of the EV segment, the electrified variant of the compact has not had a powertrain upgrade since its 2011 debut. That will change in late 2016 when the 2017 model arrives with over 100 miles of range and fast-charging capabilities. Even with other models arriving this year, the upgraded Focus Electric will become a segment leader with those specs.
2. Chevy Bolt EV
With all due respect to the other models on this list, the Chevy Bolt EV is the most anticipated electric car until the first one rolls off a GM assembly line. There is plenty to like about this breakthrough EV, but we might as well start with the 200-mile range and $37,500 MSRP before incentives. The Bolt will be no lightweight in the power department, either. According to Chevy, it will deliver 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, the most of any EV under $50,000.
3. Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-in Hybrid
While Mercedes polishes its World Car of the Year trophy for its new C-Class, the automaker is preparing for the debut of the C350 plug-in hybrid in the U.S. Expected to offer 15 to 20 miles of electric range and a whopping 443 pound-feet of torque, it looks like the environmentally conscious Benz driver will have the ideal solution on the market in the coming months. Mercedes says an early 2016 release is in the cards.
4. Hyundai Ioniq
South Korea has already seen the debut of the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid, and this electrified model will make its way to the U.S. later in 2016. On top of the standard gas-electric edition, Hyundai promises a plug-in hybrid and pure EV in the same Ioniq line. All three are supposed to arrive for American consumers before the year ends.
5. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Fiat-Chrysler has been largely absent on the plug-in vehicle front, but that will change when the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan arrives in showrooms in 2016. As we reported after the Pacifica’s Detroit Auto Show debut, the first minivan of its kind will get 30 miles of electric range and an impressive 80 miles per gallon equivalent in electric mode, according to preliminary estimates.
6. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was Europe’s best-selling plug-in vehicle for 2014 and 2015. In August 2016, the hybrid SUV will finally make its U.S. debut and enter a market where it will likely have a significant audience. European testing cycles yield very different electric ranges once they land here, so we will wait for an official automaker estimate or EPA rating before passing along the specs.
7. Ford Fusion Energi
In the packed stadium that was the setting for Ford’s Detroit Auto Show press conference, the automaker introduced the three models of the next-generation Fusion. Among those was a new Energi model that will continue the nameplate’s plug-in line. In 2015, Fusion Energi was No. 5 on the list of best-selling plug-in cars on the U.S. market with 9,750 units sold.
8. Cadillac CT6
The Cadillac ELR, the luxury brand’s version of the Chevy Volt, did not have a pleasant run as cars go. In 2016, Cadillac hopes to erase that memory with the plug-in hybrid CT6 expected to arrive late in the year. It will pack an imposing drivetrain with 335 horsepower and 432 pounds-feet of torque. GM will produce this car in Chinese factories and import models for U.S. consumers, the Wall Street Journal reports.
9. BMW 330e
This model has a phantom-like reputation on the BMW USA site, but a review of the global edition pegs the range of the 330e plug-in hybrid at 40 km (24 miles). As an electrified version of the popular 3 Series, this sedan will get a lot of eyeballs when it lands in dealerships. Pricing for the U.S. is set at $44,695 (per InsideEVs) with the release date set for spring 2016.
10. Volvo S90 T8
Volvo has begun an impressive rebound on the U.S. market powered by the XC90 SUV. That utility vehicle debuted the automaker’s twin-engine electrified drivetrain for the American market, and we will see a plug-in model of the S90 sedan as well this year. We are curious to see how such a pretty and powerful hybrid sedan does in a bustling luxury market.