The electric vehicle market definitely needs a shakeup in 2017. While models by Tesla and plug-in hybrids by BMW and Porsche have captured the interest of performance enthusiasts around the world, the entire lineup available in the U.S. holds a 1% share in its best months. For the average consumer, the segment barely registers on the radar.
Only more affordable, more versatile vehicles can move the needle in the plug-in space, and 2017 models should deliver that if their debuts come off as planned. By the end of the year, American car consumers should have a plug-in SUV, long-range cars at a reasonable price point, and at least one electric supercar to drool over.
Here are 10 EVs and plug-in hybrids that will shake up the market and get consumers buzzing in 2017.
1. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
The trade-off with minivans was always giving up on fuel economy to get space for packing in the kids and their hockey equipment. With the arrival of the new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, a green answer to family hauling arrives. This model gets 33 miles in electric mode at 84 MPGe before switching over to gas. Pacifica Hybrid is also a great deal with $7,500 tax credit buyers can claim off the $41,995 sticker price.
2. Hyundai Ioniq EV
While 200-mile EVs are all the rage, they remain a hypothetical concept for the most part. For that reason, the industry could use affordable models capable of 125 miles on a charge. Enter Hyundai Ioniq EV, one that might hit that mark around $30,000 before incentives. As the U.S. industry’s most economical vehicle (136 MPGe), consumers who don’t want to drop $37,500 on a Chevy Bolt could opt for Ioniq. For those who don’t think this model has a chance, recall how Nissan sold 100,000 Leafs (83 miles) for about $30,000.
3. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Some four years after Mitsubishi originally planned to bring the Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV to America, we can only hope the fifth time’s the charm. On the Japanese and European market, the electrified utility vehicle was a top seller for many years, and there is no reason to expect less in the U.S. We just hope Mitsubishi makes it happen this year. At last word, “summer 2017” was the expected due date. Those interested can get on Mitsubishi’s list.
4. Chevrolet Bolt EV
Without question, GM is shaking up the market with the release of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It’s spacious, quick off the line, and can run 238 miles on a full charge. There is nothing like it in the U.S. at the $37,500 price point (before incentives), and we’ll all get to see how such a model sells for a year before Tesla comes out with Model 3.
5. NIO EP9
While GM thought practical with Bolt, other EV makers are thinking bold and sexy with new plug-in models. NextEV, the automaker behind NIO EP9, claims its show car will be the world’s fastest electric vehicle when it makes the scene in 2017. Hitting 127 miles per hour in 7.1 seconds ought to get people’s attention. Remember when EVs were slow, boring, and ugly?
6. Toyota Prius Prime
The first Prius Primes hit the market in a few U.S. cities in the final weeks of 2016, and the response was about what most people expected — overwhelming. This model blows the doors off every concept of economy with 25 EV miles at 133 MPGe before getting the regular, ridiculous Prius economy (54 MPG) in hybrid mode. In its first month, it set a plug-in sales record, and that should continue throughout 2017.
7. Tesla Model 3
It’s impossible to talk about shaking up the EV scene without mentioning Tesla and its upcoming Model 3. With the final reveal expected in spring and production set to begin late in the year, expect feverish updates throughout 2017. Why the hell not? From what we can tell, Model 3 deserves the hype. According to preliminary specs, it can do everything Bolt does while doing it faster, prettier, and cheaper.
8. Cadillac CT6 Plug-in
Remember the Cadillac ELR? It was the GM luxury brand’s response to the first wave of plug-in vehicles. Because it was overpriced and underwhelming on the road, it never made any impact in America. Cadillac is back at it with the CT6 plug-in hybrid for 2017. With 432 pound-feet of torque and the juice to hit 60 miles per hour in 5 seconds, it definitely holds its own on the highway. Drivers looking to green up will appreciate the 30 electric miles, and the four-door sedan approach won’t hurt, either. It’s a big upgrade.
9. Mini Countryman Cooper S E ALL4
U.S. Mini sales dipped a bit in 2016, but the automaker has a new strategy for 2017: Get bigger, and electrify. A stretched-out Countryman with a plug-in hybrid variant will hit the market by June. It should have about 20 miles of electric and enough zip to make test drives encouraging. If that doesn’t jump-start Mini, we don’t know what will.
10. Ford Focus Electric
Since the Ford Focus Electric made its debut in 2012, not much has changed in the EV, other than the price (it got lower). For the 2017 model year, Ford is finally bringing out an upgraded model featuring 115 miles at a lower sticker price ($29,120) and the ability to fast-charge. Obviously, it’s a far cry from Bolt EV with less than half the range, but it’s also $8,400 cheaper. If the price drops a few grand more, it would be a great deal.