By our estimation, it will take another two years minimum to get the ball rolling on mainstream electric vehicle adoption. Problems like range anxiety and charging infrastructure may have reasonable solutions by then. In the meantime, EVs will be largely used as city cars or by people who have a second vehicle in the garage to used for long-range trips, unless you have a hundred grand burning a hole in your pocket and you get a Tesla.
As EV sales proved once again in 2014, plug-in hybrids remain the most viable form of electrified transport, and automakers are bringing intriguing options to the table along with pure EVs in the coming year. Though we are used to hearing release dates that aren’t kept by automakers (we’re looking at you, Elon), we have rounded up EVs that we are assured will make it into dealerships before 2016. Here are five electric vehicles that will actually hit the U.S. market in 2015.
1. Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
Audi has a smash hit on its hands with the A3, the 2014 World Car of the Year, so we’re glad to hear there is a plug-in hybrid EV version confirmed for U.S. dealerships in 2015. An Autoblog test revealed the Sportback e-tron gets over 30 miles on electric power alone (585 miles total range) and can hit a top speed of 138 miles per hour. This A3 is guaranteed to be pricey, but at least we can guarantee it’s real and will be in the U.S. by mid-year. Audi even has a page on its website to tease consumers.
2. Toyota Mirai
According to the latest reports, Japan is giving its fuel cell vehicle industry a huge boost by providing hydrogen stations and vehicle subsidies. The U.S. won’t be so lucky, but California will get the Toyota Mirai hydrogen EV in 2015, and it will cost $57,500 before rebates or $499 per month on a lease (fuel included). The Hyundai Tucson fuel cell will also make its way to California in 2015 but will only be available for leasing. In the Mirai, range anxiety disappears: 300 miles is the standard.
3. Volvo XC90 T8
One of the most intriguing EV debuts will come from Volvo in the 2015 XC90 T8. That might sound like a lot of useless numbers and initials, so we’ll give you a few that matter: 400 horsepower, 472 pounds-feet of torque. That’s what Volvo says this handsome plug-in hybrid will crank, and electric range will peak around 25 miles. Preliminary fuel economy stands at 59 miles per gallon equivalent. Hybrid models are expected to follow the spring debut of the standard XC90 by fall 2015. Expect demand to be high.
4. Mercedes S550 Plug-in
Mercedes may have an all-electric car on the market, but we’re happy to see a plug-in version of its flagship S-Class sedan on course for U.S. shores. That’s the Benz we know and love, and Mercedes says it will get 20 miles of electric power while delivering 436 horsepower and 479 pounds-feet of torque. (It sounds like the ultimate luxury land-cruising machine.) About 75% of the driving will be emissions-free at the tailpipe, so we say bravo for the development of this car. Any doubters about emissions reductions should refer to the study done by an independent testing agency.
5. Tesla Model X
Yes, we take Elon Musk’s word that the Tesla Model X will be delivered to those holding reservations beginning in 2015. After the latest revised date, it seems like the magic moment will arrive by September, end of the year’s third quarter. With other automakers jockeying for position with plug-in hybrids coming in the next 18 months, Tesla may want to stick to that timeline. Then again, none are all-electric cars, so that leaves Tesla as the pioneer once the Model X hits the market. Trust us, we’ll keep you posted.