Electric vehicles continue to flood the market as consumers demand viable alternatives to rising fuel prices. As a result, the Toyota Prius is no longer the only player in town. Now, even luxury automakers such as Jaguar and Audi are selling top-of-the-line plug-in products that won’t leave owners yearning for internal combustion. Here are three of our favourite green crossovers right now.
—By Benjamin Yong
Silicon Valley-based Tesla doesn’t consider itself a car manufacturer, but rather an energy and tech company. Yet, it was the original disrupter of the industry, creating highly sought after EVs that look and behave unlike anything else on the road. The Model X SUV is guaranteed to wow passersby with its double-hinged and space-saving Falcon Wing rear doors designed to open up and out, and huge dashboard touchscreen replacing traditional physical controls.
The highest P100D trim level can travel up to 525 kilometres on a single charge and go from 0 to 100 km/h in a staggering 3.1 seconds. Dual electric motors, front and rear, provide all-wheel drive, and Autopilot technology delivers semi-autonomous driving capability. When on the move, charge at any of Tesla’s more than 10,000 Supercharger stations located along major routes in North America.
Meet Jaguar’s first zero-emission vehicle: the I-PACE. Built for those who truly enjoy being behind the wheel, this EV makes no compromises just because it runs on alternative energy. Resembling other offerings found in the lineup, the crossover features an intensive use of weight-saving aluminium structural components improving both performance and efficiency. There’s also a 90-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery mounted in-between the axles resulting in 50:50 weight distribution, meaning handling is nimble through corners.
Two high output electric motors generate a robust 395 horsepower and 513 lb-ft of torque that, pardon the cliché, truly pulls like a freight train. Needless to say, being overenthusiastic with the right foot can eat up the total 470-kilometre range in a hurry, but regenerative braking technology tops up the power cells whenever the I-PACE slows down whether via applying the brake pedal or lifting off the accelerator.
The newest kid on the block, the e-tron is Audi’s initial foray into the electric SUV segment. To the average observer, the vehicle appears to be yet another regular entry in the four-ringed portfolio instead of passing as a car of the future as many EVs tend to. For many simply looking for a fine automobile that happens to run on something besides gas, this might be the ticket. Similar in size to the Q8, the five-seater offers more storage than competitors, boasting 1,614 litres of cargo space with the second row folded down. All the creature comforts expected from the brand are present including standard heated and cooled seats, a massage function, Quattro AWD and more.
A high capacity battery yields an advertised range of 328 kilometres, while a pair of parallel electric motors pump out a net 355 horsepower. A neat feature is a special Boost mode, activated under full acceleration if the transmission is shifted to the Sport position. Power reserves are temporarily utilized for maximum propulsion.