2022 may go down as the year the floodgates opened for electrified vehicles, with a huge number of them coming to showrooms to get almost every manufacturer into a seriously electric posture. Now car buyers can enjoy some real choice and express with their wallets what they want in tomorrow's cars. Here are the most exciting new vehicles with a plug that are coming in the year ahead.
The hottest thing in electric cars is electric trucks.
It goes without saying that the Ford F-150 Lightning has heat around it, with great performance specs, a reasonable 230-300 miles of range and a killer opening price as low as 40 grand before tax breaks. That's added up to massive pre-order business that is mostly from people who aren't previous F-150 owners, absolute music to any carmaker's ears. Unfortunately, dealer gouging on the price is making a mockery of the F-150s' low manufacturer-suggested retail price.
By the time you wait for that hype and gouging to settle you might be able to consider the electric Chevy Silverado that arrives mid to late 2023 but that was announced at CES in early 2022. With 400 miles of range from GM's new Ultium electric platform -- completely different from the Chevy Bolt's batteries that are giving GM an expensive black eye -- but it seems the first electric Silverados will be top trim and cost six figures.
Still looking wobbly is Lordstown due to the resignation of its CEO and CFO in 2021 after allegations of seriously ovestating the company's orders and then running tight on cash. It's delayed its pickup into late 2022 citing supply chain issues. We'll see.
Tesla's Cybertruck was coming in 2022 but has been delayed to early 2023, a date that you should take with a grain of salt and an eye to the trucks above. I'm not holding my breath; Every day without this ugly beast on the road is a gift.
SUVs and Crossovers
As you might imagine, almost all of the new plug-in cars that are on the way are crossovers or utilities. Get a cup of coffee, this is going to take a minute.
The name of Toyota BZ4X troubles me: Is anyone supposed to remember it? Are we expected to pronounce it "buzzforks" for presumed catchiness? And I hope it can be had in a single color and not just with those contrasting fenders. Those details aside, this is a car to be reckoned with in mid 2022 as the first mainstream battery electric from the company that has done more than any other to electrify vehicles with the Prius. The BZ4X should have about 250 miles of battery range in its FWD version, but an AWD model will also be available.
Subaru will have its nearly identical version of the BZ4X in the form of the 2023 Subaru Solterra. This is another chapter in the model sharing arrangement that also gave us the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ twins. The teased Lexus compact crossover should also ride on BZ4X guts, but in a way that most people won't know about.
The Nissan Ariya is about the size of the current Rogue but prettier than anything you probably associate with Nissan - and more expensive too: Infiniti-priced at 47 grand and up, the Ariya should have 300 miles of range, dropping to 265 miles on the dual-motor AWD version that boasts a stout 389 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Look for the Ariya to also feature more advanced partial autonomy than Nissan has offered before.
The 300-mile BMW iX 50 is essentially an electric X5 but an all-new vehicle that's pure electric and is one of the most anticipated launches of the year. The styling is sort of love it or hate it -- especially the grille -- but BMW survived its infamous Bangle Butt era, so it can weather this too. And who would hate the iDrive 8 interface on a widescreen dash connected via 5G?
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is one of the hottest cars of 2022, with a radically new look in a compact crossover that doesn't say "utility" at all. With up to 300 miles of range and pricing starting at $40-55k before tax breaks, we think it's the most compelling alternative to a Tesla Model Y so far. Related to the Ioniq 5 is the Kia EV6 is also a real sharp looker that will be a sibling of the Hyundai but not in as tight a way as the Toyota-Subaru pair.
If you love the premium look of the big Kia Telluride but it's too much truck for you, the new 2023 Kia Sportage is going to be of interest. It has new styling that takes the brand upscale, an interior that seems to punch well above its class, and should have a plug-in hybrid version by late 2022.
You won't even know when you've pulled up alongside a PHEV Mitsubishi Outlander, so similar it looks to the conventional version. But its electric range is a stout 54 miles in European testing. Even if that comes down to 40 to 45 miles in the US, rating it will still be enough for a lot of Outlander owners to drive electric all day much of the time.
The well-regarded 250-mile electric VW ID 4 isn't new this year but its production is moving from Germany to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2022 and that may bring about some sourcing and efficiency tweaks that can bring its base price down from the current $40k to the mid 30s, a major psychological advantage in a noisy market.
The hunched-over Volvo C40 Recharge is a slew of firsts for its maker: It's the first mainstream Volvo that only comes in electric, the first available only with a vegan interior, and the first that's only available online. It gets about 225 miles of range. Don't confuse it with the XC40 which has more conventional styling and is only optionally electric.
The Cadillac Lyriq will have you asking if it's really a Cadillac, the production version hews so closely to the concept show car. I love the cabin layout and how elegantly Cadillac adopted the full-width screen concept that's becoming de rigueur in nice cars. A Lyriq will start at $60k though the much pricier launch edition has sold out already. It will feature 300 miles of range and the latest version of GM's excellent SuperCruise semi-autonomy.
At Mercedes the letters "EQ" apparently stand for "electric qar" so EQB denotes an all-electric compact crossover, bigger than the subcompact EQA that isn't yet confirmed for the US. It has great styling and proportions if you like a taller, more square-shouldered utility. The full width dash screen is actually old hat at Mercedes at this point, though I never learned to like the goofy pinwheel dash vents. Both versions of the EQB will feature dual-motor AWD, but in two performance levels.
Audi's Q4 E-Tron should combine entry-level luxury, the option of a coupe roofline, available augmented reality in the head-up display and a $45k base price. But the huge number of "options" you'll likely consider important make that opening price just a tease.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe will be the plug-in hybrid version of the fifth-gen Grand Cherokee, able to do 25 miles on battery alone under the right conditions, including off-road crawling with that precise electric torque. We love the styling and how this new Grand Cherokee can be had in high trim you normally associate with a Wagoneer.
Speaking of high trim, the current Range Rover PHEV starts at $100k and delivers 19 miles of electric range before the gas engine has to kick in -- not impressive. The new PHEV version arriving in 2022 more than triples that to 62 miles of all-electric range.
The Polestar 3 is yet another crossover with a coupe roofline, and while the company says it will "define the look for SUVs in the electric age" I think it mostly confirms that they all look similar. Aiming for a high-ish 370 miles per charge, expect modern luxury inside and some of the most advanced semi-autonomy tech for a $70 grand base price.
The Genesis GV60 strikes us as beautiful in a quirky way, and we don't expect everyone to like it. Thin, horizontally split headlights and taillights are the brand's new look thing, though they remind me too much of some Buick from the '90s. The cabin has a less imaginative implementation of the current widescreen dash habit, but don't miss the glowing, rotating shift ball.
The oft-delayed Alfa Romeo Tonale is a compact crossover, like a RAV4 with an Italian accent, that can't arrive soon enough to help Alfa broaden its scrawny line and sort out who it's aimed at. The Tonale is expected to offer a PHEV variant, not a full battery electric, and a version of it could cross the hallway to become a Dodge model as well.
If you want to have the only one at the valet stand, look for a Fisker Ocean, the latest revival of the Fisker name, aimed at sustainability with a vegan interior, plastic that's recycled to make the cabin instead of littering the ocean and a solar panel on the roof. It also boasts the only rotating infotainment screen we've seen. You'll get an expected 250 to 350 miles of range.
The next Honda HR-V doesn't arrive here until in 2023 as part of a move to make the model more stylish, but I would like to see it arrive with at least a PHEV powertrain option. I put the HR-V in this 2022 list because a full-battery version has been debuted in China for this year.
Rivian's R1S SUV technically arrived at the end of 2021 but in the form of just two copies so we'll call it a 2022 debut. When you do get one, it will have 316 miles of stated range and set you back at least $72 grand. Thanks to expected low volume for a while, everywhere a Rivian shows up is an event.
This is a smaller category than the vast range of utilities we just covered, but with a few compelling entrants that might be part of an inevitable swing back toward sedans one day.
Everyone watches what BMW does in this space because the brand was built on great performing sedans. The BMW i4 will shoulder that legacy as an all-electric version of the next-gen 4 Series. It also gets iDrive 8 interface across a radically wide screen like the iX crossover and around 300 miles on a charge.
The Mercedes EQE will be just a tad bigger than the current conventional E Class but is also a clean sheet car to go with its pure EV underpinnings. A slippery teardrop of a thing with a long arching four-door roofline, the optional Hyperscreen inside sets a new high water mark for visual displays. Wow.
The Genesis G80 was already one of our favorite sleeper luxury sedans and the EV version has been unveiled in China. Expect electric range in the 200s and Hyundai's smart charging tech that ensures wide compatibility with several voltage levels of fast charging stations. I like that approach since charging locations and rate are more important than battery range in the big picture.
The 296 GTB plug-in hybrid puts a V6 amidships of a production car by Ferrari for the first time since 1974. But this time around the centrally located V6 is in a PHEV setup that totals 820 horsepower and with the unique snap of electric torque. And to my eye the 296 GTB is the prettiest thing the company makes this side of the stunning Roma.