Electrification amps up as luxury carmakers debut, enticing new models.
Rivian R1S SUV
The pivot from a ground-breaking all-electric pick-up to an all-electric SUV seems like a natural progression for Irvine, California-based maker Rivian, and the R1S is slated for release sometime this year. But, Rivian has begun taking pre-order deposits on the full-size SUV for as little as $1,000.
The large, beefy battery will provide an estimated 316-mile range (slightly more than the R1T truck’s current 314-mile range) and enough performance and torque to handle even the most challenging off-road scenarios: water-fording, rock crawls, handling rough terrain with 14.9-inch clearance, you name it. And, with an electrified auto’s signature quickness out of the gate that delivers a 0-to-60mph in about 3 seconds, you’ll enjoy some decidedly sporty handling. A $10,000 max battery pack option, which ups the range to 400-plus miles, is planned for 2023.
As a stately, traditional luxury car builder, you’d expect Rolls-Royce to be last in line for aggressive electrification. But the company recently committed to electrifying its entire lineup by the end of the decade and has shared some plans for its first all-electric model, the Spectre, which will hit in 2023. Spectre details are still bubbling to the surface, but by all indications, it will be a two-door coupe based on the modular architecture of the existing Phantom, Cullinan, and Ghost models.
While these deliberately obfuscating concept pictures only hint at the styling, the Spectre looks to be leaning into the sportier side of Rolls-Royce (think the existing Wraith). Company executives have confirmed that the ultimate electrical powertrain used will have to match up with the legendary, wafting, ample available power of the company’s V-12 models. Earlier electric concepts from Rolls-Royce projected a 124-mile range, but battery technology is ever-evolving, and the 2023 Spectre is expected to compete ably on that front.
With the new year, Mercedes-Benz’s show-stopper announcement of the slick Vision EQXX sport sedan concept with a planned 1,000km (about 620- mile) range caught some attention. This range efficiency is partially created by aerodynamic design and new lightweight materials, but it is a “concept” car. It is banking on ongoing advances in battery technology to make that mark.
In the meantime, MB’s current top all-electric vehicle is the EQS450+ sedan that wraps a 245kW, 329hp, 417lb-ft torque PSM electrical power plant that provides a 350-mile range into a decidedly elegant S Class-worthy driving experience with all the interior luxury you’d expect.
Porsche Taycan GTS Turismo
For many performance-driving fans, the debut of Porsche’s Taycan all-electric sports sedan in 2019 presented one of the first compelling cases for switching to alternative power. The German automaker set a very high bar and with the new GTS Turismo, which presents the appeal of the Taycan in a roomier “shooting brake” format, they are aiming even higher.
While the range for the GTS Turismo is still unannounced (the core Taycan sedan provides a 225-mile range that can be squeezed to 282 miles with an optional performance battery), this screamer’s hatchback and 15.7 cubic feet of rear storage with the rear seats down makes it decidedly practical. Its handling, performance and quick hyperjump from 0 to 60mph makes it decidedly Porsche.
Fisker started its life as a bespoke “coachbuilder” operation under the guidance of automotive icon Henrik Fisker. Still, it was also a very early-in producer of a particularly sporty all-electric roadster, the Karma, which debuted way back in 2011. The Karma’s battery supplier went belly-up, but the firm has quickly pivoted to the upcoming Ocean SUV, a production-intent concept. Plans are to commence production later this year at the Magna-Steyr carbon-neutral factory in Austria for 2023 deliveries. In addition to an all-electric power plant, premium models of the Ocean will feature a unique SolarSky panel roof that can add between 1,500 and 2,000 miles a year to the estimated 250 to 350-mile range (depending on the model).
The entry-level Ocean has a single electric motor, is only two-wheel-drive, does not include the solar panel roof, and provides the lower end of the range spectrum. But the first 5,000 versions will be titled Fisker Ocean One and will feature sport dual electric power plants, four-wheel-drive and extended off-road capability, the SolarSky roof, and the highest range numbers. That’s the one to keep your eyes on, and Fisker is offering reserve deposits of $250 via its website.
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