We’re marking the launch of our new Canadian EV Tracker with the debut of a companion series: an exclusive quarterly roundup of new battery electric vehicle models hitting Canadian showrooms, in-store and online
Whether it’s the Volkswagen ID.4 or the Lucid Air or even the Tesla Model S Plaid model, there have been many high-profile electric vehicles “launched” in recent months. However, in the case of these and many others, the vehicles won’t actually arrive at Canadian dealerships, or get to would-be buyers, for another six months — or longer.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that this spate of announcements — along with declarations from a number of OEMs that they plan to convert all or most of their product lineups to electric in the next few years — means more EVs are coming. Even better, some are arriving now.
In recognition of this growing activity, we’re launching the Electric Autonomy Canadian EV Tracker. It’s our running tally of OEM EV car and light-duty truck model commitments, launches and planned dates of arrival in the Canadian market. We’re updating it regularly. Periodically, as well, we’ll bring you an accompanying story with a rundown on new models hitting the showrooms — in-store and online — in the current quarter.
The first of those, focused on Q4 2020, continues below. Here, for now, we’re including plug-in hybrids as well as full battery electric vehicles, whereas our database is restricted to battery electrics and, where they’re happening, hydrogen-powered vehicles, too.
Q4 2020 may sound like an Audi model, but it’s also a relatively busy time for new plug-in models for Audi Canada. The most recent all-electric arrival is the 2020 e-Tron Sportback, the “swoopier” version of Audi’s conservative BEV e-Tron SUV, which hit the market in the last few months. The original e-Tron launched in Canada for 2019 model year, but with COVID factory shutdowns, a 2020 version never followed, with the e-Tron Sportback’s later arrival basically replacing the regular e-Tron in Canada for 2020.
Both all-electric e-Tron models are available now for the 2021 model year and are the only two current Audi models available with CCS quick-charging capabilities, with charging speeds of up to 150 kW.
Audi’s electric fleet now also includes a variety of lightly electrified plug-in hybrids, with model names that end in ‘e’ designations, with a couple of new ones that first became available in September: the 2021 A7 and A8 e models. Audi now has ‘e’ versions of the Q5 mid-size SUV (with 32 kilometres of all-electric range), the A7 e four-door mid-size coupe (up to 38 km of e-range), and the full-size A8 e luxury sedan, with an estimated maximum of 29 km of range.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada
The Chrysler Pacifica received an extensive revision for 2021, adding an all-wheel drive option as well as a new top-of-the-line Pinnacle model. Unfortunately, the AWD option isn’t available on the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which launched in Q4; but the only plug-in hybrid minivan on the market and the only plug-in hybrid currently built in Canada, at FCA Canada‘s Windsor, Ont., facility, will offer most of the updated new styling and feature upgrades of the regular model.
This will include available niceties such as wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, optional Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), a 360-degree camera with Park Assist (on Pinnacle models), Alexa connectivity, wireless phone charging, as well as over-the-air (OTA) updates available for its GPS mapping and firmware system updates.
The ’21 Pacifica Hybrid starts at $53,995 and offers three rows, thus is eligible for the $5,000 federal EV incentive. It is available in four models, with the top-line trim level starting at $59,995.
It’s been a busy fall for Ford buyers and dealers when it comes to plug-in vehicles, but not quite as busy as first planned. The upscale Lincoln Aviator GT three-row PHEVs had already landed in dealerships earlier for the 2020 model year, the Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid that was supposed to come in November has now been pushed to early-mid 2021, while the highly anticipated Mach-E Mustang all-electric performance SUV is slated to start arriving in late December.
The Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, based on the Escape PHEV’s mechanicals, that was first supposed to launch in the summer and then late fall, has also been pushed back again, Ford Canada is now only saying that it will go on sale in 2021. The company referenced PHEV battery supplies as well as ensuring quality when asked about the delay.
Once those issues are resolved, the Escape PHEV may have the potential to be the highest volume seller of this quartet of plug-in SUVs. That’s because the Escape Plug-in Hybrid has a much lower starting price and an impressive 60 km of all-electric range; on the downside, though, the plug-in Escape’s lack of all-wheel drive and DC quick charging may limit its appeal.
Right now, meanwhile, the Mustang Mach-E is the main attraction. Coming to Ford dealers this month, it is the company’s first battery electric vehicle built on a unique electric platform, complete with a drainable front trunk. It will offer both rear-drive and all-wheel drive versions, two battery sizes, with estimated range figures from 325 km up to 475 km. Its CCS quick charging offers up to 150 kW capability, with Ford estimating 45 minutes to charge from 10 to 80 per cent on the larger battery models.
Performance-oriented buyers may be more interested in how fast the Mach-E is on the road, with acceleration times from rest to 100 km/h that vary from roughly 6.5 seconds in the base extended-range models, down to under 4 seconds for the Performance GT model, which is slated to start arriving in mid-2021.
The new electric brand from the makers of Volvo officially arrived in Canada this fall, with the opening of the Sino-Swedish brand’s new temporary Vancouver facility. Two other Polestar “Spaces” are set to open this month, in Toronto and Montreal. It announced its first deliveries to customers on Dec. 10.
Both the exotic $197,000 Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid coupe as well as the $69,900 Polestar 2 can be ordered online, with less expensive versions of the Polestar 2 expected to arrive later in 2021, to better line up with the pricing of its chief rival, the Tesla Model 3. Polestar will work largely with a home/office delivery model to start, for both sales and service.
The Polestar 2 currently offers 375 km of range, with the capability to CCS quick charge at a maximum speed of 150 kW.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime arrived technically in late Q3 to the Canadian market, but only in Quebec to start. Similar to the Prius Prime PHEV’s launch back in 2018, the first few months of Canadian allocation from the Japan-built plug-in are going strictly to Quebec buyers, says Toyota Canada public relations manager Romaric Lartilleaux.
It will next be available in British Columbia in early 2021, and as production ramps up, Toyota plans to release it to the rest of Canada after that. The RAV4 Prime’s combination of 68 km of all-electric range, healthy 302 horsepower, and standard all-wheel drive offers it some notable advantages over the similarly new Ford Escape PHEV and the long-time best-selling plug-in hybrid SUV in Canada, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Unlike the Outlander PHEV, however, the RAV4 Prime doesn’t offer Level 3 quick charging.
Still, the RAV4 Prime is based on the best-selling passenger SUV in the country for four years running; and the Cambridge, Ont.-built RAV4 Hybrid is still the best-selling hybrid in the country. All of which suggests that, if Toyota can sufficiently ramp up production and availability, the RAV4 Prime could very well supplant the 2020 Prius Prime as the second-best-selling plug-in vehicle in Canada.
While Volvo continues to offer plug-in hybrid versions of most of its models, the real news this quarter for Volvo is the incoming XC40 Recharge P8 — its first all-electric model, which shares most of its looks inside and out with the regular compact XC40 SUV. However, with 402 hp, over 320 km of range from a 78-kWh battery, and a CCS quick-charge capability up to 150 kW, it also shares much of its electric powertrain with the Polestar 2.
Volvo says the XC40 Recharge will be the first Volvo to receive OTA updates to its software and operating system.