The number of newly available models of battery electric vehicles in Canada for Q2 is not huge, but includes some significant launches with the potential to help drive up EV adoption and broaden purchase choices
There’s notable, if not overwhelming, action coming in the second quarter of 2021 when it comes to new, pure battery electric vehicles — with activity on opposite ends of the pricing spectrum.
Chevy’s new budget-friendly Bolt EV and Bolt EUV (electric utility vehicle) are significant releases in a market that struggles with affordability. And for drivers not concerned with cost, several six-figure, high-end models including performance-oriented sedans, SUVs and even a sport wagon bring welcome variety to the Canadian EV market.
A word first, though, on some notable no-shows for Q2. The Volkswagen ID.4 compact SUV was originally scheduled to arrive in June 2021 in Canada, after the launch of the rear-wheel drive version in the U.S., but those plans have been pushed back to late summer. However, VW Canada just announced that when the rear-wheel drive ID.4 gets here (initially in Quebec and B.C.), its base price will be $44,995, making it eligible for the federal rebate. An all-wheel drive version is promised for later in 2021, listing at $49,995. The competing Nissan Ariya is still on track to arrive in the second half of this year, perhaps around the time the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT is slated to arrive this fall.
Notable all-electric start up Lucid also had plans to launch its Lucid Air luxury sedan in the U.S. as well as Canada in Q2, but production has been pushed back to an unspecified date later this year. A Lucid executive confirmed that it plans to open a Lucid Studio showroom in Vancouver this summer — presumably with at least one vehicle to display on site.
Rivian expects to launch its first vehicle in June in the U.S., but its Canadian debut is not anticipated until November. A recent Bloomberg report suggests that Rivian aims to launch three EVs in 2021: the R1T pickup — likely, the first all-electric pickup to hit the market — the R1S mid-size SUV, and a commercial van commissioned for Amazon deliveries. The vans started testing in February, the online retail giant confirmed.
One note here for folks wondering about the Ford Escape PHEV, Hyundai Tucson PHEV and other plug-in hybrids announced for the next few months: we haven’t forgotten about them, but Electric Autonomy Canada’s round up is concentrating on pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) only.
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV
By far the most significant EV to launch this year, in terms of potential sales adoption thanks to its rare combination of low entry price combined with long-distance range, is the upcoming 2022 Chevrolet Bolt. The most noteworthy feature isn’t anything about the vehicle itself, but its sticker price. It now starts at $38,198 for the regular Bolt — a $7,000 reduction from its current official $45,000 starting price — and goes above $50k for the top Premier trim.
The slightly larger Bolt EUV adds roughly three inches of rear legroom and certainly looks more like a crossover, as suggested by its name, though the EUV’s lack of all-wheel drive may hamper its winter appeal. In person, it actually looks very similar to a regular Bolt. The slightly higher starting price of $40,198 is largely due to the longer and taller body, plus an upgraded interior with higher-end materials on the dash and doors. The Bolt EUV’s 402-kilometre range is only slightly less than the 417 km available in the lighter Bolt hatchback.
From a charging perspective, GM didn’t upgrade the Bolt’s quick-charging hardware, which remains at 55 kW max from its 65 kWh battery. GM also won’t use the new Ultium batteries and associated modular architecture in the Bolt EUV. Strategically, though, slashing the Bolt’s price could have a major sales volume effect, ultimately meaning a boost in the overall number of EVs sold in 2021. It could also help the Bolt regain its position as best-selling BEV from a legacy automaker, a title that it lost to Hyundai’s Kona EV in 2020.
2022 Audi e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT
Already up and priced on Audi Canada’s consumer site, the e-tron GT sport sedan is slated to arrive in June or July in Canada, confirmed a company spokesperson. Starting at $129,000 for the e-tron GT model, or $179,900 for the even faster RS e-tron GT, these two models are fraternal twins to the Porsche Taycan 4S and Taycan Turbo models, respectively.
Both e-tron GT models offer a 93.4 kWh battery, with slightly slower but still mind-bending 0-100 km per hour acceleration of 4.1 seconds (e-tron GT) and 3.3 seconds for the all-out RS model. Range has not yet been published for the e-tron GT in Canada, but in the U.S., Audi estimates its EPA range at 238 miles (383 km) for the regular GT, and 232 (373 km) for the RS e-tron.
Performance and svelte looks are the clear calling cards here, with the GT offering up to 522 horsepower (with overboost), and 637 hp for the RS e-tron GT (with overboost). And like its Porsche counterparts, it offers up industry-leading quick charging at up to 270 kW.
2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
The sport wagon version of the Taycan sport sedan is set to arrive in June, or perhaps slightly earlier. Porsche’s famously extensive online configurator is up and running for those who would like to craft their own personalized all-electric hot hatch, or spend an afternoon sifting through one’s own dream family wagon with supercar acceleration abilities.
The Cross Turismo is technically a more practical version of the Taycan, with all-wheel drive and an adaptive air suspension with a new “Off-Road” package that raises ground clearance by up to three centimetres. All models have a “Gravel” mode that helps increase control on slippery roads. There’s also 3.6 centimetres more rear headroom, as well as an extra 1,200 litres of cargo space, and a more practical powered tailgate that’s easier to use with bulkier items.
The Taycan 4 Cross Turismo starts at $119,000, while the top-line Cross Turismo Turbo S comes in at $218,000, before options. The 2020 Taycan Turbo is listed in Canada to have a range of 323 km, although it’s generally accepted that Porsche has underestimated that figure. Like the e-tron GT and other Taycans, the Cross Turismo can charge at up to 270 kW.
Tesla Model S Plaid and Model X Plaid
As usual with Tesla, communications are foggy with both the Model S and Model X, but all indications are that the revised full-size sedan and SUV, respectively, will start production soon in Fremont, Calif., (if it hasn’t already) and are slated to arrive in June. The Canadian configurator suggests a Model S Long Range ordered now (early April) will arrive in 10-to-14 weeks.
The revised Model S will offer the much-discussed “yoke” steering wheel that’s more of a U-shape than a wheel — the butterfly shape will look familiar to fans of the 1980s Knight Rider show, but likely won’t please drivers who like to put their hands at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions on the steering wheel, as nothing will be there.
The S will still offer a round steering wheel, likely as standard on both the S and the X SUV, both of which had stopped production early this year to changeover to the heavily revised 2021 model.
Then there’s the controversial lack of a physical shifter, with Tesla relying instead on a specific screen swipe from the driver; in auto mode, a new auto detection system that is said to use the sensors all around the vehicle to autonomously predict the desired direction of travel.
The S and X will move to a horizontally oriented 17-inch screen, similar to Tesla’s other models but with higher resolution, while both will also continue to offer an additional screen in front of the driver. There will also be an available rear screen where passengers can watch Netflix or play video games with wireless controllers in both the S and X. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also mentioned on Twitter recently that the rear-facing extra jump seats are set to return to the S, though so far Tesla has said nothing official regarding timing or cost.
There is a possibility that S and X Plaid models will also arrive in Canada in the June time frame. The first seven-seat (three-row) Model Y Long Ranges were delivered in Canada in March, technically becoming Q1 arrivals, though it may be possible that this third-row option will become available on Model Y Performance models in Q2.
For more information on electric vehicles due to arrive in the Canadian market, check out Electric Autonomy’s EV Tracker, brought to you in partnership with Jim Pattison Lease.