The Korean influence is strong on the mainstream end, but there is still more action on the luxury-side arrivals at dealerships coast-to-coast
The first quarter of 2022 will see the arrival of two distinct waves of new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) coming to market. First, a premium mainstream wave, largely powered by new Korean vehicles like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 and, second, a luxury wave, headlined by BMW with its iX SUV and i4 four-door, a sedan-like hatchback that will compete head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3, Canada’s likely again best-selling EV in 2021.
The luxury stream of new vehicles includes new variants of previously introduced models, but with different range figures, performance specs and body forms. See the new Porsche Taycan GTS sedan and Sport Turismo sport wagon, the Volvo C40 Recharge SUV and the Mercedes-AMG EQS full-size performance sedan, for example.
There are still some notable differences between EVs introduced in Canada versus the U.S., with fairly significant delays for many vehicles north of the border.
New EV start-up Rivian confirmed via email that it’s now targeting delivery for its electric R1T pickup and the R1S SUV to Canadian customers in July, after its plans to launch here last fall were pushed back. The company received rave reviews for its R1T pickup when it was launched last year in the U.S., and even delivered a few R1S SUV models to company execs late in 2021.
There’s still no confirmation on the arrival of customer vehicles in Canada from fellow EV start-up, Lucid, even though U.S. deliveries began of the C$200,00+ Dream Air editions in fall 2021. However, the company is planning to open a second retail location in Toronto in February after opening one in Vancouver last quarter.
GM Canada still plans to deliver the six-figure GMC Hummer EV and GM’s first all-electric Cadillac with the Lyriq SUV in fall 2022, even though the Hummer BEV began deliveries (or at least one) by the end of 2021, with the Lyriq now expected in U.S. dealers in the spring. GM is also planning to restart sales of the 2022 Bolt and slightly larger Bolt EUV in the first quarter as well, but a restart to Bolt production for either country has still not been confirmed.
Overall, the EV market is still skewed towards luxury and higher-end vehicles, where automakers traditionally introduce advanced technologies. That said, we’ll start this quarter’s new vehicle roundup with some of more economical EVs coming, as they likely represent the highest volume new EVs to arrive this quarter, and therefore will have the most significant impact environmentally, health-wise and on EV charging infrastructure.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
Although a few demo models trickled into Canadian dealerships at the end of 2021, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is certainly one of and perhaps the most significant new EV to land in the market this quarter. It joins the Volkswagen ID.4 in offering a much larger electric SUV than was available previously and comes in just under the federal government’s $45,000 price cap, making it eligible for a $5,000 rebate in all models but its priciest Long Range AWD Ultimate trim. Plus, the Ioniq 5 is also eligible for provincial rebates where available.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Ioniq 5 is its charging speeds, being one of the only mainstream brand EVs that can harness the power of 350 kW chargers, which are the fastest currently available. Hyundai doesn’t specify the Ioniq 5’s exact kilowatt top charging speed, but says it’s capable of a 10-80 per cent charge using a 350 kW fast charger in under 18 minutes (17 minutes and 36 seconds, to be exact, in ideal conditions). This is comparable to the priciest Tesla, Porsche and Lucid Air models.
This all makes the Ioniq 5 Long Range models (which offer up to 488 km per charge) ideal for range conscious EV drivers, though less so with the base model’s 354 km of range. It also offers rare Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) capability that can power small appliances or even other EVs.
If the Ioniq 5 sells in volume, it may put pressure on all charging networks to introduce or increase the number of public 350 kW “premium” fast chargers.
Much of what makes the Ioniq 5 appealing also applies to the Kia EV6, its corporate cousin, including the V2L capability, up to 480 km of range, and super quick DC charging speeds. But the Kia will be built not only with a completely unique body and swoopier styling, but also a zippier GT version that will challenge the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT for electric crossover GT supremacy.
The first batch of EV6 models are scheduled to arrive in March 2022, while the GT that’s capable of 3.5 second, 0-100 km/h acceleration (compared to 5.1 seconds for the quickest Ioniq 5) will arrive later this year.
The GT’s similar fast charging system can add 100 km of range in roughly five minutes, with the same ability to add up to 380 km of range in an 18 minute 10-80 per cent quick charge.
Kia seems poised to bring fewer EV6 models to Canada than Hyundai with the Ioniq 5 — at least for now. A limited initial batch of 200 EV6 GT Line models all reserved last October in a brief 25 minutes. Pricing has not yet been revealed in Canada, but Kia U.S. just announced that its base EV6 will start at US$40,900, suggesting Kia Canada may yet be able to squeeze the EV6 under the C$45,000 bar to receive the federal rebate – if not on the first GT Line versions to arrive, at least upcoming ones.
The BMW i4 is an all-electric version of the 3 Series Gran Coupé, meaning still four doors, but with a curvier rear roofline and hatchback body. It will start at $54,990 for the 335-horsepower base model (rated at 484 km of range), or for the quicker 536 hp i4 M50, it will be rated at 435 km of range (though keep in mind the one-inch larger 20-inch wheels knock that rating down to 365 km).
The base i4 eDrive40 model is rear-drive just like the base Tesla Model 3, while the i4 M50 comes standard with all-wheel drive, with both i4 versions sharing the same 83.9 kWh battery.
Provincial incentives are available for both versions of the i4, which will be sold and serviced at all BMW dealers across the country, with the first units slated to arrive by the end of February.
Starting at $89,990, the iX lies on a purpose-built, all-electric architecture, unlike the i4 which shares much of its structure with BMW’s 4 series Gran Coupé gas models. Roughly sized between an X5 and an X6, this Model Y rival features a large 111.5 kWh battery, and is rated to achieve a range of between 491 and 521 km, depending on wheel choices.
The iX can be DC fast-charged at up to 200 kW or roughly 39 minutes, estimates BMW, for a zero to 80 per cent quick charge.
Many of the upcoming launch models have been pre-ordered by customers through BMW’s ‘i’ vehicle online portal. But come June, two other iX versions are expected to arrive at dealers as well: a base xDrive40, with a lower estimated range of 322 km (and a price just under $80k), and an M60 performance model, with an estimated range of 450 km, but also an expected 610 hp and outstanding 811 lb-ft of torque.
Volvo C40 Recharge
The Volvo C40 Recharge is basically a lower “coupe” version of the boxier and more practical Volvo XC40 Recharge. The C40 is also the first Volvo model that won’t be offered with any internal combustion engine. Starting at $72,600, it will also be the first Volvo to feature a leather-free interior and comes with a 78 kWh battery.
Timing for the C40 Recharge was originally set for early 2022, but in December Volvo Canada revised to spring 2022. So the first customer deliveries may yet be in March, or its arrival may slide into the second quarter.
Mercedes-Benz EQS 580, 4MATIC and EQS
Speaking of being pushed back, Mercedes-Benz’s EQS flagship full-size, electric luxury sedan was set to begin deliveries end of 2021, but that didn’t happen. Instead, M-B Canada just confirmed that in the third week of January every Mercedes-Benz dealer in the country began receiving the EQS 580 4MATIC.
Starting at over $144,000, the EQS 580 is surprisingly priced just $1,300 higher than the S-Class 580 4MATIC sedan, its gas-powered luxury sedan namesake. The EQS offers 547 km of range, and its 400-volt system can be fast-charged up to 200 kW, making for a 31-minute, 10-80 per cent pit stop.
The more powerful Mercedes-AMG EQS 4MATIC+ sport sedan is set to arrive later this quarter, promising up to 750 hp and an equal amount of low-end torque, compared to the 516 hp of the regular Benz EQS. Both EVs offer a one-piece flowing glass Hyperscreen dash which connects full info displays in front of the driver, centre console and passenger seat.
Official range has not yet been set for the AMG version, though it will likely fall to a rating closer to 530 km, based on reports in early North American test drives.
Porsche Taycan GTS and GTS Sport Turismo
In typical fashion, Porsche is still introducing new and revised versions of the Taycan, its popular all-electric four-door sports car. The latest is the GTS sedan: a spicier, track-oriented version of the all-wheel drive Taycan 4S sedan, but not quite as powerful as the top-line Taycan Turbo models.
Coming standard with AWD, the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo is a new five-door body style — similar to the Taycan Cross Turismo models, but sits lower to the ground, and without the body cladding that gives the Cross Turismo whispers of an SUV look.
Either GTS offers a 509 hp motor plus an over boost function that can power up to 590 hp when using launch control.
Starting at $152,700, it’s slated to arrive in March and offer DC fast charging speeds of up to 270 kW — amongst the quickest charging vehicles on the market.