In the U.K. especially, it seems as though 2017 could be a baron year for brand new EV models coming onto the market. We know the Opel Ampera-e won’t be coming here as a right hand drive version (The less said about that, the better). We also know that the Tesla Model 3 will probably be released in the US by the end of the year (hopefully), but even if it is on time, a right hand drive version is probably going to come later. Only recently has the Model X become available here, and even that is in limited quantities.
It’s possible that some EVs could be announced at Geneva and released at the end of the year, like the Hyundai Ioniq was in 2016. I don’t have a lot of hope for that, but let’s wait and see.
Assuming nothing else gets announced, the only hope we have for a 2017 brand new EV seems to be the next Nissan Leaf. Carlos Ghosn has said to expect the announcement soon, but whether that means Geneva or somewhere else, we don’t know. One reason we should expect a new Leaf this year is due to them being at risk of losing their leadership status in the EV market. The current Leaf doesn’t match up well at all against the Bolt or Model 3, or even the smaller Renault Zoe in terms of range, tech or exterior style. As EV sales increase worldwide, they could lose their hard earned number 1 spot very quickly as the Bolt establishes itself in the market and word gets out about how accomplished of a car it is.
If the new Leaf looks like the IDS concept we’ve seen before, then it will be a major style improvement over the current model. I do like the current Leaf, but it grows on you over time. In order to sell EVs to an ever widening market, they have to have instant appeal. The period of time where EV buyers are techy people who know exactly what they want and have done the research is coming to an end. EVs have to compete with all other cars in order to attract buyers who aren’t necessarily just looking for an EV when they are considering a new car.
I really hope we see tons of new EVs announced and launched this year, but if not, I at least hope we see Carlos Ghosn unveil the most crucial one. Otherwise, it’ll be another year of putting bigger batteries in the same exact cars. I want more than that, and I want the manufacturers to put as much effort into making EVs as they do in developing autonomous cars. Because as far as I’m concerned, electrification is the first priority.