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The new electric vehicles debuted at the Munich motor show in 2021

This week’s Munich motor show – or ‘Mobility’ show as it has officially been dubbed – has been a showcase of what electric cars of the very near future are set to look like. 

And despite a common misconception, the selection of unveilings in Germany suggest they will be as diverse – if not more so – than cars on the road today.

With governments around Europe plotting a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel models at the end of the decade, manufacturers have ramped up the development of zero-emission vehicles they will be allowed to display in their showrooms from 2030 onwards.

Travel restrictions and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means only a handful of mainstream car makers – mostly from Germany – were in attendance to unveil their new EVs and concept models at the 2021 event.

Here is a full rundown of the best and most important electric cars launched in Munich this week, from teeny city cars that can shrink in size to luxurious jacked-up SUV limos that only millionaires and celebs could afford to own.

Audi Grandsphere

The enormous Audi Grandsphere is a preview of how the forthcoming electric A8 limousine could soon look. It also showcased an autonomous driving system where the steering wheel and pedals disappear into hidden compartments

Concept or production? Concept

Available from: Unconfirmed

Range: more than 466 miles

Audi’s offering in Munich – the Grandsphere concept – is a preview of the design and performance we can expect from the brand’s plug-in A8 limousine and its large luxurious models when electrification and fully-autonomous driving becomes the norm. 

When slipped into its self-driving mode, the enormous saloon (which is 5.35-metres in length) sees its steering wheel and pedal box disappear into hidden compartments to provide additional space and a feeling of lounge-like tranquillity on the move.

With the user freed of all driving responsibility, a stunning infotainment system is projected onto a wooden surface under the windscreen, with multiple displays that can be operated by any of the passengers to watch films, make conference calls or play video games.

In terms of performance, the Grandsphere’s massive chassis is filled with a battery that provides a huge 710bhp and a range in excess of 466 miles. Rapid charging to 80 per cent capacity takes less than 25 minutes and will add around 190 miles of additional range, Audi says.

BMW iVision Circular

The iVision Circular is less about what BMW electric cars of the future will be able to do in terms of performance and range and more about the sustainability of EVs, with the concept being 100% recyclable. The German brand wants this to be the case for all its models from 2040

The iVision Circular is less about what BMW electric cars of the future will be able to do in terms of performance and range and more about the sustainability of EVs, with the concept being 100% recyclable. The German brand wants this to be the case for all its models from 2040

Concept or production? Concept

German car giant BMW unveiled a revolutionary new ‘green’ car at the Munich motor show that it says can go around in circles forever to save the planet.

That’s because the new electric iVision Circular is made entirely from recycled materials – and when it reaches the end of its life, it’s elements can be fully recycled to restart the process all over again. Although the fully electric and zero-emission iVision Circular is a prototype design, it signals the brand’s intention to make all of its vehicles 100 per cent recyclable within 20 years.

It also wanted to demonstrate that ‘a high level of sustainability can go hand in hand with a luxurious appearance’.

You can read our in-depth report on the BMW iVision Circular here

City Transformer

The City Transformer is a shapeshifting urban EV. In 'Performance Mode' (right) it is 1.4 metres wide with flared arches and sills. But switch into 'City Mode' (left) and the width shrinks to just a metre

The City Transformer is a shapeshifting urban EV. In ‘Performance Mode’ (right) it is 1.4 metres wide with flared arches and sills. But switch into ‘City Mode’ (left) and the width shrinks to just a metre

Concept or production? Production

Available from: Pre-orders taken now

One of the most unique – and clever – electric car designs in Munich comes from Israeli start-up City Transformer with its model under the same name. It is being dubbed as a shapeshifting ‘folding’ car, in that in can shrink in size when it is used in urban areas.

It starts out at 1.4 metres wide in ‘Performance Mode’, but slip it into ‘City Mode’ and the wheels electronically move inwards and reduce the overall width to just a metre, so it can navigate tight areas and take up less parking space where it is needed most. The interior has a one-plus-one fighter jet-style seating layout, meaning you can take one passenger with you – at a squeeze.

It uses two 7.5Kw motors to provide acceleration to 31mph in five seconds, a top speed of just 55mph and a claimed range of 111 miles. Pre-orders are already being taken, with a starting price of €12,500 – around £10,700 – for those who put a deposit down early. The normal price is €16,000 (£13,700) thereafter. 

Cupra Urban Rebel

Strip away the silly big wing, winglets on the wheel arches and mental paint scheme and what you're left with is Cupra's entry-level electric crossover, which could hit the market in 2025

Strip away the silly big wing, winglets on the wheel arches and mental paint scheme and what you’re left with is Cupra’s entry-level electric crossover, which could hit the market in 2025

Concept or production? Concept

Strip away the silly big wing, aggressive profile and massive front and rear splitters and the Urban Rebel concept becomes Cupra’s new compact electric crossover that’s due on sale in 2025.

Like the VW ID.Life concept (read about that vehicle further down in this list), it will use the existing MEB platform that underpins Volkswagen group electric cars on sale today, such as the VW ID.3 and Skoda Enyaq iV.

Cupra hints that this concept signals the design of its entry-level EV, which will be priced similarly to the forthcoming VW ID.2 at around £17,000. Performance specs of the concept claim 335bhp of continuous power, though upped to 429bhp on demand if needed. This cuts the acceleration time from 0-to-62mph to just 3.2 seconds. Being an entry model, expect a range of between 120 and 180 miles, depending on battery size. 

E-Legend EL1 

This is the stunning E-Legend EL1 - an electric tribute to the iconic Audi Quattro S1 rally car. Just 30 will be produced from next year with a price tag in excess of £900,000

This is the stunning E-Legend EL1 – an electric tribute to the iconic Audi Quattro S1 rally car. Just 30 will be produced from next year with a price tag in excess of £900,000

Concept or production? Production

For anyone who thinks electric vehicles won’t be able to evoke the drama of iconic cars from our past, feast your eyes on E-Legend’s EL1 – a £900,000 tribute to the Audi Quattro S1 rally car.

It will go into production next year and will be one of the most powerful electric cars we’ve seen yet. Packing 805bhp from three electric motors, a 90kWh battery linked to a carbon-tub, it will hit 62mph in 2.8 seconds. In a normal driving mode it will be able to cover 248 miles, though in its full-power ‘Sport Plus’ setting it was only able to complete two laps of the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, which is 14.2 miles long. 

The modern twist on the all-wheel-drive Audi legend won’t be available in huge numbers. In fact, just 30 examples will be sold with a price tag of €890,000 (around £915,000 with VAT). However, the German company has promised another two models – also with production runs of 30 cars – based on other legendary rally machines.   

Hyundai Prophecy 

One of the most stunning designs showcased at Munich was this Hyundai Prophecy concept, which could preview its Ioniq 6 performance EV due next year

One of the most stunning designs showcased at Munich was this Hyundai Prophecy concept, which could preview its Ioniq 6 performance EV due next year

Concept or production? Concept

Hyundai has given this concept car a suitable name, with the Prophecy being a preview of the upcoming Ioniq 6 performance car due to be unveiled in 2020. 

It will use the same platform that underpins the Ioniq 5 family car, which has received rapturous feedback since hitting the market. However, given its sportier credentials, expect Hyundai to turn up the wick on the electric motors to ensure the Ioniq 6 has enough potency to match rivals like the Porsche Taycan.

If the production car looks anything like this concept debuted at Munich, it could be a real hit. A raked roofline, grooved profile, svelte curves and stunning five-spoke wheel design certainly turned heads on the show floor this week. It also has an integrated – and clear – rear spoiler that sits above a massive LED rear cluster that hosts brake lights.  

The concept’s interior is ultra-minimal with just a joystick for the controls – though this is only to point towards the development of autonomous driving tech and will most definitely not be a feature of the Ioniq 6 we could see next year. 

Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 

The EQS 53 is a big moment for Mercedes as it's the first model to be given a boost in power and dynamics by the in-house AMG performance arm

The EQS 53 is a big moment for Mercedes as it’s the first model to be given a boost in power and dynamics by the in-house AMG performance arm

Concept or production? Production

The EQS 53 is a big unveiling for Mercedes as this is its first mainstream electric car to receive AMG treatment, putting it into direct competition with Porsche’s standout Taycan Turbo S and Audi’s RS E-tron GT.

It’s certainly no slouch, with a pair of electric motors capable of producing up to 751bhp with a ‘Dynamic Plus’ package. With this equipped, the rapid AMG EQS can accelerate to 62mph in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph. 

Power is stored in a 107.8kWh lithium-ion battery that can supply between 326 to 360 miles of range, depending on which specification you choose, and can be charged at speeds of up to 200kW on a fast charger. It won’t be cheap, with prices starting from around £80,000 when order books open towards the end of 2021. 

Mercedes-Benz EQB 

Mercedes went on something of an electric vehicle frenzy in Munich, launching five new models that will go into production between now and the middle of the decade. The MQB is the smallest electric SUV it showcased at the event

Mercedes went on something of an electric vehicle frenzy in Munich, launching five new models that will go into production between now and the middle of the decade. The MQB is the smallest electric SUV it showcased at the event

Concept or production? Production

The next model in a plethora of ‘EQ’ branded electric Mercedes launched in Munich this week is the EQB, based on GLB compact SUV. Two versions will be sold in Europe from early next year, both being all-wheel-drive and offering a full-charge range of 260 miles from a 66.5kWh battery. A longer-range option will follow, too, bosses promise. 

Charging capacity is capped at 100kW, which will provide a boost from 10 to 80 per cent capacity in just over half an hour.

It will go into direct opposition with Audi’s Q4 e-tron and Volkswagen’s ID.4, though the Mercedes has a unique selling point of offering seven seats. A third row of seats will eat into the 495-litres of boot space, though. Prices will start from just below the £50,000 mark.

Mercedes-Benz EQE

Mercedes took the wraps off the electrified version of the E-Class saloon, which will take the name EQE and provide up to 410 miles of range on a full charge when it goes on sale in 2022

Mercedes took the wraps off the electrified version of the E-Class saloon, which will take the name EQE and provide up to 410 miles of range on a full charge when it goes on sale in 2022

Concept or production? Production

The E-Class has been a mainstay of the Mercedes range for years, and from 2022 it will be conceived as an EQE electric saloon with a range of up to 410 miles.

Marginally longer, wider and taller than the existing E-Class with a combustion engine, it looks like a smaller sibling to the EQS luxury model that’s already available in the UK. Like the bigger model, top-end versions will be fitted with the MBUX Hyperscreen, which is a full-width OLED panel that runs across the entire dashboard.

Mercedes says that two variants will be sold at launch, though it has only provided information on one of them – the EQE 350 with a 90kWh battery. It will feed an electric motor that produces 288bhp and will supply around 410 miles of range on a full charge. It will be able to charge at up to 170kW, meaning plenty of added driving range from a half-hour charging session. Prices are expected to start from £60,000.

Mercedes-Benz EQG

Mercedes' EQG is a concept preview of how the electric G Wagen will look when it hits showrooms in 2024

Mercedes’ EQG is a concept preview of how the electric G Wagen will look when it hits showrooms in 2024

Concept or production? Concept

It’s hard to imagine a Mercedes G-Class – fondly referred to for years as the G Wagen – without a rumbling big petrol engine under the bonnet, but Mercedes has already started work on converting it from military-spec vehicle to electric SUV. 

The production version is due to be unveiled in 2024, though Mercedes claims the EQG concept shown in Munich is pretty close to how the showroom-ready motor will look. And in true G-Wagen-style it won’t be a great departure from what we already know, with a boxy off-roader shape that has made the 4×4 an evergreen member of the Merc range.  

Bosses are adamant that it will continue to be an uncompromising off-roader. And to make that a reality, it won’t be built on an electric-vehicle platform, instead using a ladder-frame chassis with independent front suspension and a rigid axle at the rear so that it is tough and flexible enough to take on mountain sides and other difficult terrains.

Mercedes-Maybach EQS

A touch of luxury: This is the Mercedes-Maybach EQS - an electric limousine SUV that is aimed at millionaires and eco-conscious A-listers. It is likely to go into production in 2022 and on sale in 2023

A touch of luxury: This is the Mercedes-Maybach EQS – an electric limousine SUV that is aimed at millionaires and eco-conscious A-listers. It is likely to go into production in 2022 and on sale in 2023

Concept or production? Concept

Mercedes’ ultra-prestige marque, Maybach, will also transition to electric power in the coming years. And the EQS is the design team’s take on how a zero-emission SUV limousine will likely look.

It stands apart from Mercedes’ own EQS SUV thanks to a massive grille and slimline headlight design while it will also be available with the traditional Maybach two-tone paint option and pin-striping.

Though only a concept for now, it’s likely the production model – which will built from next year – will stick to the same design language. The model shown in Munich runs on huge 24-inch alloy wheels and features sensors in the driver’s door that will open it automatically as the driver approaches. This feature could be retained for the on-sale car, as will the remote-opening rear doors.

It’s pure luxury inside, too, with first-class plane-style seats, a massive suite of entertainment features and a ‘vase inset’ running through the centre of the vehicle. And it of course comes with a fridge to chill a magnum of champagne and hold a pair of flutes.

Range will be in the region of 600kms, which is 373 miles. It will also benefit from super-fast 200kW charging capability.  

Ora Cat

Ora is the first of two brands to be launched in Europe by Chinese firm Great Wall Motors. The Ora Cat will be a stylish supermini offer a range of around 250 miles

Ora is the first of two brands to be launched in Europe by Chinese firm Great Wall Motors. The Ora Cat will be a stylish supermini offer a range of around 250 miles

Concept or production? Production

Chinese maker Great Wall Motors has confirmed it will enter the European and UK market, starting in 2022, with two new brands, one being Ora. And one of the first models to be available is this retro supermini called the Cat.

It will first be sold in Germany next year with UK orders expected to open later in 2022.

The manufacturer promises a range of up to 249 miles, acceleration to 31mph in 3.8 seconds and a total power output of 169bhp from a single electric motor.  

Porsche Mission R

Another race car concept, this time from Porsche. But strip away the wing, slick tyres and ultra-low spoilers and it could be an early look at an electrified Cayman

Another race car concept, this time from Porsche. But strip away the wing, slick tyres and ultra-low spoilers and it could be an early look at an electrified Cayman

Concept or production? Concept

Available from: Unconfirmed

The Mission R concept is a preview for a one-make Porsche racing series that could be on the grid by 2025. But it might also suggest how the next Cayman coupe and Boxster roadster might look.

It has been co-created by Porsche Motorsport and the Porsche Style design studio and uses the drivetrain from the Taycan. That means a pair of electric motors and a maximum power output of 1,073bhp – though only available for a qualifying set-up. In race trim, it would have a reduced 603bhp to ensure it can complete a race before running out of juice. Performance involves a claimed acceleration to 62mph in less than 2.5 seconds and top speed is 186mph.

Its compact dimension suggest it could be the concept to preview the next Cayman and Boxster, which are due to be showcased in 2022.

Renault Megane E-Tech Electric

Renault was one of the handful of non-German brands to use the Munich show to present its next EV. The all-new Megane E-Tech Electric will be available to order from early next year with prices starting at around £30,000 to rival the VW ID.3

Renault was one of the handful of non-German brands to use the Munich show to present its next EV. The all-new Megane E-Tech Electric will be available to order from early next year with prices starting at around £30,000 to rival the VW ID.3

Concept or production? Production

One of the non-German brands to showcase a mainstream EV that will be hitting the market next year is Renault with its completely refreshed Megane family car with electric power. The Megane E-Tech Electric is a five-door hatch that will rival Volkswagen’s ID.3, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Leaf and – to some extent – Tesla Model 3.

Prices are set to start from around £30,000 in the UK when it goes on sale around February 2022. Buyers will have the choice of a 40kWh or a 60kWh battery offering maximum ranges of 186 and 292 miles respectively and up to 130kW charging.

In the most potent form, it can hit 62mph in 7.4 seconds and a top speed of 99mph. A flat floor and wheels positioned closer to each corner of the car means it will have class-leading interior space. Renault will also use it to debut an all-new infotainment system called ‘OpenR Link’ with a 12.3-inch digital dash panel and a tablet-like 12-inch infotainment touchscreen. 

Smart Concept #1

Smart's Concept #1 is the preview for the brand's next-generation model due to go into production in 2023

Smart’s Concept #1 is the preview for the brand’s next-generation model due to go into production in 2023

Concept or production? Concept

Smart showcased its Concept #1 at the Munich event, which is the first preview of what its models could soon look like now that parent firm Daimler has partnered with Chinese giant Geely in a quest for it to become a major player as an all-electric brand.

Concept #1 is a first look at an SUV that could be on sale in 2023. It’s a clear indication of the firm’s intent to move away from only dinky city cars, with the Concept #1 being marginally shorter (at 4,290mm) than a Nissan Qashqai, though slightly taller than the volume selling family SUV (1,698mm high) and with a longer wheelbase. 

While technical information is still thin on the ground, it should be capable of incorporating batteries of between 58kWh and 100kWh and provide an all-wheel-drive system.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz AD

The ID.Buzz AD will be the self-driving vehicle used for Volkswagen's ride-hailing service launching in 2025 to rival Uber. The cameras, radar and lidar sensors strewn across the front and roof can detect objects more than 400 metres ahead

The ID.Buzz AD will be the self-driving vehicle used for Volkswagen’s ride-hailing service launching in 2025 to rival Uber. The cameras, radar and lidar sensors strewn across the front and roof can detect objects more than 400 metres ahead

Concept or production? Concept

We’ve seen plenty of the forthcoming ID.Buzz – an electric successor to the iconic 1950s Microbus – but the version showcased for the first time in Munich this week will instead be used by VW’s ride-hailing business of the future – and, as the AD (Autonomous Driving) name suggests – will be able to manoeuvre itself. 

The self-driving electric van will run its first fare in 2025 under Volkswagen’s Uber-rivalling moniker, MOIA. It will use an Uber Pool-like system, transporting multiple passengers at all times to reduce emissions and cut inner-city congestion.

Packed out with cameras, radars and lidar sensors, it is said to be able to detect objects more than 400 metres ahead. As with the MPV and commercial vehicle version of the ID.Buzz, it will offer a maximum range of around 340 miles.  

Volkswagen ID.Life

The ID.Life is a preview of the ID.2 compact crossover that is set to hit showrooms in 2025, sitting below the ID.3 hatchback that's already on sale

The ID.Life is a preview of the ID.2 compact crossover that is set to hit showrooms in 2025, sitting below the ID.3 hatchback that’s already on sale

Concept or production? Concept

The ID.Life concept is a teaser for the ID.2 compact crossover model set to sit below the already-on-sale ID.3 hatchback from 2025 and – in pre-production form – provides up to 248 miles of range on a full charge.

The car unveiled in Munich this week has a flexible lounge-like seating design and a retractable screen and projector for owners to kick back and watch films or play video games.

Bosses said it will cost as little as €20,000 when it hits showrooms in four years’ time, which is around £17,000 in the UK. That’s around £3,000 less than the current smallest VW crossover – the T-Cross – and also cheaper than the Polo supermini, which starts from £17,300.

Read out in-depth report on the ID.Life here.  

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