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Spring is in full swing and Earth Day is right around the corner. In honor of the only planet that’ll have us, we’ve picked out our favorite electric car concepts. Automakers new and old are preparing electric vehicles with the speed, range, and sex appeal to contend against traditional fossil-powered vehicles.

Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar I-Pace

Compact, car-based SUVs  are hot and electric cars are on the rise. It doesn’t take a British automaker to see the combination has potential. This concept is a thinly veiled preview of Jag’s pure electric hatchback (ahem, I mean “crossover”) and it’s quite a looker. Despite its billing as an SUV, the I-Pace sits long and low with wheels pushed to the far corners. The stance promises performance and the company claims a supercar-like 4.0 second to 60 mph run, delivered via a pair of 200 horsepower electric motors sitting front and back. Under normal driving, the I-Pace aims to achieve 220 miles between charges with its 90 kWh battery. Perhaps most impressive, given this is the big cat’s first foray into electric drive, with both the motor and battery packs  developed in-house rather than licensed from a larger automaker. Expect the I-Pace to ring up around its chief competitor, the Tesla Model X, costing around $70,000.

Lucid Air EV
Lucid Air EV

The spectre of Tesla’s success marrying high-dollar luxury with electric drive looms large over all new entries into the electric car market. Newcomer Lucid Motors aims to duplicate Tesla’s success with their $52,500 (after federal incentives) Lucid Air electric sedan. Lucid is also targeting mainstays BMW and Mercedes-Benz with their 400 horsepower, 240 mile range EV, but Tesla has the most to fear from the Air, which is promising similar performance and additional features while undercutting Tesla’s Model S sedan. Even fully loaded Airs with 1,000 horses on tap, are being promised for nearly $35,000 less than a top trim Model S. It’s easy to make such promises, but harder to actually produce a viable product; a lot can happen between when someone takes a reservation, and when the first Air rolls off the as yet unbuilt factory’s floor in 2018.

The EXP 12 Speed 6e electric GT concept
The EXP 12 Speed 6e Electric GT Concept

Bentley, long a stately purveyor of silky-smooth yet potent ultra-luxury vehicles for the Gray Poupon set, is dipping a pedicured toe into the electric waters with the EXP 12 Speed 6e GT concept. Details are scarce for the beautiful concept, though Bentley promises an epic range and cordless, inductive charging. Yet, in a nod to electric wiring everywhere, the jet-age cabin is trimmed in copper. Although it’s difficult to speculate how their rarefied clientele will react, electric motors, with their quiet and smooth operation and gobs of torque, are the perfect fit for the character of Bentley’s languid luxury barges.

Renault Trezor electric concept
Renault Trezor Electric Concept

Speaking of the jet-age, that golden era when automakers showcased far-flung concepts that long ago gave way to the modern practice of using concepts to test production-ready designs. Renault bucked this trend to give us a thoroughly fantastical concept of pure automotive fantasy, although the company promises styling elements that will work their way into production cars. Still, a thing of beauty can exist for its own sake, with this particular example said to be inspired by “falling in love,” which handily explains the lurid red which fills the cabin, from the real ash wood notes to the plush leather! Oh, and Renault says this concept is powered by the same 349 horsepower drivetrain as the Formula-E Electric Race Car, giving some go to all that show.
Audi Etron Quattro concept
Audi Etron Quattro Concept

Audi, although left less besmirched than parent brand VW by the ongoing emissions scandal, is still had its star dimmed by brouhaha, and VW, eager to get back into good grace has professed a newfound commitment to electrification. Enter Audi’s pre-scandal “E Tron” electrified sub-brand. The E Tron Quattro concept previews their efforts at the inevitable mid-sized SUV they’ll have to field against the Tesla Model X - the segment is too profitable cede to the competition without a fight. Audi promises a segment-busting base range of 311 miles and a production date sometime in 2018. Expect prices to be comparable to the Model X and other, gas burning, luxury SUVs. / Issue 190 - April 8365
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