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The big electric car launches to expect in 2019

Alanna Petroff
Senior Economics Correspondent at Yahoo Finance UK
Volkswagen is taking a big bet on this new all-electric VW ID car. Source: Volkswagen

Automakers are rushing out at least 20 new electric cars into the British and European markets in 2019 after years of work and billions of investment.

A handful are generating a significant amount of buzz, including the world premiere of the new Volkswagen ID Neo.

The electric launches are ramping up as regulators clamp down on emissions and drivers increasingly look to swap to more environmentally friendly models.

Just 2% of cars sold across Europe are fully electric or hybrid, according to the latest quarterly report from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). But sales growth for electric cars has been growing at a rate of nearly 40% per year.

“Clearly [the automakers] have continued confidence that there will be a growing market,” said Charlie Henderson, an expert in transport and self-driving cars at PA Consulting.

Here’s a small selection of some the most highly anticipated cars that are expected to launch in Europe in 2019, according to Al Bedwell, a director and seasoned industry expert at LMC Automotive.

VW ID Neo

Source: Volkswagen

The name “Neo” is still a working title, but this car is expected to “reinvent” the category of affordable electric vehicles, according to Bedwell.

“It will be positioned slightly below the Golf in order to maintain an attractive price and help to further establish battery electric vehicles in the mainstream and continue to improve VW’s image after the dieselgate episode,” he told Yahoo Finance UK.

A Volkswagen (VOW3.DE) spokesperson told Yahoo Finance UK that you’ll be able to begin ordering the car in the spring, and production will begin later in the year. However, customers will only start getting deliveries of their new ID cars in early 2020.

“We estimate European sales of circa 60,000 per annum in the medium term, with potential for significantly more in the long-term,” said Bedwell.

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is set to arrive in Europe in February. Photo: Smith Collection/Getty Images

The Tesla Model 3 is coming to the European market after a rocky debut in the US that was marred by high-profile production problems.

European deliveries are expected to begin in February, according to Tesla (TSLA).

The first cars will come equipped with a special battery, giving them a range of up to 560 km (348 miles). These will be the higher-end versions, with the more affordable Model 3s coming later.

We expect Tesla’s Model 3 to achieve similar volumes to those of the ID Neo in the medium term,” said Bedwell. “However, there is a risk attached to this outlook. If Tesla fails to introduce the lower priced versions of the Model 3, then volumes will be lower, perhaps in the 30,000 to 40,000 per annum bracket.”

Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback

Audi is debuting its first all-electric vehicle – the e-tron – in Europe in the first quarter, though a few early deliveries already landed in dealerships in The Netherlands at the end of December.

Audi, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, launched this premium electric SUV to capitalise on growing global demand for large vehicles with more environmentally friendly credentials.

After launching in Europe, the vehicle will debut in the US in the second quarter of 2019, according to an Audi spokesperson.

Bedwell expects sales of this high-end vehicle will be in the range of 25,000 per year in Europe.

Later in the year, Audi is also expecting to begin deliveries of its new e-tron Sportback.

The others

The Mercedes-Benz EQC and Honda Urban EV are two other highly-anticipated new models that are expected to launch in 2019, alongside the Peugeot 208 EV.

The following list, compiled by What Car?, outlines all the other electric vehicles that are slated to launch in the UK this year.

BMW iX3

Mini Electric

Kia Soul

Aston Martin Rapide E

DS 3 crossback E-Tense

Hyundai Nexo

Kia e-Niro

MG E-motion

MG eZS

Renault Zoe

Vauxhall eCorsa

Volvo XC40 electric

The increasing number of new offerings in 2019 demonstrates that companies and buyers are clearly seeing that these cars aren’t just about going green, said Henderson of PA Consulting.

“Electric is not just environmental; it can be sporty, a people carrier, a sports utility vehicle, a luxury vehicle, a family car,” he said.

However, Henderson notes that many drivers will still be reluctant to move away from traditional fuel-powered cars due to “a combined fear of change and range anxiety.”

“For most of us the move to electric vehicles is a step we may support but are perhaps unwilling to make ourselves,” he said. 

It’s expected that roughly 1.9 million 100% electric vehicles will be sold globally in 2019, according to electric vehicle expert Prajyot Sathe at market research firm Frost & Sullivan. When you add in plug-in hybrid versions, total sales are set to surpass  2.8 million cars.

“The electric vehicle market will account for 3% of the total passenger car market. China will continue to lead with over 58% market share, followed by Europe and North America,” he told Yahoo Finance UK.

Bedwell predicts that sales of 100% electric vehicles in Europe will reach 300,000 this year, up from 180,000 in 2018.