To maximize aerodynamic efficiency, there’s a good reason why so many electric vehicles (EVs) have futuristic styling. Plus, some EV buyers want to show off their environmental choices with more radical-looking vehicles that stand out from the sea of same-looking gas-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs.
However, some buyers prefer a more stealthy approach to EV ownership with a vehicle that has a more subtle style. If you want a new sleeper electric car, check out these seven new EV models that look like regular cars.
Sharing Audi’s familiar styling with its gas-powered Q3 and Q5 SUV siblings, you may not recognize the Q4 is only powered by batteries. The five-passenger, all-wheel drive (AWD) Q4 e-tron quattro joins the larger Q8 e-tron SUV and e-tron GT sedan as the third battery-electric vehicle (BEV) in Audi Canada’s lineup. Available in traditional SUV or coupe-like Sportback body styles, the Q4 e-tron’s 295-horsepower drivetrain offers up to 380 kilometres of driving range and employs one electric motor for each axle. Inside the Q4, it embodies the typically well-executed Audi themes, but with sustainable materials used where possible.
A member of BMW’s 4 Series compact sedan family, the i4 is a covert EV. Not only does the i4’s styling, both inside and out, look almost exactly like a gas-powered 4 Series, but it also drives like a “regular” BMW. While comfortable over long distances, the electric BMW’s low centre of gravity (lower than the 3 Series sports sedan), near-perfect 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution, and wide track make for a compact EV that relishes curvy asphalt. Rear- and AWD are available, as are three power levels (282-, 335-, and 536-hp), with driving ranges from 433 to 494 km.
Canada’s perennially best-selling vehicle is like a witness protection program on wheels. If you want your EV to blend in with the crowd, we can think of no better choice than the Lightning version of Ford’s highly regarded, competent, and successful F-150 full-size pickup truck. There’s just one cab, a SuperCrew with four proper doors and five seats. With standard AWD, it can tow up to 10,000 pounds and carry a payload of more than 2,000 lbs – the standard-range battery results in 452 hp and between 386 and 483 km of range. The extended-range pack delivers 563 hp and 515 km of range. Both offer a mighty 775 pound-feet of torque.
Disguised as an innocuous mid-size luxury sedan, the new Electrified G80 allows for discreet and luxurious EV driving. Traction at all for wheels is standard, as is 365 hp and up to 454 km of range. Inside, the battery-powered version is all G80. This means an expansive 14.5-inch infotainment screen that can be paired with an equally clear and sharp-looking 12.3-inch digital gauge display. The result is a vast and airy EV that offers acres of headroom and legroom in both the front seats and spacious second row.
Practical and charming, Canadians have always loved Kia’s Soul. The compact hatchback’s size and shape make parking easy, and its cargo space is similarly impressive. The battery-electric Soul EV embodies the same set of qualities as its gas-engine counterpart but with up to either 248 or 383 km of range. Both versions offer a hot hatch-like 201 hp and 291 lb-ft via a single-gear automatic transmission. You also get “big car” features like the larger 10.25-inch multimedia interface with integrated navigation and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Speaking of fun-to-drive small hatchback EVs, we would be remiss in not mentioning the all-electric Mini Cooper SE. Mini’s EV is available only as a two-door Hardtop. Power comes from an electric motor, making 181 hp and 199 lb-ft, sent to the front wheels only via a single-speed automatic transmission. While the Cooper SE does not have a generous driving range (estimated 183 km), it looks like every other Mini, just as fun to drive, charges relatively quickly, and is among the least-expensive new EVs currently sold in Canada.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge turns heads, but not because it’s an EV. Like the gas-electric hybrid version, the battery-electric Recharge’s unique styling combines sophisticated Swedish style with a lot of practicality for such a small SUV. The XC40 also gets one of the better interiors in its competitive class. The design is upscale, and the quality of the materials is top-notch. As for the EV part, the XC40 Recharge Single Motor RWD can be driven up to 359 km before needing a, er, “recharge,” while the Twin Motor AWD version’s range is rated at 409 km.