The 2010s were a significant decade for the electric mobility industry with carmakers taking various approaches to the same problem: burning fossil fuel generates pollutants, so electric motors are the cleaner alternative. I’ve picked my top 10 electric/electrified cars of the 2010 that I felt were most impactful for their cause (not counting concepts or models that haven’t been delivered yet).
- Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S was key to the success of the American EV-only carmaker. It changed the game with bragging rights for quickest acceleration and a plush cabin rather than preaching about the environment or cost savings. The first-gen Model S from 2013 could do 0-96kph in 2.8-seconds.
- Nissan Leaf
The Leaf is the opposite of the Tesla in that it was built to be an EV for the masses – decent range, not too expensive and simple. Nissan’s first-gen model claimed 160km of range, 30-mins to quick charge from 0-80% and 8 hours for a home outlet.
- Toyota Mirai
Toyota is renowned for the Prius hybrid as the eco-friendly mass-market option. However, the Mirai is the carmaker’s green car of the decade for taking the alternate fuel option towards electric mobility. Unlike most EVs which are battery-powered(BEVs), the Toyota Mirai uses hydrogen fuel cells(FCEV). I’ll explain the details of its workings another time but just know that FCEVs are more time-efficient for refueling as they can be topped up from special hydrogen gas-pumps like normal ICEVs.
- The Holy Trinity
This one is a bit of an internet cheat but a valid one. The Holy Trinity in the car world refers to the first three hypercars from mainstream car brands – McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari La Ferrari. All three cars began production in 2013 and used hybrid technology for extreme performance. The McLaren was a RWD monster with a combined output of 902bhp and 980Nm using a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 and a 4.7kWh lithium-ion battery. The Porsche 918 Spyder was the most clever of the three as it used a mid-mounted 4.6-litre naturally-aspirated V8 with a 6.8kWh battery powers two electric motors for a total output of 874bhp and 1280Nm sent to all four wheels. Both the P1 and the 918 Spyder also have EV modes. Then there is the LaFerrari which is best-looking and best-sounding thanks to its 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12. The engine was mated to a KERS type electric motor for a total output of 949bhp and 900Nm sent to the rear wheels only. While the LaF didn’t strictly have an EV driving mode, it used the electric motor at low speeds like while parking to avoid straining the V12.
- Jaguar I-Pace
Apart from Tesla, most carmakers’ cool-EVs were still stuck in concept stage. Until Jaguar brought forth its own electric-SUV – the I-Pace. With conventional doors, familiar cabin layout and pretty exterior, the I-Pace was definitely a landmark moment in the charge towards electric mobility solutions.
- Tesla Model 3
That’s right. Tesla had two landmark EVs in the 2010s and the second one is its most recent offering that is already being delivered to customers. The Model 3 is Tesla’s first mass-market offering and the entry-model for the brand. It still has a focus on driving experience and has been pitted by many publications as the eco-friendly alternative to something like the BMW 3 Series.
- BMW i8
Onto the coolest hybrid of the decade, we have the BMW i8(Coupe). This thing just looked absolutely stunning in its launch-spec Protonic Blue finish with blue accents on the normal-sized grilles. This thing looked like a proper sportscar complete with butterfly doors. On paper, the specs were not as impressive – 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre turbo-petrol paired with an electric motor for a combined output of 357bhp and 570Nm. But almost everyone lucky enough to drive one loved the i8 for its driving experience. Sadly, the i8 is a bit too crude for the future and BMW will be stopping its production in April 2020.
- Porsche Taycan
After Tesla’s dominance in the electric-perfomance-luxury-sedan segment with the Model S, it was time for a mainstream carmaker to rise to the challenge. When Porsche announced it’d be launching a new production series all-electric sedan called the Taycan, many of us were excited about it. With its racing pedigree, reputation amongst driving enthusiasts and a world-famous penchant for clever engineering, Porsche’s EV had to be something awesome. Well, the Taycan finally came at the tail-end of the 2010s. It’s packed with clever EV tech, looks like a Porsche would, has much nicer interiors but it doesn’t match Tesla’s acceleration times or range. However, Porsche did set a segment-record at the Nürburging Nordschliefe. Much depends on the Taycan thus its significance in the shift to EVs and its inclusion to this list.
- Rimac Concept One
World’s first all-electric hypercar with 1073bhp and 1600Nm of torque, the Concept One introduced the name ‘Rimac’ to the petrolheads.
- Hyundai Kona Electric
The Kona EV edges out other valid candidates on my list because it’s the first long-range EV to be offered in India with a realistic range of around 300km on a full charge. It’s also the first EV I’ve ever driven and it’s interesting to experience the immediate torque and regenerative braking first hand. Hyundai made the first move and I hope they make a cool all-electric hatchback or compact sedan soon.
What do you think of our list? Which ones would you include in this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below and subscribe to The Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.