1. Honda e
Who wouldn’t want to zip around the streets of KL in a cute, little Honda e? The Japanese carmaker’s dinky EV brings some serious retro vibes to the electric table, with some nifty gimmicks such as dashboard-length screens that double up as an aquarium and cameras for wing mirrors. Like the Nissan Leaf, its range (circa 220km) is better geared towards urban use than interstate drives. But isn’t that more than sufficient now that long-distance road trips are a thing of the past?
2. Hyundai Ioniq 5
The Hyundai Ioniq was one of the most underrated C-segment cars of its time when it was sold here, packing a peppy 1.8-litre hybrid drivetrain, a dual-clutch transmission and a menu of driver aids that would still look good in 2021. That very nameplate has far transcended the art of mild electrification to become one of the most definitive electric icons of the year. The Ioniq 5’s styling is a medley of vintage cues and bold, original statements while its 300bhp dual-motor output and 470-km promise make for an EV that’s both impressive and aspirational. Prices start from about £37k (RM213k) in the UK, so it’s not exactly cheap. But you know what they say about good things…
3. Mazda MX-30
The MX-30 brings one of the features we loved in the RX-8 back to Mazda showrooms: hidden suicide doors. And they open up to a cabin that’s typical of the brand; stylish and minimalistic, with better use of materials than most of its segment peers. Mazda’s first production EV subscribes to the same principles as Honda, with a smaller battery good for 200-or-so kilometres deemed to be more carbon neutral than bigger packs for longer range. Sure, it’s yet another crossover to add to Mazda’s long list of SUVs. But it’s a promising first step into electrification, with an enticing rotary range extender supposedly around the corner.
4. Volvo C40 Recharge
The Volvo C40 is exactly like what its name suggests – a low-roofed offshoot of the Swedish carmaker’s popular compact SUV, just fully electric. Its fuel-less powertrain is largely the same as what you’d find in the XC40 P8 Recharge, the engine-less variant of the XC40 that could also debut in Malaysia in the near future to complement the recently-launched XC40 T5 Recharge PHEV. There’s quite a bit of power here; 402bhp and 660Nm to be exact, good for a 4.9-second century sprint. This performance is bolstered by 418km of range and a 78kWh battery that can be filled to 80 per cent in just 40 minutes using a 150kW charger.
5. Volkswagen iD.4 GTX
For about the same price as the Ioniq 5, EV adopters in the UK can have a 500-km electric SUV with a VW badge on it. The iD.4 is built on the same MEB platform underpinning the iD.3, but we reckon the larger EV of the two probably makes a stronger business case for Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM). The base model has ‘only 201bhp’, but a sportier iD.4 GTX with 295bhp, a 6.2-second century sprint and adaptive suspension that rides 15mm closer to the ground is also in the works. That’s the one we have our eyes on.
6. Audi e-tron GT
The e-tron GT is essentially a Porsche Taycan in Audi clothing. It is built on the same VW Group J1 platform and shares quite a bit of equipment, right down to the clever two-speed gearbox mounted on the rear axle. Unlike the electric Porsche, the e-Tron GT is only offered in AWD in typical Audi fashion. The base quattro makes do with 469bhp (523bhp with overboost) and a 2.5-second 0-100 time while the RS e-Tron GT – the first Audi EV with this badge of honour – makes gets 590bhp (637bhp with overboost) to facilitate a 3.3-second century sprint. Range tops out under 500km for the e-Tron quattro, so it won’t be troubling Tesla much. But should mileage be a deciding factor for a car that looks and drives (probably) this good?
7. BMW i4 M50
The M division’s first electric car of sorts is already as fast as its sixth M3 in the century sprint (3.9 seconds). And that’s without taking into account the multiple performance updates between generations. This is possible thanks to the i4 M50’s two-motor setup that develops 537bhp and 795Nm of twist. You also get 510km of WLTP range – 590km if you’re willing to drop the performance for the eDrive40 variant – making it a viable four-door electric GT option to the pricier Taycan. In the UK, it retails for £52k against the £70k Taycan RWD, which retails from RM585k in Malaysia. Any guesses on the final price, should BMW launch it here?
8. Mercedes EQS
How fast is it off the line? How aerodynamic is it? How far can it go before a recharge is required? These are EV ownership essentials you do not need to worry about if you’re purchasing the electric equivalent of an S-Class to be driven around in. Who cares if it’ll do nearly 800km on a single charge? Mercedes says it’ll recover 300km of range in just 15 minutes when hooked up to a 200kW charger. Tell that to the driver. Malaysia was the first country outside Germany to assemble the S-Class, so don’t rule out the possibility of a CKD EQS at S-Class prices. Then again, is cost even a hurdle?
9. Ford F-150 Lightning
This one’s a super long shot. The Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle. And its expert transition to full electric drive is nothing short of remarkable – converting an engine bay fit for a V8 to a ‘frunk’ is certainly quite the achievement. The F-150 was sold in Malaysia in small numbers via a CKD and RHD conversion joint venture between local distributor Hamawangsa and the UK’s Clive Sutton. We wouldn’t bet on them doing the same for the Lightning given the reasons behind one’s desire to buy an F-150 in the first place, but who knows. Terrorising the streets in a silent pickup that’s too big for Bangsar’s parking spaces might just be the in thing come 2025.