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The electric vehicles debuting this year that you should know about

Car companies all over the world have announced plans to shift the focus of manufacturing to electric vehicles. And those plans mean you are getting more choices when it comes to buying an EV

Electric cars parked at charging stations on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. Car companies all over the world have announced plans to shift the focus of manufacturing to electric vehicles.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

If you watched the Super Bowl, you likely paid just as much attention to ads as you did the game. My favorite featured an outraged Will Ferrell gathering his famous friends to go “crush” Norway because the country “sells way more electric cars per capita than the U.S.” He assured us that soon everyone will be able to drive an electric car. Part of that promise could be fulfilled by the company that paid for that ad, General Motors.

The auto manufacturer recently announced it will no longer make gasoline and diesel light-duty cars and SUVs by 2035. It has also committed to releasing 30 new electric vehicles by 2025 with the majority available in North America. Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick will all have offerings “for every style and price point.”

GMC Hummer EV

One of the most eye-catching options is available for reservation right now, and it’s the world’s first all-electric supertruck. The GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 is sleeker that what you envision when you think of Hummers. The Infiniti Roof has four removable panels that drivers can store in the frunk, thanks to the absence of an engine. There’s also a massive 13.4 touchscreen display (about the same size as my MacBook Air). GM estimates a driving range of farther than 350 miles on a charge and the ability to charge for 100 miles in just 10 minutes.

And then there are the optional upgrades.

Super Cruise technology includes conveniences like handsfree driving and limited automatic lane change. The Hummer EV will also have upgrades to help on your off-road adventures. Crabwalk technology allows the Hummer to drive diagonally at slow speeds and Ultra Vision with underbody cameras all to navigate tricky, rocky trails. The Hummer EV will retail for $112,595.

Nissan Ariya

If you’re looking for an electric vehicle with a lower price tag, Nissan is offering its first all-electric crossover SUV starting at $40,000. The Nissan Ariya can drive about 300 miles per charge and comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with built-in Amazon Alexa. It also has advanced driver assistance called ProPILOT Assist 2.0 with hands-free single-lane driving and self-parking features. The interior is meant to feel like a lounge and Nissan opted out of putting any sort of tablet-like touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard. Instead, there is a horizontal line of displays meant to resemble a wave.

“The human eye naturally looks from side to side when driving,” according to Tomomichi Uekuri with the engineering team at Nissan. “People can see and absorb more information if it’s laid out horizontally. Peripheral vision works this way as well.”

Volvo XC40 Recharge

Volvo’s first all electric compact SUV can charge 80% in 40 minutes with a full charge lasting farther than 200 miles. The Volvo XC40 Recharge starts at $53,990 and has no start button, drivers just take their seat, select a gear and go. Volvo is the first company to team up with Google to integrate its operating system. Drivers will have Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play available in the car, even without their phones.

You may be asking yourself when someone would drive somewhere without their phone. You got me. But if you do, you’ll still have all of Google’s capabilities in the XC40 Recharge.

Toyota’s offerings

Toyota is releasing two fully electric models this year. The company considers itself a leader in EVs, since introducing the Prius nearly 25 years ago. Toyota currently holds more than a 40% share of the total alternative fuels vehicle market. In 2019, the company announced a partnership with fellow Japanese car manufacturer, Subaru, to jointly develop an electric SUV that each company would sell under its own brand. So while Toyota hasn’t said specifically which two models it will introduce this year, that SUV may be one of them. Company executives are hinting at a wide variety of electric options coming down the pike.

“Toyota’s new electrified product offerings will give customers multiple choices of powertrain that best suits their needs,” according to Bob Carter with Toyota Motor North America.

Other car manufacturers

Ford and Volkswagen have said they will become carbon neutral by 2050 with Volvo and Mercedes Benz setting an earlier target date of 2040. And with GM’s announced plans to offer only electric vehicles by 2035, expect a flood of EV choices to come your way sooner rather than later.