Electric vehicles are bigger than ever at this year's Chicago Auto Show with a host of new all-electric cars and trucks. The show, which is is back after a five-month delay, is the longest-running in the US, and now in its 113th year.
The biggest debut at this year’s show is the Ford F-150 Lightning, the company’s brand-new electric truck. The immersive experience in the show’s outdoor area gives a captivating show of everything it can do. Ford is also showing the new GT version of the Mustang Mach-E and the new Bronco 4x4 and Maverick truck.
Kia has a prime spot for its first all-electric car, the EV6 and during the press conference teased an upcoming release of a faster GT version to follow. Nissan has a selection of new vehicles on display including its upcoming all-electric Ariya. There’s also a chance to see recent electric vehicles such as the VW ID.4 – in its upcoming Pro trim – Chevrolet’s latest Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, and Jeep’s hybrid Wrangler 4XE offerings.
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Jeep Wrangler 4XE
While it’s not a full EV, the Wrangler 4XE is a plug-in hybrid that gives you an estimated 49 miles per gallon and a 370 mile range from the combined 2-liter turbo-charged and electric engines. The 4XE can run for up to 21 miles on electric alone, making it ideal for short trips. For longer trips you can save the electric power for when you need it. You can get the Wrangler 4XE in Sahara, Rubicon and High Altitude models starting from $49,805.
Kia’s new design ethic called opposites united sees a brand-new look for its first all-electric vehicle. It’s a sporty design with some seriously cool curves on the front and hard edges on the rear but still offers bags of space in the 4-door interior. It comes in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive options and is based on Kia’s new electric car platform, the E-GMP. It has up to a 300-mile range and can be charged at home or on a range of 400v and 800v DC fast chargers across the US. Inside there are dual-curved 12.3-inch screens and an augmented head-up display. The EV6 first edition will cost $58,500.
Continuing the EV trend of the cross-over style, the Nissan Ariya is an all-electric vehicle with either two-wheel long-range or all-wheel-drive options. This is Nissan’s third generation of EV and it is building on that knowledge with the Ariya. It has a projected 300-mile range for the long-range model and lots of technology inside. The intelligent rear view mirror switches between a real mirror and a LCD display view from the rear mounted camera on demand. There’s Pro Pilot Assist 2.0 for highway driving, auto parking, a head-up display for navigation and speed and an adaptive cruise control. Reservations will open later this year with a price starting around $40,000.
VW ID.4 Pro S
The initial VW ID.4, its first all-electric, sold out before it even hit the road in the US but the new Pro, Pro S and AWD Pro S models are coming with the Pro now available to reserve. This SUV stands out from the rest of the VW gas vehicles, with cleaner lines, LED taillights and a minimalist interior. There’s a 10-inch touch screen, a digital display cluster and features VW’s advanced driver assistance technologies (IQ Drive). The range is estimated at 260 miles and it is compatible with the Electrify America charging network across the country. Prices for the ID.4 Pro start from $39,995.
Ford F-150 Lightning
If any one vehicle is going to change people’s attitudes to electric vehicles it’s the Ford F-150 Lightning. Taking the world’s most popular vehicle (let alone truck) 100% electric is a bold statement and the result is impressive. It’s new but not too different in looks from the gas F-150 models but it packs some serious technology and features. Inside there’s a portrait 15-inch display and a drop-down gear lever, allowing you to create a work surface in the center of the truck. Up front there’s now a massive space where that engine used to sit known as the Mega Power Frunk, which now offers 400lbs of storage.
This is very much a work vehicle, with 9.6kW of power available through 11 outlets in the vehicle to power anything from work tools to camping lights. While the Ford Intelligent Backup Power means it can even power your house for up to 10 days in the case of a power outage. It can carry 2,000lbs of payload and tow up to 10,000lbs.
There’s 300 miles of range in each charge and access to a full network of charging stations (as well as a 32-amp home charger). Prices start from $39,974.
- The Chicago Auto Show 2021 runs through July 19.