Ten new hybrid and electric cars and concepts for 2022
Car design steps closer to total electrification, as seen in our pick of ten new debuts
The new normal is a world without the expensive fanfare of a regular calendar of international motor shows, making car launches a more frequent and inevitably online kind of affair. Spring was traditionally the turn of Geneva, and although the show will still go on in 2023, that hasn’t stopped a number of new cars and concept cars from breaking cover at this time of the year. Here’s our guide to the top ten debuts of the season.
Ten of the best new hybrid and electric cars and concepts
1. Audi Urbansphere concept
Completing the trio of concept vehicles that began with Audi Skysphere and continued with the Grandsphere, the Audi Urbansphere eschews outlandish aero and low-slung design language in favour of a massive passenger cabin. Described as the ‘largest interior of any Audi to date’, the Urbansphere is a true living room on wheels, without a steering wheel, pedals or instrument panels. With swivelling front seats and an (imagined) full suite of autonomous driving features, the Urbansphere offers up a vision of life – whether work or pleasure – on the automated highways of the future megacity. Expect the basic form language of the concept to form the basis of Audi’s first MPV.
2. Genesis X Speedium Coupé Concept
The Genesis X Speedium Coupé was unveiled at the brand’s Genesis House, a new cultural space in New York’s Meatpacking District. A development of 2021’s Genesis X Concept coupé, the Speedium has a sci-fi name and a slender, long-roof body shape that evokes the more idiosyncratic side of the grand touring era of the 1960s and 1970s.
3. Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV
The EQS SUV is the latest in Mercedes’s line-up of pure electric cars, joining its acclaimed EQS saloon sibling at the top of the product tree. The SUV shares the saloon’s underpinnings, only this is a more conventional body style, smoothed over to create the EQ range’s characteristic lozenge-like appearance. The resulting aerodynamic machine should be good for around 381 miles of range. Inside, there’s the optional dashboard-wide Hyperscreen and also the possibility of a third row of seats, making this one of the few all-electric seven-seaters on the market.
4. BMW X7 and 7-Series
Not only has BMW facelifted its flagship conventional SUV, the X7 (top), to bring it closer in spirit to the all-electric iX, it’s also revealed the next-generation 7-Series saloon. The latter is the company’s traditional flagship and tech showcase and comes in an all-electric i7 model with plug-in hybrids to follow next year. At nearly 5.4m long in standard form, it’s one of the biggest cars on the market. Most of that space is directed at the capacious rear compartment, enhanced by options like the 31.3in 8K BMW Theatre Screen with up to 36 Bowers & Wilkins speakers and reclining ‘Executive Lounge’ rear seats. Other options include Swarovski crystal headlights and a Sky Lounge panoramic glass sunroof with integral light show. The i7 has a projected range of up to 388 miles.
5. Lexus RZe
The new Lexus RZe was designed from the ground up to be pure electric from the outset. Interestingly, the exterior tones down the rather gauche design language that tends to sit a bit awkwardly on an ICE platform. Better proportions give the creases and crimps more space to breathe, and the fared-in grille is a marked improvement. Inside, there’s the first appearance of a steering yoke, not a wheel (available from 2023), part of a cabin set-up that gives the driver a greater sense of engagement with the road. Range is expected to be over 250 miles, with spirited acceleration and Lexus’ traditionally high levels of interior equipment.
6. Ferrari 296 GTS
Ferrari’s new 296 GTS drops the top on the 296 GTB, making this the car to beat in the open-air supercar category. It goes head-to-head with McLaren’s 720S Spider – still an impressive machine despite being well over three years old. The 296 GTS provides an update in the form of its hybrid powertrain, which together with its V6 puts out a combined power figure of 819hp. The folding hardtop roof flips open in 14 seconds, and the performance figures are typically out of this world.
7. Smart #1
The last time Smart made a four-door, it paired with the Renault-Nissan alliance. The result was the Smart Forfour, which shared its proportions and platform with the Renault Twingo. Now the German company is moving into the realm of the ultra-compact SUV with the introduction of the #1, a name that implies something of a reset for the brand. This time, the tech partner is Chinese giant Geely. Designed in Germany, with electric underpinnings fabricated in China, the #1 aims to be the all-conquering world car that the original two-seater never quite managed to be. Pared-back forms, inside and out, imply no-nonsense practicality.
8. Maserati Grecale
Maserati’s latest foray into the world of SUVs takes the form of the new Grecale. Slightly smaller than the Levante SUV, the Grecale is an important car for the Italian luxury manufacturer. Aimed at the still-expanding urban SUV market, the Grecale is being rolled out with a strong emphasis on bold contemporary palettes and cutting-edge infotainment technology. Four bespoke trim sets are available at launch, GT, Modena, Trofeo, and Folgore, inspired by Italian fashion, architecture, and performance, with the Folgore model set to be the first full-electric SUV offering from the company. Inside, the famous dash-mounted clock is now a digital screen, providing access to the Maserati ‘assistant’ as well as offering a number of different display options.
9. Honda e:Ny1 Prototype
A preview of next year’s Honda e:Ny1 has been revealed, a car that hopes to do for compact electric SUVs what the exceptional Honda e did for city cars. It doesn’t quite have the cheeky presence of its smaller sibling, but more space and a longer range should help it become much more than a cult vehicle, offering more practicality for the brand’s traditionally older customers.
10. Lincoln Star Concept
Ford’s Lincoln division celebrates its centenary in 2022. The last few years have been a bit rough on this bastion of American luxury, as its venerable Continental model lost the battle for market share to high-end saloons from Germany, leaving it an SUV-only business. This is the Lincoln Star Concept, a vision of a next-generation pure electric SUV that takes the company’s design language to another level, through interactive lighting, a multifunctional first-class cabin, and plenty of space for luggage. The Star isn’t slated for production, but it previews the three new EVs that are due from the brand by 2025.