Tech

All the concept cars that became real EVs

Sure, there’s some futuristic daydreaming involved in the making of EV concept cars, but some of these what-if machines actually get made into the real thing.

While it’s easier to turn concepts into NFTs, like the ones EV maker Fisker announced this week, concept cars, and the wild, headline-grabbing ideas about the next generation of electric vehicles they embody do come to fruition in some form, sometimes. The original renderings and product descriptions may be more fanciful than what’s ultimately delivered — and that can be disappointing — but enough design and performance elements can sometimes make it through to production that it can be plausible for an automaker to say what was once just a concept is now a real thing you can buy.

These EVs might not have full self-driving capabilities while the driver naps in a sleep pod in the backseat or an accompanying hovercraft that guides the way, but they exist or will be street-ready soon.

BMW iX

The concept: Vision iNext.

The real deal: iX, coming out in early 2022 with 300-mile range, $83,200 starting price.

Purple hues surround a car parked in a tunnel space.

The autonomous future.
Credit: BMW

A white BMW car facing forward.

In reality, it’s more basic.
Credit: Brittany Levine Beckman / Mashable

First dreamed up at the Paris Auto Show in 2018, the iNext was an autonomous fever dream. The car had a retracting steering wheel and converted into a comfy living room with rotating front seats for a cozy Level 3 autonomous driving experience. The iX is still electric (the first battery powered SUV from BMW) but not so self-driving.

BMW i4

The concept: i4.

The real deal: i4, coming out in early 2022 with 300-mile range (there’s also a 245-mile version), starting at $55,400.

Rose gold car with kidney-shaped grille facing forward.

The concept i4.
Credit: BMW

Gray car with front doors open.

And the real thing.
Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable

The i4 started as an idea for BMW’s first electric gran coupe. And it’s materialized. The i4 stayed true to its vision as an all-electric performance vehicle. While it didn’t hit as long of a range as hoped (almost 400 miles as a concept but only 300 miles in reality), it’s still fast and sleek.

Nissan Ariya

The concept: Ariya.

The real deal: Ariya, coming in fall 2022 with 300-mile range and starting at $38,450.

A blue car turned toward the left.

The Ariya as a concept.
Credit: Nissan

A golden car with trees in the background alongside a white fence.

The Ariya in reality.
Credit: Nissan

First shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, the Ariya is coming to life. It looks similar to the concept SUV that was once on display. It’s the first electric SUV from EV powerhouse Nissan (Its Leaf was one of the earliest all-electric options).

Cadillac Lyriq

The concept: Lyriq.

The real deal: Lyriq, coming in first half of 2022 with over 300-mile range and $58,795 starting price.

Car in front of glass buildings and trees.

Cadillac, but make it electric.
Credit: Cadillac

Close-up of the front grille.

The Lyriq keeps its Cadillac pride through and through.
Credit: Cadillac

The Lyriq — the first electric SUV from Cadillac — didn’t stray far from its concept roots. It was always planned to be Cadillac’s first EV with fast charging, 300 miles of range, and hands-free driving on the freeway with General Motors’ Super Cruise feature. Inside, the 33-inch diagonal screen is still shining in this decidedly modern Caddy.

Fisker Ocean

The concept: Ocean.

The real deal: Ocean, production starts in November 2022 with up to 350-mile range and $37,499 starting price.

A sketch of a car with the words "Fisker Ocean One."

Literal blueprints.
Credit: Fisker

Fisker sign above the car

Ready for primetime.
Credit: Rachel Kraus / Mashable

Fisker showed its first car at CES 2020 and now the concept version is set to go into production with car-friendly karaoke and a “California mode” that opens all the windows (even the back windshield) at once. The eco-minded Ocean still has a solar roof and recycled materials throughout.

Kia EV6

The concept: Imagine.

The real deal: EV6, coming in 2022 with over 300-mile range and $56,000 starting price.

The word "Imagine" behind a gold car with doors open

Imagine what an electric Kia could be.
Credit: Sergei Fadeichev / TASS / Getty Images

A dark car in front of a gate.

Here it is.
Credit: Kia

The EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated EV. The electric sedan came from the Imagine concept idea at the Geneva Motor Show in 2019. The production version is less sleek, and has doors that open the normal, boring way. Also, the slightly futuristic steering wheel in the production model only hints at the concept car’s steering wheel, which was an abstract sculpture. But hey, it’s still an all-electric car.

Mercedes EQS

The concept: Vision EQS.

The real deal: EQS, deliveries started mid December with 350-mile range and $102,310 starting price.

Mercedes kicked off its electric vision with, well, the Vision EQS. It was first debuted in 2016 as a way to combine electric with luxury in an S-Class level sedan. The EQS materialized into a luxurious EV as intended. It’s also Mercedes first foray into battery power.

Polestar 5

The concept: Polestar Precept.

The real deal: Polestar 5, coming in 2024.

In early 2020, Volvo’s performance brand, Polestar showed off a sustainability-focused concept in the shape of a sporty sedan: the Precept. Then at the end of 2021 Polestar announced the Precept was coming to life as the Polestar 5 — eventually. It’s first focusing on an electric SUV, the Polestar 3.

Toyota bZ4X

The concept: bZ4X BEV Concept.

The real deal: bZ4X, coming mid-2022 with 250-mile range.

A silver car faces toward the left

Toyota’s first idea for an electric SUV.
Credit: Toyota

A light colored SUV on the highway

It’ll soon be on the road.
Credit: Toyota

Toyota, reluctant to get into all-electric vehicles after its success with the hybrid Prius, finally unveiled an electric SUV concept earlier this year. Then, this fall it committed to making it into a real car for sale, although pricing hasn’t been announced yet. Somehow the bizarre name stuck (bZ stands for “beyond Zero).

Volkswagen ID.4

The concept: ID.

The real deal: ID.4 (and ID.3 in Europe).

A white car with tinted blue windows goes by a road sign.

The Volkswagen ID series has a funky vibe.
Credit: Volkswagen

A blue car drives on a road next to the freeway.

An electric SUV arrives.
Credit: Volkswagen

Back in 2016, Volkswagen was already thinking electric. It kicked off its ID series with a dream of a long-range battery and plenty of autonomous features. This year the first electric Volkswagen SUV arrived in the U.S. as the ID.4.

Volvo Recharge series

The concept: Volvo Concept Recharge.

The real deal: XC40 Recharge (available in 2021 for $55,300 starting with 220-plus battery range) and C40 Recharge (early 2022 with 225-mile range and $55,000 starting price).

A blue car facing forward at an angle

Volvo’s vision is electric.
Credit: Volvo

Silver car faces toward the left.

Going electric, one ICE model at a time.
Credit: Volvo

Volvo is determined to go all-electric, so it’s starting with electrified versions of its existing gas-powered SUVs. That’s how the XC40 came into existence, but instead of an engine you’ll only find electric motors and a battery. While similar to the gas version in looks, once inside, you’ll see a dashboard screen featuring all Google software, from maps to music.

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