The best electric SUVs to take on an Alpine roadtrip

Whether it's a Scandinavian snow-beater or a sleek SUV from Mercedes-Benz, these are the eight finest clean-running cars for a winter drive...

Batteries, famously, fare badly in the cold. It’s something to do with the lithium; in lower temperatures, the chemical reaction is slowed down and you run out of juice faster, whether you’re powering your phone, your camera, your earbuds — or even your car. And, with the regulation-enforced rise of electric vehicles, winter-ready SUVs are the latest capable class of cars to emerge.

These clean-running, frost-beating motors are fitted and kitted out with chunky tyres, plenty of torque and scores of electric driving aids to see you safely through the snow. There’s an electric Bentley Bentayga on the way, and an electric Range Rover will be rolled out in 2024. Mercedes-Benz even revealed an all-electric G-Class concept last year. Here, we’ve rounded up eight of the best Alps-ready SUVs available to buy right now…

Polestar 3

Why this SUV? Because, while Polestar’s first SUV may not be motoring around the roads just yet, we can guarantee that, in white (the colour, fittingly, is called ‘Snow’) it’ll be the perfect glass-roofed option to take in mountain views.

How will the battery do? Well. The Polestar 3 has a purported range of up to 379 miles. And, while this may drop somewhat when you’re driving up inclines in low temperatures, it’ll take only 30 minutes to charge back to capacity.

Where should you take it? Though it would look most handsome in its native Sweden (we’d spin it round Storvätteshågna), we’d suggest the peaceful slopes of Morzine in the Alps, just shy of the Swiss border.

Rivian R1S

Why this SUV? Because it’s big. Rivian’s other SUV, the pickup-based R1T, may look like a better option for your skis, but your gear will also fit easily in this family-friendly model. Plus, the R1S’ ‘Off-Road Rally’ mode proactively distributes power between all four wheels — and is tons of fun.

How will the battery do? Incredibly. The Rivian team have invested an enormous amount of time and energy into testing their battery systems — and findings show that you’ll get 316 miles of driving per charge, to temperatures as low as -25°C.

Where should you take it? While the brand is headquartered in California (take it to the Sierra Nevada Mountains if you’re based that way), we’re hoping to take a R1S to the wilds of Austria when the model hits British shores later this year. The Loop of Schlögen won’t know what’s hit it.

Tesla Model X Plaid

Why this SUV? Because of that 17” touchscreen. It’s an extraordinary infotainment system in a brilliant car — and will allow you to easily, reliably navigate every corner and cranny of every valley on your Alpine roadtrip.

How will the battery do? What do you think? Tesla has been doing this for years. And, with over 1,000 horsepower under the bonnet, this triple-motor model not only hits 60mph in 2.5 seconds, but it will also keep on going for 333 miles. You’re in safe hands.

Where should you take it? It’s one of the first electric SUVs brought to mass market, so stick with that traditional spirit. And there are few places in the Alps more classic and comfortable than Switzerland’s high-class hideout; St. Moritz.

Maserati Grecale Folgore

Why this SUV? Because it’s the first all-electric SUV from Maserati, landing later this year. It’s got lashings of Italian elegance writ large across those sweeping curves — and a road-tripping top speed of over 200kph.

How will the battery do? Decently. It has a 105kWh battery pack which promises up to 590 pound-feet of torque, but likely won’t deliver over 300 miles of range per charge. So don’t go getting too adventurous.

Where should you take it? It was dreamt up and built in Italy, so why even leave the country? Val Gardena is particularly pleasant; with rare birds from eagle owls and rock ptarmigans and some of the best snowsports in the region.

BMW iX M60

Why this SUV? Because it’s the first purpose-built electric vehicle created by BMW since the i3 in 2013. Cleanly designed and future-facing, it’s got a spacious interior, two-axle air suspension and intelligent all-wheel drive.

How will the battery do? Impressively. In just six minutes, you can juice up at a high-power charging station to 62-mile capacity — although BMW does admit that outside factors, including low temperatures, could skew those stats.

Where should you take it? The Bavarian Alps — where else? This pioneering German SUV has an almost angry, angular look about it, so it’ll look right at home zooming up to jagged crags of the Mangfall Mountains.

Volvo EX90

Why this SUV? The space. While the BMW and the Rivian have plenty of room, this seven-seater is even bigger. Plus, with Bowers & Wilkins speakers, you’ll be able to soundtrack your roadtrip in plush, luxurious style.

How will the battery do? It’s got a 111 kWh capacity, and will fast-charge from 10% to 80% in just 30 swift minutes. At 408 horsepower, the motors are under half as powerful as the Tesla above — but a range of 363 miles more than makes up for any shortcomings.

Where should you take it? As with fellow Swedish manufacturer Polestar, this Scandi-brand is used to deep snow. So go off the beaten track with Volvo’s electric flagship; over the Col du Parpaillon into France’s Durance Valley.

Mercedes-AMG EQE

Why this SUV? Because it’s the perfect blend of luxury and performance. It’s futuristic, sporty and the modern one-bow design — with its frameless doors — not only increases its aerodynamics, but also gives the car a unique shape.

How will the battery do? Its ultra-lightweight high-performance battery developed in Affalterbach, with a ‘special thermal concept’. As a result, you shouldn’t see too many miles drop off that 295-mile range.

Where should you take it? Back to the German Alps. But, whereas the BMW above suited the angular mountains, this slick motor would look most at home flying fluidly around the coast of Bavaria’s Lake Eibsee.

Jeep Avenger

Why this SUV? Because Jeep has more know-how in the SUV sector than almost any other brand. It may be the smallest vehicle made by the manufacturer, and intended mainly for the European market, but it’s a great option for exploring.

How will the battery do? Equipped with Jeep’s ‘Selec-Terrain’ drive mode (‘Snow’ is one of six options), the 54 kWh battery will give you a 340-mile range in urban environments — and a 250-mile range when off on an Alpine adventure.

Where should you take it? It’s the smallest car on this list, so why not take it to the smallest country in the Alps? Liechtenstein only has a handful of resorts, but ski-resort village Malbun is well worth a clean-running visit.

More of a petrol-head? Here are the best luxury SUVs to take on an Alpine roadtrip…

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