The technology has been here for a while. But electric cars are finally coming into their own, with a vengeance. There are now many different electric cars to choose from. We have luxury electrics and zippy commuter vehicles.
In addition, there are mid-sized family cars, minivans, and sporty coupes. Most importantly, current electric vehicles now come at a variety of price points. And some are quite affordable. Let’s have a look at some current electric vehicles (EVs) and electric vehicle manufacturers. And then we’ll take a peek into the future to see what may be coming down the assembly line next.
Some Surprising Players
We all know about Tesla’s wallet-busting luxury electric vehicles. If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve put the idea of an electric car on the back burner of your mind, thinking “It’s a neat toy, but not at that price.” But there are a huge number of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids on the market today. And you might be surprised by the familiar names of some of today’s electric vehicle manufacturers.
Did you know that Hyundai has several different electric cars on the market? And a few familiar names now have electric versions, including the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, and a couple different versions of the SMART car. Whatever your needs, chances are, there’s an electric vehicle made just for you.
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What Types of Electric Cars are There?
There are two main types of current electric vehicles:
- 100% Electric Vehicles: These are all-electric vehicles, which include Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), plug-in electric vehicles, and electric conversions of traditional combustion engines.100% Electric Vehicles have rechargeable batteries that charge from an external source, such as a wall socket.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicles: These types of electric cars combine a fossil fuel powered engine with an electric propulsion system. Plug in hybrids can charge up the electric battery from an external source, like a wall socket. Others use the combustion engine to recharge the battery.
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Top-Rated Current Electric Vehicles
When electric cars first came onto the market, the top three complaints were that they were expensive, couldn’t travel very far between charges, and couldn’t go very fast. No more. Current electric vehicles can deliver up to than three hundred miles of range, can match the speed of gas-powered vehicles, and come at a variety of price points. So what types of electric cars have been getting the best critical reception? Let’s have a look.
The Titans: Tesla and BMW
1. Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is a luxury large car, and its price — a cool $68,000 — reflects this. What do you get for that kind of money? Well, how about the best range on the market? In addition, reviewers call its power and performance “breathtaking,” and its interiors “upscale.” It has excellent cargo space and can seat seven.
2. Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X is a midsize luxury SUV, and it shows. Coming in at around $85,000, it has a long range and is built for comfort. It also has a self driving option. In addition, U.S. News and World Report found it powerful and outrageously responsive.
3. BMW i13
U.S. News and World Report also had good things to say about this sporty little BMW. Reviewers liked the power and handling, natch. In addition, they appreciated the fact that the interiors contained largely recycled and renewable materials. They also liked the “futuristic” interior and intuitive technology controls.
Top Affordable Electric Vehicles
It’s no surprise that plenty of luxury models made Car and Driver’s “best of” list for 2017-2018. Nor that luxury cars took the top two spots in U.S. News and World Report’s most recent survey. But what did come as a surprise were the ones that matched, or even beat out the luxury brands. Let’s have a look at some of the top rated affordable types of electric vehicles on today’s market.
4. Ford Focus
The Ford Focus Electric has been getting top marks from many different reviewers. This affordable car offers a lot of range for its price (a little less than $30,000). In addition, reviewers describe the interior as “upscale.”
The Bolt by Chevrolet actually came in at #2 on the Car and Driver survey. Car and Driver liked its acceleration and range (190 miles). In addition, they were impressed by the way this small, powerful hatchback handled itself on rough roads. Digital Trends also liked the Bolt — and its $30,000 sticker price), calling it “the everyman’s electric car.”
6. Kia Soul
U.S. News and World Report gives high marks to the all-electric Kia Soul. In addition to good power, U.S. News reports that the Soul has ample passenger room and storage space, making it a comfortable, as well as confident ride. In addition, Digital Trends rated the Soul as the best electric crossover vehicle.
7. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf is a familiar name in electric cars. But Nissan has upgraded it for 2018. Car and Driver found the new Leaf to be a good all-around car for everyday use, with an impressive quick charge option. In addition, Digital Trends calls the new Leaf affordable and “worth the wait”. They also liked the Leaf’s semi-autonomous driving aids.
8. SMART Electric
Everybody’s favorite two-seater windup car is back, and it’s electric. Digital Trends praises its quick power-up and quiet motor. In addition, they found the new Smart Car is good value for money.
What’s Next in Electric Cars?
1. Tesla Model 3
It’s no surprise that Elon Musk has something new in the works. And this time, it’s a Tesla for the Rest of Us. With an estimated price of around $35,000, the Model 3 will compete with mid-priced combustion engine cars, and the more affordable current electric vehicles. Will owners sacrifice Tesla quality for a nearly 50% price slash? The Week says that the sacrifices will be mostly cosmetic. The infotainment tech will also be slightly less impressive. But a Tesla at that price? It might be well worth a look.
2. Nissan IDS
The Nissan IDS concept car is a gorgeous, sporty vehicle. The main selling point, aside from its cool appearance, will be its autonomous driving features. The IDS will be priced higher than Nissan’s Leaf, and its battery pack will have twice the energy.
3. Audi Q6 e-Tron Quattro SUV
Bouncing back from the fuel efficiency scandal, Volkswagen is positioning itself as a leader in all electric vehicles. Elektrek reports that VW plans to produce two to three million all-electric vehicles a year by 2025. The Audi Q6 e-Tron Quattro SUV will be one of them. The price may give a person pause — around $75,000. But in exchange for that, the vehicle will have an amazing range — around 310 miles.
Current electric vehicles come in an immense variety of sizes and price ranges. In addition, the types of electric cars continues to grow. Electric vehicle manufacturers continue to design different electric cars for different users’ needs. The future is electric.
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Featured Image CC BY 2.0, by Karlis Dambrans, via Flickr.