The time has finally come when electric cars have hit the mainstream. Every major city now has charging stations, and every dealer has at least hybrids for sale for the discerning customer. The explosion of choice is great, but now, all of the options can make it hard to find the best one for you. It’s a good problem to have, and to fix it we’ve gathered together 10 of the top rated electric cars for sale on the market today.
Things To Consider When Making a Choice
Electric cars are so different from their internal combustion forebears that even seasoned mechanics and gearheads will need to brush up on the technology to understand the differences between models. Despite the economic and environmental benefits of electric cars, they still have not reached the performance levels of standard gas-powered cars.
It’s good to know exactly where your electric car of choice falls short, so you know what you are getting into. Let’s look at some of the things you should consider before choosing a make and model.
One of the major sticking points for people over the adoption of electric cars is the driving range. Driving range is basically a measurement of how much the electric car’s battery can hold, charge-wise, and how efficient it is at using its charge to propel the car. Even with a full charge. Most electric cars can’t go as far as gas-powered car on a full tank.
However, advancements are made every year, and the maximum range of electric cars creeps ever closer to the magical 200-mile mark. The range at which experts think will convince consumers that electric cars are just like gas guzzlers.
If you are a city dweller, you can probably get away with getting a car with a driving range of less than 100 miles. You won’t often have far to go, and there are lots of charging stations in the big cities nowadays. Outside the city, however, and you may have to spring for a longer ranged car. 125 miles and up should suit rural and suburban folks. You just have to keep an eye on the charge and plan accordingly.
With their lower energy density power supplies and focus on efficiency, electric cars are lagging behind in the performance department. Not that most people need high speeds, quick acceleration and hairpin turning, some people just like to have it. If you want a car that feels more like a gas powered one, luckily some models have increased their performance to match.
A good “at a glance” measurement to tell you how the performance of an electric car is the 0 to 60 speeds. A top rated electric car can reach 60 miles per hour in under 10 seconds and will feel pretty good, as far as electric cars go. Any longer and it will feel sluggish.
How a car charges is almost as important as how much it can charge. Quick charge capability is almost required, but there must be an infrastructure in place to take advantage of it. There’s also “superfast” charging that is, of course, faster but not available on all models. Having “smart” charging systems is also a plus, as they can manage your charging to help you battery live longer.
Electric Car Reviews
Here’s our list of some of the top rated electric cars on the market today.
1. Nissan Leaf
The Leaf is one of the top-selling electric cars to date, and for a good reason. Its range isn’t all that far, only up to 150 miles on the most expensive models, but it makes up for it in other areas. It’s comfortable, has a great interior, modern extras, fast (but not superfast) charging and an advanced autopilot system called PROpilot. Topped off with a relatively affordable price, the Leaf is a fan favorite and solid choice for city folks.
2. Hyundai Ioniq
This car has been a surprise hit in recent years. The Ioniq has a decent range at 150 miles on the highway and has many efficiency features to stretch the charge. Some of the bigger draws are its “normal” and attractive look, modern and spacious interior and smart features like eco-driving which automatically changes your acceleration to be more efficient. A decent vehicle at a decent price; your preferences will likely draw you to this vehicle.
3. Volkswagen eGolf
This car might be the most “normal” on the list, and many people like it that way. It looks and feels like a standard Golf and doesn’t have all of the futuristic (and faux futuristic) features and aesthetics that most electric cars have. The range is OK at around 125 miles but bear in mind that this car doesn’t have an internal heat pump for its battery. This makes it lighter and slightly more efficient unless you live in a cold climate where frigid weather will affect battery charge and life.
4. Chevrolet Bolt
A recent breakout star, the Chevy Bolt is being hailed as the first “affordable” electric car. The price is right, and it has an impressive 238-mile range. This is especially helpful since it doesn’t have superfast charging. The handling might not be the best, but the acceleration is good, and it is packed with extras. The interior is smallish but attractive. The Bolt is a serious contender for the top rated electric car in the nation, winning Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award 2017.
5. BMW i3
The BMW i3 is a fantastic car, but mostly just for city slickers. The max range, on the special model, is only 113 miles. It handles well enough for city streets, but don’t start any races. Where it shines is the BMW trademark luxury. Cutting edge extras and spaciously beautiful interior design help keep the focus on driver comfort.
6. Smart Fortwo Electric Drive
The ultimate city car. This Smart car is tiny, with only two seats like others from the company’s line. This small size lets it maneuver around parking lots and city street like a pro, and its “average” acceleration feels zippy on its small frame. The driving range is only 80 or so mile, but as a city car, you shouldn’t need much more. Still, the ForTwo charges exceptionally fast, even without quick charge systems.
7. Kia Soul EV
One of the bigger electric cars on this list, the Kia Soul EV is a hair away from being an SUV. That’s good news for larger drivers, but the bad news is that its range is a bit low, falling just short of 100 miles. The quick onboard charging helps mitigate this, but this car is mostly bound to the city. It has all the bells and whistles, though, so you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth.
8. Tesla Model 3
Tesla’s “affordable” model that promises to break electric cars into the mainstream. It has the performance to rival gas powered cars and the handling to boot. Also, since Tesla is one of the top electric car battery manufacturers, their cars have exceptional range. The Model 3 has a minimum 220-mile range on a full charge. There are plenty of high tech extras to be had, but some have said perhaps too many.
9. Tesla Model S
The peak of electric cars. The top of the mountain. The Model S outperforms most gas-powered cars, and outranges them at up to 335 miles. It is sleek, sexy and packed to the gills with cutting-edge features like autopilot and smart charging. It takes the top spot on top 10 electric cars lists everywhere. It has some drawbacks, most notably the steep price but also recent concerns over durability have arisen.
10. Ford Focus Electric
The Ford Focus Electric is a “compliance” car that is only available in select markets. It is at its core a converted gas car, but this helps it feel more like a “normal” car. The pricing is ok, but everything else about the car is average. The range is standard at just over 100 miles. The most recent models do have quick charging, though. Unless you are a real Ford fan, there might be better options.
The Widening Market
The great thing about increased choice is that now, you aren’t forced to look for a particular model to get quality. If you are looking for a well-priced car that goes far and performs well enough in nearly any situation, our pick would be the Chevrolet Bolt.
If you are looking for performance and luxury and have some money to spend, you literally can’t do better than the Tesla Model S. But if you are looking for luxury but don’t need blistering acceleration or long, road trip range, the BMW i3 is a great option. City drivers can have the luxury and comfort they want but none of the things they don’t need.