Your Guide To Choosing The Right EV
The number of electric vehicles (EVs) is growing by the day and your choices are not nearly as limited as they were just a year ago. The super-sedan EVs are headed by the likes of the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S, but several others are waiting in the wings, not least the much-anticipated Lucid Air. EVs are available locally from a starting MSRP of about $30,000. During the course of 2021, you will be able to buy EVs from more than 30 different car brands in the USA, some of which are new on the motoring scene, such as Bollinger, Karma, Lucid, and Rivian.
Perhaps most exciting in the US context is that the nation’s staple conveyance, the truck, is also being electrified. An all-electric version of the Ford F-150 is due soon and will shortly be joined by the Tesla Cybertruck, Hummer EV Pickup, and Rivian R1T too. Choosing an EV will very much depend on what you need in terms of size and number of seats, as well as how much you are willing to pay. The entry price into EV ownership is still relatively high, but prices will come down as economies of scale kick in and batteries become cheaper.
The Best EV’s In Each Class
We’ve divided the EVs currently available in the US or due in 2021 into four groups:
Discounting fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) such as the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity Fuel Cell that require hydrogen and hybrids such as the Karma Revero GT and Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, there are numerous main players:
- Porsche Taycan
- Tesla Model S
- Tesla Model 3
- Audi e-tron GT
- Lucid Air
- Polestar 2
If you don’t mind the smaller size, the Model 3 is far and away the best value for money, with the Performance topping out at $55,990 and offering staggering performance at the price. But among the hyper-sedans occupying that niche where 0-60 mph times are between two and three seconds, the Porsche Taycan is the best. It runs the Model S close in sheer performance numbers, despite weighing more and having less power, thanks to its two-speed gearbox, and it sets new standards for ride and handling; it’s a true Porsche. But the Model S Plaid+ might unseat it, promising the benchmark sprint in two seconds, but at the whopping MSRP of $140k.
Reflecting current market trends, there are a lot more electric SUVs, because that’s what people want.
- Tesla Model Y and X
- Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback
- Ford Mustang Mach-E
- Volkswagen ID.4
- Mercedes-Benz EQC
- Kia Niro EV
- Hyundai Kona Electric
The Audi e-tron and Ford Mustang Mach-E run it close, but there is no touching the Tesla Model Y crossover SUV in this class, for the same reasons as the Model 3 and with the same size caveat. The Volkswagen ID.4 promises much, offers excellent ride quality, a spacious and airy cabin, and fast-charging is standard on all trims and models. If the Model Y is too small, the Model X starts at $89,990 and offers more space for people and cargo.
An electric hatchback is usually used for the city commute and does not have to have a long range, but it must be affordable. So, what’s available?
- Mini Electric
- Chevrolet Bolt EV
- Nissan Leaf
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric
- BMW i3
In this sparsely populated class, it’s an easy win for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, and it will be even farther ahead following the $5,000 cheaper price at which the new model will sell for when it launches this summer. Even the old one, at around $37k with 200 horsepower and an EPA-estimated range of 259 miles is hard to beat. The base-model Mini Electric might be cheaper still at $29,900, but the upcoming Chevy is proof that good range can be had at this price. Negotiate hard on the current one.
They aren’t here yet, but Americans are holding their breath for their favorite vehicle – the truck – to arrive in EV form. Several will reach us in 2021 and they will just keep coming. We haven’t tried them out yet, so we don’t know which will have the best features and specs. Here are a few all-electric and hybrid-assisted variants to look forward to:
- Tesla Cybertruck
- Ford F-150
- Rivian R1T
- Hummer EV Pickup
Pros And Cons of EV Life
As with anything, there are pros and cons to owning and running an EV.
- Unbeatable efficiency. EVs might not go quite as far on a charge as many internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles yet, but they are incredibly efficient. An electric motor has an efficiency of over 90 percent, whereas an ICE can hardly top 40 percent. In terms of miles per gallon, the electric MPG equivalent is MPGe and EVs fare far better than ICE cars on this score – their ‘fuel economy’ is much better.
- Silence. Since there is no thrashing of pistons revving and fuel being burnt, EVs are dead silent, except for the rush of the wind and the sound of the tires on the road.
- Instant torque. Immediate acceleration, with far better pickup than an ICE car.
- Zero emissions. With no tailpipe emissions, they don’t contribute to city smog and they are greener than ICE cars. Even taking into account manufacturing emissions, they overtake ICE cars before 20,000 miles traveled and from there on, they just get greener.
- Tax rebates. In some states in the US, you can get tax rebates for buying an EV.
- Charge at home. If you install a level 2 charger, you can always charge at home and only have to use public charging stations on road trips.
- Range. You still can’t go that far on a charge in comparison with most ICE cars, unless you buy a $140,000 Tesla with 1,020 hp and a range of over 390 miles.
- Limited availability. There still isn’t a very big choice – but it’s getting bigger by the day.
- Higher MSRP. EVs are still more expensive to buy than ICE cars, but that will change as batteries get cheaper to produce.
- Charging time. You can’t charge in five minutes, but fast charging can put a lot of range in the battery in less than an hour. Just plan your charging stops.
Try Them Out
All that remains for you is to decide what you want and what you are willing to spend. Read every review on the models on your shortlist, and go for a test drive or two before committing.