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There are plenty of electric vehicle options on the market. Consumers have a wide variety of SUVs to choose from, thanks to multiple reputable brands. In fact, choosing an electric SUV in 2023 is a difficult choice for many drivers. Here are some key factors to consider when searching for an electric SUV model in 2023.

Types of electric SUVs in 2023

Before diving into comparing electric SUV models, it’s important to understand how they are classified. What is an electric vehicle, and are there variations of electric vehicles?

Electric vehicle types

  • Battery electric vehicle (BEV)
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)
  • Fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV)

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are three main types of electric vehicles. A common misconception about EVs is that they are all battery electric vehicles. The following table displays some of the most popular electric vehicles and their classifications to further explain the differences:

Electric Vehicle TypeMake/Model Examples
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)*Tesla Model Y
*Tesla Model 3
*Ford Mustang Mach-E
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)*Toyota Prius Prime
*Toyota RAV4 Prime
*Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV)*Hyundai Nexo
*Toyota Mirai
*Honda Clarity Fuel Cell (Discontinued)
Examples of different types of electric vehicles.

If these examples haven’t provided enough clarification as to the differences between EVs, allow me to explain from the perspective of an automotive journalist and fan of electric vehicles. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are the most common of all EVs today. BEVs use batteries instead of internal combustion engines to power and move vehicles. Popular electric SUVs like the Tesla Model Y are recharged instead of refueled using gas. They require charging stations.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) use internal combustion engines as well as a battery and electric motor(s) to power and move vehicles. Popular plug-in hybrid SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 Prime don’t rely on charging stations. When charged, they can travel for limited distances using electricity only, drastically improving their fuel economy. Finally, fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are the least common of all EVs. The 2023 Hyundai Nexo is the only fuel-cell electric SUV on the American market. FCEVs are powered by hydrogen instead of gasoline.

Factors to consider when choosing an electric SUV

  • Price and cost of ownership/affordability, tax credit eligibility
  • Driving range and charging capability/charging time
  • Features and performance

The first question to ask yourself when considering an electric SUV in 2023 is, “Can I afford this?” Electric SUVs are significantly more expensive than gas and hybrid SUVs. Does the SUV you are considering have a value proposition that’s appealing? Does it have any known reliability issues that will factor into its cost of ownership? Many EVs are eligible for a federal electric vehicle tax incentive that can save you thousands of dollars.

The next thing to consider when choosing an electric SUV is the driving range. How far can this electric SUV travel? Does it have access to Level 2 (fast charging), and how long does it take to charge?

The final thing to consider when choosing an electric SUV is its performance specs. Is it exciting to drive or sluggish? Furthermore, does the SUV have any features that you are excited about?

How to choose the right electric SUV for you in 2023

A white Tesla Model Y small electric SUV is parked on the street.
The Tesla Model Y | Tesla

If an SUV doesn’t fit your needs, budget, and lifestyle, it probably isn’t the choice for you. The best-selling electric SUV in 2023 is the Tesla Model Y small electric SUV. Its popularity is accredited to its relative affordability, substantial driving range, and tempting performance specs.

The Tesla Model Y checks several boxes for most American consumers, making it an easy choice in its segment. Additionally, few automakers have mastered the art of producing a fine electric vehicle the way Tesla has. That being said, Hyundai Motor Company is producing several notable electric SUVs across its portfolio of brands. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 are great electric SUV options for 2023 as well.

A gray Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric SUV is parked.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Hyundai

Toyota is currently producing some of the most formidable plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2023. As for fuel-cell electric vehicles, the industry has a ways to go before there are enough appealing options for consumers.

Let us know which electric SUV you think is best for 2023 in the comment section below.


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