Electric vehicles have come a long way. Back in the early days, consumers tended to laugh at the worst EVs on the U.S. market. Once the prize-winning EVs by Tesla appeared, green cars were never the same. As of 2017, you can find Hyundai and BMW officially in the plug-in mix along with Nissan, Tesla, and Detroit. In other words, electric cars are a competitive affair across the globe.
Nonetheless, concerns about price and anxiety about range still exist. To help lower emissions levels and jumpstart the industry, the federal government continues to offer a $7,500 tax credit for buyers of EVs of a certain battery size. Many state governments are making EV purchases even easier for consumers, in some cases offering another $5,000 in discounts off the original sticker price.
Still, every affordable (sub-$30,ooo) EV is unable to cover 140 miles on a charge, so consumers need to do their homework when planning a work commute and other activities in gas-free cars. Here are the top 10 electric vehicles ranked by total driving range.
10. Kia Soul EV
The electric Kia Soul EV was a significant entry in the scene in 2014, but not much has changed since. It still boasts an adequate 93 miles of total range and 120 miles per gallon equivalent in city driving, which is enough for many commuters. At a base price of $32,250, Soul EV lags behind a few other plug-ins on the market but still offers a decent green option for its price tag. Kia also features a plug-in hybrid version of Optima.
9. Nissan Leaf
Many electric cars have come onto the scene since the Nissan Leaf debuted in 2010, but it remains in the top 10 of range in 2017. The 2016 model’s 30 kilowatt-hour battery pack kept Leaf relevant with 107 miles of range on a fill charge. Classified by the EPA as a midsize car, the Leaf boasts an impressive efficiency rating of 112 MPGe, with up to 124 MPGe in city driving. The base MSRP dropped close to $30,000 in late 2016.
8. BMW i3
BMW has the most sustainable production model for an electric vehicle in its city-friendly i3, which has an EPA-estimated range of 114 miles. In addition, i3 offers the equivalent of 118 miles per gallon combined (up to 137 MPGe in the city). Green car consumers who want the option to have greater range can choose the range-extended version (REX) capable of 97 miles on electric power and 180 miles total.
7. Ford Focus Electric
In the 2017 Focus Electric, Ford delivered a viable EV that is still affordable. An electric Focus is capable of 107 combined MPGe and covers 115 miles on a full charge. Compared to the average new car getting 26 miles per gallon, a Focus Electric ($29,120) can save owners at least $4,000 in fuel costs over a period of five years. It has a post-rebate price under $22,000 before you add in state incentives, making it a solid buy in 2017.
6. Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Prior to releasing three versions of the Ioniq, Hyundai only had Sonata hybrids in its green car stable. The situation changed with the arrival of Ioniq Electric ($29,500), which is capable of 124 miles on a full charge. On top of that solid figure, Hyundai’s first pure EV gets a world-beating 136 MPGe combined. No other pure EV comes close, and Ioniq Electric’s 150 MPGe in the city boggles the mind. The EPA estimates you can drive 25 miles at a cost of $0.81 in this car.
5. Volkswagen e-Golf
Rated at 119 MPGe, the Volkswagen e-Golf is among the most efficient cars on the U.S. market. Along with that strength, the electric Golf offers 125 miles of range on a full charge for the 2017 model year. While cars like the i3 and Nissan Leaf are dedicated electric vehicles, the e-Golf is built on the same platform as its gasoline counterpart and handles very much like a standard gas Golf on the road.
4. BYD e6
In China, electric vehicle sales are moving faster than they have in America, and the Warren Buffett-backed BYD has a lot to do with it. While there has been talk of moving these affordable EVs to America, U.S. consumers can only lease taxis versions of e6 as of Spring 2017. On that front, Chicago-area Uber drivers — the only ones driving this car in America — get an impressive 187 miles of range on a full charge. There is one negative about this model: e6 is rated at an unimpressive 72 MPGe combined.
3. Chevrolet Bolt EV
In terms of breakthrough vehicles, no car, electric or otherwise, compared to the splash of Chevrolet Bolt EV in 2016. Sales started sluggish for GM’s tech showcase in 2017, but once decent inventory hits dealerships this car will move quickly. As far as cars under $40,000 go, no EV comes close to Bolt EV’s range of 238 miles. Our January 2017 test of the first everyman EV revealed it’s nearly everything you could want in a utilitarian electric car.
2. Tesla Model X
Consumers looking for an all-electric SUV have only one choice in 2017: Tesla Model X. While there were some design glitches early on, Tesla seems to have worked out the kinks. As far as range goes, Model X is right at the top of the class with 295 miles in the 100D trim. At $98,500, the Model X will cost about the same as a Mercedes S-Class sedan, but you get three rows of seating and those slick gull-wing doors.
1. Tesla Model S 85D
Without exaggerating, you could say Tesla Model S revolutionized the auto industry. The world’s top luxury automakers would not be scrambling to produce EVs of their own had Elon Musk’s creation never appeared. Model S range varies depending on the model, but S 100D rules the roost at 335 miles. At $92,500, it’s considerably more expensive than most of the pack, but its extraordinary drive character and range make it worth every penny. Just test-drive one and tell us we’re wrong. The lowest Model S trim (75 kilowatt-hours) offers 249 miles of range and starts at $69,500.
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