1.TESLA MODEL 3
Why should you buy this? It is simply the best electric vehicle on sale.
Who’s it for? Those willing to expand their horizons and experience the future of transportation — today.
How much will it cost? $39,500
Why we picked the Tesla Model 3:
The most exciting vehicle on the market isn’t a million-dollar supercar, a broad-shouldered truck, or a seven-passenger SUV. No, the car the world can’t wait to drive is an all-electric sedan from a startup automaker called Tesla.
Modestly stylish on the outside, luxurious on the inside, surprisingly fun to drive, and available with up to 310 miles of range, the Tesla Model 3 checks all the right boxes. But that’s just the beginning. Where the Model 3 truly impresses is its innovative convenience and safety features (including some of the industry’s best semi-autonomous driving aids) and future-proofed technology. Thanks to Tesla’s over-the-air updates, Model 3 is always improving and can be reconfigured according to your needs and wants — even after you buy the car.
Tesla may be experiencing the growing pains most mainstream automakers have long overcome, and the Model 3 hasn’t been immune from quality-related problems, but the tech startup has much to teach the automotive industry about how to build a compelling product. Though it may be a while before your Model 3 order is fulfilled, we can assure you this one is worth the wait.
2.CHEVROLET BOLT EV
Why should you buy this? It’s the first affordable electric car worthy of a road trip.
2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Bolt EV is the perfect blend of accessibility, usability, and fun.$36,620 FROM EDMUNDS
Who’s it for? Drivers who want to give up the gas without sacrificing range.
How much will it cost? $36,620
Why we picked the Chevrolet Bolt EV:
For years, consumers essentially had two choices when it came to electric cars — low price or usable range. Relatively affordable EVs like the original Nissan Leaf could be procured for under $30,000, but they needed recharging after about 80 miles which is inconvenient at best. On the other end of the spectrum, luxury EVs like the Tesla Model S could top 300 miles between charges, but their price tags made them an unrealistic option for most.
In 2018, we finally have an electric car for the everyman — the Chevy Bolt EV. Boasting a range of up to 238 miles and a cost under $40,000, the crossover-esque Bolt is reshaping the world of EVs by making them accessible to the masses. Consider the glass ceiling broken. Practicality and affordability are just two elements of a good car though, but thankfully, the Bolt has much more up its sleeve. While we prefer the more expensive Model 3, if you won’t be able to your hands on a Model 3 for a while (and need an electric commuter ASAP), the Bolt is a fantastic alternative.
With a total output of 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, the Bolt EV is quite zippy. Factor in the low center of gravity afforded by the floor-mounted battery pack, and you have a planted, stable, and surprisingly responsive people-carrier that never needs to visit the gas station. Add in a spacious and comfy cabin, a standard 10.2-inch touchscreen, and DC fast charging options, and you have an industry game-changer you’ll actually want to drive. It’s available in all 50 states and there’s no waiting time to get one.
The best affordable EV
Why you should buy this? The Nissan Leaf is one of the most well-rounded electric cars on the market. It’s affordable and it’s available right away all across the nation.
Who’s it for? Eco-conscious commuters seeking a zero-emissions ride to work.
How much will it cost? $29,990
Why we picked the Nissan Leaf:
Nissan made waves when it introduced the original Leaf in 2010. The UFO-styled hatchback was the first affordable, mass-market electric car of the 21st century. The Japanese firm let it wither on the vine for too long, however, and it undeniably showed its age as it entered its seventh year on the market. We recently drove the brand-new, second-generation model and concluded it was worth the wait.
Not as wild-looking as its predecessor, the new Leaf offers 150 miles of range thanks to a 40-kWh battery pack that feeds a 147-hp electric motor. It still doesn’t qualify for the coveted “long-range” label but it’s a lot more usable than its predecessor. If that’s not enough, Nissan also offers a more expensive model called Leaf e+ with up to 226 miles of range thanks in part to a bigger, 62-kWh battery pack.
The redesign ups the Leaf’s tech quotient, too. It’s now available with ProPilot Assist, which is Nissan-speak for a suit of semi-autonomous driving aids that lets the Leaf accelerate, steer, and brake on its own when the right conditions are met. We tested the system and concluded it’s basically an adaptive cruise control system with added steering assist.
The best luxury electric car
Why should you buy this? It looks, feels, and drives like nothing else on the road.
Who’s it for? Metropolitan drivers that want to stand out, ride comfortably and park easily.
How much will it cost? $44,450
Why we picked the BMW i3:
The BMW i3 is about as different from other cars as can be. It’s not just the electric powertrain — the i3 features an advanced carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body shell, wheels that look like pizza cutters, and an interior trimmed in a plant-based material called kenaf. Some people buy electric cars to save gas, and some buy them to make statements. Can you guess which customer this one is for?
With up to 153 miles of range, the i3 is quiet, smooth, and luxury car cozy, but with a handling prowess absent from most battery-powered cars currently on the market. That’s because the car’s carbon fiber construction keeps its weight under 3,000 pounds, and the steering remains quick enough to keeps things lively behind the wheel.
BMW also offers the i3 REx with a two-cylinder gasoline engine that acts as a generator to provide up to 180 miles of range. The REx model is no longer a zero-emissions car, but it becomes a lot more usable than the standard battery-powered i3.
4.TESLA MODEL S PERFORMANCE
The best electric performance car
Why should you buy this? It’s ludicrously quick and you’ll never have to stop for gas.
Who’s it for? Adrenaline junkies, executives, YouTube stars.
How much will it cost? $119,000
Why we picked the Tesla Model S Performance:
If we were to judge based on capability alone, the Tesla Model S would unquestionably be our pick for the best electric vehicle. We live in the real world though, and with a starting price of $78,000, the fact remains that many people simply can’t afford to drive a new Tesla.
However, if you can swing the Porsche-like base price, and you’re looking for something fast, comfy, and emissions-free, the range-topping Model S Performance equipped with the optional Ludicrous Mode is right up your alley. With its 100-kWh battery, the Performance boasts a zero to 60 time of just 2.4 seconds, making it one of the quickest production cars on the planet. The big battery gives the sedan an impressive 345 miles of range as well, so you’ll have plenty of juice to test the Model S’ incredible acceleration.
Performance is just one part of the equation, though, because Tesla continues to push the boundaries of semi-autonomous convenience and safety features.
The best electric crossover/SUV
Why should you buy this? It’s fast and luxurious as an Audi should be (and electric).
Product card: Audi made the E-Tron one of the most compelling choices in the electric car segment.
Who’s it for? Buyers are willing to pay a little bit more for luxury and convenience.
How much will it cost? $74,800
Why we picked the Audi E-Tron:
By showing a surprising amount of foresight, Audi beat rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW to the electric SUV segment. The E-Tron is a brand-new type of Audi that puts a fresh spin on the values that have defined the German brand for decades. It’s a model well worth paying attention to because it paves the road that future electric Audi models will follow.
The E-Tron doesn’t break the mold, and that’s intentional. It’s recognizable as a member of the Audi family thanks to its sharp headlights and its hexagonal grille. It’s not shaped like a spaceship, either. The basic idea was to create a great car that’s electric, not one whose only selling point is its battery. Inside, it shares its dual-screen MMI Touch Response infotainment system with other members of the Audi family, including the Q8, the A6, and the A7. It’s highly intuitive to use, it looks good, and it responds quickly to touch inputs.
The sheet metal hides a skateboard-like platform built around a 95-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that’s about as big as a king-size mattress. It channels its charge to two electric motors (one over each axle). The system provides 360 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque in normal driving conditions. These figures go up to 408 and 489, respectively, when a boost mode kicks in. The E-Tron isn’t light, it tips the scale at nearly 5,500 pounds, but it performs the zero-to-60-mph sprint in 5.7 seconds with the boost mode engaged. That’s a respectable statistic considering its size, segment, and mission. Range checks in at 204 miles.