Electric vehicles have been given their own category because they are typically so different—and appeal to a different audience— than regular gas-powered models in their respective segments.

More so than in any other class, the vehicles offered cover a wide range of sizes and prices. We’re keeping only to those that are regular production models, though a couple barely make that cut, and many are only sold in certain states.

Also, we’re including two that are not all-electric; they can run for several miles on just the electricity stored in their batteries, but when the charge gets low, a gas engine kicks on that turns a generator, which allows the cars to keep on going.

A fair amount of confusion still surrounds electric cars. We’ve heard several misconceptions being tossed around, and anyone who thinks of them as glorified golf carts is really behind the curve. In fact, we’ve been quite impressed with those we’ve driven, and we feel they fit the needs of far more people than have so far considered buying them.

First, those that have just a battery can typically run at least 60 miles or so on a full charge, but most can go farther. Secondly, they can easily keep up with around-town and highway-speed traffic, and in fact, the instant throttle response that is common to all electric cars can be a real boon in cut-and-thrust city driving.

Then there’s the whole recharging debate.

Fully recharging a depleted battery on the most popular models can take nearly a day if done from a conventional 120-volt wall outlet (referred to as “Level 1” charging). But you typically wouldn’t run the battery all the way down before recharging it, so if the battery is only half discharged, it could typically be brought up to full overnight. The best way to figure it is that you get about three miles of range for every one hour of charging.

But the time required to recharge a fully depleted battery can be cut to four to seven hours if you do 240-volt “Level 2” charging in your garage, or if you use a public charging station. A few public charging stations have 480-volt “Level 3” chargers, which can bring most batteries from nearly depleted up to 80% charge in just 30 minutes. However, these aren’t very common yet, and most electric cars have to have an optional Level 3 charging port in order to make use of them.

One of the strongest arguments for electric cars is how cheap they are to drive. Depending on your electric rates (how much you pay per Kilowatt-hour), the electricity to run the car will probably cost only about 2 to 4 cents per mile. By contrast, a conventional car that gets 20 mpg on $4 gas is costing 20 cents per mile. Plus there’s the convenience of being able to recharge your car in your garage rather than having to stop at a gas station, and nearly all electric cars allow you to pre-heat or pre-cool the interior before you get in.

Furthermore, there isn’t as much maintenance to do on electric cars. There’s no oil or filter to change, no radiator to flush, no belts to replace. And brakes also tend to last far longer, so that cost is usually reduced as well. The result is lower maintenance costs and fewer inconvenient trips to the dealer.

There’s one other cost consideration regarding electric cars. Currently, there is a $7500 federal tax credit that applies to all vehicles on this list; most people would be eligible to receive the credit, but you should check with your accountant to be sure that you qualify. Furthermore, some states have their own tax credits, and some municipalities offer reduced-fee parking or city stickers.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017

The most significant addition to the electric-vehicle category for 2017 is the all-new Chevrolet Bolt, a 4-door compact hatchback that boasts an impressive 238-mile range rating from the EPA. Hyundai is introducing its first pure-electric vehicle this year as part of its new Ioniq model line, which will include hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure EV variants built on the same basic compact 4-door hatchback platform. The Ioniq EV includes a 28-kWh battery and has a claimed range of 105 miles on a full charge. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is redesigned on the same new-generation platform that its gasoline-engine sibling received when it was redesigned last year; full information on the U.S.-spec model has not yet been released. Volkswagen’s e-Golf gets a refresh that includes increased battery capacity for improved driving range (124 miles instead of 83), a horsepower boost (134 hp instead of 115), redesigned front and rear fasciae, and new safety technology features. The slow-selling Cadillac ELR coupe is discontinued. Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 sedan is expected to go into production in late 2017 as a 2018 model; the company has taken more than 100,000 customer deposits worldwide, and is promising a driving range of more than 200 miles and a starting price of under $40,000.

Because electric cars vary so much in size, price, and range, next to each entry on this list is a description. Note that prices listed are general starting figures and do not include destination or any federal or state tax incentives. Range listed is according to the EPA. Other notes follow.

Vehicles in the Electric Vehicle class:

Because electric cars vary so much in size, price, and range, next to each entry on this list is a description. Note that prices listed are general starting figures and do not include destination or any federal or state tax incentives. Range listed is according to the EPA. Other notes follow.

BMW i3
Subcompact 4-door hatchback; optional range-extending 2-cylinder gas engine; about $42,000; electric-only models have a range of 114 miles, range-extended models have a combined gas/electric range of 180 miles

CHEVROLET BOLT
Compact 4-door hatchback; about $37,000; 238-mile range

CHEVROLET VOLT
Compact 4-door hatchback sedan with both electric and gas power; about $33,000; 53-mile range on electricity, up to 420 miles on electricity and gasoline

FIAT 500E
Subcompact 2-door hatchback; about $32,000; 87-mile range; limited availability

FORD FOCUS ELECTRIC
Compact 4-door hatchback; about $29,000; 100-mile range (up from 76 in 2016); limited availability

HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC
Compact 4-door hatchback; about $38,000 (est.); 110-mile range

KIA SOUL EV (2016)
Subcompact 4-door wagon; about $32,000; 93-mile range; limited availability (2017 model-year info unavailable as of this writing)

MERCEDES-BENZ B-250E
Compact 4-door wagon; about $40,000; 87-mile range; limited availability

MITSUBISHI i-MiEV
Subcompact 4-door hatchback; about $23,000; 59-mile range; limited availability

NISSAN LEAF
Compact 4-door hatchback; about $31,000; 107-mile range

SMART FORTWO ELECTRIC DRIVE
Subcompact 2-door, 2-seat hatchback; about $25,000 (est.); 80-mile range (est.)

TESLA MODEL S (2016)
Premium Midsize 4-door hatchback; about $66,000; driving range varies from 219-315 miles, depending on trim level (2017 model-year info unavailable as of this writing)

TESLA MODEL X (2016)
Premium Midsize 4-door crossover SUV; about $74,000; driving range varies from 237-289 miles, depending on trim level (2017 model-year info unavailable as of this writing)

VOLKSWAGEN e-GOLF 
Compact 4-door hatchback; about $29,000; 124-mile range; limited availability