More so than in any other class, the vehicles offered in the electric-vehicle category 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.
Though a handful of earlier (and now discontinued) electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt, used a “range-extending” onboard gasoline engine, virtually all new electric vehicles currently on the market are “pure” EVs with just a battery—no gas engine. Most offer a driving range of 200-300 miles on a full charge, and a few top the 400-mile-range mark. The current champ is the Lucid Air Dream Edition Range, which has been EPA-rated at 520 miles of range. The Lucid Air and several other EVs offer standard or extra-cost “extended-range” battery packs, so the customer has two or more options as to how much driving range they get (and pay for).
Today’s electric vehicles 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. A few of the newer EV models are flat-out fast.
Fully recharging a depleted battery on the most popular models can take up to two or even three days 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 that time could be cut to “overnight” if you only drive 40 or so miles a day and recharge every night. The best way to figure it is that you get about three miles of range for every one hour of charging.
Many EV owners opt for installing a “Level 2” charger at their home. The time required to recharge a fully depleted battery can be cut significantly—to about one-sixth the time—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-percent charge in less than an hour. However, these aren’t very common yet, and most electric cars need an optional Level 3 charging port to use them.
New public-charging locations are proliferating across the country, built by companies such as ChargePoint, Electrify America, and Volta. Tesla owners have access to an exclusive network of Tesla Supercharger quick-charging stations—there are currently more than 25,000 Superchargers spread across around 2700 locations worldwide, and that number is growing as Tesla builds more. Many EV charging stations are located adjacent to shopping centers and restaurants, which enables vehicle charging while you’re dining, running errands, or catching a movie.
One of the strongest arguments for electric cars is how affordable 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 3 to 4 cents per mile. By contrast, a conventional car that gets 20 mpg on $4-a-gallon 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 federal tax credit of up to $7500 that applies to most of the 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. However, note that the federal tax credit has been phased out for Tesla and GM: The EV tax credit was originally configured to allow manufacturers to sell up to 200,000 qualifying vehicles before the credit begins to phase out (by dropping to 50 percent of the original amount, and then later 25 percent, before being dropped entirely). Tesla and GM have reached that 200K mark, and Nissan isn’t too far behind.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2022
There’s lots of activity in the EV segment this year—with lots of new products seemingly just around the corner—but if the past is any indication, delays are common. Some of the vehicles included in our list below might not start hitting dealerships until well into the 2022 calendar year at the earliest. Two notable EV startup companies—Lucid and Rivian—have held auto-journalist drive events for the new Lucid Air luxury sedan and Rivian R1T large pickup, and production versions should be finding their way to buyers by the end of 2021.
Audi is expanding its e-tron line with the introduction of the Q4 e-tron compact SUV and its fastback-roof sibling, the Q4 Sportback e-tron. Also new for 2022 is the e-tron GT, a rakishly styled 4-door sedan that shares its basic platform with the Porsche Taycan. More e-tron models are expected to follow.
BMW has discontinued its quirky i3 subcompact hatchback, but is launching the i4 compact sedan and iX midsize SUV for 2022. The Chevrolet Bolt EV gets a substantial refresh—but no significant powertrain upgrades—and gains crossover-like sibling named Bolt EUV. Ford is making a big splash with an aggressively priced EV version of its full-size F-150 pickup truck, dubbed F-150 Lightning. GM is taking a different tack with its first EV pickup, resurrecting its Hummer nameplate on a pricey, lavishly equipped and styled pickup under the GMC brand. The GMC Hummer EV pickup is slated to be followed in the near future by an SUV variant, as well as pure-electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups.
Hyundai has dropped the pure-electric version of its Ioniq compact car for 2022, but is launching a sharply styled Ioniq 5 compact crossover that is slated to be the first of a full line of numerically named Ioniq EVs. Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis, is gearing up to launch a pure-electric version of its G80 large sedan, named Electrified G80. Kia had intended to offer a pure-EV version of its redesigned-for-2020 Soul subcompact SUV in America, but has dropped those plans and chosen to focus on its all-new-for-2022 EV6, a sleekly styled SUV-like vehicle that inaugurates Kia’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).
Mazda makes its tentative first steps into the EV market with the MX-30, a sporty subcompact “2+2-door” crossover with a disappointing estimated driving range of 100 miles. Mercedes-Benz is readying a line of electric vehicles under the “Mercedes-EQ” banner. The EQS large sedan and EQB compact SUV are set to launch as 2022 models, with the EQE midsize sedan scheduled to follow for 2023. Nissan is expanding its EV lineup with the addition of the Ariya compact SUV, and the Volvo XC40 Recharge gains a fastback-roofed sibling named C40 Recharge.
That’s a brief overview of what’s new for 2022, and there is plenty more on the way. In addition to other startup EV makes vying for a foothold in the growing EV market, there are several noteworthy electric vehicles from established automakers that are scheduled to arrive for 2023 or later. These include the Cadillac Lyriq, Genesis GV60, an EV version of the Jeep Wrangler, a Lincoln SUV possibly named “Mark E,” Subaru Solterra, and Toyota bz4X.
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. In most cases, the listed range is according to the EPA. Note that several of these vehicles are offered only in select states—not nationwide.
AUDI E-TRON/E-TRON SPORTBACK
Premium compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $66,000; 222-mile range
AUDI E-TRON GT
Premium midsize 4-door sport sedan; about $100,000 est.; est. 238-mile range
AUDI Q4 E-TRON/E-TRON SPORTBACK
Premium compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $45,000; est. 250-mile range
Premium compact 4-door sedan; about $57,000; est. driving range varies from 245-300 miles, depending on equipment
Premium compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $84,000; 300-mile range
CHEVROLET BOLT EV
Compact 4-door hatchback; about $31,000; 259-mile range
CHEVROLET BOLT EUV
Compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $33,000; 247-mile range
FORD F-150 LIGHTNING
Large 4-door pickup; about $42,000; est. driving range varies from 230-300 miles, depending on equipment
FORD MUSTANG MACH-E
Compact 4-door crossover; about $43,000; driving range varies from 211-305 miles, depending on equipment
GENESIS ELECTRIFIED G80
Premium large 4-door sedan; about $60,000 est.; 265-mile range
GMC HUMMER EV
Premium large 4-door pickup; about $100,000; 350-mile range
HYUNDAI IONIQ 5
Compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $44,000 est.; est. driving range varies from 269-300 miles, depending on equipment
HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC
Subcompact crossover 4-door wagon; about $35,000; 258-mile range
Premium compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $71,000; 253-mile range
Compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $45,000 est.; 300-mile range
KIA NIRO ELECTRIC
Compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $40,000; 239-mile range
Premium midsize 4-door sedan; about $78,000; driving range varies from 471-520 miles, depending on equipment
Subcompact crossover “2+2-door” hatchback; about $35,000; 100-mile range
Premium compact crossover; about $50,000 est.; est. 200-mile range
Premium large sedan; about $103,000; 340- or 350-mile range
MINI COOPER SE
Sporty-performance 2-door hatchback; about $31,000; 110-mile range.
Compact 4-door hatchback; about $27,000; 149- or 226-mile range
Compact crossover 4-door wagon; about $40,000 est.; est. 300-mile range
Premium midsize 4-door hatchback; about $47,000; 249- or 265-mile range
Premium midsize 4-door sport sedan; about $81,000; driving range varies from 199-227 miles, depending on equipment
Large 4-door pickup; about $68,000; 300- or 400-mile range
Large 4-door SUV; about $70,000 est.; 300- or 400-mile range
TESLA MODEL 3
Premium compact 4-door hatchback; about $39,000; driving range varies from 262-353 miles, depending on equipment.
TESLA MODEL S
Premium midsize 4-door hatchback; about $91,000; driving range varies from 396-405 miles, depending on equipment
TESLA MODEL X
Premium midsize 4-door crossover SUV; about $100,000; driving range varies from 330-360 miles, depending on equipment
TESLA MODEL Y
Premium compact 4-door crossover SUV; about $55,000; driving range varies from 303-326 miles, depending on equipment
Compact 4-door crossover SUV; about $41,000; driving range varies from 240-260 miles, depending on equipment
VOLVO C40 RECHARGE
Premium subcompact 4-door crossover SUV; about $60,000; driving range 210 miles
VOLVO XC40 RECHARGE
Premium subcompact 4-door crossover SUV; about $55,000; driving range 223 miles