Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the wilderness somewhere, you’ve probably noticed a lot more electric vehicles on the road. Automakers around the globe are making a concerted effort to move away from gasoline and diesel, with electricity and hydrogen offering eco-friendly alternatives. But, while there are already quite a few models to choose from, EV technology is still relatively new, and many brands are playing catchup and releasing new electric car models as quickly as they can. If you follow electric vehicle sales statistics, you can see the number is only rising year to year.
At first, these cars marketed themselves as fuel-efficient and relatively affordable modes of transportation. Nowadays, there is a wider variety that includes EV sports cars and genuine luxurious electric cars. There has never been a better time to consider transitioning to an all-electric car, and these are some of the best in their respective classifications.
The new face of luxury
Still focusing on the premium segment, there are some great options already, but Mercedes-Benz and BMW are stepping up their game to compete with what’s already available. The Audi e-tron is one of the more impressive luxury SUVs, while the Volvo XC40 and C40 seem better poised to challenge the crossover segment.
These types of cars benefit greatly from electrification, as the added weight of battery packs is not a problem for naturally hefty SUVs. All-wheel drive is also quite common, made easier and more efficient with additional motors rather than complex drivetrain components. The overall package is a silent but powerful vehicle that feels comfortable and safe on the road.
Naturally, one of the biggest advantages to going electric is the huge savings in fuel economy, and this is particularly relevant in the premium market. Traditionally, luxury cars have needed potent engines to deliver the effortless performance that defines them. This has generally meant high-displacement engines and premium fuel. Now, the same amount of power can be provided while mileage remains on par with that of more economical brands.
Teslas are great examples of this, though the brand isn’t as premium as it would like to be perceived. It straddles the line between mainstream and true luxury, but there is no denying that Tesla cars boast some of the best mileage figures and maximum ranges. Few can compete but the Lucid Air is a genuine premium EV that easily blows the best Tesla out of the water.
It has access to up to 1,111 horsepower from a set of four motors and a maximum range of up to 520 miles. To top it all off, the Air has a gorgeously appointed cabin laden with the latest tech. It also looks unlike any other car in the segment, excluding a new-world kind of luxury appeal.
Silent but just as deadly
As much power as the Lucid Air has, it is not technically a sports EV. Many petrolheads will scoff at high-performance electric vehicles, claiming that they are not true sports cars as they lack the character of one. This is usually the roar of a V8 revving up for a controlled launch. Electric motors make no noise at all, and if people can’t hear you coming, then what’s the point? At least, that is what the purists argue.
However, it cannot be argued that EV technology has resulted in 0-60 mph sprint times that put the most accomplished sports cars to shame. Tesla even boasts that its Plaid line can hit the 60 mph mark in under two seconds. The Porsche Taycan is another entrant in the growing field, and while it doesn’t claim to be as quick, it has the classic aesthetic the brand is renowned for, as well as the masterful handling that makes these cars so fun to drive.
Other brands are taking advantage of electric propulsion in different ways. Ford, for example, has for the first time slapped the Mustang sticker on an SUV instead of a coupe, defying decades of tradition. This sleek high-rider can produce between 266 and 480 hp, with up to 634 lb-ft of torque on tap. This lets it race to 60 mph in as little as 3.5 seconds, which is truly impressive for a car this size.
An economical access point
If high luxury and even higher performance aren’t as important to sue as sheer for money, then fear not. The mainstream brands like Nissan, Toyota, Kia, and even Chevrolet have more affordable options for you to choose from. Among these, the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf are arguably the most accessible, though their hatchback styling will put some buyers off.
Luckily, there are compact electric cars in the sedan and SUV or crossover classifications, too. The Kia Nero EV is one of the top contenders, while the Chevrolet Bolt EUV adds a little height and bulk to the regular Bolt so that it can play with the big kids. But while these may be among the cheaper options on the market, they are still noticeably pricier than their gas-powered alternatives. What is required here is a closer consideration of the total cost of ownership.
Small EVs can easily exceed 100 mpg in the combined travel cycles, with the Kona managing somewhere in the area of 120 mpg. In just a few years, that extra $10k investment is returned, but you do have to put up with some of the quirks of electric vehicles. These include long charging times if you don’t invest even more in an upgraded and faster home charging station. The established charging network across the USA help to offset this, often charging the smaller batteries in these types of cars up to 80% in just a few minutes.
Some other affordable and economical models worth considering include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the Mazda MX-30 EV, and the Totora bZ4X. The aforementioned Ford Mustang Mach-E is not much more expensive and throws in a splash of fun to go with the everyday practicality we expect from our family haulers and commuters. As more automakers expand their lineups with EV alternatives, the price of new cars will reflect the stiffer competition, but it won’t change by so much that buying one now would be a bad idea.