Best affordable & luxury electric cars
Electric vehicles aren’t a new phenomenon. In fact, the first fully electric car was developed in the 1830s. What’s new is that EVs now compete for market share with traditional fossil-fueled models. Thanks to recent advancements in battery and charging technology, electric cars have finally become a feasible alternative to gasoline cars.
Today’s best EVs make a compelling pitch to commuters: They’re practical, easy to drive, inexpensive to run and packed with technology. And if the sticker prices look daunting, just remember that tax incentives and rebates can knock thousands off the cost of an EV, whether you’re buying or leasing.
But shopping for an electric vehicle requires a different mindset. While a gasoline car can be refueled in just a few minutes, electric cars take longer to recharge, making them less than ideal for long-range driving. The trick is to think about how far you drive in an average day and how often you’d have a chance to charge up. If you can plug in at work or at home, an EV could be a great fit for your life.
To simplify your shopping process, we’ve put together a list of the best electric cars on the market right now. The electric car segment keeps growing, and buyers have more choices than ever. Our list of the best EVs will help you find the electric car that’s right for you.
Affordable Electric Cars
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Chevrolet Bolt is a surprise in more ways than one. It boasts the kind of range that was previously the sole domain of Tesla, but it’s also zippy and fun to drive. The Bolt’s claimed cargo space isn’t that impressive, but in the real world we’ve found it more useful than the numbers indicate. Unfortunately, the front seats are a bit firm and won’t be to everyone’s liking. The interior’s also rather plasticky, and the Bolt’s unique infotainment setup is slightly clunkier than Chevy’s norm. The bottom line, though, is that the Bolt delivers downright exceptional range and performance for the price.
Starting price (including destination fee): $37,495 / EV range: 238 miles
2018 Nissan Leaf
The Leaf was redesigned for 2018, and it’s an entirely better electric vehicle than the previous generation. It’s quieter, more comfortable and better to drive, and it offers plenty of range for almost any commute. The Leaf’s steering wheel doesn’t telescope, making the car less comfortable for taller drivers, and the steering feels artificial. But overall, the Leaf has far more strengths than weaknesses.
Starting price (including destination fee): $30,875 / EV range: 151 miles
2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric has a low cost of entry, and it offers all the user-friendly tech we expect from a Hyundai. It also has the most efficient electric drivetrain on the market, per the EPA’s miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) metric, which means you’ll pay less to keep it charged. That said, it’s not the best-driving EV, and the rear seat isn’t particularly comfortable or roomy. Still, we like the Ioniq Electric for offering a lot of features at an appealing price.
Starting price (including destination fee): $30,385 / EV range: 124 miles
2018 Kia Soul EV
The Kia Soul EV has the shortest electric range of any of the affordable EVs on our list, but it’ll still go more than 100 miles on a charge. More than that, though, it makes our list for its quirky personality and abundance of interior room. In many ways, the Soul EV is more reminiscent of a small crossover than a compact car. It’s certainly less fun to drive than some competitors, but the additional space will more than compensate for some buyers.
Starting price (including destination fee): $34,845 / EV range: 111 miles
Luxury Electric Cars
2018 Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S might be the oldest Tesla in production, but it’s still our favorite of the company’s three offerings. It combines a roomy, attractive cabin with excellent driving dynamics and outstanding range. Depending on how it’s equipped, it can also be staggeringly quick in a straight line. The price tag is equally intimidating and, compared to similarly priced sedans, it feels a bit unpolished. Additionally, it lacks some of their luxury features, such as massaging or even just ventilated seats. But if you’re after something with a Tesla badge, this is the best of the bunch.
Starting price (including destination fee): $75,700 / EV range: 249-335 miles
2018 BMW i3
The BMW i3 has the shortest range of any luxury EV on this list, but it offers the option of a gas-powered range extender, which provides some peace of mind to buyers with range anxiety. The i3 also has one of the best interiors on the road – it’s stylish and modern, with novel materials, yet still user-friendly. Furthermore, the i3 drives the way you’d expect a BMW to drive. So if you’re looking for a sporty electric car, the i3 gets extra credit.
Starting price (including destination fee): $45,445 / EV range: 114 miles, 180 miles with gas-powered range extender
2018 Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X is currently the only all-electric vehicle you can get with three rows of seating. It also has the most personality of any Tesla, which is a mixed bag. The falcon-wing doors and panoramic windshield set it apart, but these features could also be viewed as gimmicks that don’t add functionality. Either way, the Model X’s firm-to-rough ride doesn’t do it any favors. But there’s no denying that this is one fast SUV – our long-term Model X launched to 60 mph in a truly “ludicrous” 3.5 seconds – and you can get all the futuristic tech that makes Tesla models special.
Starting price (including destination fee): $80,700 / EV range: 238-295 miles
2018 Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 has encountered some early growing pains. Many buyers are still waiting to take delivery, and Tesla hasn’t worked out all the reliability issues yet, as our own long-term Model 3 road test underscores. Some drivers may also find the Model 3’s near-complete reliance on the touchscreen interface for vehicle controls a bit distracting. Moreover, the long-awaited $35,000 entry-level model has yet to materialize, as all Model 3s so far have carried the larger battery pack and its attendant price bump. That said, if you can get your hands on one, and you don’t mind the teething issues, you’ll find a nimble, long-range electric car with a healthy amount of space for its small footprint and an interior that pushes the definition of “modern.” The Model 3 performed very well in our testing process, which is why it makes the cut for this list.
Starting price (including destination fee): $50,200 / EV range: 310 miles