While traditional fossil fuels are still the main mode of powering every vehicle via refined gasoline and diesel fuels, environmental concerns as well as concerns of eventual depletion of crude oil propel car manufacturers to produce automobiles that run on electric power. Sure, there are hybrid vehicles that use both traditional fuel and electricity as power sources that can be easily swapped at will, but there are fully-electric cars that do not use even a single drop of oil and will not emit obnoxious emissions. Here is a list of ten excellently-made electric cars that are worth one’s money – especially when there are federal tax incentives for electric vehicles in place – in no particular order.
Tesla Model S
Nikola Tesla’s name cannot be ignored in the world of electricity. Though he may be long dead, his legacy of conceptualizing affordable and efficient electricity to power everything still stands strong. In the world of cars, the Tesla Model S best exemplifies his legacy. This luxury sedan basically dishes out everything expected in this type of car, but with the addition of unrivalled longevity on the road using only electricity. 265 miles may be too much for some. But for frequent travelers who want no noxious gases, this incredible mileage cannot be beat.
Tesla Model X
Coming from the same maker, the Tesla Model X offers the same sleekness and long mileage as the Model S. At 230 miles’ worth on a single full charge, the Model X provides families with a taste of a zero-emission utility vehicle. While it may look like a classy sedan on the outside, the inside is anything but beauty. It can seat seven people, including two children on the third row. The two rear gullwing doors are designed to accommodate that space. One should expect the Model X to be out by 2015, and preorders are underway as of this writing.
Toyota RAV4 EV
Tesla’s dominance of the electric car list does not stop with the Toyota RAV4 EV, specifically, the second generation, which is the product of a partnership between Tesla and Toyota. The RAV4 EV simply combines the sporty look Toyota’s famous SUV is known for with Tesla’s know-how in producing fully electric vehicles. At 100 miles on a single charge, the stereotype of SUVs being notorious gas guzzlers is at least challenged.
Of course, major car makers are not behind in the electric car game. Nissan’s flag-bearer in the realm of electric cars is the Nissan Leaf. It is actually one of the first mass-produced all-electric cars ever made, and results show that both critics and consumers alike have a generally favorable view of the Leaf, with a respectable 84-mile range. This hatchback can be owned for just $29,000; and its cost of ownership is lower than one can expect.
Kia Soul EV
The South Korean automotive industry is not far behind Japanese, American, and European industries when it comes to churning out jaw-droppers. The Kia Soul EV definitely has what it takes for an electric car to have soul. At a range of 90 to 124 miles, this boxy beast is good for inter-city trips. And for those who are skeptic about the horribly slow charging times of electric vehicles, the Soul EV can be charged by up to 80% of power in less than 25 minutes on a 100 kW battery or around 33 minutes on a 50 kW battery. In terms of judicious management of internal resources, the Soul also has it – with its usage of used coolant water to extend the mileage and the limiting of the air conditioning to the driver only.
The Fiat 500e no longer bears the dreaded “fix it again, Tony” mentality. This cute and lightweight sedan, which is simply the Fiat 500 with an electric motor instead of a gas-powered one, can go 87 miles on a full charge. The interior is a treat for the eyes, as the seats, door panels, and floor mats that are either draped in black or white are lined with an exciting orange. California residents should consider themselves lucky, as the 500e is available in limited quantities in that state only.
Chevrolet Spark EV
The Chevrolet Spark EV is perfect who want a monstrous vehicle in a small form at a cost of under $30,000. The Spark EV can go 82 miles on a single charge, and its colossal torque makes it accelerate from 0 to 60 at a respectable 7.2 seconds. Regarding the interior, the Spark EV makes use of whatever limited space the exterior has and maximizes it, resulting in 86.3 cubic feet of passenger space. For those living in California and Oregon, they should grab one now.
The BMW i3 may look a bit weird on the outside, but pessimists should not doubt what this beast is capable of. The fabled German auto maker bestowed the i3 with a low curb weight of 2,635 lb and an aerodynamic design that will surely please speed freaks. At 81 miles’ worth of range on a single charge, legal drag racing should be no sweat for the owner of the i3. For those who want their vehicles to be made from sustainable resources, the i3 is made of aluminum, carbon-fiber reinforced plastics, and organic fabrics.
Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is perfect for those whole like it small, compact, and efficient. Sure, its range of 68 to 87 miles and its lack of power steering might be a little deficient for frequent drivers, but anyone who just wants to use the Smart in zipping around for errands will feel welcome. Regarding the interior, tall persons may have a hard time fitting in – only singles and couples of average height will have the best time in the Smart. At $25,000, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is the most affordable electric vehicle one can buy.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is more than just the Golf with an all-electric lick of paint. As the Volk’s first entry into the electric car market, it promises to one-up the venerable Nissan Leaf. The statistics show: a range of 85 to 118 miles, 0 to 60 in a scant 10 seconds, an onboard charger for drivers who get stuck in the middle of nowhere with no charging station in sight, a more impressive interior, a huge cargo space, and an economic mode that drops the acceleration and power of the motor in order to save some battery power. In short, the e-Golf is about practicality.