A quick guide to the best EVs available to buy right now
Introduction - An Automotive Revolution
The landscape of the automotive world is changing drastically. Spurned on by environmental challenges the world faces, more and more car manufacturers are jumping aboard the electric-powered band wagon and producing electric vehicles at rates we have never seen before.
What started out as a billionaire’s vision has now become a pillar of the mainstream automotive industry. This leads us to where we are today, in that the conscientious consumer now has an unprecedented line-up of electric vehicles to choose from, from small city run-arounds to off-road 4x4s, pick-up trucks and even luxury sport models. Manufacturers from Tesla to Nissan to Porsche (to name but a few) are all chipping in with their vision of the future for automobiles.
A previous stumbling block of the EV market has always been charging. But home charging stations are now becoming more affordable with prices starting in the hundreds instead of thousands of dollars. This coupled with an ever-growing network of public chargers and an increase in range of electric vehicles, has made owning an electric car a real possibility for the masses. Although still pricier than their combustion engine counterparts, it is thought that before the end of the decade, electric cars will be cheaper than engine cars.
So with that said… here’s our brief take on the best electric cars available to buy now in 2021.
Image credit: Tesla
Undoubtedly the Tesla Model 3 is a solid choice if you are looking to purchase an electric car. Not only does it look awesome, but you get decent mileage for an electric car in this price range, which at $39,990 is the most affordable Tesla on the market. The Standard Range Plus model is rear-wheel drive and has a range of 262 miles, whilst the Long Range AWD model can go for 353 miles. It features Tesla’s Autopilot which enables it to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. A key benefit over its competitors is access to the Tesla Supercharger network, while charging can be also be done from a household outlet or additional wall connector available from Tesla. In addition, the Model 3 is capable of over-the-air updates meaning it can stay up-to-date with the latest software upgrades.
Image credit: Chevrolet
‘Electric for Everyone’ is Chevy’s bold statement about their new redesigned 2022 Bolt model, and we can see why. The Bolt’s cozy and compact new design should appeal to the masses, and though far from cheap, it still offers one of the most affordable options in the electric vehicle market with prices starting at $31,000 excluding tax. As for power and miles, you get 200 hp for responsive acceleration that gives a 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds and an estimated driving range of 259 miles on a full charge. To make the transition to an electric car easier, Chevrolet even throw-in standard installation of a Level 2 home charging outlet for eligible customers. There is also the convenience of a network of 40,000 public charging stations should you need to charge while on-the-go.
Image credit: Polestar
Polestar, is an independent company founded by Volvo and engages in the development and production of electric performance cars. The Polestar 2 dual motor model is a 5-door liftback with all-wheel drive and up to 408 hp/300kW and 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds with a 249 mile range. A single motor version also exists with slightly better range at 265 miles, however this is offset with a performance reduction that sees an output of 231 hp and 0-60 mph in 7 seconds. Both models feature impressive towing capabilities up to 2000 lbs and charging only needs 40 minutes from a public charger, of which there is a vast network of 114,000 charging points in the US. Price is in a similar bracket to the Tesla Model 3, in that two versions available start at $38,400 and $42,400 (after tax credit).
Image credit: Volkswagen
The Volkswagen ID.4 lays claim to the very prestigious title of World Car of The Year which it won at the 2021 World Car Awards. This is no easy feat, and as pointed out by Volkswagen themselves, is voted on by 93 distinguished journalists across 28 countries. On the outside, the ID.4’s sleek aerodynamic design with glass roof certainly looks the part of a stylish SUV, and on the inside it’s roomy and comfortable as you would expect. On a full charge, it’s range is officially estimated at 260 miles, although testing by Edmunds did show it to achieve better at 288 miles. It’s equipped with fast-charging capabilities to a maximum of 125kW, and at a public DC fast-charger you can get 62 miles in just 10 minutes — that is quite the boost! With prices starting at $39,995 and as low as $32,495 after federal tax credit, it will appeal to many and may just give the Tesla Model Y a run for its money.
A strong contender for one of the best electric cars currently on the market is the Tesla Model S. For those looking for an electric car that offers more performance and premium features over more mainstream models, the Model S delivers. The Long Range model features a 405-mile estimated range, while the ludicrous performance of the superior Plaid model lays claim to a sub 2-second 0-60 mph and boasts a whopping 1020 hp. Complementing that ‘under the hood’ power is the styling which somehow hits a sweet spot that perfectly exudes both elegance and performance. This styling produces a drag coefficient of just 0.208 Cd, ensuring the Tesla Model S wasn’t just made to look good. The downside to all this is you’re going to need close to 6 figures to get your hands on one.
The handsome Audi e-tron with its futuristic sounding name and sophisticated interior offers a refined driving experience. Although aesthetically it doesn’t command as much attention as some of its rivals, it makes up for it with its solid driveability and practicality. With 402 hp at its disposal, the Audi e-tron maintains typical SUV characteristics such as a towing capacity of 4000 lbs. Two motors provide the e-tron its all-wheel-drive traction and acceleration is near instantaneous, giving it a 0-60 mph of 5.5 seconds with Boost mode engaged. The downside to the Audi e-tron is that its range is relatively short compared to some of its competitors, although it still manages about 220 miles on a full charget. Charging can be done rapidly though, with up to 80% battery in 30 minutes at DC fast-charging stations. Prices start at $65,900.
Image credit: Porsche
If you’re looking for a sporty number with a name that exudes performance, then the Porsche Taycan Turbo S is definitely worth checking out. It’s 800-volt setup outputs 270kW of power for a very impressive 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds. Porsche claim you get standing-start performance that is on par with the 918 Spyder and a top track speed of 161 mph. A range of just over 200 miles is still pretty impressive considering an electric car such as this is clearly built for performance and not distance. It not only looks stunning, but for environmentally-conscious folk who were put-off from owning high-performance fuel-guzzling vehicles in the past, the Porsche Taycan Turbo S comes guilt-free in this regard. The only thing we don’t like of course is the price, which will set you back at least $185,000. It should be noted however, that the base model Taycan starts from considerably less at $82,700.