From BMW to VW: Electric Car Buyer's Guide

With the growing number of EV options, it can be tough to decide which is best for you. Whether you’re going electric because you care about the environment, in it for the tax incentives or want to save time on your commute, electric vehicles are a growing part of our future. That's why we compiled this list, so you can easily compare all the options available this year to find out which one best meets your needs.

If you decide to go electric, know that it's quite different from driving a gas powered car. Be sure to consider your charging options at home or work before you make the switch. On this list, we've included range and charging times based on 220 volt connection, the same type of plug used by a washer/dryer or public charging stations.

BMW i3

BMW i3

Base Price: $45,445

Range: 114 miles

Charge Time: 5 hours

The i3 has been around for four years now, and BMW has sold over 70,000 i3s in that time. The design hasn't changed much and still stands out on the road. Last year, the all-electric model received a bump in range from 81 miles to 114, but still leaves more to be desired.

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevy Bolt

Base Price: $37,495

Range: 238 miles

Charge Time: 10 hours

The Bolt is your basic commuter car and offers the lowest cost to range ratio. While it is not blisteringly fast, it’s loaded with just enough tech to keep you entertained in traffic. That’s where the Bolt excels, with instant torque and a smooth, gearless motor that's perfect for zipping around. It’s no Tesla, but with a range of 238 miles, you shouldn’t have too much range anxiety.

Fiat 500e

Fiat 500e

Base Price: $33,990

Range: 89 miles

Charge Time: 4 hours

Despite its limited range, the 500e makes perfect sense as an EV. It's compact, perfect for getting around town and even to better drive than the 101hp gasoline model. An attractive lease deal ($99/month) makes the 500e even more attractive.

Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

Base Price: $29,995

Range: 100 miles

Charge Time: 4 hours

To the untrained eye, the Focus Electric looks just like the basic, gasoline powered Focus. Like most other EVs that have gasoline powered variants, it's perfect if you want to blend in with traffic.

Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace

Base Price: $69,500

Range: 240 miles

Charge Time: 9.6 hours

Jaguar’s Tesla fighter comes this fall in the form of an SUV. The I-Pace delivers 394hp and 512 lb/ft of torque, which will take the 4,700lb SUV from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. It all looks promising, except that Jaguars (like all British brands) are typically plagued with electronics issues. If the I-Pace doesn’t experience the same electronic issues, Jaguar could have a serious Tesla contender on their hands.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

Base Price: $30,875

Range: 151 miles

Charge Time: 7.5 hours

With Leaf having been on the market for nearly 10 years now, Nissan gave the car a refresh by introducing its second generation earlier this year. The second-gen Leaf now offers 151 miles of range, bridging the gap between short range compliance EVs (sub 100 mile range) and long range models (200+ mile range) like the Bolt and Teslas. The 2018 model does a better job of blending into traffic than the original and offers driver assistance features such as one pedal driving and ProPilot Assist.

Honda Clarity

Honda Clarity

Base Price: Lease only $199/month

Range: 89 miles

Charge Time: 3.5 hours

The Clarity comes in three environmentally friendly flavors: hydrogen, plug-in hybrid and the electric, which is only available in Oregon and California. It has limited range and availability, but it's loaded with tech features and has great lease deal, making it a bargain at $199/month. Inventory is so scarce, some dealers have six-month wait list.

Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV

Base Price: $33,950

Range: 111 miles

Charge Time: 4.5 hours

The Soul EV looks like a normal Soul and is one of the roomiest EVs under $35k.

Kia Nero EV

Kia Nero EV

Base Price: $34,895 est.

Range: 238 miles

Charge Time: 9.5 hours

Currently sold as a highly efficient gasoline and plug-in hybrid model, Kia will begin offering their first real EV contender this fall with the Nero EV. With an estimated 238 mile range and more room and conservative styling than the Chevy Bolt, the Kia Nero EV could be the electric car for the masses.

Hyundai Kona EV

Hyundai Kona EV

Base Price: TBD

Range: 250 miles

Charge Time: 10 hours est.

The Kona EV has two features that many new car shoppers are looking for: a crossover body style and long electric range. Arriving in dealerships this fall, the electric version of the Kona CUV will feature 250 miles of all-electric range. With its long range and funky styling, the Kona EV could possibly print money for Hyundai. In my opinion the EV looks, and will probably drive, better than the gasoline powered model.

Hyundai Ioniq EV

Hyundai Ioniq EV

Base Price: $30,385

Range: 124 miles

Charge Time: 5 hours

Only available in California, the Ioniq EV is the most green of the three models in the Ioniq line. It offers a reasonable 124-mile range and an Ioniq Unlimited + subscription program, where starting at $295/month, you can get an unlimited millage lease and no charge for maintenance and wear.

Smart fourtwo

Smart fourtwo

Base Price: $24,250

Range: 58 miles

Charge Time: 2.5 hours est.

The redesigned Smart fourtwo is only available with electric power. It offers the lowest range of any EV on the list and is rated for a top speed of 81 mph, which essentially makes it a street legal golf kart. It's good for around town and urban living but too limited in range to be a practical commuter.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Base Price: $35,000 (supposedly)

Range: 220 or 310 miles

Charge Time: 8.8 or 12.4 hours

The long awaited “people’s Tesla” is finally here. Although the $35k model is yet to be a reality, a 330 mile model is currently available. The Model 3 features a minimalist dashboard with a center mount 15 inch screen and will do 0-60 in 3.5 -5.0 seconds depending on how you configure it.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Base Price: $77,000

Range: 335 miles

Charge Time: 13.4 hours

The car that changed public perception of electric vehicles only gets better. Just like a phone, the car is updated via over-the-air updates, which means that Tesla models are constantly improving. You can own a 2013 Model S and have the same updated tech as a brand new 2018 model. Teslas also hold their resale value much better than other EVs or competing models.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

Base Price: $83,000

Range: 295 miles

Charge Time: 11.8 hours

Leave it to Telsa to turn wild ideas into reality. Who would have thought that you could buy a seven-passenger minivan/SUV that does 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, (nearly) drives itself, has rear falcon doors that swing up and drives up to 295 miles on a single charge? What a time to be alive.

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf

Base Price: $31,345

Range: 126 miles

Charge Time: 5 hours

The e-Golf looks like a normal Golf, which means it is the most normal looking and normal sized EV on this list. It offers a decent range of 126 miles and can be had with VW’s virtual cockpit that turns the gauge cluster into a configurable display for speed and maps. The only other Golf model that is available on is a Golf R.

Now you know what EVs you can choose from, what cars would you like to see an EV version of?

Are you more interested in an SUV? We compiled a list of the best at every price and performance range.

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