Buying Guides

The 3 Best Electric Cars Provide Great Gas-Free Driving

Plug, unplug and go. Repeat.

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Not too long ago, if you wanted a pure EV, you'd have to settle for a car with serious limitations. Cars like the Nissan Leaf would cut out of power well before their published range said it would. Alternatives like the Kia Soul EV and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV were about as exciting as lightly toasted white bread in terms of power and driving thrills. Of course, if you had the money, you could opt for the awesome Tesla Model S, but that's out of range for most humans. But since carmakers are committed to creating more EVs, their range and appeal had to improve. 2017 should prove that we're almost there, and though most EVs lack fun and range, there are three standouts in the crowd.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Best

for the commuter

  • PROS: Fantastic 238-mile range decreases charging frequency and eliminates range anxiety, fast and entertaining to drive, capacious interior, an electric car for regular people with regular bank accounts, battery gets an 8-year/ 100,000-mile limited warranty.
  • CONS: 10 hour charge time on a 110v wall outlet, regenerative brakes have to warm up for full stopping power, somewhat cheap interior for $40K.

The Bolt ($37,495 base MSRP)is easily the best affordable EV on the market. Smartly designed to take on whatever you can throw in it (Chevy calls it a crossover based on that fact alone), the inside is bigger than you'd think. The hatchback design is attractive, and the driving dynamics will win over those who want to enjoy time behind the wheel, as well as ditch their dependence on gas. 200 hp from the 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor means plenty of get-up-and-go. An available 240v charger will get you 25 miles of range in just one hour.

2017 Telsa Model S

Best

for the speed freak

  • PROS: Peerless electric range, super-sexy exterior, 100D is the world's fastest production car, ample space, premium interior, ultra-elite EV status, full autonomous driving tech included.
  • CONS: Makes you a bit of an enviro-douche, can get insanely expensive.

It's the EV everyone aspires to, even those who don't care about the EV economy metrics. The Tesla Model S ($66,000 base MSRP) will eat supercars for breakfast when properly outfitted and hold more passengers and gear than any of them. The interior is stunning and not overstyled, save the huge 12.3-inch, 1280x480 LCD touchscreen. Mileage range is 218 miles in base trim, all the way up to an astonishing 315 miles for the priciest model. 0-60 times range from a quick 5.5 seconds for the base S 60, while the top end 100D launches to 60 in an eye-searing 2.5 seconds. It also now beats the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series for luxury sedan sales. You can't call Telsa a small startup anymore, and the Model S is easily one of the best cars on the market today, not just one of the best EVs. New versions come fully packed with self-driving technology, which should enable the Model S to go autonomous in the not-too-distant future.

2017 BMW i3

Best

for the urbanite

  • PROS: More range and power for 2017, razor-like handling and spritely performance, one of the most beautiful interiors on planet earth,
  • CONS: Looks awkward and tall, strange rear side window shape, approaches $60K when fully optioned.

The i3 ($42,400 base MSRP) gets its first major update since its introduction in 2014. The larger battery provides additional range (40% more without the range extender). The BMW i3 in pure EV trim gets 114 miles on a full charge, while the BMW i3 with Range Extender gets up to 180 miles. Its 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque combined with the lightweight carbon-fibre passenger safety cell with aluminium subframes moves the little i3 to 60 in 6.5 seconds, debunking the myth that environmental cars are snoozers to drive.

What are the benefits of going electric?

  • If it's your only car, say goodbye to fuel costs.
  • Immediate torque makes them fun to drive.
  • The Feds offer up to $7,500 in tax credits.
  • With bigger and better batteries, range anxiety might be a thing of the past.

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