Top Electric Vehicles
Tune in, plug in, drive off in one of our picks of the Top Electric Vehicles
by Aaron Gold
Electric vehicles — also known as EVs — are the greenest wheels on the market. They consume far less energy and produce significantly lower emissions than gasoline or diesel powered cars, plus they are quick, quiet, and surprisingly enjoyable to drive. We’ve driven all of the major EVs on the market, and this guide to the Top Electric Vehicles will help you pick which one is best for you.
Toyota RAV4 EV
EPA range: 92 miles (113 miles in extended-charge mode)
Energy consumption: 76 MPGe
The RAV4 EV is the only electric vehicle on the list to offer the capacity and convenience of an SUV — it can carry five adults and lots of cargo, and total carrying capacity (passengers and luggage) is 973 lbs. The RAV4 EV’s battery and motor were developed by Tesla, who included a couple of rather innovative hat tricks. First is the “Sport” mode, which turns the RAV4 EV into a battery-powered rocket ship. Second (and more useful) is an extended-charge mode for the battery, which increases the EPA-certified range by 21 miles (from 92 to 113). (Toyota warns that frequent use of extended charge will shorten the battery’s life.) The downsides to the RAV4 EV the same as gasoline-powered SUVs: The RAV4 EV’s size, weight and speed require more power, which means a bigger battery pack, which means longer charge times than other EVs.
Honda Fit EV
Price range: Lease only, $389/month for 36 months
EPA range: 82 miles
Energy consumption: 29 kWh/100 mi, 118 MPGe
Honda is known for its fuel-efficient gasoline cars, and it’s taken the same approach to the Fit EV, which consumes less power per mile than any other vehicle on our list of Top Electric Vehicles. The Fit EV’s battery is small and light (relatively speaking, of course), allowing quicker charge times than its rivals — 3 hours from a 240 volt EV charger and 10-15 hours from a plain old 120 volt outlet. And yet its EPA-certified range of 82 miles makes it competitive with the other EVs here. And with the ability to recharge overnight from an ordinary plug, the Fit EV opens up more possibilities for travel. The Fit EV features an Econ driving mode that helps you wring every last mile from the battery, plus a Sport mode that juices up the acceleration — a great way to have some fun when you’re ten miles from home with thirty miles of range left. Here’s the bad news: The Fit EV is only available for lease, not for sale. You can keep it for three years, but no longer.
Ford Focus Electric
Price range: $32,495 – $33.985
EPA range: 76 miles
Energy consumption: 32 kWh/100 mi, 105 MPGe
Like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Honda Fit EV, the Focus Electric was designed for maximum power efficiency, which allows use of a smaller battery. The Focus trails the Fit and CODA on range, but its charge times are short — just four hours from a 240 volt EV charger, as opposed to six-plus for the CODA and LEAF. The Focus Electric retains much of the gas-powered Focus’ fun-to-drive factor, with the extra weight of the battery giving it a smoother ride. Unfortunately, the awkward placement of the battery eats up valuable trunk space.