The electric car market is exploding right now, and 2016 looks to be a banner year for the industry. Many innovative designs will be going into production in the near future, and if you’re in the market for a new car, an electric vehicle is worthy of your consideration. Not every vehicle in our ultimate guide is in production, but all are the cars of the near future.
1. Chevrolet Bolt EV
Range: 200+ miles
The new Chevy Bolt is slated to enter production in October of 2016 and go on the market shortly afterwards. Chevrolet claims that the vehicle is consistently able to drive more than 200 miles before charging, and if the Bolt lives up to the hype it stands to be Tesla’s main competition. We’ll get to that later.
2. Volkswagen e-Golf
Range: 118 miles
The electric version of the Volkswagen Golf is a testament to German engineering, but it carries a few criticisms. Reviewers say the e-Golf is peppy, handles well, and feels futuristic, but there are concerns about its range and acceleration. It can take ten seconds to reach 60 miles per hour and aggressive drivers can absolutely gut the range, one reviewer depleting a full charge in just over 50 miles behind the wheel. The e-Golf is cost-effective as electric cars go and has reasonable range, but requires a conservative right foot to reach its potential.
3. Nissan Leaf
Range: 107 miles
A bit more classic, the 2016 Nissan Leaf has a range of more than 100 miles to set it apart from its previous iterations. The Leaf has a comfy, modern interior and it a bit peppier than the e-Golf for a nearly identical price. Its acceleration and top speed marginally edge out its German cousin, but the driving experience and range are slightly inferior.
4. Ford Focus Electric
Range: 74 miles
The Focus Electric is nearly identical to its gas-powered twin, but sacrifices some storage for the battery. The ride is smooth, the cabin is comfortable and modern, but the range is somewhat lacking compared to the comparably-priced e-Golf and Leaf. Early reports say that the 2017 model will break the 100 mile range mark, which will still lag behind competitors but certainly make the Focus competitive.
5. Tesla Model 3
Range: 215 miles
The Tesla Model 3 is futurist Elon Musk’s favorite brainchild. The Model 3 isn’t the fanciest car in the Tesla line, some of which can top 300 miles on a single charge with ease, but it is the most affordable. The Model 3 is sleek and modern and has tens of thousands of preorders but isn’t slated for production until an unknown time in 2017. This gives the Chevy Bolt a head start, but Tesla is the first name on most customers’ minds when they think of electric vehicles. Will the Model 3 live up to the hype? We hope so.
There are other electric vehicles on the market, many of which are available right now instead of this winter or two years from now, but these five models are the gold standard for the rest of the industry to follow. Happy shopping!