To ease range anxiety fears car companies are expanding their electric vehicle offerings and extending their existing models' range. They're making sure that most vehicles get at least 200 miles from the charging station. Sadly there are still many EVs which are more novelties than transport. They're rated for less than a hundred miles which is typical electric golf cart range. The worst? Drivers of hybrid vehicles may find that EV-mode distance is ridiculously small - as little as 17 miles - 15 with air conditioning on.
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Admittedly this update to the original Tesla Roadster of the distant past is a concept car at best, but in 2017 it was announced for 2020, probably late in the year, it looks like. The 620-mile range is thanks to an enormous 200 kWh battery which also powers the zero to sixty time of 1.9 seconds. The whole Roadster experience, including some high-end styling, is powered by around $200,000 of the customer's cash -- if and when available, etc.
Some lively competition is entering the EV market, and Rivian, an American startup, has what they say is an honest-to-goodness non-concept pickup truck with a crew cab, short bed, all-wheel drive and, with the top battery pack, more than 400 miles of range with supercar acceleration. It may not be challenging the F150's market dominance right away, but with 11,000 pounds of towing capacity and Level 3 autonomous tech, there are a lot of reasons to look at this EV besides the range.
To keep from becoming repetitive, here are the basic Tesla offerings lumped together: Tesla Model Y: 300, Model 3 Long Range: 322, Model X Long Range: 328, and Model S Long Range: 373 miles of range. Tesla is still the leader by a long shot in both range and, for reasonably affordable EVs, performance as well. Some auto writers are talking about the risks Tesla is taking to get this considerable market edge: both weight and aerodynamic tradeoffs and high battery density, which might come back to bite them -- but with the oldest models less than a decade on the road, the story's not yet told.
Coming in the next model year, this reasonably-priced pony car in name only -- it's actually a crossover -- is coming with rear or all-wheel drive and battery options which offer up to 300-mile range, plus five-passenger cabin space. Upgrades include not only the usual sound, styling, and performance features but also fast-charging options for a quick turnaround in the barn. This is a carefully-marketed first EV step for Ford in many areas, and they are hoping to prime the pump for other similar vehicles to follow.
This relatively unknown brand is actually the Swedish performance brand related to Volvo. It employs a platform design from Volvo's XC40, with Polestar's dual-electric power design, which offers 402 hp and less than 5-second zero to sixty times. They say that they are shooting for a 275-mile driving range, though USA standards nip a bit off numbers boasted in Europe. Volvo interior quality adds a selling point for those who know, and materials choice has made the Polestar 2 a vegan automobile as well as electric.
For around $40,000, the Chevrolet Bolt in 2020 offers pretty good range at 259 miles and a good, general-purpose vehicle for family use. Chevrolet has numerous charging options encompassing: quick half-hour hundred-mile top-offs with DC charging, 240-volt home charging stations, and scheduled charging to take advantage of off-peak energy rates. On the road, the Bolt tries to help the driver plan around available charging station options if needed.
An electric version of Hyundai's popular SUV with a few tweaks such as grille, wheels, and aerodynamics, the decent range gives it a shot at being the go-to electric family vehicle. The 20-mile edge over the Chevy Bolt is mostly thanks to excellent use of regenerative braking to put braking "back in the bank" as future energy. With 201 hp and about 6.4 seconds to sixty, a wee bit better than the gas-powered model.
Range and price are comparable to Hyundai and Chevy models, about $40,000 and 239 miles for another crossover/SUV EV. The Chargepoint infrastructure operator says the Niro can use their L1, L2, and, for best turnaround speed, employ DC fast charging to 80% in just under an hour. By the way, the Niro hybrid option has a limited range EV mode, which also works with Chargepoint.
The I-Pace isn't one of the most recent additions to the EV market. It has been available for a while and has decent performance and range, with 234 miles and 394 hp. As with a number of vehicles mentioned, the brand's luxury construction and features are a bigger selling point than the range, which just needs to be sufficient. Jaguar has been winning awards for overall electric vehicle design, green design, and comfort as well.
Using the reversed slogan "Electric has gone Audi," the company is taking the same tack as Jaguar: in a market that generally consists of various electric crossovers with similar specs, but lacking Audi's own unique style and quality. In other words, if you like your Audi and want an EV, they're now ready to provide one. Current battery capacity offers 204-mile range, 402 hp, and luxury features with an exceptionally silent ride -- no wonder.
The second generation of an early entry to the 21st century EV market, the compact Nissan Leaf Plus has improved range options. Depending on the battery size, it goes for 151 miles or a more competitive 226 miles. The first generation's range numbers were sub-100 miles. An early Leaf competed in the 2011 Pike's Peak International Hill Climb in the electric production car class and won.
BMW's early entry into the EV market is a good start for this "barely to the market and back" category which finishes the list. The i3 gives 80 to 100 miles in standard configuration, more suitable for an around-town vehicle than even a commuter car. An REx version and upgraded battery specifically enhance the range up to about 153 miles.
With 123 hp and 82 miles of driving on a 20 kWh battery, which is only a third of a Hyundai Kona's, there's only one thing to say: "but it's still almost $40k!" The Fit EV is only available on a lease basis, and only in certain states, so there's less risk that drivers will be tempted to choose this option. With the small size of the Fit, you can't easily compensate for the range by throwing your bicycle in the back, either.
Unlike the Honda Fit EV, going electric seems to be a plus for this compact vehicle. The Spark is another EV available only in a limited-market, however, and it's still a short-range, small-sized vehicle, albeit with a much more reasonable $26k or so price tag.
The Twizy is technically a "quadricycle," which would be listed for USA use as a "neighborhood electric vehicle" or NEV and subject to a speed limit of 25 mph, just slightly lower than that of a moped. With a 62 mile range, it really is just for fetching groceries and visiting the post office. There are many more makes and models, strangely, at this bottom end of the range curve. Then again, the UK price translates to about $9k US. Compare it to a Honda Fit, then!