Thinking of an Electric Car? Take Your Choice

Thinking of an Electric Car? Take Your Choice

Even before G.M. announced it would work toward eliminating emissions from its vehicles, more automakers were putting E.V.s in their showrooms. Here’s a roundup.

Top row from left: BMW i3s; Audi E-Tron; Hyundai Kona Electric; Middle row from left: Polestar 2, Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model S; Bottom row from left: Ford Mustang Mach-E; Volkswagen ID.4; Nissan Leaf

By Norman Mayersohn

Published Feb. 20, 2021Updated March 9, 2021

The announcement by General Motors last month that it would work to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles by 2035 added a note of urgency to the shift to electric vehicles. Much of that is driven by regulatory action, as states and countries move to ban the sale of new petroleum-powered vehicles in the next 15 or 20 years.

Among the attractions of an E.V., beyond making a dent in carbon emissions, is the notion of refueling at home and never touching a gas pump again. There may also be savings in the reduced cost of maintenance. Note, too, that most models are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, and there are state tax credits and other incentives.

Best of all, the vehicles are no longer a curiosity. Many drivers, especially those with moderate commutes, have gotten over the worry of running out of power and are increasingly seeing how an electric car might make sense.

The long-distance practicality of electrics has improved with the growing availability of DC fast chargers. Those networks are increasingly available along major highways and in settings like shopping malls.

Electrics are available in many sizes, shapes and prices, with models that can be basic errand-chasers or outrageous sports cars. Keep in mind that the pace of new-model introductions has stepped up recently, so the selection will only grow to include start-ups like Lucid Motors.

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Here are some of the 2021 E.V.s available now. The figures for range and recharge time, at 240 volts, are taken from the 2021 Fuel Economy Guide produced by the Department of Energy.

Type Crossover

Base price $65,900; Sportback $69,100

Range (E.P.A. estimated) 222 miles; 218 miles for Sportback

Recharge time 10 hours

The E-Tron, introduced to the United States in 2019, was a pioneer of sorts. As a crossover between sedan and sport-utility vehicle, this luxury-class model is available in two body styles: the squared-off shape of a sport utility and the slope-roof Sportback style. The E-Tron’s dual-motor powertrain delivers 355 horsepower (up to 402 for brief dashes in Sport mode).

Type Subcompact car

Base price $44,450

Range 153 miles

Recharge time 7 hours

The distinctive styling of the i3, shared with a sportier i3s version, makes a clear statement of being different. This four-door hatchback has a proudly upright layout, the height giving its handsomely trimmed interior a spacious feel, despite the tidy footprint that makes for easy parking. With a modest range, city and suburban uses are its natural habitats.

Type Small station wagon

Base price $36,500

Range 259 miles

Recharge time 9.3 hours

The smartly functional shape of the Chevrolet Bolt sticks to the proven formula of small runabouts: tall with lots of glass to make the interior airy, yet reasonably short and narrow to create an easy-to-maneuver package. The Bolt stood apart in having those traits, along with an attractive price, at its 2016 debut, but competitors are catching up quickly. Still, its 200 horsepower makes zipping around town effortless.

Type Small crossover

Base price $42,895

Range 211 to 305 miles

Recharge time 8.5 to 11.4 hours

Ford Motor’s bold entrance to the market of mass-appeal E. V.s piggybacks on the popularity of its much-loved Mustang. The Mach-E, a four-door crossover, trades heavily on the heritage of that venerable Ford, right down to the galloping horse logos and the design. It’s available with either rear-drive or all-wheel drive, and Ford offers a version fitted with a larger battery to allow a range of 305 miles.

Type Small S.U.V.

Base price $37,390 (not available in all states)

Range 258 miles

Recharge time 9.6 hours

Hyundai’s approach differs from previous entries in that its Kona and Ioniq E. V.s are also available with gasoline power. Usually, automakers build a unique electric-only structure, but Hyundai has been successful with this method. The Kona Electric’s regenerative braking system, which recharges the battery when slowing down, is calibrated to allow what is known as one-pedal driving, where the driver can also release the accelerator to slow the car instead of using the brake, unlike some models.

Type Midsize car (not available in all states)

Base price $33,245

Range 170 miles

Recharge time 6.1 hours

Like the Kona, the Ioniq shares its body with siblings that have gasoline engines. The Ionic Electric, as a result, is nearly indistinguishable from those cars, aside from its blanked-off grille area. The benefits of the shared architecture include an attractive price.

Type Subcompact car

Base price $29,900

Range 110 miles

Recharge time 4 hours

BMW’s Mini brand has dabbled in electric power in recent years, and its latest effort reflects both the brand’s engaging driving dynamics and the limitations imposed by the car’s small size. With its range, the Mini is not ideal for drivers who regularly make long trips. But with 181 horsepower and a weight of about 3,100 pounds, it’s lively on the road.

Type Midsize car

Base price $31,620

Range 149 to 226 miles

Recharge time 8 to 11 hours

As a global best seller, the Leaf has done much to expose drivers to E.V.s. Its conservative specifications and timid styling pushed it out of the limelight, but a redesign for 2018 brought it back to mainstream relevance.

Type Midsize car

Base price $59,900

Range 233 miles

Recharge time 8 hours

Polestar is the brand that answers the question of “Why didn’t Volvo make an electric car until recently?” Polestar and Volvo are owned by the Chinese automaker Geely, and Polestar’s first fully electric model, the Polestar 2, is a four-door competitor to the likes of the Tesla Model 3. With 402 horsepower on a sport-tuned chassis, it lives up to the Polestar aspiration as a performance brand.

Type Large car

Base price $79,900

Range 199 to 227 miles, although some models not determined yet

Recharge time 9.5 to 10.5 hours

The car that’s finally pulling the spotlight away from the Tesla Model S has arrived, and it’s a Porsche. The German automaker’s first production all-electric model, the Taycan, is a home run in terms of performance, with up to 750 horsepower and window stickers that easily zoom past $180,000. Typical of Porsche, there are a number of available drive systems and power levels, including Turbo models (which, of course, don’t have turbochargers).

Type Midsize car

Base price $37,990

Range 263 to 353 miles

Recharge time 10 to 11.2 hours

This midsize four-door is the most affordable car from Tesla and is its top seller. It takes the company a step closer to delivering a true mass-market E.V.

Type Large car

Base price $79,990

Range 390 to 520 miles

Recharge time 14.7 hours

Perhaps the most recognizable E.V. of all, the stylish Model S was a breakthrough achievement at the time of its release in 2012. A broad range of equipment choices and continuous development by Tesla have kept the car fresh. All Tesla models are compatible with its Supercharger network, making long-distance E.V. trips more practical. Other Tesla models include the Model X and Model Y S.U.V.s.

Type Small S.U.V.

Base price $39,995

Range 250 miles

Recharge time n/a

Volkswagen’s all-electric ID brand arrives in the United States in March with the ID. 4, a crossover that battles for much the same market buyer constituency as the Hyundai Kona Electric or Tesla Model Y. It’s a dedicated electric model, unlike previous VW efforts. Not all versions will be available immediately.

Type Small S.U.V.

Base price $53,990

Range 208 miles

Recharge time 8 hours

The first fully electric model to wear the Volvo badge is based on the XC40, a popular gasoline compact S.U.V. Its two-motor all-wheel-drive system delivers 402 horsepower. Predictably, it comes with a full complement of driver assistance and safety technology features. The XC40 Recharge is spacious, like its gasoline counterpart, and the interior is likewise full of thoughtful conveniences and storage touches.

Article by New York Times


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