10) Nissan Leaf
The car is currently being offered in three variants, the highest end of which is the ‘SL’. It retails in the US starting at $36,790. The car’s single speed reduction gear provides a smooth ride and exceptional range.
The Leaf’s operating range is almost three times the average Americans’ daily commute. The most noteworthy feature of the car is its faster estimated charge time with a 240 volt charging dock and 6.6 kW onboard charger, which is standard on this variant. Leaf battery packs can be charged from fully depleted to 80% charged in as little as 30 minutes using DC fast charging.
The car is also equipped with an advanced drive selector. When shifted to B-Mode, the selector additionally increases the regenerative braking force and brake response. Even the car’s lights add to its range. The headlights are designed to deflect the airflow away from the car’s side mirrors to reduce noise and drag. Automatic on/off LED low beam headlights are also standard.
9) Mitsubishi i-MiEV
The 2017 i-MiEV creates zero tail pipe emissions and requires zero gasoline stops. It is compact, practical and the most affordable compact electric car on the market. Its 66 hp water cooled electric motor makes it lightweight and efficient.
With a single speed fixed reduction gear the car does away with the need for a heavy transmission. In fact the car has next to no heavy components to weigh it down, and weighs-in at merely 3,329 lbs gross. Consequently it was easy for Mitsubishi to give the car a favorable 45/55 weight distribution, which further improves the ride comfort and handling.
Electric cars are the future. Tax breaks, subsidies and other benefits that lower the cost of ownership help buyers usher in an electric future with the i-MiEV more cost effectively. Comfort and safety features include heated front seats, an audio system with six speakers, multiple airbags, stability control and traction control.
8) Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive
Mercedes-Benz engineered their first all-electric vehicles in 1906, which makes them pioneers in the field, with over a hundred years of head start. Employing decades of practical experience and feedback, they didn’t make the B250e look like something from a science fiction movie.
In its aerodynamic sculpting and athletic stance the car looks just like any other Mercedes-Benz on the road. Except for the iconic front grille, it blends with other cars perfectly. The B-series electric is also roomy, versatile and generously outfitted.
The car’s electric drivetrain is tucked away under the cabin floor and the short hood to maximize interior space. The energy module and high-capacity battery are spread-out under the floor for a lower center of gravity. This gives the car a nimble, sporty and stable handling.
The versatility of folding rear seats and a wide-opening hatch are other welcome features, as are the multifunction steering wheel and power adjustable front seats. US retail prices start at $39,900.
7) Kia Soul EV
The Soul was originally Kia’s subcompact crossover. In making an EV out of it they’ve done well to not compromise on the functionality and versatility of the original car.
All models of the Soul EV have cruise control with buttons mounted on the steering wheel, and a supervision screen with organic LED color display. Also standard on all models is ‘flex steer’, which allows the driver to adjust the feel of the steering to ‘normal’, ‘comfort’, or ‘sport’ modes.
Soul EV features something called an ‘Active Eco System’ which is a drive mode that lowers the car’s torque by approximately 20% and increases regenerative braking by 75%. Moderating maximum power output and converting more braking energy into electricity helps to stretch the car’s already appreciable range.
Power windows, keyless access, push button start, immobilizer, automatic climate control and a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat are other features which make this car a great EV.
6) Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell
Harnessing the awesome power of the most abundant element on the planet, Hyundai have created the first mass produced fuel cell SUV. The car employs a proton exchange membrane type fuel cell stack which combines compressed hydrogen and ambient oxygen to produce electricity.
The car’s hydrogen tank has a capacity of 12.4 lb. As the gas is stored at about 10,000 psi, this converts to 37 gallons. The car’s fuel economy is as high as 49 mpg in the city, per hydrogen gallon. Hydrogen, if properly handled, is as safe as gasoline, diesel or any other fuel. It has been in use for various applications for decades.
Tucson FV’s 100 kW fuel cell stack runs a 134 hp induction electric motor. The 60 AH Li Ion polymer battery pack is rated at 0.95 kWh. The electric motor connects to the front wheels through a single speed transmission and accelerates the car from 0 to 60 mph in 12.5 seconds. Top speed is 100 mph. The car’s safety features include stability management, electronic stability control, traction control, ABS and brake assist.
5) Honda Clarity
The Clarity is much more than a highly efficient fuel cell vehicle. It combines the functionality of an everyday sedan with next generation technologies.
The car’s head-up display presents information in an unobtrusive and elegant way so that there is minimum eye movement for the driver when checking the stats. Honda LaneWatch is a feature which starts displaying a live video feed of the passenger-side roadway on the car’s center display as soon as the driver engages the right turn signal.
Keyless entry, Apple CarPlay functionality, android compatibility, satellite linked navigation, an eight inch touchscreen display and a 12 speaker audio system are standard features.
The resilient fuel tanks are mounted in some of the most secure areas of the car, safe from nearly any impact. Moreover, hydrogen is the lightest gas around and quickly dissipates in case of the smallest leak, instead of accumulating.
4) Ford Focus Electric
In addition to being a fully electric car with a decent range and robust performance, the Ford Focus Electric has a range of creature comforts and conveniences. Among these are heated front seats and a 60/40 split folding rear bench with flip up cushion.
The 6 way manual adjustable driver’s seat has been upholstered in eco-conscious cloth. An 8 way power adjustable seat is optional. Other desirable features are dual zone electronic automatic temperature control, enhanced voice recognition communications and entertainment system with 8 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen in the center stack, voice activated navigation system, a Sony branded audio system with 9 speakers, and ambient lighting.
Safety features include dual stage front airbags and side impact airbags, rear view camera and tire pressure monitoring system. The car comes with a tire inflator and sealant kit. Retail prices it the US start at $29,120.
3) Fiat 500E
Fiat fancies the 500E quite the good-looking car. In addition to exterior trims for this fully electric compact, they’ve packed it with features on the inside.
The car has heated power front seats with memory feature, a seven inch driver information digital cluster display, another five inch full color touchscreen display, a media hub with USB ports, voice command, Bluetooth streaming audio, hands-free calling with voice text reply and GPS navigation with voice activated commands.
Other features of the 500E consist of bifunctional halogen projector headlamps, electronic push button start and automatic temperature control. The car gets its appreciable long range from low rolling resistance tires and technologies such as its regenerative braking system. The robust vehicle also comes with a four year or 50,000 miles basic limited warranty.
Charging the car is easy using a 120 volt charger, which comes as standard with the vehicle and can be plugged into a dedicated electrical outlet. A faster 240 volt charger can be installed at home.
2) Chevrolet Bolt EV
The new Chevy Bolt EV is smart. It now comes with a GPS that can be used to program the car’s charging settings depending on location. It would use the standard preset charging mode at home based on what the owner has installed in the garage. While on the road, the Bolt will know immediately when it needs a recharge.
The car can also be programmed to charge only at certain times. This is useful if utility rates are different according to time of day. Owners can preset the car to be charged for example, only at night.
For a little extra, Chevy engineers will perform a home installation of a specialized charging unit to refill the Bolt’s battery pack five times faster than a regular charger. Charging at public recharge stations is now also easier when using a ChargePoint card to pay. Owners will have the flexibility to choose the duration of the charge as well.
10) BMW i3
The i3 is a pure electric car that uses an innovative BMW technology called lifedrive architecture. Essentially, this is a two piece structure which is strong, rigid and surprisingly light. The result of using this construction is improved agility, driving range, and interior comfort for the passengers. BMW achieved this by removing the car’s B-pillar and center console.
Another advantage of this design is openness and improved cabin space for four passengers. For an even more spacious feel the car is available with a power moonroof.
BMW also gave the i3 an amazing navigation system. This assistant comes with a dynamic range map which takes into account the battery level, driving style, traffic situation and topographical information to show the most efficient route.
US retail prices for the i3 start at $42,400. According to some estimates the cost of ownership can be reduced by up to $7,500 in federal tax credits.