11 Best Electric Autos in the USA

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My kindergartener has writing assignments these days in which she has to notice the difference between opinions and facts and provide her opinion about various matters — why she likes a certain food or sport, for example. 5 years old seems to be a good time to learn the difference between opinion and fact. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too common for adults to confuse the two, let alone 5 year olds. In the following article, I’m listing what I consider to be the 11 best electric vehicles in the USA. Naturally, this is just my opinion. Feel free to offer your own list down in the comments. The list is in no particular order. Well, actually, I think it’s the order in which I thought of the vehicles except that I split up the Teslas — but that doesn’t mean it’s a ranking. It’s hard enough to come up with a list. I’m not going to rank it too.

You can click on the vehicle names to visit the automakers’ webpages for these models.

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 has won practically every notable award there is to win in the auto industry. And I own one of these. So, I think there’s really not more to write about it to justify it being on the list, but here’s a short summary of the highlights: it received the best safety score ever from the NHTSA, it’s the quickest car for the cost, it has the most advanced driver-assist features of any automobile (if you pay extra for them), it has the best infotainment system on the market (even better than what you get in a Model S or Model X due to the orientation of the touchscreen), it’s one of the most stylish vehicles on the road, it has ample passenger and cargo space for a family of four, it has a beautiful glass roof, it has access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, it gets over-the-air updates that continually improve it (sometimes adding new features, new games, more power, greater efficiency), and it drives better than any car I’ve ever driven.

The cost of ownership, depending on various factors that can change a great deal from individual to individual, probably lines up more with a Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, or Honda Civic than a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4. So, it’s really hard to justify buying another car instead of this one.

MSRP: $39,990+
Range: 250 to 322 miles
Dimensions: 185″ L x 73″ W x 56-57″ H

Tesla Model Y

If I was on the market for a Tesla today, I’d probably buy the Model Y instead of the Model 3. The easier ingress/egress would probably be better for my bum knee, there’s a humongous amount more cargo room, there’s more passenger space, yet it’s still a sporty and nimble vehicle that has almost all the same benefits of the Model 3 listed above. That said, it surely doesn’t drive in quite as sporty a way as the Model 3, so the coolest thing is that you can now choose between a sportier drive or more cargo and passenger space. It’s a hard choice, but at least it’s easy to narrow things down to these two vehicles.

Since the list is supposed to be more than two vehicles long, though, let’s move on to some other options.

MSRP: $52,990+ (for now, lower priced version coming eventually)
Range: 280 to 316 miles
Dimensions: 187″ L x 76″ W x 64″ H

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Hyundai Kona EV

If Tesla didn’t exist but all the other electric vehicles on the market today did*, I think this is the EV I’d choose. It’s not a large vehicle — not nearly as large as the Model Y — but it has the crossover benefit of easier ingress and egress. It has plenty of range on a full charge, a comfy interior, a nice design (in terms of aerodynamics as well as style), and a decent infotainment system. It ain’t no superhero, but it gets the job done and is humble about it.

One benefit the Hyundai Kona EV and most other vehicles on this list have over a Tesla is that you can still get a $7500 federal tax credit (depending on your tax liabilities) if you buy it, whereas new buyers of Tesla vehicles can’t get any US tax credit.

MSRP: $37,190+
Range: 258 miles
Dimensions: 165″ L x 71″ W x 61″ H

*It’s a stupid hypothetical because almost none of them would exist if not for Tesla pushing the industry forward, but that’s the nature of hypotheticals — being unrealistic.

Kia Niro EV

The Kia Niro EV is extremely similar to its South Korean cousin, the Kona EV. Frankly, they’re so similar that I think which one is better for you comes down to brand and styling. Also, the Niro is a little bit longer/larger, whereas the Kona has ~20 miles more range on a full charge. Which is a bigger priority for you?

MSRP: $38,500+
Range: 239 miles
Dimensions: 172″ L x 71″ W x 61″ H

Chevy Bolt

Every Chevy Bolt owner I’ve talked to loves their vehicle. It’s a pretty tight vehicle, despite looking a bit bubbly from the outside, but I think it has enough room inside for an average person’s needs. It also has plenty of range and some nifty features, like blind spot detection warnings in the side-view mirrors and a camera for the rear-view mirror. Also, if you prefer Apple CarPlay or Google Android over Tesla’s in-house infotainment system, the Bolt has you covered.

MSRP: $36,620+
Range: 259 miles
Dimensions: 164″ L x 70″ W x 63″ H

BMW i3

As some of you know, before the Model 3, I had a BMW i3. I still love that vehicle. It has several downsides compared to the Model 3 (of course), but it’s still a super fun vehicle. And if you want small (for example, if you live in a tight city and don’t have a big family), it’s as good at weaving through narrow spaces and turning around on a dime as just about anything on the market. While the acceleration isn’t as strong in a Model 3, the car is so light (thanks, carbon fiber), that the i3 has a special kind of airy acceleration off the line. Pictures don’t do the i3 justice either, in my opinion — the car looks great from many angles in real life. Lastly, while the trunk space is indeed small, it is also a handy, pleasant hatchback — on thing better about it compared to the Model 3, even though I greatly appreciate the Model 3’s comparatively cavernous cargo space. That said, except in odd situations, I can’t understand choosing a BMW i3 over a Tesla Model 3.

MSRP: $44,450+
Range: 126 to 153 miles
Dimensions: 158″ L x 70-71″ W x 63″ H

Nissan LEAF

The Nissan LEAF is a solid electric car, maybe even a great electric car. It doesn’t have the spunk of a BMW i3 or Tesla Model 3, but if you don’t need spunk, it certainly still has the quiet, smooth, peaceful ride of an electric vehicle — and a bit of torque. Furthermore, it has a good driver-assist suite if you choose that. The LEAF’s big advantage is its price. With a low price of just over $30,000 as well as the full $7,500 tax credit at your fingertips (and perhaps dealer incentives), you can really get a LEAF for a much lower price than a Tesla Model 3. Oh yeah, and it has a hatch. A lot of people care about that. It’s a pretty spacious ride and has a good amount of cargo space. What more do you really need?

MSRP: $31,600+
Range: 150 to 226 miles
Dimensions: 176″ L x 71″ W x 61-62″ H

Audi e-tron

I have to admit that I haven’t yet driven one of these. I have seen one at a charging station, and it looked impressive. It had the solid, sporty, classy look of an Audi. From many owner accounts, the e-tron is a superb vehicle. The range is definitely good enough for normal use, despite some controversy around that, and the interior luxury of the e-tron is highly praised. Space — plenty of that. Power — all you need plus a little. Blends right in — sure does. Of course, the price is rather high.

MSRP: $74,800+
Range: 204 miles
Dimensions: 193″ L x 76″ W x 66″ H

Jaguar I-PACE

The I-PACE is an interesting option compared to the e-tron. Again, it’s a sporty, stylish, luxurious, rather expensive electric SUV. It’s a little bit cheaper (if we can use that word in this class) than the e-tron, but also a little smaller. On the plus side, it has 30 miles more range. That said, for this price, the range of the I-PACE (and certainly the e-tron) is definitely on the lower end. It’s comparable to my low-end Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which is approximately half the price of the I-PACE! Surprisingly, the I-PACE isn’t even much larger. But it does have a cool design and the Jaguar symbol on it. Still cool, especially if you’ve got a Tesla for road trips.

MSRP: $69,850+
Range: 234 miles
Dimensions: 184″ L x 75″ W x 61″ H

Tesla Model S

Tesla raises $2b in capital

Ah, and we’re back to Tesla. Again, this car is really only for people in a certain millionaire and above class. It’s expensive. But it’s awesome, too. It has an extra screen compared to the Model 3 (if you’re into that), a ton more cargo space than the Model 3 (if you need to move a small art gallery collection), more passenger space as well (but not by much from my experience co-owning a Model S before owning a Model 3), and potentially more power. The long, sleek design is still an unmatched electric classic. You can actually fit two carseats and an adult in the back seat. And it’s the breakthrough Tesla that broke open the electric revolution. Hard to not feel a little sentimental about that.

Even if I had the money for a Model S, I’m quite sure I’d choose the Model 3 anyway (upgrading to a Model 3 Performance, of course), but I can totally understand why some people prefer the S. I do miss the giant hatchback storage area at times, as well as the cool door handles.

MSRP: $79,990+
Range: 348 to 391 miles
Dimensions: 196″ L x 77″ W x 57″ H

Tesla Model X

It’s hard to say for sure, but this is the vehicle I’d consider to be the best passenger vehicle in the world. I definitely do prefer the drive quality of the Model 3, and probably the Model Y, but the X’s supreme comfort — thanks to a ton of space — is worth enjoying. The supersplendulous windshield is maybe my favorite feature. The falcon-wing doors not only look cool, but are a huge help for getting in and out of the SUV and loading and unloading little humans into and out of the SUV. The driving range is amazing, the cargo space essentially a tiny home living quarters, and the wings — did I mention the falcon wings?

The Model X would be my dream vehicle for road trips while the Model 3 is still my favorite for city driving. But I do wonder if a week in a Model X wouldn’t change my mind about the latter.

MSRP: $84,990+
Range: 305 to 351 miles
Dimensions: 198″ L x 79″ W x 66″ H

Have any favorite electric vehicles I didn’t include?

Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404You can also get a $250 discount on Tesla solar with that code.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7368 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan