Just 10 years ago, when the groundbreaking and leading EV, the Tesla Model S came out, the electric vehicle landscape was relatively sparse. Aside from the then new Model S and Tesla’s first offering, the Roadster, there wasn’t much available. The Nissan Leaf launched in 2010, and it was a functional entry, though it didn’t have much range. Flash forward to 2022, and we now have multiple electric vehicles to choose from with far greater ranges.
10 years ago, it was nearly unthinkable we would have the Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model X, and something called a Cybertruck that is imminent. Not to mention the Ford Mach-e, the Ford Lightning all-electric pickup truck, the Rivian electric trucks, Kia EV6, Kia Niro, Ioniq 5, Chevy Bolt, an impending Chevy Silverado, Mercedes EQ electrics, BMW electrics, the Jaguar i-Pace, Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, and Lucid Air, with more electric models on the way. We are entering an abundant electric vehicle age, and one that is still growing. Hybrids are still available and popular too, though the greater interest may now lie with the all-electrics, especially with the very high gas prices.
US News & World Report recently published its best hybrid and electric vehicles, after studying 82 models. Their list is:
- Best Electric Vehicle: 2022 Kia EV6
- Best Luxury Electric Car: 2022 Lucid Air
- Best Luxury EV SUV: 2022 Tesla Model Y
- Best Luxury Plug-in Hybrid: 2022 Volvo S60 (T8 PHEV)
- Best Plug-in Hybrid: 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid (PHEV)
- Best Hybrid Car: 2022 Toyota Prius
- Best Hybrid SUV: 2022 Toyota RAV4
- Best Luxury Hybrid: 2022 Lexus ES Hybrid
Colin Aylesworth, Senior Editor on their Autos team, spoke with CleanTechnica about them.
The factors you analyzed for the hybrid and electric vehicles were the cars’ overall score from the US News Best Car Rankings, starting price, Level 2 charging rate, and fuel economy and range data from the EPA. Which factors do you think consumers care about the most?
This likely varies from consumer to consumer. These are all important factors, but driving range is definitely up there for those considering an electric vehicle, especially as consumers decide how an EV may or may not fit into their everyday lives. This in tandem with the availability of charging infrastructure in their community likely plays a large role any decision to purchase an EV. Since hybrid vehicles run on gasoline in addition to electricity, concerns about charging with them are largely mitigated.
How do you generate the scores from the US News Best Car Rankings?
Our rankings combine information from published automotive reviewers and third-party sources. We comb through respected third-party reviews to gather information to score a vehicle based on performance, interior, and the overall critics rating. We also analyze safety and reliability information, EPA-rated fuel economy, and manufacturer-provided vehicle specifications. More information can be found here.
Did you test drive any of the hybrid and electric vehicles?
Our awards are data-driven and not based on personal opinion. We combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.
Do you expect consumer interest in electric vehicles to remain where it is or increase?
Interest will likely increase over time as charging infrastructure improves and automakers release more EVs to the market. Several brands have made pledges to have future lineups comprised nearly entirely of electric vehicles, which will also help consumer-interest gain traction.
Why are more people buying EVs now, where previously they might have expressed interest but not have taken action?
Improvements to the availability of charging infrastructure, reduction in charging time, and improved EV offerings have made electric vehicle ownership more appealing to a growing number of consumers. Additionally, external factors such as the cost of gasoline and concern for the environment may motivate some shoppers.
Are consumers who buy EVs and hybrids doing so mostly to save money on fuel or because they care about the environment and decreasing their carbon footprint?
Likely a mixture of both. Many early adopters probably had at least some degree of environmental concern, and as the cost of gasoline has risen recently, shoppers in the market for a new vehicle are probably considering EVs and hybrids as a way of reducing their fuel costs.
Is one of the main concerns people have about EVs is the relative lack of public EV chargers right now?
Yes, that and the amount of driving range offered by a fully charged EV battery are big concerns for many. Range anxiety, which essentially amounts to a fear of having an EV battery run out without an easy way to recharge, is in part a combination of those factors.
Do you expect even more EVs to be sold because of the growing number of public EV chargers that are being installed?
As more EVs are offered, charging times reduce, and the availability of public chargers increases, adoption of electric vehicles will likely grow.
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