This friend has a Tesla, that friend has a Tesla, that dude over there has a Tesla—but if you want an electric car, guess what, there is more—a lot more—to the story than Tesla. There are a slew of electric options available right now and about a million more coming very soon from Rivian, Lucid Aid models and the all-electric Ford F150 Lightning pickup.
Unlike gas powered cars, what makes an EV good—like most things in life—is subjective. Having said that, there are two must-haves required to make an EV acceptable.
One, get the model with the fastest charging time it can muster, so you’re not sitting and waiting forever for your car to charge when you’re on a road trip.
Two, is a long range. But range is funny, as what’s considered an acceptable range is going to differ from person to person. Almost every new EV that has recently hit the market has at least a 200-mile range, which seems to be the bare minimum of what EV buyers are willing to accept these days. As battery technology improves, my guess is the range is going to improve to a bare minimum of 300 plus miles in the next few years, which is akin to the average range of a gas-powered car.
But first, what to get right now?
THE HIGH END
You can do no wrong with the all-new 2022 Audi e-tron GT (from $99,900) or the Audi RS e-tron GT (from $139,900)—which, if you are so inclined to drop this factoid, was first seen as Tony Stark’s replacement to his Audi R8 in Marvel’s 2019 Avengers: Endgame. Both the e-tron GT and the sportier, faster, and more over the top RS e-tron GT are part of a larger push within Audi to electrify (as either fully battery electrics or plug-in hybrids) their entire lineup by 2025; and that includes scads of SUVs, both large and small, for the brand.
Both e-trons feature a 93 kWh battery, good for about 230 plus miles on a charge, and can fast charge to an 80% in about 23 minutes. While the GT produces 522-horsepower and the RS produces 637 horsepower, both e-trons are as fast as all get-out.
I had the chance to use the launch control feature on the RS, which takes some early-aughts Xbox level of cheat code to engage. Enter into dynamic mode, press hard on the brake, and mash the accelerator to the floor. Let go of the brake and keep the accelerator floored, and whoosh—on an empty runway at a small airport in Agua Dulce, California, I was able to pull a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds and 0-100 time of 7.41, which is faster than a 911 Carrera.
The e-tron GTs are unlike any other EVs on the road, by which I mean, it’s a four-door Grand Tourer that just happens to be electric.
My favorite feature on the RS e-tron GT is the standard lightweight, high-strength, carbon roof panel—a first for an Audi vehicle—because glass roofs, like the ones on a Tesla, are terrible to live with on the daily.
AUDI E-TRON GT (from $99,000)
AUDI RS E-TRON GT (from $139,900)
Another higher EV option is the Porsche Taycan, which shares the J1 platform with Audi. Choose the recently launched Taycan Cross Turismo (from $93,700), which is the lifted wagon version of the Taycan and has the utility of an SUV with the agility of a sports car in a package that feels less like a wonky gadget from the future, and more like a Porsche that just happens to have an electric motor instead of a twin-turbocharged V-8. The real sleeper in the Taycan lineup is the fantastic Taycan 4 Cross Turismo with the Off-Road Design Package that raises the ride height an additional 10 millimeters in Mahogany Metallic. It’s like an electric Subaru Outback at three times the price!
PORSCHE 4 TAYCAN CROSS TURISMO (from $93,700)
If German engineering isn’t your style, Volvo recently introduced the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge (from $58,750), which is the sportback version of their XC40 Recharge (from $53,990). Both come equipped with 75.0 kWh battery pack, good for 402 horsepower and 486 lb-ft of torque with a 200 plus mile range and a zero to 80% in 40 minutes charge time at a DC fast charger.
VOLVO C40 RECHARGE (from $58,750)
Keeping with the Scandinaivan vibe, look to Volvo’s cousin brand, Polestar and their Polestar 2 sedan (from $59,900), which drives great, looks fantastic and is guaranteed to turn heads as no one really knows what it is.
POLESTAR 2 (from $59,900)
There is the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona and Kia Niros, a whole array of entry level EVs for the daily drivers. But really, if you want something that is the perfect blend of comfort, range, and price, there are two models to choose from.
First is the Volkswagen ID.4 (from $39,995), with its funky compact SUV styling and futuristic interior, 201-horsepower 82 kWh battery and 260-mile range. It’s an all-around winner, especially for the price. Second, look at the newly-refreshed Chevrolet Bolt (from $31,995), with its standard DC Fast Charging, 259-mile range from a 20-horsepower, 65 kWh battery. After spending a week with the Bolt, it was the first EV I have driven in a while in which I wasn’t concerned about range or the size of the car, as it’s so compact and fits just about anywhere. The Bolt, like all EVs, was a blast to drive. As the electric motors wind up, listen for the angry Jetson’s sound and whoosh, off you go.