Deluxe brands have announced development of electric vehicles while mid-range manufacturers are leading the charge in making electric vehicles more accessible.

With the world facing a necessary transition away from fossil fuels, alternative automobile technology is now the way of the future. To help you stay informed, we’ve updated our guide to electric cars either currently on the market in North America or available in the very near future.

This guide focuses on Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). Most BEVs are powered by lithium-ion batteries, the same type of rechargeable battery used in smartphones and laptops. BEVs are often lighter than traditional cars since they can run off smaller engines.

Previously BEVs were largely in the hands of high-income drivers, but over the past few years, this has changed. Today’s BEVs are increasingly affordable as more models are put on the market.

Up until recently, BEVs largely remained in the hands of high-income drivers. Today’s BEVs are becoming increasingly affordable as more models are put on the market. As well, when you consider the money saved on gas and the harm caused by burning fossil fuels, the price tag is much more reasonable. There are also several federal and state-level tax breaks and incentives that will make your purchase easier.

When considering the specs below, it’s important to remember that each vehicle’s range per charge is based on ideal conditions, which can differ in practice due to things like extreme weather, use of air conditioning or heating, and personal driving habits. As well, the charge times listed are for charging a battery from empty to 80%, so charging will likely be faster day-to-day.

Recent years have been a turning point for BEVs: Mitsubishi discontinued it’s slow, low-range i-Miev. Volkswagen announced all its models launched from 2019 onwards will by hybrid or electric. Mercedes-Benz announced plans to offer electric versions of all their models by 2022. BEVs are becoming faster, with more range and more options. Drivers love their smooth and silent operation, their quick acceleration and their low operating costs.

All the specifications and prices below are based on 2024 models unless otherwise noted.

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVS) on the Market Today

Kia Niro EV

Kira Niro 2024. Image © Kia Motors.

5-door/5-seat crossover
Range per charge: 253 miles
Horsepower: 201
Battery: 64.8-kWh lithium-ion polymer
Charge time: up to 80% in 43 minutes
Starting cost: $39,600 USD

The Kia Niro replaced the popular Soul EV and has quickly become a family favorite. Like the Soul, the Niro features a Regenerative Braking System that collects energy every time you brake and uses it to recharge the battery. Unlike the Soul, the vehicle offers more interior space for travel, shopping and outings, at 63.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

For those driving in cold weather, the Niro features an available heat pump that captures heat given off by the vehicle’s electrical components and recycles the energy to heat the cabin. This means your driving range isn’t compromised during the winter.

Features: Regenerative braking system; DC rapid-charging; touch screen with navigation; blind spot detection; front and rear parking sensors; battery heating system; pedestrian warning system; Bluetooth; heated rear-view mirrors; rear-view camera; heated and ventilated front seats; wireless phone charging.

Nissan Leaf

2024 nissan leaf in white

2024 Nissan Leaf. Image © Nissan USA.

4-door/5-seat Hatchback
Range per charge: 212 miles
Horsepower: 147
Battery: 40-kWh lithium-ion (60-kWh option)
Charge time: 80% in 40 minutes
Starting cost: $28,140 USD

One of the more affordable but higher-range electric cars, the Nissan Leaf has been one of the most popular electric cars ever sold. It’s also one of the few that has gone down or held its price as its range grows.

The Nissan Leaf is a compact vehicle with conveniences like fold-down seats, automatic emergency braking, and a lit-up charging port. It was also one of the first to offer the one-pedal driving system in EVs, allowing you to come to a complete stop simply by laying off the gas so you don’t have to switch pedals at all.

The 2024 model offers a 212-mile range and two battery options (40-kWh and 60-kWh) with corresponding prices. Plus, the 2024 Leaf received the highest 5-Star overall vehicle safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Features: Pro-Pilot Assist; Apple Carplay and Android Audio; Regenerative braking system; rear-view camera; Bluetooth capability; automatic emergency breaking; push-button start and keyless entry; 6.6 kWh onboard charger; heated front seats; Eco-mode for more efficient downhill driving; and a lockable charge door with inner light.

BMW i4 eDrive 35

BMW ei4 in black

2024 BMW ei4 35. Image © BMW.

5-door/4-seat Hatchback
Range per charge: up to 276 miles
Horsepower: 282
Battery: 83.9 kWh lithium-ion
Charge time: 80% in 31 minutes
Starting cost: $55,200 USD

BMW has updated its EV offerings with two i4 eDrive models and one iX. The i4 eDrive rivals the Tesla 3 in the sedan category, even though it’s pricier and larger. Despite its size, it lacks the ‘frunk’, that front-facing trunk space beloved by Tesla drivers. Its interior and other offerings are more luxurious, making it a favorite of many EV drivers. Innovative technologies, such as brake energy recovery, help reduce energy consumption.

Features: Regenerative braking system; push-start button and keyless entry; DC rapid-charging; Bluetooth capability; rain-sensing windshield wipers; navigation; rear-view camera; one pedal driving; heated front seats; brake energy recovery.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Electric

2024 Ford Mustang in black

2024 Ford Mustang. Image © Ford USA.

5-door/5-seat SUV
Range per charge: 312 miles
Horsepower: 266
Battery: 72-kWh lithium-ion battery
Charge time: 80% in 45 minutes
Starting cost: $39,895 USD

In the Mustang Mach-E, Ford has retooled their flashy Mustang into a practical (though stills sporty) EV with enough space to seat five and stow cargo. More SUV than muscle car, this next-generation Mustang offers options for extended range and all wheel drive.

Features: Regenerative braking system; DC rapid-charging; LED headlamps and taillamps; aluminum wheels; rear-view camera; drainable frunk; reverse sensing system; heated seats and steering wheel, and heated rear-view mirrors.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV

4-door/5-seat SUV
Range per charge: 361 miles
Horsepower: 320
Battery: 53-77.4 kWh
Charge Time: 80% in 18 minutes
Starting price: $42,450 USD

The newest Ioniq 6 comes in multiple versions with varying ranges and prices. The specs listed above are for the SE model. This version features a longer range and super-fast charging, along with sustainable cabin materials and lots of interior space.

The many features of the Ioniq make it a good deal for the price. However, the 2024 IONIQ 6 is available in select states only. Contact your Hyundai dealer for availability details

Features: Regenerative braking system; DC rapid-charging; LED headlamps and taillamps; rear-view camera; keyless entry and push-button start; pedestrian detection; heated front seats; heated rear-view mirrors, and smartphone integration.

Volkswagen ID.4

VW EV ID 4 in red

Volkswagen EV ID4. Image © Volkswagen.

5-door/5-seat Hatchback
Range per charge: 206 miles
Horsepower: 201
Battery: 62-kWh
Charge time: 80% in 38 minutes
Starting cost: $39,735 USD

Volkswagen boasts the ID.4 is “striking to behold.” This may refer to the model’s clean lines and aerodynamic silhouette or the optional gradient package with lots of chrome adding to the model’s stylish form (the ID.4 is available in there levels). As with other EV’s, there’s a corresponding smartphone app to check your battery and activate charging or climate control from a distance. You can also connect your smartphone to the display and use Google Maps instead of needing a built-in navigation system. The ID.4 is available with a 62- or 82kWh battery and 201 or 282 horsepower. The deluxe models have a longer range.

This newest Volkswagen EV may appeal to mid-range buyers who don’t need a luxury brand – those who just want to make an environmentally-conscious decision that suits their lifestyle.

Features: Regenerative braking system; touch-screen display; rear-view camera; collision system; remote climate control; push-button start and keyless entry; smartphone integration; LED headlamps and tail lamps; heated seats; adjustable cargo floor, park assist, lane assist and Bluetooth capability.

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevy Bolt in blue

2024 Chevrolet Bolt. Image © GM Motors.

5-door/5-seat Crossover
Range per charge: 259 miles
Horsepower: 200
Battery: 65-kWh lithium-ion
Charge time: 80% in 60 minutes
Starting cost: $31,500 USD

Previous versions of the Bolt stood out thanks to a stellar range that was nearly double other brands. Other models have since caught up in this department, but the Bolt still performs well, reaching 0-60 in 6.5 seconds in its eighth model year. A ‘sport mode’ button provides more responsive acceleration while one-pedal driving helps capture energy using regenerative braking.

Features: Regenerative, one-pedal braking; automatic pre-set charge times; automatic high beams; pedestrian detection; corresponding smartphone app; aluminum wheels; touch-screen display; front wheel drive; Bluetooth capability.

Tesla Model 3

TEsla Model 3 2022
4-door/5-seat Sedan
Range per charge: 272 miles (long-range AWD 341 miles)
Horsepower: 283 (long-range model: 394)
Battery: 60-kWh lithium-ion (long-range model: 78.1 kWh)
Charge time: 175 miles added in 15 minutes
Starting cost: 40, 380 USD

The Model 3 has been a mainstay of the Tesla brand since the company’s origins. As the least expensive offering, the Model 3 made the dream of owning a Tesla more feasible. Several updates occurred in 2021, but 2024 sees these carried forward along with a new look, a longer range, and updates like 360 degree glass and wireless phone charging. Available in three configurations, the Model 3 comes in a base Standard Range Plus model, with a single motor, as well as a Long Range dual-motor option with all-wheel drive. Inside the car is smaller than many other EVs on the market today, but the squeeze is mainly felt in the back seat.

The Model 3 has both a front and rear trunk. One of the most distinctive features is still the minimalist dash with its sleek LED screen, an innovative move that changed the future of luxury car interiors.

Features: Standard autopilot; automatic emergency braking; navigation; Bluetooth capability; on-board Wi-Fi and LTE internet connectivity; voice-activated controls, heated seats and a 14-speaker premium audio system.

Electric cars: coming soon

Keep an eye out for the Nissan Ariya and the Toyota bZ4X – models that are taking waitlists. It’s an exciting time for the electric car industry. Things are changing at lightning speed.

The carbon footprint of EVs

While electric cars may be the way of the future, that doesn’t mean purchasing a BEV is a completely green choice. Lithium-ion batteries require cobalt mining, which has been harmful to the environment and the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite this, experts agree that throughout its lifetime, a BEV has a lower carbon footprint than one with an internal combustion engine.

If you are thinking of replacing your car with a BEV, consider using your current vehicle for as long as possible before making the change. The production of any vehicle requires high emissions and North Americans already purchase millions of new vehicles per year, so it can sometimes be more environmentally sound to keep your current car (depending on its fuel efficiency). You may also consider buying a used BEV.

Also consider ways of offsetting the carbon produced by manufacturing your new vehicle and the increased use of electricity. Ideally, the electricity used to charge your car will come from renewables–and this is an option in more and more US cities.

If you are in the city, try to take advantage of the transit, bike lanes, and walking distances that urban-living provides. When you do need a new vehicle, BEVs are more efficient and will easily have enough range to accommodate city life.

BEVs are helping us move away from an economy based on fossil fuels, and they will only become more convenient, efficient, and affordable as more individuals and companies make the change.

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