The revolution in electric cars is gathering speed. More and more electric vehicles go on sale every year, offering incentives such as improved safety ratings and a range of impressive base model features. With so many electric and hybrid vehicles popping up on the market, how do you decide on the right one for yourself? Whether you are buying your first car or looking to make the jump from your gas car, electric cars are a great choice to consider.
Aside from lowered emissions ratings, one of the main advantages of electric cars is the low running cost, both in terms of fuel and car maintenance. With fewer visits to the gas pump (if any at all depending on the engine type) and with fewer moving parts that could break down, an electric car represents value for money. What else should you consider?
Best electric car - things to consider include:
How much do you want to spend on your car? You may value ratings and car performance, but you must consider the best model to suit your budget.
- Miles of range
How important is the car’s driving range? Are you looking for a low-cost electric vehicle (or “EV”) effective over shorter distances? Or do you need more performance from your car’s lithium-ion battery?
- Charging stations
You need to consider where you could install a 240V charging station at home and whether you have access to charging stations at your destinations. Remember, you will likely require off-road parking (unless you plan to run a cable to your electric car across pathways).
- Lifestyle factors
Think about what kind of electric car you need. Is space important to you? Do you value the best safety ratings?
For example, would a model from the small family segment, the large family segment, or the executive segment represent the best electric car for you?
- Local weather conditions
Safety factors such as emergency braking, crash test ratings, and even build quality may be more important to you if you live where the winter is harsh.
Before we take a look at the best electric cars, it’s also worth taking a moment to consider car type. Why? Because some electric cars involve burning fossil fuels, which could be something you want to limit or avoid.
Types of Electric Cars
You may have heard of PHEV and ICE vehicles. These acronyms stand for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Internal Combustion Engine. What you may not know is that some EVs combine both PHEV and ICE engines. Here’s what you need to know.
- The full-electric style EV
A battery (e.g., a lithium-ion battery) is used to power the car’s electric motor. Full electric EV models are environmentally the cleanest types of EV, with superb acceleration and reduced maintenance costs. However, you must consider charging station availability and the time needed to recharge the battery.
- The parallel hybrid electric style EV
In parallel hybrid electric EVs, the electric motor combines with a fossil fuel engine to power the car. The fuel-burning engine also helps to recharge the car’s batteries. While these models offer the best of both worlds, you must still top up at a pump and face increased maintenance costs due to more moving parts.
- The series hybrid electric style EV
Series hybrid models receive their power from an electric motor, but a fossil fuel engine is present to charge and supplement the car’s battery. Because the fossil fuel engine operates in a reduced capacity, series hybrid EVs are simpler than parallel hybrids. However, they still require visits to the fuel pump.
- The plug-n hybrid electric style EV
Plug-in hybrids can be either parallel or series. The difference is that plug-in hybrids come with a heavy-duty battery capable of running the EV entirely on electric power over shorter journeys. Fossil fuel engines help provide power to these models only on longer trips. You must, therefore, maintain a high charge for the best results.
In summation, all types of hybrids offer a lower electric-only range in comparison to fully electric cars. Hybrids also typically only offer electric-only driving at lower speeds. If you value electric-only driving at speed over distance above all else, and if you have access to charging stations, the best electric car for you may be a fully electric model.
Best Electric Vehicles
From the commuter hatchback that’s fun to drive - with space in the rear for weekend shoppers, to the long-range all-wheel-drive option for SUV buyers - with adaptive cruise control and a state of the art infotainment system, there’s an ideal EV model for everyone.
In this guide, we’re going to look at the best electric cars available today, helping you to choose the most suitable vehicle to meet all of your needs.
Tesla Model 3 - from $35,000 CAD
Launched in 2017, the Tesla Model 3 became the third fully electric vehicle from Tesla - all Tesla cars are electric.
Billed as the more affordable alternative to the Tesla Model S, the Tesla Model 3 comes in Standard Range Plus (250 miles or 400 kilometres), Long Range (322 miles or 520 kilometres), and Performance (299 miles or 480 kilometres). The Standard accelerates at 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds, while the premium interior Long Range and Performance Tesla Model 3 options accelerate at 0-100 km/h in under 5 seconds.
Fun fact: Tesla has released four cars, the S, the 3, the X, and the Y. Tesla has also released four other vehicles called the Cybertruck, ATV, Roadster, and Semi. Together they spell S3XY CARS.
Tesla Model Y - from $69,990 CAD
With the Tesla Model S representing the most expensive Tesla model, and with the Tesla Model 3 hatchback and Tesla Model X electric SUV already on the market, Tesla began delivery of the Model Y crossover in 2020. The complete range now opens Tesla cars to the mass market rather than individual niche markets.
The Model Y comes in Long Range (316 miles or 508 kilometres) and Performance (315 miles or 506 kilometres) and can seat seven as an added feature. The projected price for the forthcoming Standard Range is sub $40K.
Nissan Leaf - from $41,600 CAD
The Nissan Leaf launched in 2010. Now in its second generation, the affordable Leaf provides you with 240 kilometres of range, while the Leaf Plus offers 364 kilometres thanks to its larger battery. Check out Nissan’s ProPilot Assist option, which combines cruise control and driver assistance for semiautonomous car braking, acceleration, and steering.
Porsche Taycan from $119,400 CAD
Released in 2019, the Porsche Taycan is one of the pricier entries in our list of best electric cars. The Porsche Taycan brings all the technology and prestige of Porshe to the fully electric market - expect 0-100 km/h times of between 2.6 and 3.8 seconds between models. Covering 209-326 kilometres per charge, the Taycan’s ‘DC fast-charge’ system charges the car to 80% in 20 minutes.
Audi e-tron - from $85,600 CAD
Audi launched the e-tron range in 2009, but the company’s first fully-electric car entered the market in 2019. The Audi e-tron electric SUV has sufficient power to boast 0-100 km/h times of just 5.5 seconds, which are eyecatching numbers considering the SUV’s purpose and segment. You can expect a range of 357 kilometres, all with a quick charge time giving you 87 kilometres of range in just 10 minutes.
The larger SUV size lends itself to all-weather driving, which is worth considering if you regularly drive in the rain.
Hyundai Kona Electric - from $44,999 CAD
Hyundai debuted the Kona Electric SUV (also known as the Kona EV) in 2018. In 2019, the Kona EV won the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award. Options on the SUV vary, but typical a typical range for the Kona EV comes in at 415 kilometres on a full charge. With a 0-100 km/h time of just 6.4 seconds, the Kona is a well-priced compact SUV for families requiring average storage space.
Chevrolet Bolt - from $44,998 CAD
The Chevrolet Bolt EV combines distance driving and affordability, offering 416 kilometres of range when fully charged. This people carrier offers a 200 hp engine, a comfortable interior, DC fast charging, and a 10.2-in touch screen as standard. All of which makes the Bolt EV the ideal family car for road trips.
Mini Cooper SE Electric Hardtop - from $44,990 CAD
The Mini Cooper SE Electric Hardtop may not offer the best range of 200 to 232 kilometres, but that is by design. The reduced battery space translates into a low-cost affordable model, and the weight savings help provide an impressive 0-100 km/h time of 6.9 seconds. Expect heated seats, leatherette upholstery, and Apple CarPlay (Android Auto is not available).
BMW i3 - from $44,950 CAD
The BMW i3 is a high roof hatchback first exhibited as a concept car in 2011 before production began in 2013. Now in its third generation, the i3 delivers a relatively average range of 289 to 309 kilometres when fully charged and a 0- 100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds. The i3 is a powerful compact hatchback and an ideal practical electric car.
Jaguar I-Pace - from $103,658 CAD
Introduced in 2018, the I-Pace is Jaguar’s first all-electric SUV. Instead of electrifying an existing model, the I-Pace represents a purpose-designed four-wheeled drive EV. With a range of 396 kilometres and boasting 0-100 km/h speeds of 4.5 seconds, this luxury SUV offers one of the best value for money purchases in the segment.
The fast-charging I-Pace also gives you 100 kilometres of range in a 15 minute charge time, and the larger frame makes it ideal for gripping the road in poor weather conditions.
In recent times, Tesla Model 3 is arguably one of the best electric cars on the market. For many people, the Model 3 offers more features and more performance for your money in comparison to rivals such as the Polestar and the Toyota ‘BYD Han’, which is also set to rival the Tesla Model 3.
While the Tesla Model 3 offers track-tested all-round performance, superb safety ratings, and perks such as over the air updates, you must consider the best electric car for you and your circumstances.
With new models coming out all the time, such as the upcoming Honda ‘e’, making one decision to cover all bases is more difficult than ever.