Best Electric Cars for 2021
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Best Electric Cars for 2021

By Matt DiGiulio | March 12, 2021

Today’s automakers are upping their electric vehicle production output to meet ever-increasing customer demand. While electric vehicle (EV) technology seemed like an obscure concept just decades ago, the current automotive landscape sees these green cars garnering widespread critical praise. New-car buyers worldwide are interested in this technology and the potential improvements to their driving experience.

Which EVs Should I Consider?

With all of the advantages of buying a new electric car, it’s no wonder they are so popular. Autolist has put together a list of some of our favorite electric vehicles that effectively use EV technology to provide efficient and technologically advanced transportation. Electric cars do not offer quite the versatility and driving range of a plug-in hybrid vehicle that can run on either gasoline or electricity.

But for the lowest emissions, impressive acceleration, and cutting-edge roadgoing technology, electric cars are a hard act to beat. Here are the top models you should check out:

Tesla Model 3

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Tesla is one of the biggest names in the all-electric vehicle market, thanks to their vehicles’ sporty handling, luxurious interiors, and top-shelf tech. The Tesla Model 3 is the California automaker’s least-expensive vehicle. This compact sedan retails for about $37,000, sharing many aspects with other Tesla cars, like futuristic styling and a minimalist cabin.

Despite its straightforward appeal, the Model 3 is something of a technological powerhouse. The base model offers up to 263 miles of all-electric range, and there are higher-range trims available. The Model 3 comes with a suite of advanced safety equipment to make the daily commute a breeze.

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Tesla’s ace up its sleeve is full self-driving capabilities. This optional package lets the vehicle accelerate, steer, and brake independently. And after you have left the car to do some shopping, the car can locate you in the parking lot when you are ready and drive itself to you.

Also key to Tesla’s success? Its robust Supercharging network of Tesla-only chargers that are spread out across the US. They allow for fast-charging of your Tesla, plus the vehicle’s navigation system can integrate Supercharging stops directly into the trip’s directions and planning.

Browse Tesla Model 3 listings here.

Hyundai Ioniq EV

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Hyundai is a South Korean carmaker known for offering cutting-edge technology in mainstream, low-priced vehicles. The Ioniq EV is a compact hatchback that competes against the Toyota Prius. Unlike its Japanese rival, the Ioniq doesn’t use any gas, instead of getting its power from an all-electric motor generating 134 horsepower.

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The Ioniq retails for roughly $33,500 before any tax rebates or incentives, and it’s packed with practicality like other Hyundais and Kias. Its motor gets the equivalent of 145 mpg around town. Acceleration is rapid, thanks to the instant availability of electric power. The Ioniq otherwise drives similarly to a typical gas-powered car, with front-wheel-drive and excellent outward visibility. It seats five comfortably and has a spacious cargo area.

The Ioniq seeks to be a dependable family vehicle, not a high-performance sports car. Hyundai includes driver safety aids for extra peace of mind. Like all Hyundais, the Ioniq has one of the best warranties in its segment, with 10-years or 100,000 miles of EV battery coverage. For those wanting an SUV, a separate model called the Ioniq 5 is slated to debut in 2021.

Browse Hyundai Ioniq EV listings here.

Porsche Taycan

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Porsche makes some of the most capable sports cars on the planet, with rev-happy gas engines and agile handling. The Taycan takes this fun-to-drive attitude and injects it into the German brand’s first-ever all-electric sports sedan.

One of the more exclusive cars to make this list, the Taycan, costs around $80,000 to start (going up to over $200,000) and has relatively small production numbers. It features all of the performance Porsche drivers expect, powered by a 402-horsepower motor on the base model, going all the way up to 750 horsepower on the top-end Taycan Turbo S.

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The Taycan’s body styling is unmistakably Porsche, with a low, swooping silhouette resembling a coupe.

The chassis is one of the most sophisticated on the market, with an adaptive air suspension and all-wheel-drive on hand for tenacious grip and a smooth ride. The driver can choose from several driving modes to program the vehicle’s responses to fit the conditions.

The Taycan’s four-seat cabin is brimming with luxury. Leather seats, four-zone climate control, a hands-free trunk, and voice-controlled navigation are standard.

Browse Porsche Taycan listings here.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

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One of the most practical cars to make this list, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is a subcompact hatchback with city-friendly dimensions and superb efficiency.

The original Bolt was on sale for about five years before Chevy gave it a refresh for the 2022 model year and put it on sale in the summer of 2022.

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The updated version dropped its price by about $5,500, so it now starts at about $32,000. But its 200-hp motor and EPA-estimated 259 miles of all-electric driving range carry over the car continues to deliver satisfying acceleration and a serene driving experience.

The Bolt features Chevy’s likable styling and user-friendly design. A power-operated liftgate and automatic headlights provide extra convenience after a busy day. The cabin is surprisingly roomy for a small car, with above-average rear legroom and a 16.9-cubic-foot cargo capacity. You can flip down the back seats for 56.6 cubic feet of total cargo room, making the Bolt versatile as well.

Inside, the updated Bolt gets more comfortable seats and a redesigned screen sitting inside the dashboard. The car also adds one-pedal driving capabilities, and all models now support DC fast charging.

Browse Chevrolet Bolt EV listings here.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

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Seeing the Mustang name on this list may come as a surprise to some. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is a compact crossover that rides the line between a car and an SUV. It is based on the legendary Ford Mustang sports car, with muscular styling and driving performance.

Released for the 2021 model year, the Mustang Mach-E is fully-electric. Its starting price of about $43,000 includes a sleek exterior with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing wipers. Ford adds driver-assistance systems like automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection for less stress on the highway or in town.

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The Mustang Mach-E has fun driving dynamics, churning out 266 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. Standard four-wheel disc brakes feature regenerative braking technology, allowing the vehicle to capture kinetic energy and store it for other uses. The Mach-E’s standard electric range of 230 miles means those with short commutes may only need to recharge it once per week.

A GT version will offer 480 horsepower as well as other performance-oriented features for EV drivers who want their EV cake and to eat it too.

Browse Ford Mustang Mach-E listings here.

Audi e-Tron

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The Audi e-Tron is another crossover that drives like a car in the shape of an SUV. It features the German luxury brand’s trademark styling inside and out. The midsize crossover has seating for five passengers as well as a generous 28.5 cubic feet of cargo space.

The similarities with other Audi vehicles don’t stop there. Inside the e-tron’s cabin, passengers are treated to high-quality materials and meticulous attention to detail. The seats are trimmed in premium leather, and the front buckets are heated. Front and back passengers have their own climate controls, helping them stay warm on cold days.

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Snowfall is of little concern for the e-Tron. Standard all-wheel-drive provides excellent traction in all seasons, while the panoramic moonroof lets in the sunshine.

The EPA estimates it can drive up to 204 miles on a single charge. That’s not as much as some other vehicles, but it should be plenty for specific buyers. The e-Tron offers comparable comfort and technology to a non-EV BMW or Mercedes-Benz crossover.

Browse Audi e-Tron listings here.

Hyundai Kona EV

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The second Hyundai vehicle to make it on this list, the Hyundai Kona Electric, blends an SUV’s tall ride height with a hatchback’s practicality.

Like the Ioniq, it includes the brand’s superb standard warranty coverage. The subcompact vehicle distinguishes itself from the segment with the sharp-edged exterior styling.

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The Kona EV retails for around $37,500 before tax credits, offered in three distinct trim levels. There is seating for five with adequate cargo capacity. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide seamless integration of your smartphone.

Drivers will appreciate its standard technology, like lane-departure warning, heated front seats, and automatic climate control. Along with the Kona EV’s user-friendly features, it has a versatile body for life’s changing needs. Its dependable reputation makes ownership less of a concern, and a 258-mile electric driving range means rarely having to recharge.

Browse Hyundai Kona EV listings here.

Tesla Model Y

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One of the newest electric models from the minds at Tesla, the Model Y, is a compact crossover. It looks similar to the Model X, the company’s flagship midsize SUV. The Model Y doesn’t share its big sibling’s lofty price tag, retailing for just $40,000 before incentives.

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That MSRP comes with a potent motor and 244-mile driving range. Like other electric vehicles, the Model Y is rechargeable at home or one of the thousands of roadside charging stations. Tesla also provides owners with access to Superchargers, special roadside chargers that can refill the battery with incredible speed.

Nearly every modern driver safety feature is standard. Like the Model 3, the Model Y can be equipped with Tesla’s Autopilot full self-driving system, which allows hands-free driving on the freeway. It also has the benefit of a larger interior and practical power liftgate. There are up to 68 cubic feet of storage space for bulky items, camping gear, or bicycles.

Browse Tesla Model Y listings here.

Volkswagen ID.4

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Despite its unorthodox name, the Volkswagen ID.4 is quite the sensible compact crossover. Volkswagen’s only electric vehicle currently for sale in the United States, the ID.4, has a reasonable $40,000 starting price and impressive standard features for active families.

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The ID.4 rides on a rear-drive platform, giving it agile handling and a sporty feel on the road. Like other VW cars, it feels planted and secure at higher speeds. A 201-hp electric motor provides ample power for various situations, with the equivalent of up to 104 mpg in the city.

The stylish and modern cabin seats five, offering plenty of legroom in both rows. The driver area is well-equipped with a heated steering wheel and blind-spot monitoring. Though it isn’t a household name due to its recent release on the market, the Volkswagen ID.4 is versatile enough to warrant serious consideration.

BMW i3

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The electric vehicle category is still relatively new, and the eight-year-old BMW i3 is one of the segment’s pioneers. Its funky body styling communicates that this isn’t an average car. Pricing for the i3 begins around $45,000, offering shoppers something different than the sports sedans BMW is known for selling.

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The i3 is a compact hatchback with an electric motor providing 153 miles of range. You can also buy it with a gas engine as a long-range extender. It is still technically an electric car because the internal combustion engine does not operate the wheels; it works as an onboard generator, recharging the battery pack.

The i3’s novelties don’t stop there. Under the eye-catching sheet metal, its interior is impressive for its comfort and refinement. The i3 doesn’t look like other BMWs, but its handling is sporty. It’s quite fun to drive.

Browse BMW i3 listings here.

Nissan LEAF

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Another originator of the electric category, the Nissan LEAF, has been a mainstay of the class over two generations of production. Its evergreen popularity is partly attributable to its price, starting under $32,000 before incentives. That puts it squarely up against hybrid cars from the likes of Honda and Toyota.

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The LEAF uses a straightforward driving setup, with small hatchback proportions and front-wheel-drive. Its electric powertrain offers the equivalent of 111 mpg in mixed driving. Nissan’s standard active safety aids (ProPilot) help avoid accidents while out on the road.

There are some downsides to the LEAF’s low pricing. The back seat has limited legroom, meaning tall adults may feel a bit snug. The cabin is comfortable, with some of the best seats in its class, but refinement lags top rivals. The Nissan LEAF is an excellent first car for shoppers wanting electric driving without the complicated tech or a steep price tag.

Browse Nissan LEAF listings here.

Polestar 2

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You would be forgiven for not having heard of Polestar. A subsidiary of Volvo, Polestar is a Swedish brand building high-performance electric vehicles. Like Volvos, they also emphasize vehicle safety and technology.

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The Polestar 2 is the company’s sedan. There is also the Polestar 1, a much more expensive supercar. The 2 model starts around $60,000, its sleek body styling concealing a 408-hp electric powertrain and all-wheel-drive. Like other modern luxury cars, it features power-folding mirrors, a panoramic moonroof, and a motion-activated power liftgate.

The Polestar 2 is a great all-weather vehicle. Its spacious and elegant cabin has front and rear heated seats, a remote engine starter, and a heated steering wheel. Those in the back will appreciate the premium audio system and top-shelf standard trim.


How Are EVs Different?

Electric cars differ from most other vehicles on the road as they lack an engine. They require no gas, diesel, or other fuel. They run solely on electricity, provided to them by a roadside fast-charging station or a household power outlet. Recharging an electric car’s battery is as simple as refueling a gas tank. It does take a little longer, but EV technology is advancing every day, making the charging process faster than ever. Instead of an engine, the electric vehicle uses a large battery pack for storing electric charge, plus one or more electric motors for putting that power to work in the axles.

What Are the Benefits of EVs?

Buying an electric car can reap numerous benefits. The most obvious is the lack of carbon emissions. EVs emit zero emissions while driving, unlike other vehicles on the road, more efficient than gas engines, saving money for the vehicle owner. Electric vehicle’s near-silent operation and rapid acceleration make them pleasant roadgoing companions. Meanwhile, many states offer significant tax incentives on the purchase of an electric car.