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11 Fully Electric Cars

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
October 7, 2014
5 min. Reading Time
2014 chevy spark rear view

2014 chevy spark rear view

10 years ago it would have been hard to put together a list of five fully electric cars.  Flash-forward to today and we’ve come up with more than double that number in our survey of what the all-battery market currently has to offer.  Better yet, these aren’t experimental or proof-of-concept vehicles – these are fully electric cars that can be used on a daily basis, and which offer performance that is at the very least comparable to a gas-only model, and at best several steps ahead.  Sure, a few of these models might only be available in certain, selected markets, but their mere existence proves that the electric car landscape is a growing one.

Let’s take a quick look at 11 fully electric cars and see what they bring to the table.

01. 2015 Kia Soul EV

The 2015 Kia Soul EV is all-new for the current model year, and it electrifies the popular compact wagon that has become an important part of Kia’s entry-level line-up.  A single electric motor in the Kia Soul EV pushes out 109 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque, and the five-seat wagon is capable of just over 80 miles of driving on a single battery charge.  As an added bonus, the Soul EV is DC fast-charge capable right out of the box, which means that when connected to the right charger it can fill the battery to 80 percent capacity in a very fast 30 minutes.  The Kia is also quite well equipped, featuring heated seats and a navigation system as standard gear.


02. 2015 BMW i3

The 2015 BMW i3 was designed from the ground-up to be an electric car, and it’s an unusual one at that: a rear-wheel drive hatchback with futuristic exterior styling and a surprisingly spacious interior.  The BMW i3 might not be the quickest car on the block but its platform’s low center of gravity gives it better-than-average handling, and its 170 horsepower electric motor is also good for a respectable 184 lb-ft of torque.  The lightweight BMW i3 offers 81 miles of range on a single charge, and for those suffering from ‘range anxiety’ it’s possible to order the i3 with a gas-powered generator that hitches along to provide additional juice on longer trips.

 Photo by Megan Green

Photo by Megan Green

03. 2015 Tesla Model S

The 2015 Tesla Model S makes the aforementioned ‘range anxiety’ a thing of that past thanks to the copious amounts of energy that it can store in its batteries.  Available in several different versions, each one providing different levels of power and distance-to-empty, the top-tier Tesla Model S can be relied on to provide 265 miles of driving per charge, along with 416 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.  Even the base Tesla Model S is impressive, as the four-door luxury car delivers 302 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque while still offering 208 miles of driving range.


04. 2015 Ford Focus Electric

The 2015 Ford Focus Electric adds battery power to a very successful compact hatchback formula, one that manages to preserve the fun character that has drawn so many buyers to the gas-powered Focus.  There aren’t a lot of Ford Focus Electrics out there, as the Blue Oval has essentially limited production to satisfy zero emissions requirements in a handful of states, but that doesn’t subtract from the car’s many qualities.  These include a 76 mile battery range, an electric motor that’s good for 123 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, and a charging time of under four hours.  The Focus Electric has fallen behind some of its newer competitors in the charge time department (although it’s redesigned for 2015, the drivetrain was untouched), which may be a concern for anyone who can afford a more modern, quicker-charging compact fully electric vehicle.


05. 2015 Nissan Leaf

The 2015 Nissan LEAF is a small fully electric vehicle that has seen more attention lavished on its electric engine and battery charging system than the Focus Electric in the years since its debut, with incremental upgrades working together to create a pleasing EV ownership experience.  The Nissan Leaf is a subcompact four-door hatchback that can be relied upon for 84 miles of driving range on a fully-charged battery, which is on top of its 107 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque.  A quick-charge port is available with the Leaf that, like the Kia Soul EV, facilitates an 80 percent charge from empty in just a half hour, but a full charge is available in four hours via a standard 240-v plug.


06. 2015 Fiat 500e

The 2015 FIAT 500e might just be that rare fully electric car that outperforms its gas-powered equivalent.  The Fiat 500e is only available in a few markets, which is too bad because this stylish subcompact hatchback is delightful in terms of handling, and it throws in 111 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque to boot.  87 miles of driving are available on a full charge with the 500e, and as an added bonus Fiat offers a rental vehicle program for owners who occasionally need to travel farther than their 500e’s battery will allow.  Four hours are required to fill the car’s completely drained battery.


07. 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is a relative newcomer to the fully electric car space in the United States, and it adapts the luxury brand’s entry-level subcompact hatchback platform to run on battery power.  The result is an exceptionally quick electric vehicle, as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV features 177 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque.  Total range for the car is 115 miles, but you can tap into 60 miles of that after just two hours of charging the car, and Mercedes-Benz has made sure to stuff the B-Class Electric Drive’s options list with an enticing array of high tech features to lure in status-seeking buyers.  Look for the B-Class Electric Drive to eventually make it to every state in the union past its initial 10-state debut.


08. 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf takes the newly-revised four-door Golf platform and gives it a fully electric makeover.  This is a good thing, as the Volkswagen e-Golf benefits from many of the same comfort, style, and chassis upgrades that have been afforded the entire Golf family, with the added bonus of requiring absolutely no gasoline.  The e-Golf offers 115 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, and battery range comes out to a maximum of 90 miles under ideal circumstances (and closer to 70 in normal driving).  You can charge the Volkswagen to full in under four hours by way of its available 240-volt charging system.


09. 2015 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

The 2015 smart fortwo Electric Drive takes the subcompact two-seat city car built by Mercedes-Benz and converts it in a fully electric car.  Although it offers less horsepower than the gas edition of the Smart Fortwo – 47 ponies versus 70, with an allowance for short bursts of up to 74 horses when necessary – torque is better for the Electric Drive, checking in at 96 lb-ft.  This allows the Fortwo Electric Drive to deliver substantially improved acceleration in comparison to the entry-level variant, along with a battery range of 68 miles.  Once depleted, it takes up to six hours to fully charge the car’s energy storage unit, which is much slower than other modern EVs.


10. 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV

The 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV – like the Fiat 500e – transforms an average gas-powered subcompact hatchback into a smile-inducing full electric ride.  You can thank its 140 horsepower electric motor, a unit that also produces a whopping 327 lb-ft of torque.  You get 82 miles of tire-smoking driving from a single battery charge with the Spark EV, but the bad news is that it can take up to 7 hours to fully top-up that battery once you are done.  The other downer: the Spark EV is only available in California and Oregon, and it’s not clear whether GM is looking to expand sales of the plucky little hatch.



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