The range anxiety that comes with some electric cars can be a bit intimidating, but for short trips, an electric car might be the ideal solution to your transportation needs. Imagine being able to save money by never having to buy gasoline again, never having to do another oil change, and never having to bring your car to the garage for a tuneup. If you've been thinking about making the switch, take a look at our list of the top rated electric cars-though be warned that even if you do buy an electric car, you might still make trips to the gas station to buy snacks with the money you've saved.
10 Top Rated Electric Cars
Photo Credit: Kia
Kia Soul EV
The Kia Soul EV is an electric version of the Soul, a subcompact crossover SUV. The EV is powered by an electric motor that puts out 109 horsepower, and total range is listed as 93 miles by the EPA. A full charge can be had in around six hours, and a quick charge to 80 percent takes around 30 minutes. Thanks to the battery pack the electric version is significantly heavier than the regular version, and while acceleration is quick from a stop, it decreases steadily once you get going—the sprint to 60 miles per hour takes over ten seconds. Despite the extra weight the ride is good, and handling is better than you might expect.
The Nissan Leaf is a dedicated compact five-door electric car (with no hybrid or traditional gasoline powered version), available with either a 24 kWh or a 30 kWh battery. The EPA estimates a range of 84 miles with the smaller battery and 107 miles with the larger pack, and a full charge should take around eight hours with the standard charger or four hours with the faster unit. An 80 percent charge is available in approximately 30 minutes at a quick charger. The Leaf rides nicely, and the car’s interior is quiet and quite roomy. All models use an electric motor to generate 107 horsepower, and the run from zero to 60 miles per hour takes right around ten seconds.
Photo Credit: Tesla
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is a full-size luxury electric car, currently available with a 60 kWh, 75 kWh, or 90 kWh battery and in rear or all-wheel drive. Cars with the smaller batteries have a range of 210 miles, while models equipped with the largest battery have a range of 294 miles (or 270 miles in the incredibly quick P90D performance model). Recharging takes around five hours, while a Supercharger can provide 170 miles of range in 30 minutes. Because the Model S was developed from scratch to be an electric vehicle, Tesla has managed to keep the weight down and maximize interior space, even offering a third row of seats.
Photo Credit: BMW
The BMW i3 is a rear-wheel drive subcompact electric car that uses composite materials to help keep weight down. The EPA rated range is 81 miles, or 72 miles if you sprung for the range-extender version and have to lug the extra weight of the internal combustion engine around. The electric motor can generate up to 170 horsepower and acceleration is quick, with 60 miles per hour arriving in under eight seconds. The battery can be recharged in under four hours, or to 80 percent capacity in under 30 minutes at a DC fast-charging station. All this makes the i3 one of the top rated electric cars, and an even better version with a larger battery should be available soon.
Photo Credit: General Motors
Chevrolet Spark EV
The Chevrolet Spark EV is an electric subcompact car based on the previous generation of the normal gasoline-powered Spark. The EV has an EPA listed range of 82 miles, with 140 horsepower and an impressive 327 lb.-ft of torque on tap. The sprint to 60 miles per hour takes just a little over seven seconds, making the Spark EV faster than the gasoline version and one of the quickest electric vehicles on the market. A full charge takes as little as seven hours, or a fast charging station can be used to boost the battery to 80 percent in 20 minutes. Handling is respectable for a green vehicle, and the ride quality is good for such a small car.
Photo Credit: Ford
Ford Focus Electric
The Focus Electric is an electric version of Ford’s compact car. Only available as a five-door hatchback, the Focus Electric has a 143 horsepower electric motor that is good for a zero to 60 time of around eight seconds. Other than the lack of engine noise, the car behaves very much like a gasoline-powered Focus, at least until you try to haul something in the trunk and realize that it's been filled with batteries. A full charge takes under four hours, and range is 76 miles according to EPA ratings. The Focus Electric is already one of our top rated electric cars, but expect an updated model with a higher range and fast-charging capabilities for 2017.
The Fiat 500E is an electric subcompact car with an 84 mile range. The 111 horsepower electric motor is powerful enough to get the car to 60 miles per hour in the mid-eight second range, faster than the entry level gasoline-powered version. While the electric version handles nearly as well as the normal version, the ride suffers from the car’s short wheelbase. The batteries take up precious space in the rear and add significant weight to the 500, though it many ways the electric powertrain masks some of the shortcomings of the gasoline version. It takes approximately four hours to completely recharge the battery, but unfortunately quick charging is not available.
The e-Golf is an electric version of the Volkswagen Golf compact car with an 83 mile range. The extra weight of the batteries and slightly anemic 114 horsepower motor mean that the run to 60 miles per hour is a bit leisurely at around nine and a half seconds, but otherwise the e-Golf looks, feels and drives much like the normal version (except without an internal-combustion engine noise). A full charge can be completed in less than four hours, or a quick charge can bring the battery up to 80 percent charge in around 30 minutes.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
In other countries, the compact five-door Mercedes-Benz B-Class is available with an array of gasoline and diesel engines, but here in the U.S. it is only available as the all-electric B250e. With its 177 horsepower electric motor it can scoot to 60 miles per hour in under eight seconds and has an EPA rated range of 87 miles, not bad for a nearly two-ton vehicle. A full charge takes as little as three and a half hours, though unfortunately quick charging isn’t available. The B250e doesn’t like to be hurried, but the ride is good and the interior is quiet and nicely built as befits a Mercedes. All-in-all, the B250e makes our list of top rated electric cars.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Smart Fortwo Electric
The Smart Fortwo Electric is a tiny, two-passenger subcompact car powered solely by electricity. Available as either a coupe or as a convertible (making it the only open-top electric car on this list), the Fortwo Electric has a paltry 74 horsepower motor and a range of 68 miles. It isn’t quick either, taking eleven and a half seconds to reach 60 miles an hour, and its top speed is limited to only 78 mph. A full charge takes six hours, but the Fortwo Electric has no DC quick charging capability, which combined with the relatively low range will reduce the car’s practicality. Still, the range should be enough to satisfy most commuters’ needs.