14 Choices Now on the Market
Halfway through 2013, the list of electric cars available in this country has grown to 14 members, with entries available across numerous segments and at some relatively affordable price points. In fact, when you figure in federal, state and local incentives, customers in states like California can go electric for a net cost of under $20,000. Just know that, for our list of electric cars for 2013, we’ll only be taking into account the main federal tax credits—and that it’s not just a list of electric cars, as there are a few crossovers on the roster as well.
Also, while data from the HybridCars.com Dashboard indicates there were 13 pluggable vehicles that earned retail customers in June of 2013, the last full sales month before this article was written, Autobytel is adding a 14th, the 2013 Fiat 500e, to its list of electric cars, since it should be reaching real-world drivers in July.
A final bit of housekeeping: All pricing numbers are subject to change without notice, and remember, many entries on the list of electric cars are available with—and in some cases only with—affordable leasing terms.
The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV leads off our list of electric cars with an MSRP that starts at $26,685—equivalent to a net cost of $19,185 after the federal tax incentive—and offers high-tech content like Chevy’s MyLink infotaintment/connectivity system, a seven-inch color touchscreen, and Apple’s Siri Eyes Free technology.
Of course, it also offers an all-electric driving range of up to 82 miles. And per the EPA, the Spark EV does so while posting efficiency scores of 128 MPGe city/109 MPGe highway/119 MPGe combined. The EV edition of Chevy’s surprisingly popular sub-subcompact boasts 400 lb.-ft. of torque, too, for some of the snappiest acceleration on the 2013 list of electric cars, while also retaining up to 23.4 square feet of cargo space (with its rear seats folded).
Even though it features a high-efficiency gasoline engine that delivers about 340 miles of driving, at 37 mpg combined, the Chevrolet Volt still qualifies for the $7,500 federal incentive and still qualifies for our list of electric cars for 2013.
That’s because the Volt also can rely on an electric propulsion system capable of providing up to 38 miles of all-electric travel, matched by a combined efficiency rating of 98 MPGe. The price tag here opens at $39,145, with a net of $31,645, but like many selections on our list of electric cars for 2013, the Volt offers a particularly premium range of content that includes heated seats, leather cabin highlights, MyLink with navigation, and LED exterior lighting.
Adding some Euro-flair to the Autobytel list of electric cars is the Fiat 500e, but it certainly doesn’t trade substance for style. Fiat’s first EV can travel up to 87 miles on a single charge while posting an overall EPA line of 122 MPGe city/108 MPGe highway/116 MPGe combined. Yet even with what is currently one of the longest driving ranges on the list of electric cars, the 500e also offers another unique way of avoiding range anxiety: The standard Fiat 500e Pass program that gives owners access to a traditional gas-powered car for up to 12 days a year for extended road trips (thanks to a partnership with the Enterprise car-rental consortium).
Backed by a relatively upscale package, the Fiat 500e joins our list of electric cars with an MSRP of $31,800, for an after-incentive cost of $24,300.
The Ford C-Max Energi is the plug-in version of the Blue Oval’s compact C-MAX multipurpose vehicle, wearing an MSRP of $33,345 that can be defrayed by $3,751 in federal tax incentives. That brings the net cost down to $29,595, and also brings along an EPA-certified, 21-mile all-electric driving range during which the C-MAX Energi gets a 100 MPGe rating in combined travel.
After that point, the C-MAX can post one of the longest overall driving ranges on Autobytel’s list of electric cars, thanks to a “regular” hybrid powertrain that can supply efficiency grades of 44 mpg city/41 mpg highway/43 mpg combined, and almost 600 more miles of range.
Naturally, the C-MAX Energi marks the premiere of Ford Sync with MyFord Touch technology on the list of electric cars.
The Ford Focus Electric offers a 76-mile driving range, and while that may not be quite up to the benchmarks set by the smaller choices on the list of electric cars for 2013, the Blue Oval product is more than 2 feet longer than the Chevy Spark EV and 2.5 bigger than the Fiat 500e. Plus, it still achieves 110 MPGe city/99 MPGe highway/105 MPGe combined.
MSRPs for the Focus Electric also are bigger, but not by as much as they used to be. Thanks to a recent $4,000 price cut, and the full $7,500 from the government, consumers’ net outlay will be a more palatable $27,700. Again, as is the case with all Fords on our list of electric cars, the full Ford Sync setup is on the content sheet, as are standard goodies like heated seats, a nine-speaker premium Sony sound system, and LED accent lights.
The third Ford on the 2013 list of electric cars is a plug-in hybrid edition of the exceedingly popular Ford Fusion midsize sedan. With an MSRP of $38,700—that can be mitigated by $3,751 in federal tax credits—the Fusion Energi is part of a growing number of somewhat larger EVs that also includes the Honda Accord plug-in and the Tesla Model S.
Like the other Energi model on our list of electric cars, the Fusion Energi has been certified as capable of 100 MPGe in combined driving in its all-electric mode, in which it can provide a driving range of 21 miles; then, if owners want to go further, they can take advantage of the car’s 620-mile combined range that is enabled by a hybrid propulsion system graded at 44 mpg city/41 mpg highway/43 mpg combined.
As mentioned, Honda also has jumped into the midsize plug-in segment, where it competes with the new Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. That model enters our list of electric cars with the ability to run for 13 miles without gas, leveraging a 115 MPGe grade for combined travel. But the Accord Plug-in also can be operated like a more traditional hybrid vehicle and supplies a combined driving range of 570 miles while posting an EPA line of 47 mpg city/46 mpg highway/46 mpg combined.
In the cost department, the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid has the advantage of a $3,626 federal incentive, and that helps reduce the bottom-line starting point for this entry on the list of electric cars from $39,780 to just more than $36,150.
The Honda Fit EV makes the list of electric cars for 2013 even though it’s not literally for sale at this stage in the game. Right now, the Fit EV is only being leased, but current terms are excellent: zero down, $259 per month and unlimited miles. Speaking of miles, you can drive for about 82 of them on a single charge in the Honda Fit EV, which rings up sterling efficiency marks of 132 MPGe city/105 MPGe highway/118 MPGe combined.
The Honda Fit EV also stands out from other rivals on the list of electric cars for 2013 as the only one that comes with a complimentary 240-volt Leviton Home Charging System (although installation is extra). With that setup, drivers can recharge the Fit EV in as little as three hours.
Among the founding names on the modern-day list of electric cars is the Mistubishi i-MiEV, but whether it’s actually still on sale in the U.S. is a point of contention. The automaker continues to feature the 2012 model on its website even though we’re into the second half of the 2013 selling season, and there’s no sign it will be replaced on the list of electric vehicles by a new version anytime soon.
Drivers who can still find a 2012 i-MiEV will benefit from EPA ratings of 126 MPGe city/99 MPGe highway/112 MPGe combined during a 62-mile all-electric driving range, all for a price that starts at $29,125 and falls to $21,625 after incentives from the federal government.
The best-selling electric-only vehicle on this year’s list of electric cars—the Nissan LEAF—is seeing a serious sales renaissance now that the brand is offering a new, highly affordable entry model that can be purchased for a net cost as low as $21,300. Also attractive to customers: EPA efficiency ratings at 129 MPGe city/102 MPGe highway/115 MPGe combined, with a driving range of up to 75 miles.
Other new advantages for the new model year include a 6.6 kW onboard charger for reduced 240-volt charging times, a Bose green-tech audio system with seven speakers, Nissan’s Around View Monitor, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a leather-appointed interior. The Nissan Leaf also is one of the all-American entries on the list of electric cars, since both the vehicle and its lithium-ion batteries are built in Tennessee.