When looking at electric cars, the one word that you see over and over is “efficient”: Look how fuel-efficient it is! Look how efficiently it uses braking energy!
But which of the most efficient cars is the best at being efficient?
Number 5: Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Starting the list is the lightest and smallest of the five, weighing in at 2,579 pounds and 144.7 inches in length. From the pluckiest of the major Japanese automakers, the i-MiEV is an adorable little commuter car that achieves 126 MPGe in the city and 99 MPGe on the highway, while going for a very cheap $22,995 MSRP (before the government incentive, which drives the price down to $15,495).
Number 4: Nissan LEAF
Next up is perhaps the most mainstream EV on the planet. The LEAF is instantly recognizable, designed for aerodynamics, and sports a larger battery (and range) than the i-MiEV, boosting its MPGe numbers to 126 in the city and 101 on the highway.
Number 3: VW E-Golf
Surprisingly, although VW is still sunk nostrils-deep in diesel emissions scandal, the company still manages to produce (reportedly) one of the most efficient EVs on the market, making 126 MPGe in the city and 105 MPGe on the highway, a slight increase over the LEAF, which is paired with a price increase (although VW is planning to start focusing more on its electric lineup to distance itself from the whole lying-to-the-government-and-releasing-huge-clouds-of-toxic-chemicals thing, so it is possible that incentives may be forthcoming).
Number 2: Chevrolet Spark EV
Next up is a little car with a lot of zip—the Chevy Spark EV is the second-smallest on the list at 2866 pounds and 146.5 inches of length, but easily sports the highest torque at an eyebrow-raising 327 lb-ft. Unfortunately, these are limited to a very small sales area (only three states carry it), so you’ll have to do a little travelling (or be lucky) to gain access to the Spark.
Number 1: BMW i3
The very top of the list is one of the most interesting-looking EVs available: the BMW i3, topping the efficiency scales at 137 MPGe in the city and 111 MPGe on the highway. This is unfortunately the most expensive car on this list at $42,400 MSRP before tax incentives, but it is also the most feature-laden and comes in a slightly less efficient range-extended version to create the highest combined driving range, at a total of 150 miles. It is definitely worth the look.