smart Fortwo electric

2016 smart Fortwo Electric

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $19,990

Range: 68 miles

MPG equivalent: 122/93/107 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

The 2016 smart Fortwo Electric is the least expensive electric vehicle available on the mainstream market. It is also the smallest, measuring at just under 9 feet in length and a smidge over 5 feet tall and wide. As a result, the Fortwo is generally marketed toward city dwellers who would like to conserve space. The Fortwo Electric is powered by a water-cooled 55 kw motor, which translates to 74 hp and 96 lb-ft of torque, routed through a single-speed transmission to 15-inch wheels. Time to charge the Lithium-ion battery, according to smart, can take up to 6 hours, using either a 120V or 240V charger. Also according to smart, while driving in city traffic, that 68-mile range can be extended to 76 total miles.

The smart Fortwo Electric comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the smart Fortwo Electric

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

My first impulse was to dislike the Fortwo Electric. As a consequence of that, I really tried to like it. In its favor, it is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and will definitely get you from point A to point B (provided those two points aren’t very far apart). However, for only 68 miles of range, after which you need at least six hours to recharge, I just don’t think that it is a practical car. If you needed to take a trip farther than to work, the store, and back (like, say, to visit your parents), you would need to have a second car that could actually reach that distance. And, if you are going to have to spend that money to buy another car anyway, why not just buy a single one that can serve all your needs? It can even be a plug-in hybrid; there are some great cars later on the list that don’t cost that much more and yet still can cover that distance on electric power alone. Also, I can’t get the thought out of my head that, in a crash, I would be tossed like Harrison Ford in a refrigerator.

Cat HilesCat Hiles

When smart cars first started appearing on the streets, I always though how awesome they were and how I wanted one. Of course, I was a teenager living in Europe, and tended to rely on public transport. I’d probably buy the smart Fortwo Electric if I were a city-dweller looking for something that would easily get me around where public transit wouldn’t. But living as I do in Ohio, I doubt I’d ever give this car serious thought. (I still think it’s cool.)

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Next-Button

Mitsubishi i-MiEV night driving

2017 Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $22,995

Range: 62 miles

MPG equivalent: 126/99/112 City/Highway/Combined

Mitsubishi’s all-electric little buggy is back, unchanged for 2017. Like the smart Fortwo, the i-MiEV is built for city commuting at a very affordable price (it actually won an award for its overall value). The i-MiEV is powered by a water-cooled, 49kw AC synchronous permanent magnetic motor, which puts out 66 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque to the 15-inch wheels. The charging time is significantly longer than the smart car, however, reaching between 14 and 22 hours when plugged into a normal home outlet, so Mitsubishi offers two optional wall chargers that will charge the battery in 6 hours. The i-MiEV is also equipped with a port for charging at a CHAdeMO Level 3 public charger, which presumably charge the battery in a little over a half hour. Mitsubishi claims that, if driven solely in the city, the range can be extended all the way to 98 miles.

The Mitsubishi engineers seem to have endeavored to add at least a few premium features to the i-MiEV, despite is low MSRP. The outside features automatic on/off halogen headlights, side fender running lights, and heated outer mirrors. Inside, the i-MiEV offers the features that you would expect (save a USB connection, which is optional), but also includes, surprisingly, standard heated front seats.

The Mitsubishi i-MiEV comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I would actually like more people to buy this car. It’s cute, it’s unique, and when I actually saw one, in Southern Ohio, no less, I was able to shout “Oh my gosh look! A Unicorn!”

Cat HilesCat Hiles

You have to give it to Mitsu here–they’re really trying. Unfortunately, they only sell, like, two of these vehicles per month. Like the smart ForTwo Electric, perhaps it’s just that there’s not really a market in the US for tiny electric cars. Bring us that Outlander PHEV and then we’ll talk.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-Button

Next-Button

2017 Toyota Prius Prime exterior

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $27,100

Total Range: 640 miles

Battery Range: 25 miles

MPG equivalent: 133 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 55/53/54 MPG City/Highway/Combined

Goodbye Prius Plug-in and all the disappointed noises that came with it; hello Prius Prime, with a new name, a new face, and a new, higher electric range.

The Prius Plug-in is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine connected to an electric motor to produce a total of 121 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. Toyota is helpfully forthcoming with its charging times, rating the battery at taking less than 5 and a half hours to charge from a standard outlet, and about 2 hours and 10 minutes at a 240V plug.

On the outside, the Prius Prime features LED Daytime Running Lights with on/off feature, LED taillights and stop lights, an active grille shutter, heated power outside mirrors, and a carbon-fiber-reinforced rear hatch. Inside, the Prius Prime comes with a remote climate control system, an integrated backup camera, 60/40 split rear seats, heated front seats, and a USB power outlet.

The Prius Prime is eligible for a federal tax credit of $4,502.

Editors’ Notes on the Toyota Prius Prime

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I was actually surprised by one aspect of the Prius Prime—even though it is a hatchback, it only seats four people, for some reason. Here, I think Toyota should have learned a lesson from the Chevy Volt—people really want to use their whole back seat.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Ford C-MAX Energi

2016 Ford C-MAX Energi

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $27,120

Total Range: 570 miles

Battery Range: 20 miles

MPG equivalent: 104/87/95 MPG City/Highway/Combined

Gas MPG: 39 MPG Combined

The 2016 Ford C-MAX Energi is a small five-seat wagon powered by an electric motor bonded to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which combined produce a cumulative 188 hp in Charge Sustain Mode and 195 hp in Charge Depletion Mode, and 129 lb-ft of torque. Like on the Focus Electric, the C-MAX Energi has a special dashboard display which shows amount of power left in the battery, predictions on how far you have before the gasoline engine kicks on, and a visual representation of how efficiently you’re driving–in the C-MAX, the display adds more leaves to a branch for how efficiently you are driving.

Using the provided 120V power cable, the C-MAX takes 7 hours to charge, but using a 240V power station cuts that time to 2.5 hours.

For 2017, the base C-MAX actually loses a lot of advanced features in exchange for a substantial drop in starting MSRP. On the outside, what features it has includes a capless fueling system, a remote-release manual liftgate, and, yes, a ring of blue LEDS around the charge port that light up when you plug it in. Inside, the C-MAX retained more features, with dual-zone automatic climate control, second-row in-floor storage, and a 110V powerpoint.

The Ford C-MAX Energi comes with a $4,007 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Ford C-MAX Energi

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I envision this car as a car that you send with your child to college. It’s small, has some very nice features, and can be taken to class and back without breaking into the gas supply. Then, since it is a plug-in hybrid, you can then take it home on weekends or the holidays.

Cat HilesCat Hiles

I actually really like this car. It’s affordable, big enough to actually be practical, and it has pretty remarkable fuel efficiency ratings (plus a range of 20 miles). Until I am wealthy enough to afford a Tesla, this would likely be my top pick of all the EV/plug-in hybrids available today.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

carbon offsets

2016 VW E-Golf

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $28,995

Range: 83 miles

MPG equivalent: 126/105 MPGe City/Highway

The E-Golf is the calm, level-headed German EV from the company that brought us the Beetle and ridiculously illegal diesel testing cheats. As a result, we suppose all of that VW tells us should be taken with a grain of salt.

So, the E-Golf gets 115 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque (probably) from its 84 kW electric motor. The base model comes with a 3.6 kW charging cable (we think) that charges the E-Golf in about 16 to 20 hours from empty to full. Or you could plug the E-Golf (if that is indeed what it is called) into a 240V wall charger to fill it in about 4 hours, or a DC fast charging station to fill it in about 45 minutes.

Outside, the E-Golf might have an electrically heated windshield, LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera system, heated windshield washer nozzles, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers. On what may be the inside, you might find a dual-zone automatic climate control system, a multi-function trip computer, heated front seats, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a USB audio port (maybe).

The only change from the previous generation seems to be a reduction in price, presumably to attract back customers that may have been put off by the brand’s cheaty, cheaty ways.

The supposed VW E-Golf comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the supposed Volkswagen E-Golf

Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore

Given the recent discoveries of VW’s foul play in its diesel models, I wouldn’t really want anything to do with its alternative-fuel vehicles of any type—or any of the brand’s vehicles at all, really. Though, I said the same thing about GM last year following the ignition switch recall, but nobody listened, and GM’s sales continue to soar.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

Glow in the dark Nissan LEAF

2017 Nissan LEAF

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $29,010

Range: 107 miles

MPG equivalent: 126/101 City/Highway

The 2017 Nissan LEAF is an all-electric hatchback that sacrificed the compact size of the previous entries in exchange for more comfort. However, most of this trade-off went into the higher trims, which sport Nissan’s faster charger and a quick-charge port. The LEAF has five seats (although the fifth passenger in the rear had better be skinny), and is powered by an 80 kW electric motor, which translates to 107 hp and 187 lb-ft of torque. With the 6.6 kW onboard charger (standard on higher trims, optional on the base) plugged into a 240V charger, the higher-trim LEAF models can recharge in about six hours. With the base model’s 3.6 kW charger, that time is doubled, and using a dedicated high-capacity charger, the battery can charge to full in around 45 minutes.

On the outside, the LEAF was engineered for aerodynamics. The headlights were specially molded to direct airflow away from the mirrors and the undercarriage is covered by a flat surface to reduce drag. If you buy the highest trim, you will get a spoiler which contains a solar panel to help charge the battery and power accessories like the air conditioning, sound system, and headlights. Inside, the LEAF contains the features buyers generally expect, plus things like a RearView Monitor, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone controls, and a USB connection for iPod interface and other devices. In addition, seats both in front and rear are heated, the steering wheel is leather-wrapped and heated, the climate control is automatic, and, should you upgrade to the higher trims, there are several better features thrown in.

The Nissan LEAF comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Nissan LEAF

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Nissan was being a little sneaky on this one. On the LEAF’s website, Nissan showed off these great features, like the solar-panel on the spoiler (which is really a pretty cool idea), but theya re all only available on more expensive trims. That happened a few more times, and it started to make me feel like I was dealing with a pushy shopkeep that wouldn’t rest until I bought his most expensive necklace, because “What’s the matter, your girlfriend not pretty enough?”

Cat Hiles Cat Hiles

The Nissan LEAF is one of the only EVs I’ve actually considered, but that could just be because it’s close to my price range. In its previous generation, the LEAF looked very strange in the front due to its lack of grille (I think Nissan was trying to stand out a little too much), but the next version should look a little more mainstream. However, I’m still reluctant to spend almost $30K on a Nissan (sorry, Nissan).

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Ford Focus Electric

2017 Ford Focus Electric

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $29,120

Range: 115 miles

MPG equivalent: 118/96 MPGe City/Highway

The Focus Electric is offered solely as a hatchback as a model of Ford’s respected and popular Focus nameplate. The engine is a 107 kW motor which produces 143 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The 2017 model’s increased range results in increased charging time: using one of the 240V charging stations that they offer, the Focus Electric can charge in 5.5 hours. If you look at the specifications page, it says that, using the provided 120V charge cord, the Focus Electric charges in 30 hours, and using DC charging, it will take “XX” hours (at time of writing)—apparently that hasn’t really been tested for this model year yet.

On the outside, the 2017 Focus Electric is outfitted with High-Intensity Discharge headlights (with LED accents) and LED taillights, a rear-view camera, automatic on/off headlights, heated mirrors, and a ring of blue LEDs that light up when you plug it in. Inside, it features automatic climate control, push-button start, two 12V powerpoints (one in front, one in rear), a MyKey owner control system (which allows you to see the number of miles driven by specific drivers using specific keys), a Brake Coach, SYNC voice-controlled systems, and two USB ports. Also standard is “Eco-conscious cloth,” with an optional upgrade to leather-trimmed seats.

The Ford Focus Electric comes with a $7,500 tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Ford Focus Electric

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Wow that is a long charging time, especially given that the battery is now larger. And by the way, the upgrade from “Eco-conscious cloth” is leather? What, does Ford only love the environment until you have money?

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus Electric | Fusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Ford Fusion Energi

2017 Ford Fusion Energi

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $31,120

Total Range: 610 miles

Battery Range: 21 miles

MPG equivalent: 104/91 MPGe City/Highway

Gas MPG: 43/41/42 MPG City/Highway/Combined

The Ford Fusion Energi, like the C-MAX Energi, is a plug-in hybrid version of a popular car, but is a sedan instead of a hatchback. The Fusion Energi shares the specialized dash instruments of the other two electric Fords. Really it is very similar to the C-MAX Energi—it uses the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to an electric motor, producing the same horsepower and torque (188 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque).

When plugged into a 120V outlet, the Fusion Energi charges in 7 hours, and when plugged into a 240V charger, it only takes 2.5 hours.

On its outside, the Fusion Energi has power heated extended mirrors with puddle lamps and turn signal indicators, LED taillamps, speed-sensing wipers, a Rear View Camera, and a capless fuel filler point. Inside, there are three 12V powerpoints, one 110V powerpoint, and a Remote Start system.

The Ford Fusion Energi comes with a $4,007 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Ford Fusion Energi

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

The way I look at the Fusion Energi has changes somewhat in the past while, as the Fusion suddenly burst onto the plug-in car scene, swiftly rising to one of the best selling cars with a cord each month.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus Electric | Fusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2015 Fiat 500e

2017 Fiat 500e

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $31,800

Range: 84 miles

MPG equivalent: 121/103/112 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

…and we return to tiny cars. The four-seat 2017 Fiat 500e is powered by an 83-kW electric motor that produces 111 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque. When it comes to charge times, Fiat no longer wants to tell you what the charge times are, but since the powertrain remains unchanged, we can assume that the old times are still true: with the standard 120V charger giving you “roughly 9 to 10 miles of range for every three hours of charging,” that puts the full charge time at over 24 hours (although Fiat explicitly said at the time that it will be less than 24). A 240V charger drastically cuts that time, fully charging the 500e is under four hours.

On the exterior, the 500e includes heated side mirrors, halogen headlights, and 15-inch aluminum wheels. Inside, the front seats are heated, the driver’s seat has a memory system, the climate control is automatic, the USB port is in the glovebox, and there is an updated version of the Uconnect system.

The Fiat 500e comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Fiat 500e

Daniel SuscoDaniel Susco

Ah, the Fiat 500e. The poor, tiny, unloved thing—even Sergio Marchionne doesn’t want anyone to buy it. On the other hand, that does mean that if you dig the odd, tiny, Italian style of the Fiat 500e, then you can get some ridiculous deals, especially in the used market.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Kia Soul EV grille

 2017 Kia Soul EV

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP:$32,250

Total Range: 93 miles

MPG equivalent: 120/92/105 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

Staying small but adding some range is the 2017 Kia Soul EV, powered by an 81.4 kW electric motor, producing 109 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque (the first to break 200 since the Spark EV). The included charger is a respectable 6.6 kW charger, and when plugged into a 120V power source it charges the car fully in 8-10 hours. If using a 240V charger, that time is 4-5 hours, and using a public 480V Direct-Current Fast Charger (CHAdeMO chargers) will fill the battery in about 45 minutes.

For 2017, the Kia Soul EV got a small price bump, plus a few optional and standard equipment updates. On the outside, the Kia Soul EV sports a front-mounted charge port, heated side mirrors, auto light controls, LED positioning and rear lamps, and 16-inch Alloy wheels. Inside, the Soul EV comes with steering-wheel mounted audio, cruise control, and Bluetooth Hands-free calling controls, a FlexSteer system which changes the steering feel for Normal, Comfort, and Sport modes, an energy-saving Active Eco System, automatic individual climate control, under-floor storage, and Bio fabric upholstery.

The Kia Soul EV comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Kia Soul EV

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I wonder if anyone ever opened one of these and just found like a thousand hamsters wearing hoodies running on wheels.

Or maybe not, since one of the hamsters (Fluff Daddy, we’ll call him) got arrested for disability fraud.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Chevrolet Volt

2017 Chevrolet Volt

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $33,170

Total Range: 420 miles

Battery Range: 53 miles

MPG equivalent: 106 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 43/42/42 MPG City/Highway/Combined

The 2017 Chevrolet Volt has seen some small optional upgrades (aka adaptive cruise control) from the 2016 version, but does have one significant upgrade: it is being rolled out across all 50 states, rather than the limited market of its predecessors.

So, the 2017 Chevy Volt is driven by energy from the battery to twin electric motors, supplemented by a 1.5-liter high-efficiency four-cylinder engine, which gives the whole deal 149 hp and 294 lb-ft of torque, occasionally supplemented by 101 hp from the gas motor for a total power of 250 hp. Charging time on a normal 120V charger from empty takes about 13 hours, cut down to 4.5 hours with a 240V charger. Regenerative braking can be adjusted while driving use a steering-wheel-mounted paddle.

On the exterior, the 2017 Volt features Daytime running lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, and Automatic dusk-sensing delay-off LED headlamps. Inside, the Volt sports a split-folding rear seat, a rear view camera system, steering-wheel-mounted controls, three driving modes, 3 months of satellite radio service, an auxiliary audio input, USB connection, and a suite of available OnStar and Safety Features.

The Chevrolet Volt is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Chevrolet Volt

Daniel SuscoDaniel Susco

I really love this car. It gets the best mileage of any plug-in hybrid on this list and it is relatively affordable. All in all, I would rate the Chevy Volt as my favorite PHEV on this entire list. If only it were available more widely and sooner.

Cat HilesCat Hiles

The Chevy Volt is pretty cool. It looks good–distinguishable as an EV, but not in a weird Nissan LEAF no-grille way. My only hesitation in buying this vehicle would be the fact that it’s a Chevy, and I’m not typically a fan of their cars. But for now, the Volt would be well in my price range once you take the tax credit into account, so if I were in the market for an EV it’d likely be high on my list.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | Volt |  Sonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid commercial for range anxiety spoofs pharmaceutrical ads chainsaw

2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Type: Plug-in hybrid

MSRP: $34,600

Total Range: 600 miles

Battery Range: 27 miles

MPG Equivalent: 99 MPGe combined

Gas MPG: 39 MPG combined

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-in is the first plug-in hybrid variant in the nameplate which has been around since the ’80s. In addition, the Sonata Plug-in is also visually distinct from other Sonata models, as it includes a unique grille, front bumper (and fenders), rear bumper, and front and rear lights. It is available for sale only in select markets (California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont), but can be special-ordered in any other state.

The Sonata Plug-in is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric engine, creating a total of 202 hp and a total of 291 lb-ft of torque. Hyundai reports that the Sonata Plug-in takes 2 hours and 42 minutes to charge at a 240V charging station, and “less than nine hours” with a normal outlet.

On the outside, the Sonata Plug-in features its own specific boy work (mentioned above), 17-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, side-mirror-mounted turn signal lights, door handle welcome light, hands-free smart trunk with auto open. On the inside, it is equipped with a number of driving assist systems, including Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert, a rearview camera, and a navigation system. In addition, the Sonata Plug-in sports HD Radio, Hyundai’s Blue Link car management system, smartphone/USB ports, SiriusXM radio, dual automatic temperature control, heated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

The Sonata Plug-in is eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Hyundai is doing something that I think is kind of interesting with the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. Yes, it is a plug-in version of an existing model, but it also comes with a distinctive body style so that it stands out from all the other Sonata drivers out there.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | Volt |  Sonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2017 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid Debut

2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $35,210

Total Range: 610 miles

Battery Range: 29 miles

MPG equivalent: 103 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 38/43/40 MPG City/Highway/Combined

Kia hops into the plug-in game with its very first plug-in hybrid of its own. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor to produce a total of 202 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque.

The Optima Plug-in shares the Hyundai Sonata’s approach to making a plug-in hybrid: base it off of an existing car, but give it its own face. The plug-in model features unique front grille, front and rear bumper valence, and side sill elements, all of which feature “Plug-in Blue” accents. On the outside, the plug-in Optima also features an Active Air Flap, heated power-adjustable turn-signal-integrated mirrors, an automatically-opening Smart Trunk, automatic headlights, and LED positioning and rear combination lamps.

Inside, the Optima Plug-in features voice-command navigation, a Harman/Kardon® sound system, a rear-view-camera display, a USB in the front and two in the rear, an Active Eco system, dual-zone automatic temperature control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and leather seats, with the front two being heated.

The Optima Plug-in is eligible for a federal tax credit of $4,919.

Editors’ Notes on the Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I’m impressed by Kia with the Optima Plug-in Hybrid. Not only are they offering a unique-looking vehicle for an affordable price, it also has some respectable range. Kudos to Kia.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

Chevy recently announced the first Bolt EVs have been delivered to Canada

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $37,495

Range: 238 miles

MPG equivalent: 128/110/119 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

Behold the multi-award-winning butterfly of Chevrolet’s electric car program, bursting forth from the cocoon of the now-discarded Spark EV.

The Bolt EV produces power from a 60-kWh battery through an electric drive unit to give the little CUV 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Chevy is a little cagey in its reporting of charging with a 120V outlet (since with the big battery, it’s far more convenient to use a 240V charger), but they do mention in a caption that the 120V charge cord provides up to 4 miles per hour of charging, which puts a full charge from empty at 59 and a half hours. With a 240V charger, that rate goes up to 25 miles per hour, so from empty can charge in a little over 9 and a half hours. Then, if you spring for the optional DC fast charging (recommended), then you could charge at up to 90 miles of range in a half-hour, so a little under 2 hours, 40 minutes from empty.

On the outside, the Bolt features LED stop- and taillamps, automatic on/off HID headlights, outside heated power-adjustable mirrors, and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels. Inside, the Bolt features a Chevrolet MyLink radio, dual USB ports in the front center console, SiriusXM® radio, OnStar® 4G LTE WiFi, automatic climate control, multiple charge controls, the Teen Driver system, Keyless Open on all doors and liftgate, a remote starter system, and a rear view camera.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500.

Editors’ Notes on the Chevrolet Bolt EV

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is most likely the most significant electric vehicle on this entire list, a quarter due to its range of over 200 miles, a quarter due to its more mainstream price, and half because Chevrolet is rolling this little electric car out to all 50 states, rather than just those that smell of California.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Audi A3

2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Type: PHEV

MSRP: $38,900

Total Range: 380-430 miles

Battery Range: 16-17 miles

MPG equivalent: 83-86 MPGe combined

Gas MPG: 35-39 MPG combined

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is a good little plug-in, but unfortunately it is tainted somewhat by the company’s diesel emissions scandal, which makes all of the enthusiasm put in VW companies’ electric cars seem almost strained.

The Audi A3 e-tron is powered by a combination of a 1.4-liter turbocharged gas engine and an electric motor, delivering a total of 204 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. When plugged into a dedicated 240V charging port, the A3 charges from empty in 2 hours and 15 minutes. When plugged into a normal 120V outlet, that time extends to about eight hours.

On the exterior, the A3 sports automatic xenon headlights, but LED running lights and taillights. In addition, it sports power-adjustable heated side mirrors and an integrated roof spoiler. Inside, Audi has outfitted the A3 with luxury features like automatic climate control, leather seats, HD Radio, SiriusXM radio, an SD card slot, Bluetooth technologies, and a rear view camera.

Side note: when I first wrote this, in the A3 e-tron brochure, Audi compared hybrids in general to plain old salads, and the A3 in particular to one with hazelnuts and Himalayan pink sea salt, “locally sourced oak leaf lettuce,” “quadruple-washed” red leaf lettuce, “farm fresh, organic baby kale,” “artisinal, rustic-grilled, herb-roasted focaccia” croutons, and “Non-GMO rosette bok choy.” It has since been removed.

The Audi A3 e-tron comes with a $4,502 federal tax credit.

Editors Notes on the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

The A3 e-tron is a great-looking car, and that makes the strange salad page from Audi’s brochure all the more baffling. Honestly, Audi, you have a nice car. You don’t need to try to distract us with some ridiculous salad thing that almost comes across as heavily sarcastic satire.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

Tesla-Power B-Class Electric Drive

2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $39,900

Range: 87-104 miles

MPG equivalent: 85/82/84 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

The B-Class is Mercedes’ stab at a five-seat electric hatchback, with an engine (developed in collaboration with Tesla, apparently) that produces a respectable 177 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, the B-Class is only available in the select states of California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. For this car, you can charge using a 120V socket for an indeterminate amount of time, or you can use a dedicated 240V wall charger, which will fill it up in 3.5 hours, with no quick-charging port. This time is lengthened if you have the B-class EV charge using its temporary range-extender, which will temporarily provide an additional 17 or so miles of range, bringing the car’s maximum up to 104 miles.

On the outside, the B-class has rain-sensing wipers, an automatic rear wiper, and 17-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires. Inside, the B-class sports 10-way power leatherette front seats with adjustable lumbar support, driver seat memory settings for three drivers, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and a long list of safety features.

The Mercedes-Benz B-class EV comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors Notes on the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I was interested by the B-Class at first, but for the money, I would save a little more and just buy the BMW i3–it has more features, it can have a little bitty range extender that takes it up to 150 miles, and it looks much, much better.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2017 Chrysler Pacifica 2

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $41,995

Total Range: 570 miles

Battery Range: 33 miles

MPG equivalent: 84 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 32/33/32 MPG City/Highway/Combined

Well, here’s a first for the EV market—the first widely-available plug-in minivan. The Pacifica hybrid uses an electric motor tied to a 3.6-liter V6 engine to produce an unspecified amount of power, because at time of writing it seems that Chrysler has not yet released official numbers.

Another thing Chrysler isn’t talking about is how long it takes to recharge its battery on a 120V cord, although it does say a couple times on the Pacifica Hybrid website that it takes about 2 hours on a 240V charger.

On the outside, the Pacifica Hybrid includes power heated fold-away mirrors, power sliding doors, a power liftgate, automatic halogen headlamps, LED taillamps, fog lamps, a black roof rack, active grille shutters, and a capless fuel filler. Inside, the Pacifica Hybrid features perforated leather trim bucket seats, heated front seats, a third-row fold-in-floor 60/40 bench seat, a USB media hub, the Uconnect® 8.4 sound system, Blind Spot and Cross Path detection, ParkSense® rear park assist, and a remote start system.

The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is eligible for a tax credit of $7,500.

Editors Notes on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

With the Pacifica Hybrid, I think that Fiat-Chrysler is doing a smart thing—offering a well-made minivan with a significant electric range to allow families to go about their day using (hopefully) no gas and saving money. Plus, the Pacifica Hybrid is only plug-in hybrid minivan in town.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2015 BMW i3 overview front

2017 BMW i3

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $42,400

Total Range: 81-114 miles

MPG equivalent: 137/111/124 MPGe City/Highway/Combined, 129/106/118 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

The i3 is one of a pair of BMW’s current electric cars (the other, the i8, we will discuss later). The BMW i3 is a compact hatchback powered by a motor which produces 170 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque. For 2017, the i3 comes with one of two battery packs—either the old 60-ah battery pack or the new 94-ah version.

When plugged in with the provided “occasional use” charge cord, it takes 20 hours to charge, but when plugged into a dedicated 240V station, that time is slashed to about 3.5 hours.

As for exterior features, the i3 has LED head, accent, and running lights, automatic-dimming interior rear-view and driver’s-side exterior mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rear Park Distance Control system, and ground-illuminating lights in door handles. Inside, the i3 sports three-stage heated front seats, Slide-through interior floor design, Kenaf interior dash and door panels, a multi-function steering wheel, BMW Navigaiton Business system with iDrive Controller and 6.5-inch high-resolution screen, BMW TeleService, Bluetooth hands-free calling, an on-board computer that provides feedback on the vehicle’s operating status, Automatic climate control, and, of course, a USB connection.

The BMW i3 comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The i3 also comes in a semi-PHEV version:

DriveNow BMW i3

2017 BMW i3 with Range Extender

Type: Plug-in Hybrid – Sort of

MSRP: $47,450

Total Range: 180 miles

Battery Range: 97 miles

MPG equivalent: 111 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 35 MPG Combined

The i3 with Range Extender is simply the more-advanced-battery version of the i3 plus a tiny two-cylinder generator and a 2.4-gallon tank. This works to charge the battery, thus increasing the total range to 180 miles, but not to make the Range Extender i3 (or i3 REX) a “true” plug-in hybrid.

The BMW i3 REX comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the BMW i3

Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore

I remember the first time I sat in an i3. It was at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, and it was so freaking awesome. It’s pricey for sure, but if you’ve got enough money to buy an EV from BMW, I don’t think you’ll be too concerned with the price tag. The BMW i8 was roped off, so I couldn’t try it on for size, but I have a feeling that driving an i8 would be equally—if not even more—delicious.

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I was very impressed while researching the i3. It has tons of premium features (by the way, Keraf is a plant similar to flax), and just plain looks good.

Kudos to BMW on a fantastic little car.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

BMW 3 Series 330e

2017 BMW 330e iPerformance

Type: Plug-in hybrid

MSRP: $44,100

Total Range: 350 miles

Battery Range: 22 miles

MPG Equivalent: 72 MPGe combined

Gas MPG: 31 MPG combined

BMW is continuing to expand on its promise to provide plug-in hybrids in each of its core models, in this case releasing a plug-in version of its 3 Series Sedan.

The 330e is driven by a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline four-cylinder engine connected to an eDrive electric motor, for a total power output of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. According to BMW, the 330e can be recharged at a normal outlet in somewhere between 2 and 4 hours (although they are assuming regular use, rather than an empty battery). The automaker also says that that time is reduced when plugged into a dedicated charging station (whether at home or at a public station), where from empty, it can charge in a little over 2 hours.

On the outside, the 330e features double-spoke light alloy wheels with run-flat all-season tires, halogen headlights, LED fog lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and power-folding heated side mirrors. Inside, the 330e has front sport seats with memory settings for the driver, SensaTec upholstery, 40/20/40 split fold-down through-load rear seats, Anthracite trim elements, a USB audio connection, Dynamic Cruise Control, steering-wheel-mounted controls, automatic climate control, automatic-dimming mirrors, a universal garage-door opener, four 12V power sockets, and a HiFi Sound System.

The 330e is eligible for a tax credit of $4,001.

Editors’ Notes on the BMW 330e

Daniel SuscoDaniel Susco

Interesting note: BMW is tied for the most electric cars of any brand on this list.

Go BMW.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

The Mercedes-Benz company recently set an all-time sales record for the month of March and its best-selling model in the United States was the C-Class

2016 Mercedes-Benz C350e

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $45,490

Total Range: 410 miles

Battery Range: 11 miles

MPG equivalent: 46/61/51 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

Gas MPG: 30 MPG Combined

The C350e Plug-in Hybrid can be thought of either as a smaller version of the S550e or simply a plug-in version of Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class sedan. Either way, it comes as an elegant plug-in that is far easier on the wallet.

The C350e is powered by a hybrid system of a 2.0-liter twin-turbo inline-four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to create a combined maximum of 275 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. In case you didn’t notice, that is a ton of torque. The C350e can be plugged in from a house outlet or a public station, but Mercedes is only coming out with times for the 240V plugs, which take about 2 hours from empty. Like the S550e, the C350e is also able to charge its own battery, thank you very much, by being put in “Charge” mode.

From there, the C350e is a Mercedes—that means a lot of nice features. On the outside, the C350e has rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED daytime running lights and taillamps, 18-inch twin five-spoke wheels, an illuminated entry system, and the brand’s AIRMATIC suspension. Inside, though, the C350e contains a wide variety of features, including adaptive braking technology, dual-zone automatic climate control, a FrontBass® audio system, and dual USB audio ports.

The Mercedes-Benz 350e qualifies for a federal tax credit of $4,043.

Editors’ Notes on the BMW C350e

Daniel SuscoDaniel Susco

The only thing I wish is that the C350e had some more electric range. Right now, it really just has enough to go to the store, a restaurant, and home. It’s a real shame, because if it became cool among rich people to drive electric cars, then pretty soon it would be cool for the rest of us.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 | 330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

BMW X5

2017 BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance

Type: Plug-in hybrid

MSRP: $62,100

Total Range: 540 miles

Battery Range: 13 miles

MPG Equivalent: 56 MPGe combined

Gas MPG: 24 MPG combined

BMW’s plans to build a plug-in hybrid version of each of its cars is still on track, in this case causing the German automaker to take its first step into the much less-populated field of plug-in SUVs.

The X5 xDrive40e iPerformance is powered by a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline four-cylinder engine combined with an eDrive electric motor for a total power output of 308 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. When plugged into a regular home outlet, the X5 xDrive40e iPerformance will charge in about 3 hours and 45 minutes. At 240V with a dedicated charger, that time is cut to about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Outside, the X5 xDrive40e iPerformance features star-spoke light alloy wheels with run-flat all-season tires, Xenon adaptive headlights with dynamic auto-leveling, Corona headlight rings and cornering lights, LED fog lights, Power-folding heated side mirrors, silver aluminum roof rails, roof spoiler, silver matte exhaust tips, high-gloss black Aero Blades, a panoramic two-pane moonroof, power tailgate, automatic tilt-down of the right outside mirror when backing up, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Inside, the X5 xDrive40e iPerformance has heated front seats, a 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat, poplar wood trim, velour cargo area carpeting, automatic dual-zone climate control, front and rear Park Distance Controls, power outlets in three locations (including trunk), universal garage-door opener, USB connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, Mobile Office features, steering-wheel-mounted controls, Dynamic cruise control, BMW Navigation system, an HD Radio, and a HiFi sound system.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e iPerformance is eligible for a federal tax credit of $4,668.

Editors’ Notes on the BMW X5 xDrive40e

Daniel SuscoDaniel Susco

BMW is really keeping up on its promise to make plug-ins across its entire lineup.

I do have to say, though, velour carpeting in the trunk? The Corleones would be proud.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

Mercedes-Benz brought its full fleet of vehicles to the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, including the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE550e

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $66,300

Total Range: 460 miles

Battery Range: 12 miles

MPG equivalent: 38/50/43 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

Gas MPG: 20/23/21 MPG City/Highway/Combined

It seems Mercedes-Benz is doing something that I thought automakers should have been doing for years, now—making a plug-in hybrid SUV, the 2017 GLE550e.

The GLE550e is powered by an electric motor and a 3.0-liter biturbo V6, which together produce 436 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Like the other Mercedes plug-ins on this list, the GLE550e can be charged with a 120V plug, a 240V plug, or just by putting the car in “Charge” mode. Also like the other Mercedes models, the company doesn’t want to come right out with the low-voltage charging time, only offering that charging at the 240V plug takes “less than 2.5 hours.”

For exterior features, the GLE550e includes distinctive “Hybrid Blue” accents, aluminum roof rails, side-mirror logo projectors, a power liftgate, a power tile/sliding sunroof, dual chrome exhaust tips, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors. Inside, you will find dual USB audio ports, Apply CarPlay and Android Auto, an in-dash DVD/CD player and SD card reader, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a household-type 115V power outlet,  and, of course, leather upholstery.

The Mercedes-Benz 350e qualifies for a federal tax credit of $4,085.

Editors’ Notes on the Mercedes-Benz GLE550e

Daniel SuscoDaniel Susco

Good on Mercedes for bringing a plug-in SUV to market. Mitsubishi’s much-delayed Outlander hybrid has missed the boat on this one.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

Tesla Model S

Image: Tesla

Tesla Model S

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $68,000

Range: 210 miles

MPG equivalent: 98/101/99 MPG City/Highway/Combined

First, let’s preface this by saying that we can’t exactly call this the “2017 Model S” because Tesla is too cool for model years, and just makes adjustments on a rolling basis. For that reason, everything written below should be read as if it had the caveat “at time of writing.”

Now, then, the Model S. This car is known as the one to really put electric vehicles on the map, because Tesla was able to make electric cars cool. This is the only vehicle ever to score at higher than a perfect 100 in Consumer Reports testing. However, Consumer Reports later added that its reliability was suspect and the “Autopilot” function made them nervous, so follow your own heart, here.

The Model S has lately added a low-end trim level to try to make it a little more accessible, in the Model S 60. The EPA rated the lowest trim level to have a range of 210 miles (although Tesla’s website says 218), while the highest, the P100D, achieves over 100 more miles with a total range of 315 miles.

To charge the Model S, Tesla offers a mobile connector with 110V, 240V, and J1772 (which is the American electric car standard) adaptors, plus access to the Superchargers. Tesla has provided a chart of how quickly you can expect it to charge, although it is bafflingly in miles per hour (as in miles of range restored per hour). So, the Model S charges with the lowest charging cord at a rate of 7 miles per hour. That puts the S 60 at about 30 hours from dead. With a 240V plug, that gets bumped to 29 miles per hour or about 7 hours, 15 minutes for the S 60. According to Tesla, the Superchargers can recharge as much as 170 miles in about a half hour.

On the exterior, the Model S sports either 19-inch or 21-inch tires, zero-profile door handles that extend when the key fob is nearby, automatically-opening charging door, and trunks front and rear. The battery pack which covers the bottom creates a flat surface, and the available smart air suspension lowers the car at high speeds to reduce drag. Electronic vents remain closed to reduce drag until air cooling is needed. For controls, the Model S sports a 17-inch touchscreen with night and day brightness modes that controls most all of the car’s functions, including adjusting the automatic climate control, viewing the backup camera, choosing music, and checking on real-time energy consumption and remaining range.

The Tesla Model S comes with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Tesla Model S

Timothy Moore

Timothy Moore

I have finally upgraded from my old ’07 Yaris to my dream car, a 2017 Subaru Crosstrek in Hyper Blue. I don’t think I could be torn away from my Crosstrek, but if I was, it would be for this car.

Daniel SuscoDaniel Susco

I am a little unsure on how I feel about the Model S anymore. It is still the car that made electric vehicles cool in the first place, but as the excitement has worn down, people misusing Autopilot have gotten into wrecks, and reports have trickled in that the Model S isn’t the be-all, end-all of electric vehicles, my own excitement upon seeing or hearing about it has waned. It is still a great car, and still one of the only players in the game if you want a longer-range EV, but there are more automakers standing in the background and waving their opening antes to join Tesla at the table.

Cat HilesCat Hiles

I’m pretty happy with my current car, but if I were to upgrade (and had a spare $68K plus lying around) I’d strongly consider a Tesla. However, now that options like the Chevy Bolt are available, I’d think long and hard before spending so much money when a cheaper and equally reliable EV was available. Part of me is still wary of GM following the whole ignition switch fiasco, so if money were no object then I’d go with the Tesla for sure. Otherwise, I’d probably be more likely to get the Bolt.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-Button

Next-Button

The 2016 Volvo XC90 SUV has taken the crown has the 2016 Yahoo Autos Ride of the Year

2016 Volvo VC90
Photo: © Joshua Lanzarini

2017 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $77,650

Total Range: 350 miles

Battery Range: 14 miles

MPG equivalent: 54 MPGe

Gas MPG: 25 MPG combined

As Volvo releases its redesigned XC90 SUV, it is also releasing a plug-in hybrid version of the same, making it even more unique as one of the few plug-in hybrid SUVs on the market. This is the first major redesign of the XC90 since its first introduction in 2003.

And man, is it a doozy.

The XC90 plug-in is powered by a turbo- and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor to make 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. Charging in a 240V station takes 2 and a half hours, and that time extends to about 7 hours plugged into a standard 120V outlet.

On the outside, the XC90 plug-in gets 19-inch wheels, LED foglights, heated mirrors, panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers, a hands-free power tailgate, a rearview camera, LED adaptive headlights, and LED running lights. Inside, the XC90 is decked out, with four-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a number of infotainment systems, voice controls, a 10-speaker sound system, auxiliary audio input jack, and USB port.

If you jack the XC90 Twin Engine up to 11 and spring for the $118,900 Excellence trim level, the features get ridiculous, almost entirely tailored to the back seat. These features include leather backs to the front seats, a heated and cooled cup/bottle holder controlled form a pop-up touchscreen, two specially-designed Orrefors® crystal glasses which fit in illuminated crystal cup holders, extra-wide head rests in the rear, reclining rear seats, a freakin’ refrigerator, and oh yeah, heated and ventilated massaging seats.

The XC90 plug-in comes eligible for a $4,585 tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Here comes Volvo to join the crowd in the electric market!

I am happily surprised that Volvo’s first plug-in car went right for the SUV option, rather than creating its own small, zippy car (which, honestly, the market needs to get away from in today’s SUV- and truck-crazy car market).

On top of that, that is the most ridiculously luxurious-sounding back seat I have ever heard about. I definitely wouldn’t hate riding in that.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

2016 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $78,700

Total Range: 480 miles

Battery Range: 14 miles

MPG equivalent: 46 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 21/24/22 MPG City/Highway/Combined

The 2017 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid has the largest gas engine so far on this list, with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 connected to an electric motor to produce 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque. So, while its all-electric range is low, its combined power is super high (the electric motor only produces 95 of that total horsepower).

According to Porsche, using the included 3.6 kW charger and a high-voltage current will charge the battery in 2.7 hours, with an optional 7.2 kW charger slicing that time down to 1.35 hours. However, it includes the disclaimer that this is when plugged in to an industrial socket, so you may need to install a 240V wall plug like is used for your stove or washer and dryer.

Outside, the Cayenne possesses mirror-integrated turn signals, 19-inch Cayenne S wheels, electric tilt and slide sunroof, daytime running lights, LED taillights, integrated tailpipes, acid-green-colored braking system, and four-LED spotlights in each headlight. The interior is designed around the driver with a rising center console (to be closer to hand while driving) and steering-wheel-mounted controls.

The Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid comes with a $5,335.50 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Researching this and the other Porsche on this list was difficult. Since the Porsche model pages are all very much centered on “We’re really good, look at how lovely our car looks” that specific details like charging times and specific features fall by the wayside.

Cat HilesCat Hiles

Have you seen this car in real life? I have (the gas version, at least), and it’s weird. It’s like Porsche enlisted the help of Kermit when designing the Cayenne. For around the same price as this plug-in, you can get the all-electric Tesla Model S, which does not look like a frog.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

Model XTesla Model X

Type: Electric Vehicle

MSRP: $85,500

Range: 237-295 miles

The second model from electric car producer Tesla, the Model X shares a large amount of parts with its predecessor the Model S, although converting it to a grille-less SUV with a massive windshield and Falcon-door wings.

The Model X is offered in a range of configurations, from the base 75D to the top P100D, although the EPA has rated a 60D version. However, at time of writing, the 60D is not available for order on Tesla’s website, so we will treat the 75D as the base model.

The Model X is powered by dual electric motors no matter the trim, but Tesla has apparently decided to stop telling us the exact performance figures; however, our friend Google says that the Model X can produce anywhere from 328 to 532 horsepower. Tesla said that the Model X gets between 237 miles of range at the low end to 295 miles at its high end.

The Model X comes with the same charging options as the Model S, with a 120V adaptor, 240V adaptor, J1772 public charging adaptor, and Supercharger compatibility. The charging times are also recorded in miles per hour. With the 120V plug, the Model X gets back 5 miles each hour, so the 75D from dead would recharge in a little under 47 and a half hours. With the 240V plug, that rate goes to 25 miles per hour, and that time goes to about 9 and a half hours. According to Tesla, the Superchargers can recharge as much as 170 miles in about a half hour.

On the outside, the Model X looks a fair amount like a taller version of the Model S with the addition of a very tall windshield and those iconic Falcon-wing doors. The Model X also has flush-mounted door handles, power-folding heated side mirrors, 20-inch alloy wheels, backlit side turn signals, and LED taillights and stop lamp. The inside can come with anywhere from five to seven seats, where the front seats are heated with memory systems. Also on the inside are four USB outlets, microfiber and synthetic leather interior surfaces, wood accents, auto-dimming mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, backup camera, automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, and a nine-speaker stereo system.

The Tesla Model X is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Tesla Model X

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

The Model X is still new enough that it excites me when I see one. However, it has been affected by the same things that have made my excitement for the Model S gradually fade.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid | Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

CAS 2017 BMW 740e

2017 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $89,100

Total Range: 340 miles

Battery Range: 14 miles

MPG equivalent: 64 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 27 MPG City/Highway/Combined

The largest and the flagship of BMW’s plug-in hybrid sedans, the 740e xDrive iPerformance is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which together with a strong electric motor produces a total of 322 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.

Like the Mercedes vehicles on this list, the 750e can charge its own battery, allowing the driver to set a level they would like, at which point the car switches to battery-hold mode. BMW has said that the 740e can recharge from a 120V outlet in less than 7 hours, which is cut to just under 3 hours with a 240V charger.

On the outside, the 740e features an automatic engine start-stop system, the brand’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, automatic high beams, adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lights, power-folding heated side mirrors, power trunk lid-opening and-closing, panoramic moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, ground-illuminating lights in the door handles, and adaptive brakelights.

Inside, the 740e has even more features, including Dakota leather upholstery, high-gloss wood trim, a Harman Kardon® audio system, dynamic cruise control, automatic four-zone climate control, three-stage heated front seats, a WiFi Hotspot, Qi-standard wireless device charging, and two USB ports with 2.1A charging.

The BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance is eligible for a tax credit of $4,668.

Editors’ Notes on the BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Oh, man, that seems like a very nice car to be in, at any particular time. Go BMW.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2016 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

2016 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $96,100

Total Range: 540 miles

Battery Range: 15 miles

MPG equivalent: 51 MPGe

Gas MPG: 25 MPG Combined

Like the last two entries on this list, the 2016 Panamera S E-Hybrid is also powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine combined with an electric motor. This combination produces 416 hp and 435 lb-ft of torque. To charge, Porsche recommends you use an approved Porsche wall charger, which will fill the battery in 2.3 hours.

Exterior features include ran-sensing wipers, a rear wiper, power glass sunroof, rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic delay-off headlights, cornering lights, high-pressure headlamp washers, Xenon high-intensity headlamps, and front and rear parking sensors. Inside, the Panamera S E-Hybrid contains multi-level heated leather front seats, steering-wheel mounted controls for transmission, cruise control, and audio system, dual-zone climate controls, extended cabin heating, electrochromatic inside rearview mirror, and memory systems for two drivers, including remembering climate control settings.

The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid comes with a $4,751.80 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

I would say something about the battery range being pretty tiny for such an expensive car, but fuel economy isn’t really what you buy a Porsche for, is it?

No, you buy a Porsche to show your neighbors who’s boss, and then ride off in comfy seats with a 400-hp engine pulling you along.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

One Tweet may cost Drummond &25,000.

2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $96,600

Total Range: 450 miles

Battery Range: 12 miles

MPG equivalent: 54/63/58 MPGe City/Highway/Combined

Gas MPG: 24/30/26 MPG City/Highway/Combined

The 2017 S550e proceeds by the grace of a 3.0-liter boturbo V6 engine paired to an electric motor, creating a total of 436 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. When plugged in, the S550e takes about 2 hours to charge at a 240V power source or between 4 and 5 hours with a normal 120V outlet. Interestingly, though, the S550e allows a third way to charge: due to its torque-y engine, the S550e can recharge its battery on the fly.

When it comes to features, the S550e is richly appointed. On the outside, the S550e sports all-LED lighting, 19-inch twin five-spoke alloy wheels with Extended Mobility tires, a “panorama” roof (a two-pane sunroof where the front panel can slide back over the rear), illuminated door sills, soft-close doors, an electronic trunk closer, an illuminated entry system, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Inside, you will find LED lighting, a pair of 12.3-inch high-resolution instrument screens, a wood and leather steering wheel with incorporated controls, a rearview camera, a specialized cabin fragrance system (seriously), leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 115V power outlet, dual USB audio ports, SiriusXM Radio and Traffic and Weather services, 10GB music register, Near-Field Communication (where you pair your mobile device with the car’s infotainment system to share information when nearby), a Bluetooth interface, an SD card reader, and an in-dash six-disc DVD/CD changer.

The Mercedes-Benz S550e qualifies for a federal tax credit of $3,000.

Editors’ Notes on the Mercedes-Benz S550e

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Whew.

It’s a good thing I didn’t try to describe all the optional features.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Button

2015 BMW i8 Chicago

2017 BMW i8

Type: Plug-in Hybrid

MSRP: $140,700

Total Range: 330 miles

Battery Range: 15 miles

MPG equivalent: 76 MPGe Combined

Gas MPG: 28 MPG Combined

The BMW i8 is the second of the “i” pair. Whereas the i3 from earlier in this list was a smaller hatchback, the i8 is a long, low sports car.

It is powered by a 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder engine connected to an electric motor, together producing 357 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a car that can sprint from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. Using a 120V charger, the i8 can be at full in 3.5 hours, and with a 240V charger, that number becomes 1.5 hours.

The i8’s exterior features include all-LED exterior lighting, 20-inch wheels, automatic headlights, front and rear park assist, auto-dimming mirrors, an overhead viewing system, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, scissor doors, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic roof, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Inside, there is leather upholstery, BMW’s Navigation Professional system with touchpad controller, Advanced Real Time Traffic Information, Enhanced USB, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling, Mobile Office features, optional Message Dictation, a two-tone horn, Park Distance Control, Dynamic Cruise Control, and, of course, a 12V power socket in the center console.

The BMW i8 comes with a $3,793 federal tax credit.

Editors’ Notes on the BMW i8

Daniel Susco

Daniel Susco

Wow that would be a cool car to drive. I think that if I were to give any car on this list the title of “most cool,” the i8 wouldn’t have shown up to the award ceremony because it was off saving a young woman from an exploding building, which the i8 at no point looks at.

Fortwo Electric | i-MiEV | Prius Prime | C-MAX Energi | E-Golf | LEAF | Focus ElectricFusion Energi | 500e | Soul EV | VoltSonata Plug-in | Optima Plug-in | Bolt EV | A3 e-tron | B-Class Electric Drive | Pacifica Hybrid | i3 |  330e | C350e | X5 xDrive40e | GLE550e | Model S | XC90 T8 Twin Engine | Cayenne S E-Hybrid Model X | 740e xDrive | Panamera S E-Hybrid | S550e | i8

Previous-ButtonNext-Article-Button