The Bolt is all about value. With a range of 238 miles per charge, that hits close to Tesla's furthest cruisers. However, a starting price of $30,000 puts it way ahead of Tesla in terms of affordability. Sure, the Model 3 is supposed to start around the same price, but so far, we haven't seen that trim come to market.
The 150-kW (electric motor is good for about 200 horsepower, but EVs are all about that sweet, instant electric torque. 266 pound-feet of twisting power goes to the front wheels for very responsive performance at low speeds and a peppy around-town feel. Floor it and the 3,580-pound hatchback will do an eerily silent, sub-7-second 60 mph sprint.
However, the tech is a tad disappointing. There is no adaptive cruise control and no navigation option. A large 10.2-inch color touchscreen display serves as home to a unique version of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. The software here has been stripped down to the essentials like satellite and terrestrial radio, Bluetooth calling and audio streaming, plus USB connectivity for audio playback.
I didn't shed any tears when Smart ditched the gas powertrain in the US to only offer the electric Fortwo. The gas Fortwo was dreaded, while the electric version makes a fairly strong case for a zippy city car with 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. People will scoff at its 11.4 second zero-to-60 mph time, but acceleration to 40 mph is brisk which is what you want in urban traffic.
Published:Caption:Emme HallPhoto:Mercedes-Benz USA
Jon Wong's pick: Smart ForTwo
The 8.8-foot long EQ Fortwo is maneuverable for snaking through crowded streets and is likely capable of slotting into the together parking spots you'll ever come across, but the its EPA-estimated 58 miles of range isn't something to write home about.
Published:Caption:Emme HallPhoto:Mercedes-Benz USA
Steven Ewing's pick: Volkswagen e-Golf
Its 150-mile range isn't the most impressive in today's modern EV space, but it's still more than ample for most electric car buyers. I've spent long periods of time with the e-Golf on a couple of occasions, and with regular charging, the range was never an issue.
The best thing about the e-Golf is that it's as functional and nice to drive as any other Golf model. VW's little guy is one of my favorites in the compact car space today, and the electric version is just as enjoyable to drive with lots of room in back for all your belongings.
You get the same excellent infotainment tech as Volkswagen's other Golf models, which means an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. The e-Golf has the same high-quality cabin materials as VW's other hatches, too.
The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most hyped cars in history, but after spending a week with one, the hype is for real. The Model 3 in its Long Range single motor trim is one of the best implements for daily transportation that I've ever used.
With a real, useable range of around 300 miles -- comparable to that of most modern internal-combustion vehicles -- range anxiety is a total non-issue. You probably won't be finding yourself at a Supercharger that often either, unless you're on a road trip.
The Model 3 is comfortable, thoughtfully designed and packs ample cargo room into both of its trunks. It's minimal, sure but I never found myself wanting for anything even on longer drives. Tech is abundant, and while the navigation is among the best I've ever used, the music interface was one of the vehicle's only low points.
The Nissan Leaf started the modern affordable EV race, and this second-generation model is finally here to keep pace with the world it created. No, it doesn't have the range of some of the vehicles it's compared against, but it's significantly cheaper than most, starting at under $30,000 before incentives.
Today's Leaf offers 151 miles of range, which is plenty for most folks, and a longer-range version is coming. Prospective buyers will appreciate its sprightly acceleration, good space and normalized appearance (the original Leaf looked like a deflated frog, this one looks like a Nissan).
The Leaf holds two tech trump cards, too: E-Pedal, which is a better implimentation of one-pedal driving tech than most of its rivals, and the optional ProPilot Assist advanced driver aid that combines intelligent cruise control with lane centering.
The i Pace scoots to 60 in just 4.5 seconds, a smidge quicker than the Model X 100D. Strong acceleration comes with something not found on any other major production EV: an engine noise. Yes, put the I-Pace in its sportiest Dynamic mode and, by default, the car emits a subtle hum that sounds like someone put a V8 in the trunk of the Jetsons' flying pod.
Inside two screens in the center dashboard comprise the InControl Touch Pro Duo infotainment system. For good measure there is also a configurable gauge cluster for the ultimate in customization. However, the system relies on a steady diet of menus and submenus, which can be confusing the first time out. Budget some time to learn all the menus before heading out on the road.
We already liked the practical and reasonably spacious gas-powered Kona, and the electric version should retain those virtues. With 201 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, it should be fun to drive, too.
The Soul only promises around 100-ish miles of range per charge, but that's still a very respectable amount for urban commuting and errand running. Plus, available ChaDeMo rapid recharging gets you back up to 80-percent range in around 30 minutes.
Other than being the torquiest Soul you can buy at 210 pound-feet, it's rocking everything we already love about the standard Soul — great UVO 3 infotainment, loads of boxy style and plenty of space for cargo out back.
With a range of 114 miles and starting price of $44,450 before tax credits, the BMW i3 is falling behind in an era of EVs that offer about 100 miles more range for thousands less. Still, the i3 has a lot going for it.
Although on sale since the 2014 model year, the i3 still looks cutting-edge. For those who want to stand out while they whir quietly past, the i3's visual pop is there to win hearts ... for those who are fond of its polarizing looks.
The BMW i3 graces the scales with only 2,961 pounds thanks to its carbon-composite structure and body panels. As a result, its 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque mean zippy acceleration (7.2 seconds to 60 mph) as well as lively handling.
The Hyundai Ioniq is one of the few good-looking EVs you can actually afford. Starting at under $30,000, you get a range of 124 miles on a charge — an equivalent of 136 MPG. Tech is plentiful, design is sleek and cargo capacity is better than most with the lift gate and foldable rear seats.