The Next Wave of Electric Vehicles: Page 2 of 4


Inside this Article

Many EVs are a power-train option on a car with other available configurations. The BMW i3 comes with two battery-pack capacity choices and an onboard gasoline-engine charging option.
New high-power chargers are able to put more energy, and miles, into cars faster than ever.
Chevy Bolt Range: 238 miles Size: Compact Starting price: $37,495
Chevy Bolt interior
Hyundai Ioniq Range: 124 miles Size: Compact Starting price: $29,50
Hyundai Ioniq interior
VW e-Golf Range: 124 miles Size: Compact Starting price: $29,800 (earlier model)
VW e-Golf interior
BMW i3 Range: 114 miles Size: Subcompact Starting price: $42,400
BMW i3 interior
Nissan Leaf Range: 107 miles Size: Compact Starting price: $30,680
Nissan Leaf interior
Tesla Model S Range: 259–351 miles Size: Large sedan Starting price: $69,500
Tesla charging stations
Tesla Model 3
Audi E-Tron Quattro
Next-Generation Nissan Leaf

These are the three longest-range affordable models of 2017. Tesla offers even longer range, but their EVs cost a lot more.

Chevrolet Bolt

The Bolt is a tall all-electric hatchback. It isn’t the biggest, most spacious or most stylish EV available, but its 238 miles of range beats its similarly priced competition for long-distance travel. That range, combined with a surprising amount of interior space for a compact car, should eliminate concerns about an electric car not being an everyday vehicle. Two minutes behind the wheel will destroy any misconception about electric cars being slow.

The Bolt’s 150 kW electric motor produces 200 horsepower and 266 foot-pounds of torque. That means zero-to-60 mph acceleration in less than seven seconds. If anything, the Bolt’s electric propulsion is too powerful for its platform. Its low rolling resistance tires chirp when you stomp on the accelerator. The Bolt is not quite as exhilarating on the highway compared to driving at lower speeds or when launching from a standstill, but it doesn’t lack passing power.

As with most EVs, owners should install a 240-volt charging station at home. A home charging station allows the Bolt’s 7.2-kilowatt onboard charger to add about 25 miles of range in one hour, or fully charges the battery bank overnight.

Hyundai Ioniq

The Hyundai Ioniq offers 124 miles of range on a full battery, which is about half as much as the Chevy Bolt. But 124 miles is more than enough for most regional driving.

The Ioniq is significantly bigger than the Bolt. Its dashboard layout is more intuitive and better placed for driver access; the plastic materials, which Hyundai says incorporate sugar cane fiber, powdered wood, and volcanic stone, feel nicer to the touch. Automakers seeking to push beyond the enviro-niche need to appeal to car buyers based on core features beyond the electric power train.

The Ioniq costs $8,000 less than the Bolt. Its entry-level price tag of $29,500 drops to $22,000 after taking the federal tax incentive. For $29,000 (after incentives) consumers get the premium trim package, with a sunroof, premium audio, LED lighting, a bigger touch-screen, emergency braking, and lane departure warning.

Volkswagen e-Golf

The new 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf increased its range by 50% compared to the 2016 model. The 2017 e-Golf has a 35.8 kWh battery pack to provide an EPA-estimate average range of 124 miles—right in line with the Hyundai Ioniq.

The 2017 e-Golf employs the classic good looks of German car design, such as a sleek front fascia and LED headlights. The improvement in the e-Golf’s range is matched by an increase in horsepower from 115 to 134 ponies. The e-Golf particularly shines in zero-to-30-mph sprints, in city maneuvers, and at higher speeds around tight corners. At the time of this writing, VW has not announced pricing for the 2017 e-Golf. The outgoing model started at $29,800 including destination, before any federal, state, or local incentives.

Comments (5)

Marc Fontana's picture

Thanks for including the Energy efficiency for the EVs in the table on page 39. The Hyundai Ionia EV is the most efficient on the list and the most affordable of that group . I was surprised that the Chevrolet Bolt with its 900 lb battery is more energy efficient than the Nissan Leaf which has a lighter battery at 550 lbs. They must have found a way to compensate for it.

ericvfx's picture

Also check out Tesla's used car page ( CEO Musk does not like the term "Pre-Owned"). Great warranties and prices in the $30k range for the luxury Model S

sdcoffeeroaster's picture

Yes EV are great but beware of high insurance costs. I bought my leav 6 months ago and the insurance just went up by 140%! Changing deductibles did not help much and this EV now costs more to insure than both of my other cars combined. I was shocked and don't know if I can afford to keep the Leaf now.

Marc Fontana's picture

What EV do you drive ? As the owner of a 2011 Nissan LEAF, I've found rates for insuring the Nissan LEAF comparable in costs to similarly sized ICE vehicles. The article mentions discounts for insuring EVs. If anything, I would expect lower rates for EVs given most have reduced range and probably fewer accidents .'s picture

Very interesting. Thanks for this information. I had no idea.

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