Gas prices have been a hot topic among drivers lately, with many Americans feeling pain at the pump. But for drivers of electric vehicles, filling up the tank is a thing of the past. Electric cars are a great alternative to traditional gas vehicles, and they’re becoming more and more common. Even better, with the push towards green energy, some of the best electric cars have become increasingly comparable (if not superior, in some cases) to their gas-powered counterparts.
There are plenty of reasons to make the switch to an electric vehicle, including some that are entirely unrelated to the environment. In a recent poll of 5,086 American drivers (split evenly by state), younger drivers were much more concerned with appearing environmentally friendly than their older counterparts. Overall, 55 percent would choose to buy an electric vehicle for reasons other than the environmental benefits.
Despite 57 percent of drivers being deterred by a potentially higher price tag for electric vehicles, benefits such as fuel cost savings (48%), emission reduction (32%), and better performance (30%) are what’s encouraging people to go green. For half the poll, the barriers for switching to electric include lack of charging stations, but that may be changing. Three in five say they’ve noticed more electric vehicle charging stations in their city or town in the last few years.
It’s also important to note that the science of electric vehicle charging has made great progress in the last few years. Experts say one of the reasons drivers feel reluctant to switch from gas and diesel is because electric cars take so much longer to charge, but new research may have found a way to dramatically speed up the process. Researchers used machine learning techniques that analyze charging data to create unique charging methods. Results were promising, with the team seeing batteries charge to over 90 percent in 10 minutes without lithium plating or cathode cracking, according to study author Eric Dufek, Ph.D.
The trend toward electric vehicles is set to continue over the next several years, with many countries aiming to ultimately discontinue the production of traditionally fueled cars. For the environmentally conscious, the trendsetters, and those who are simply in the market for a great new ride, the time to switch to electric is now. But with so many exciting options on the market, it can be difficult to find the right fit. To help narrow down your search, StudyFinds scoured the internet for expert reviews of the best electric cars to drive this year. This list includes the most frequently recommended vehicles, but if you have a favorite that we didn’t include, let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Electric Cars, According to Experts
1. Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 is a compact but powerful electric vehicle that can take a driver more than 300 miles without needing a charge. And as a Tesla, it comes equipped with plenty of exciting technology as part of its standard package. “The Model 3 has plenty going for it. Range and cost for starters, plus an engaging driving experience, access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, and a lot of technology on offer,” notes Kelley Blue Book. “It’s also been named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and awarded the maximum five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).”
“The Model 3 rises above the class in almost every area. It’s fun to drive, practical and stylish,” says Edmunds. “Nothing on the market has yet managed to beat the Model 3 on all fronts,” Top Gear claims. “While not without flaws, it is quite simply one of the most interesting, compelling cars in the world right now.”
2. Chevrolet Bolt EV
The Chevrolet Bolt EV is a compact car with capabilities far larger than it may appear. With a modest price and surprisingly long range, it’s hard to go wrong with this choice. “As its name suggests, the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt knows how to get up to speed quickly, but that’s far from this Chevy’s only strength,” says US News. “The Bolt provides a spacious cabin for such a petite vehicle, and it offers tremendous driving range compared to the competition.”
Of course, the price is among the Bolt’s most standout features. For anyone considering a switch to an EV, this car significantly lowers both perceived risk and barriers to entry. “This car costs roughly the same to charge per year as a Tesla and has a 120 MPGe, which sets it apart as a highly efficient EV — and yet it’s more affordable than cars with similar stats,” ZDNet notes. “This car incorporates the essential high-tech features of luxury options at an accessible price point.”
“The Chevrolet Bolt boasts quick acceleration, a very approachable price and 278 miles of range when driven on Edmunds real-world EV range loop,” adds Kelley Blue Book. “Even with more competitors now, the Bolt is certainly worth checking out if you’re in the market for an affordable EV.”
3. BMW i4
If you think the switch to electric means losing out on luxury sports cars, think again. The Porsche Taycan is an agile, speedy, and exciting ride that’s powered solely by electricity. “The Taycan represents Porsche’s foray into the electric vehicle space, and it does not disappoint,” says Edmunds. “The Taycan is a technological masterpiece that manages to deliver incredible comfort and effortless driving one moment and outstanding performance the next.”
This is a car that was built to prioritize experience. “While its maximum EPA estimated range of 246 miles is easily bested by competitors such as the Tesla Model S and Lucid Air, the Taycan drives as a Porsche should: with imperious confidence and control,” Car and Driver notes. “From the 402-hp single-rear-motor base model to the absurdly quick 750-hp Turbo S, every Taycan uses a two-speed transmission that balances epic acceleration with a highway cruising range that exceeds expectations.”
As Top Gear puts it, “the Taycan can absolutely entertain on the right road and is a delight to cruise in – a GT with the heart of a sports car. More importantly, it’s a proper Porsche that just happens to run on electricity.”
5. Nissan LEAF
A classic in the world of electric vehicles, the Nissan LEAF continues to improve year after year. Since its first appearance in December of 2010, the LEAF has been a staple for affordable and reliable electric vehicle seekers. As US News says, “the 2023 Nissan Leaf is an enticing commuter, thanks to its low starting price, wealth of tech and safety features and energetic driving experience.”
“In the world of cost-effective EVs, the Leaf’s game is strong,” claims Edmunds. “Along with a host of standard advance driving aids, the Leaf also delivered a respectable 237 miles of range on a single charge when driven on Edmunds’ real-world EV test route.”
Though the LEAF does fall short of competitors in terms of battery life and range, it makes up for it with a nearly impossible to beat price.”The Nissan Leaf occupies a special place in the hearts of early EV adopters, and a comprehensive update in 2018 gave the seminal EV an extended lifespan,” says Forbes. “If you have a short commute or access to charging at home or work, the Leaf remains a proven, easy-to-live-with EV. Moreover, the Leaf’s discounted 2022 pricing schedule helps make amends for any shortcomings.”
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