Considering an electric car? There are a growing number of options on the market in 2018, though not all of them are created equal. Join us as we take a closer look at the best electric cars you can buy today.
Is an electric car even right for you?
If you’ve come here, you are obviously interested in buying an electric car. Whether your reasons are environmental or you simply like the latest tech, it’s important to make sure that electric cars will actually meet your needs as a consumer.
There are plenty of considerations before biting the bullet. Is long range important to you? Can you even afford an electric car that meets all your needs? To answer that question we’ve put together a guide that explains the different classes of electric cars and breaks down other considerations before buying. You can find the guide here.
This guide focuses specifically on fully electric cars. If you need something with greater range or more affordable options, we highly recommend considering a hybrid vehicle.
- Hybrid vehicle buyer’s guide
- Plug in hybrid vehicle buyer’s guide
Other options for joining the electric revolution
There are many reasons to consider electric vehicles over gasoline, including environment, better efficiency, and the list goes on. But maybe electric cars or even hybrids aren’t what you’re looking for. That’s okay! There are plenty of other ways to climb aboard the electric revolution.
- Consider an electric scooter – not only are they fun, but they make great transportation for quick jaunts around the city. For more details on electric scooters, check out our buyer’s guide.
- Consider an electric skateboard – just like scooters, these are fun, but also growing popularity. While they certainly won’t replace a traditional car or public transport, it’s still a great way to test the electric vehicle waters. Check out our electric skateboard buyer’s guide for more details.
- Consider an electric bike – Bikes are a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around, but sometimes you just can’t be bothered to pedal. Maybe you’re worn out and just need a break. Electric bikes give you all the benefits of a standard bicycle but gives you the power of an electric engine for those moments when you want a little assistance. Check out our electric bike buyer’s guide for more details.
- Consider an electric motorcycle – driving a motorcycle is an amazing experience, but it’s also a great way to get into the electric game for cheap while also having considerably better range then you’ll typically find from electric cars due to their small sizes. Be sure to check out our best electric motorcycle guide for more details.
The best electric cars you can buy
Okay, you’ve already made up your mind that fully electric cars are right for you. While there are dozens of options – and growing – we highly recommend the following models:
- The best of the best: Tesla Model 3
- Price: $35k and up
- Range: 220 mile standard model, 310 mile long-range model
- The best affordable electric car: 2018 Nissan Leaf
- Price: $33k and up
- Range: 151 miles
- Best luxury electric car: BMW i3
- Price: $45k and up
- Range:114 miles
- Best electric crossover: Kia Soul EV
- Price: $32,250 and up
- Range: 110 miles
- Best for distance: Tesla Model S
- Price: $74,500 and up
- Range: up to 300 miles (depending on battery variant)
Now let’s dive in a bit deeper in the best electric cars worth buying in 2018.
Nissan’s 2018 update to its award-winning Leaf EV brings the heat with new features and a svelte new look.
The 2018 Leaf has a 151-mile range — up 40 percent from the previous model, according to Nissan. This means it’s great for emissions-free city driving and can handle day trips without much problem. Some Teslas will go further, but this’ll get you from A to B just fine. Additionally, its DC quick-charge functionality can charge the battery for up to a 90-mile range in just 30 minutes, getting you back on the road fast.
The car comes in S, SV, and SL models, which bring nicer interiors, extras like Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and 17-inch aluminum tires.
It also features a brand-new look. Gone are the rounded, bubbly curves of the 2017 model. This EV’s got a sleek aerodynamic look and rides lower to the ground — it looks more like a sports car now.
The car also includes Nissan’s new intelligent driving features, ProPilot Assist and e-Pedal. Nissan pitches ProPilot Assist not as self-driving feature, but rather a “hands-on driving assistant” meant to aid in single lane highway driving and stop-and-go situations. E-Pedal allows single pedal control over speed and acceleration, allowing drivers to stop, stay in one spot, and resume driving all with one foot — even on hills.
The Nissan Leaf is a great entry point for those looking to go green without going broke, especially now that it doesn’t look quite so goofy. Visually, it’s really turned over a new leaf (I’m sorry).
- Range: 151 miles (243km)
- Battery: 40kWh
- Top speed: 92mph (148km/h)
- Torque: 236lb-ft
- Power: 147hp (110kW)
- Weight: 3,494lb (1,585 kg)
Nissan Leaf price
BMW redefined the small car genre with the i3 and there’s plenty more to come from this line of carbon-fiber and aluminium-bodied machines.
It’s 114-mile range is a limiting factor, but you can order your i3 with a range extender engine to increase it to 150 miles.
It charges in three hours on a 220-volt outlet, but if you charge at its special quick charge stations, the car can reach 80 percent in just 42 minutes.
It is a premium city car, which means people can enjoy zero emissions without slumming it. It’s a lifestyle statement and a fashion accessory, as much as a car — the world still loves a designer label.
There are neat tricks on the i3, including regenerative braking that means you can leave the brake pedal alone if you plan your drive. It will also hit 60mph in 6.5s, which in the confines of the city is all you are likely to need.
It isn’t the total package, but it’s a good first attempt from BMW and a clear sign of what is to come.
BMW i3 key specs
- Range: 125 miles (201km)
- Battery: 35.8kWh
- Top speed: 93 mph (165 km/h)
- Torque: 214 lb-ft (290 Nm)
- Power: 134 hp (100 kW)
- Weight: 3,391 lb (1,538 kg)
BMW i3 price
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 is the entry-level EV set carry the weight of Elon Musk’s zero emissions campaign.
It technically released in the second half of 2017, but there have been a lot of orders and shipments have been off to a slow start. Anyone who reserves the Model 3 now can expect a delivery in a year to 18 months.
It still boasts the novelty factor. Elon Musk stuck to his lithium-ion guns when the mainstream motoring world wrote him off as a nut. Now, with the help of the Tesla Gigafactory and the growing momentum of EV motoring, Tesla finds itself at the head of the pack. The Model 3 is a massive step for the company and electric cars in general. It’s the first plug-in EV to go to battle in the highly competitive field that includes established masters like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C Class and Jaguar XE.
The Tesla Model 3 may be off to a rough start, but consumer interest continues to grow. It shouldn’t be surprising — the car easily outshines its competition. All Tesla needs to do is sort out the production problems plaguing it even now.
Tesla Model 3 specs
- Range: 220miles (350km)
- Battery: 50kWh
- Top speed: 130mph (210km/h)
- Torque: 317 b-ft (430Nm)
- Power: 258hp (192kW)
- Weight: 3,549lb (1,610kg)
Tesla Model 3 price
Kia Soul EV
Korean company Kia has managed to inject some soul (again, sorry) into the EV sector with this cute SUV, which has won legions of fans around the world.
It’s no Tesla Model X, but that’s the point. It’s like an overgrown toy car with clean, simple lines and a connector at the front, where the grille once was. It offers a fresh look, is instantly recognizable, and just works.
Kia has always appealed to the budget conscious buyer, but the Soul EV is a departure.
The base model, the EV-e, is only available in California, the rest of the country has to pay $2000 more for the standard EV. It is still relatively cheap and it offers some of the best electric car lease deals you can find with a $199 monthly payment after the initial balloon.
It’s roomy, well equipped for the price bracket and offers the traditional Kia values of economy and solid construction.
It offers a 93-mile range between charges and comes with a fast charge DC port, but the Soul won’t win many awards for truly groundbreaking innovation. What it has done is create a zero emissions car people actually want to drive, which is good enough for us.
Kia Soul specs
- Range: 93miles (150km)
- Battery: 27kWh
- Top speed: 90mph (145km/h)
- Torque: 210lb-ft (285Nm)
- Power: 109hp (81kW)
- Weight: 3,254lb (1,476kg)
Kia Soul price
- $32, 250
Tesla Model S
There probably isn’t a better all-round electric car than the Tesla Model S. It makes the rest of the motoring world look a little stone-aged right now — it’s just that good.
The likes of Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are all struggling to catch up. This battery-powered leviathan even dominated serious sportscars on the dragstrip.
It comes with a premium price tag, but it’s a premium product — the Model 3 is for the masses. The Model S is a fast, luxurious sedan with a 312-mile range and some serious speed.
Inside, the Model S is a breath of fresh air. It’s got clean lines, no discernible instruments, and a touchscreen giving the driver instant access to the whole car. Add the functional Autopilot, which is a brave step forward towards autonomous cars, and it’s easy to see why the Tesla Model S has steals the show.
The P90D is the one you really want if you’re out to shame the neighbours. It’s a Tesla Model S turned up to 11, with an 90kWh battery. It costs $119,200 and comes with the infamous “Ludicrous mode,” which leaves established sportscars trailing in its wake.
If money is no object and you need a brilliant all-round electric car, the Tesla Model S is as good as it gets. And while the Tesla Model S is far from cheap, it’s far from the most expensive electric car you can buy.
Tesla Model S 90D key specs
- Range: 294miles (473km)
- Battery: 90kWh
- Top speed: 155mph (250km/h)
- Torque: 485lb-ft (658Nm)
- Power: 518hp (386kW)
- Weight: 4,938lb (2,240kg)
Tesla Model S price