by Zachary Shahan: We’ve been rather discreetly rolling out cleantech consumer buying guides (such as the home energy storage guide we published about in November)…
The first buying guide we created (found at products.cleantechnica.com) covers current electric cars for sale (or soon coming to market) in North America and Europe.
Looking at that page, it crossed my mind that we now have way, way more electric car models on the market than we had a few years ago. … Yet, so many more EV models will flood the market in the coming few years — and wash gasoline cars down the drain in the process. My typing fingers are tingling with excitement … or maybe that’s just the late-night coffee.
Below are the 20 fully electric cars currently for sale in the US and Europe. It’s fun to reflect on the progress of the past few years, dwell over the current offerings, and ponder the future, so I encourage you to join in and do that with me.
Note that the prices are linked to the manufacturer webpages for these vehicles. Also note that I skipped electric vans (Renault Kangoo ZE, Citröen Berlingo EV, Nissan e-NV200, and Peugeot Partner EV) as well as the coming Citröen e-Mehari and Tesla Model 3 for this article. However, I will update this article as new models arrive on the market or their specs change.
To supplement this, a full list of plug-in hybrids for sale in the US, Canada, and Europe will be coming shortly.
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to check out our new, sortable electric cars buying guide for more info and easy browsing. In old-school format, though, here’s a short rundown of the fully electric cars on the market in the US, Canada, and Europe today (reposted in large part from EV Obsession‘s frequently updated electric cars page):
|Combined Fuel Economy||# of Seats|
|Range on Full Charge||0–60 MPH (0–100 km/h) Time|
|Price (& Price after US & UK Subsidies)||Available Regions|
|50 miles (80 km) — European (warped) testing||—|
|£6,995 + battery rental / €7,440 + battery rental (France)||Europe|
The Renault Twizy is a cute and fun little two-seater that comes in at a super affordable price. With just two seats, it’s clearly not a “family car” — and there’s a decent claim that it’s not a car at all — but it is a ton of fun to drive and very adequate for most driving needs. I’d recommend it, but note that it doesn’t have real windows, so it’s perhaps not the best choice for places with crappy climates. Read my full Twizy review here.
(Europe Only … Well, Sort Of)
|250 kilometers (155 miles) — European (warped) testing||6.3 seconds|
|€12,000 + €80/mo battery (France)||Europe|
The Bolloré Bluecar is a low-priced and simple electric car produced and only really available in France. Though, it is also used in the Autolib’ electric carsharing program in Paris, the BlueIndy program in Indianapolis, and the new BlueCalifornia program in Los Angeles, so Bolloré is apparently quite open to fleet deals and, in particular, electric carsharing programs solely using its electric vehicles. It’s not going to thrill most people, but it will get you from A to B — and it’s actually quite snappy at that if its 0–60 MPH time is to be believed.
|112 MPGe||4 seats|
|62 miles (100 km)||13.5 seconds|
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV (aka Mitsubishi i) is one of the most basic electric cars on the market, but also one of the cheapest. As you may have noticed, the Citröen C-Zero, Peugeot iOn, and Mitsubishi i-MiEV all have essentially the same design. That’s because they’re really the same car underneath the brand logos. None of them sell exceptionally well anywhere, but if you are looking for a bare-bones EV for a low price, the i-MiEV (or one of its identical twins) is your baby.
|112 MPGe||4 seats|
|150 kilometers (93 miles) — European (warped) testing||13.5 seconds|
The Citröen C-Zero is produced in France but, as noted above, it was developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. Again, it is a twin of the Peugeot iOn and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, basically just with a different brand attached. For whatever reason, I am not a fan of the Citröen logo and much prefer the Peugeot iOn. But really, it’s the same damn car!
|112 MPGe||4 seats|
|150 kilometers (93 miles) — European (warped) testing||13.5 seconds|
|£17,495 (£12,995) / €21,100 (after subsidies in France)||Europe|
One more time: The Peugeot iOn is essentially the same car as the Citröen C-Zero and Mitsubishi i-MiEV (above). Actually, doing a Google search for the Peugeot iOn’s price in the US, Google shows me the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and its price. (Smart, Google is!)
Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
|107 MPGe||2 seats|
|68 miles (109 km)||9.8 seconds|
|$25,000, or $19,990 + $80/month battery rental ($17,500, or $12,490 + $80/month)||US & Europe|
The smart electric drive is nearly the cheapest electric car on the US market … if you don’t own or lease it for very long. However, note that there’s an $80/month battery rental. Within about 6 years, the smart electric drive is about the same price as a 5-seat and much more plush Nissan LEAF. In my personal opinion, the smart electric drive is a hard sell — unless you really want a tiny car and/or only want it for 2 to 3 years. Read my review of the smart electric drive here or read the review of an owner who sold his Camaro for the smart electric drive.
|140–400 kilometers (87–250 miles)||13.5 seconds|
|£18,445 (£4,500) + £59+ per month for battery||Europe|
If I were on the market for a car, the Renault Zoe would certainly be in the running. It’s a good-looking, 100%-electric, super-affordable car with great reviews. Renault shocked the EV world at the end of September when it unveiled a long-range Zoe (a 400 kilometer NEDC rating and an admitted 300 kilometer real-world range). This basically made it the first long-range and affordable electric car in the world. The Zoe is routinely the #1 or #2 best-selling electric car in Europe — for several years now. Read my full review of the Renault Zoe here.
|130 kilometers (81 miles) — European (warped) testing||~11 seconds|
|£25,280 (£20,780) / €26,900 (€22,900) in Germany||Europe|
The Volkswagen e-up! is an affordable, rather simple electric car but also has some unique braking flexibility and is an adequately comfortable and modern car. I prefer the LEAF, but I think plenty of people might prefer the e-Up! … especially if they are VW fans or want more control over their regenerative braking options. That said, the e-Up! electric range hasn’t been improving as the range of other electric models has, so it’s no surprise it’s having a hard time finding buyers while Zoe, LEAF, and i3 sales have grown strong. Read my full VW e-Up! review here.
|116 MPGe||5 seats|
|83 miles (134 km)||10.4 seconds|
|$28,995 ($21,495) / £28,430 (£23,930) / €34,900 (€30,900) in Germany||US & Europe|
The Volkswagen e-Golf is VW’s second electric car (following closely behind the Volkswagen e-Up!). Clearly, it’s an electric version of VW’s extremely popular Golf model. The e-Golf has been one of the closest competitors to the world-leading Nissan LEAF, but it has been available in much more limited markets. Additionally, Volkswagen has been much slower to update the battery/range in order to compete with the updated LEAF — not to mention the fresh and exciting Chevy Bolt. A new version of the e-Golf with 124 miles of range is on the way, but it’s hard to see how that will compete now that the Bolt is on the market and the Tesla Model 3 is around the corner.
|114 MPGe||5 seats|
|107 miles (172 km)||10.2 seconds|
|$30,680 ($23,180) / £26,180 (£21,680)||Worldwide|
The Nissan LEAF is the highest-selling electric car in history. After test driving dozens of EVs myself, I have to say that the Nissan LEAF is one of my favorite models. It has great visibility, feel, comfort, space, flexibility, and acceleration (okay, 10.2 seconds isn’t spectacular, but it still feels great due to the instant torque). The 107-mile version was the top of the market for affordable electric cars until the Chevy Bolt (approx. twice the range) and updated Renault Zoe came along. Now it’s hard to say where the LEAF stands. Why buy a LEAF over a Bolt? It seems to be getting by on deep discounts and group buys. For a thorough look at the LEAF, check out our long-term Nissan Leaf review here.
Ford Focus Electric
(Basically, US & Canada Only)
|118 MPGe||5 seats|
|115 miles (185 km)||10.1 seconds|
The Ford Focus Electric is Ford’s only 100% electric car. The car compares in many regards to the top-selling Nissan LEAF, but it also has some disadvantages in terms of cargo space and EV design. The Focus Electric is more broadly available than many compliance cars, but it still isn’t as easy to find as a Nissan LEAF or BMW i3. As with the LEAF, though, it seems that Ford will have to drop prices a great deal to move Focus Electrics off the lot in the age of the Chevy Bolt. Read our in-depth review of the Focus Electric here.
(Parts of US Only)
|112 MPGe||4 seats|
|84 miles (135 km)||8.7 seconds|
The Fiat 500e has gotten great reviews. However, the head of Fiat apparently hates electric cars and is only producing the 500e in extremely limited quantities for a couple of states (basically, because Fiat has to do so in order to sell cars in California). Hopefully this cute electric car will someday be available to a broader market, and with a significant range boost, but that seems unlikely. With its relatively low price, good reviews, and cool styling, the Fiat 500e could give some of the top-selling electric cars on the market a run for their market if Fiat actually tried — what a shame. Its 84 mile range is a bit behind the times now but Fiat is still moving cars via super-low lease deals in California. Read my full review of the Fiat 500e.
Kia Soul EV
|105 MPGe||5 seats|
|93 miles (150 km)||11.8 seconds|
|$31,950 ($24,450) / £29,995 / £25,495||US & Europe|
The Kia Soul EV is a snazzy electric vehicle with a bit more space on the inside than the average car, and a clear youngster appeal. The Soul EV has sold okay in the markets where it’s available, but it isn’t widely available and the driving range hasn’t increased to respond to increasingly longer range from other electric models. Its overall sales in the US are pretty sad, and I don’t see them getting better unless the vehicle gets a big range boost or Kia starts offering deep discounts. You can check out our review of the Kia Soul EV here.
Hyundai IONIQ Electric
|136 MPGe||5 seats|
|110 miles (177 km)||??|
|£28,995 (£24,495)||Europe & soon US|
The Hyundai IONIQ Electric is a pretty popular new electric offering from Hyundai that will also have a plug-in hybrid twin sibling and has a conventional hybrid twin sibling. The range is moderate — between initial fully electric offerings but quite far below the Chevy Bolt (aka Opel Ampera-E) and updated Renault Zoe. The IONIQ Electric seems to be selling okay in Europe. If it is widely offered in the US, it could have a good run there as well, but it really needs more range to compete with the Bolt or Tesla Model 3.
(US Only … For Now)
|119 MPGe||5 seats|
|238 miles (383 km)||6.5 seconds|
The Chevy Bolt is certainly a breakout fully electric model — the first “affordable” fully electric model in the US to have long range. It arrived on the market at the very end of 2016 and is expected to see strong sales in the US, and perhaps also in Europe when it is launched there as the Opel Ampera-E if GM tries to market and sell the thing. A fully autonomous version of the Bolt will be produced as well. It will initially be tested/used by Lyft drivers.
|84 MPGe||5 seats|
|84 miles (135 km)||7.9 seconds|
|$39,900 ($32,400) / £32,670 (£28,170) / €39,151 (€35,151) in Germany||US & Europe|
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric (now called the B250e) has been an extremely close competitor to the BMW i3, and was the first offering from Mercedes in the EV department. It has a Tesla drivetrain at its core, and reviewers have been split between it and the BMW i3, with some preferring the i3 and some preferring the B-Class Electric. One of our top EV reporters has the B-Class Electric and reviewed it after 1 month, after 1 year and sort of again after 2 years. Mercedes has always treated this like a compliance car and not many have been sold, but I imagine sales will drop even further with the Bolt now for sale, the i3 getting longer range, and the Tesla Model 3 coming soon.
|118 MPGe||4 seats|
|114 miles (183 km)||7.1 seconds|
|$42,400 ($34,900) / £31,810 (£27,310) / €34,950 (€30,950) in Germany||US & Europe|
The BMW i3 is BMW’s first 100% electric car built electric from the ground up — and it’s still one of the only electric cars on the market built electric from the ground up. It is part of BMW’s “born electric” i series and its price puts it somewhat in the middle of the more popular Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. Despite looking a bit bulky, the BMW i3 is the lightest electric car on the market thanks to its carbon fiber body. It’s super fun drive — one of my favorites. Compared to BMW’s overall sales, the i3 is selling pretty well, making it clear that BMW is one of the auto-manufacturing pioneers in the electric vehicle space. Read my first BMW i3 review here and/or my second review & comparison with the LEAF & Volt here and/or my comparison with the Tesla Model S here.
|62 MPGe||5 seats|
|200 kilometers (122 miles)||8 seconds|
The BYD e6 electric car is on the market globally, but it is only available to fleet buyers in most places (including the US and Europe). Outside of China (where it is manufactured), it seems to be that’s the only way it’s sold. The e6 was the 2nd-best-selling electric car in China in 2013, but it has dropped a great deal since then.
Tesla Model S
|98–104 MPGe||5+2 seats|
|210–315 miles (338–507 km)||2.5 seconds|
|$68,000 ($60,500) / £58,900 (£54,400) / €69,019 in Germany||Worldwide|
The Tesla Model S is widely regarded as not just the best electric car on the market but the best mass-produced car of any type in all of history (see here, here, here, here, and here for just a few examples). So, for many people, if they can afford a $60,000–$120,000 car, the Model S is as good as it gets.
This car has flipped the electric car and overall auto world on its head in many respects. It is a top-selling luxury/premium-class car — well, the top-selling luxury/premium-class car in the US. It has robbed Mercedes and BMW of loyal buyers quicker than the roadrunner can dart away from a certain coyote.
Tesla Model X
|86–92 MPGe||5–7 seats|
|237–289 miles (381–465 km)||2.9 seconds|
|$88,800 ($81,300) / £82,000 (£77,500) / €102,500 in Germany||Worldwide|
Tesla’s 3rd model is the ridiculously cool and highly desired Model X, an SUV with similar performance and specs as the Model S. In fact, despite being a large SUV, the Model X is one of the quickest production cars in history. It’s not quite as quick as the Model S, but it’s definitely more comfy and luxurious, imho. As Elon Musk has said, the choice between the Model X and Model S is really just whether or not you want an SUV/crossover or a sedan.
The Model X is special for combining excellent performance, great utility, and hot styling. Not many vehicles can do that. Its signature feature? Its falcon-wing doors, of course — love ’em or hate ’em. I honestly think this is the best passenger vehicle on the planet, but YMMV. You can read my review of the Model X here and Kyle Field’s review of the Model X here.
I don’t know if this one counts, so it’s not counted in the “20” in the title. The Rimac Concept_One is certainly no everyman’s car. It is an electric supercar out of Croatia that costs a fortune … as in, $1 million. Needless to say, most of us will be lucky to even see one of these, let alone touch one, let alone ride in one, let alone own one. Still, it’s a beauty worth mentioning. The Rimac Concept_One can reportedly go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and has a horsepower of 1,088 — yep, that’s a “supercar” … even though the top-line Model S is now quicker. Rimac Automobili is a Croatian company, and it’s unclear if it’ll ever grow up enough to produce >100 cars, but the Concept_One will go down in history either way.