If you’re concerned about reducing your environmental impact, an electric vehicle is a good choice. You can drive around without spewing pollution out of your tail pipe. They’re great for regular commutes and driving around town. But, they’re not so great for long trips.
However, electric vehicles will only be more popular in the future, and maybe someday they’ll be your only choice. So let’s get familiar with the current state of top battery-powered vehicles that don’t wear the Tesla badge.
The i3s is the new sporty version of the BMW i3, one of the best selling battery-powered vehicles in the world. It features a high output 184 hp electric motor for silent speed with zero emissions. At peak levels, the sport package delivers about 40% more power and torque over the standard i3. For the sporty look, the i3s rocks 10 mm lowered suspension and 40 mm wider track width. It rolls on 20″ alloy wheels that are half an inch wider than the standard skinny low-drag tire/wheel combo.
On the dash is a Sport Mode button for more direct accelerator response and tighter steering. BMW says it will go 0-60 in 6.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 100 mph. Like the i3, the i3s is available with a two-cylinder gas engine for a range extender to recharge the batteries while on the go, which more than doubles the all-electric range of 87 to about 180 miles.
For the 2020 model year, Fisker Automotive is working on an all-new EMotion, a sporty four-door, fully electric vehicle to take on the likes of the Tesla Model S. Built from carbon fiber and aluminum, the EMotion’s most apparent feature is the breathtaking butterfly doors. The doors don’t have handles; instead, you’ll open them via an app on your phone.
Multiple electric motors will produce 780 hp to all four wheels translating to a top speed of 161 mph. The company says it can go 0-60 in less than three seconds – that’s race car territory.
The range is expected to be more than 400 miles, and an entirely new charging system is purported to add 125 miles worth of juice in nine minutes. A new radar system will support level four autonomous driving capabilities, which means the car will steer itself in certain conditions.
Kia Soul EV
One of the least expensive electric vehicles on the market, the 2018 Kia Soul EV bumped up the number of battery cells from 192 to 200, increasing the estimated range from 93 to 111 miles.
The 109 hp electric motor delivers a fun driving experience in a vehicle large enough to carry people and their stuff. Fully recharging with Level 2 (240V) hardware like you might see in a shopping center parking lot takes about six hours using the onboard charger. Kia says with Level 3 fast charging, the Soul EV recovers 80% in 33 minutes or 94% in 43 minutes. However, using a standard 120V wall socket will take 33 hours for a full charge.
The Soul EV is definitely designed as a commuter car, as the top speed is limited to 90 mph, and driving at highway speeds cuts the range by about 10%.
Since the 1930s, Jaguars have been known for their smooth, purring engines. The new I-Pace electric crossover won’t make a sound. Two electric motors, one for each axle, provide all-wheel drive and 394 hp and plenty of torque. Jaguar says the 0-60 time is 4.5 seconds. While it doesn’t have the launched-from-a-rocket shock of the Tesla Model S ludicrous speed, it’s certainly respectable for a 4800 lb. four-seater with cargo space.
Its all-electric range is about 240 miles, which takes about 13 hours to recharge. Connecting to a DC fast charger replenishes 80% of the range in about 90 minutes. The regenerative braking that recharges the battery is sufficient to stop the car in many driving situations without tapping the brakes. Air springs lower the vehicle 1.6″ for ingress and egress, and raise it up to 2″ for off-road mode.
Mercedes B Class B250e
The Mercedes Benz B-Class Electric Drive is a five-person sedan that’s a big seller in Europe, but rare in the U.S. The electric motor generates 177 hp and delivers all its torque from the moment you hit the “gas.” The torque level is equivalent to a 3L gas engine and drives the B250e 0-60 in 7.9 seconds. However, its top speed is limited to 100 mph to optimize the range, which is about 87 miles.
While the short range may give some people range anxiety, it’s more than enough for the average daily commute. Recharging 60 miles takes about two hours. Regenerative braking adds energy while you’re driving. Like most cars on the list, the battery is housed in the underfloor of the vehicle for a roomy interior. The B-Class Electric Drive combines dynamic and driving pleasure with zero local emissions.
BMW i3s — https://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/bmwi/bmw-i3.html
Fisker EMotion — https://www.fiskerinc.com/emotion/
Kia Soul — https://www.kia.com/us/en/vehicle/soul-ev/2018
Jaguar I-Pace — https://www.jaguarusa.com/all-models/i-pace/index.html
Mercedes Benz B250e — https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/vehicles/passenger-cars/b-class/