The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

The best electric car for you: we've got it.

Posted by Anna Vanderspek on Thursday, April 05, 2018 @ 01:31 PM

Best_electric_cars_4.5.18

Since we launched Drive Green with Mass Energy and People’s Power & Light in November of 2016, a lot has changed in the electric vehicle market. At launch, we had four electric vehicles (EVs) from three manufacturers available through the program. Now, we’ve got seventeen vehicles from ten manufacturers, and the list is growing all the time! As the options increase, finding the best electric car for you might seem like it’s getting more overwhelming too. But don’t you worry! Here’s a quick who’s-who of the top electric cars available through our program right now.

Where do I start?

To find the best electric car for you, the first step is to determine if you want an all-electric vehicle, or a plug-in hybrid (which has a backup gas tank). Here are some important questions to ask yourself:

How much do you drive in the average day?

Most Americans drive around 40 miles per day. The range of all-electric vehicles far surpasses that and you can easily add back 40 miles of range by charging at night. If you drive significantly more every day, a plug-in hybrid might be a better choice.

Where could you charge?

If you have electric service in your garage or driveway, charging your EV is easy: come home, plug it in, and it should be ready to go in the morning! Many people with plug-in hybrids use a trickle charge (120 volts, 2-6 miles of range/hour) overnight, which replenishes the battery and makes up for what they drove that day. Folks who drive all-electrics (and even some with plug-in hybrids) may choose to install a Level II charger to be able to charge more quickly or replenish more of the battery overnight (240 volts, 10-25 miles of range/hour). The long and short of it is that if you only drive around 40 miles in a day, you can make up what you use in a day in 6-20 hours of trickle charging or 2-4 hours of Level II charging, and both a plug-in hybrid or an all-electric is a great choice for you.

If you don’t have access to a charging unit overnight, find out if your workplace offers charging or if there is a nearby public charger that you can use (we recommend Plugshare for this purpose). If you’ll have regular access to high speed charging (either Level II or DC Fast Charging), you can consider an all-electric vehicle with a large range. If your access to charging will be spottier or you regularly drive long distances, a plug-in hybrid might be a better choice for you.

How often do you go on trips that are longer than 200 miles?

We’ve found that most of us take fewer long car trips than we think and/or have access to a second car when needed, but if you regularly take long car trips, check to see what the public charging stations are along the routes you drive. If there are a bunch and you don’t mind stopping to charge, an all-electric can still be a great choice. If the charging infrastructure isn’t as built out as you might like or you’d just like an extra layer of security, a plug-in hybrid might be better suited to your lifestyle.

Thinking through some of these questions can help as we go through the list of the electric cars available through the Drive Green program.

 

First up: the all-electrics

In order by descending electric range, here are the all-electric vehicles currently available through the Drive Green program. In addition to our program discounts, all of these vehicles qualify for the full federal tax credit ($7,500) and, for Massachusetts residents, a $2,500 state rebate.

We are listing the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) before all discounts and incentives, but you might also want to lease for three years. If you lease, the tax credit goes to the leasing company, which helps make the monthly payments lower. You would still be able to receive the state rebate if you are a Massachusetts resident.

 

boltChevrolet Bolt

Range: 238 miles/charge
MSRP: $37,495
Notable features: Largest electric range of any of the vehicles in our program. Winner of many awards (Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal, Best Car to Buy by Green Car Reports, Car of the Year by Popular Mechanics, Motor Trend Car of the Year). 

leaf-1Nissan LEAF

Range: 151 miles/charge
MSRP: $29,990
Notable features: Completely redesigned 2018 model! Check out our video to learn more. Received Kelley Blue Book's 5-Year Cost to Own Award.

 

bmwi3BMW i3

Range: 114 miles/charge
MSRP: $44,450
Notable features: Also available with a back-up gas tank with the Range Extender option. Qualifies for BMW's ChargeNow program

 

kiaKia Soul EV

Range: 110 miles/charge
MSRP: $32,250
Notable features: Spacious!

 

coupesmart fortwo

Range: 58 miles/charge
MSRP: $23,900
Notable features: Seats two, and also available as a convertible!

 

 

Interested in getting a discount on an EV? Check out our Drive Green program

 

Next: the plug-in hybrids

Again, we'll go through the vehicles that are currently available through the Drive Green program in order of descending electric range. For these vehicles, the federal tax credit and Massachusetts state rebate vary by battery size.

 

Chevy Volt-1Chevrolet Volt

Range: 53 miles/charge, 367 on gas
MSRP: $33,220
Notable features: Largest electric range of any of the plug-in hybrids available through our program. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's "Top Safety Pick" in 2018. Qualifies for the full federal tax credit and Massachusetts state rebate.

clarityHonda Clarity

Range: 47 miles/charge, 293 on gas
MSRP: $33,400
Notable features: New! Just arrived in New England in December 2017. Qualifies for the full federal tax credit and MA state rebate.

 

pacificaChrysler Pacifica

Range: 33 miles/charge, 533 on gas
MSRP: $39,995
Notable features: Only plug-in minivan available in the US! Qualifies for full federal tax credit and Massachusetts state rebate.

 

 

optimaKia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Range: 29 miles/charge, 581 on gas
MSRP: $35,210

 

 

 

ioniqphevHyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid

Range: 29 miles/charge, 601 on gas
MSRP: $24,950
Notable features: Most efficient battery in terms of miles of range per kilowatt-hour of storage.

 

niroKia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Range: 26 miles/charge, 534 on gas
MSRP: $27,900
Notable features: Subcompact crossover.

 

 

prius primeToyota Prius Prime

Range: 25 miles/charge, 615 on gas
MSRP: $27,100
Notable features: 
Top-selling plug-in hybrid in 2017.

 

 

outlanderMitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

Range: 22 miles/charge, 288 on gas
MSRP: $34,595
Notable features: SUV with all-wheel drive! Comes with DC Fast Charging port built in.

 

 

bmw530eBMW 530e

Range: 15 miles/charge, 360 on gas
MSRP: $52,650
Notable features: Qualifies for BMW's ChargeNow program

bmwx5BMW x5

Range: 14 miles/charge, 540 on gas
MSRP: $57,200
Notable features: Qualifies for BMW's ChargeNow program

 

bmw740eBMW 740e

Range: 14 miles/charge, 340 on gas
MSRP: $99,845
Notable features: Qualifies for BMW's ChargeNow program. 

 

 

Interested in getting a discount on an EV? Check out our Drive Green program 

 

So how do I find the best electric car for me?

See your favorites up-close at one of our upcoming Massachusetts or Rhode Island electric vehicle events. Or, sign up to test-drive your favorites from the list above at one of our participating dealerships! Here is the form for Massachusetts and here for Rhode Island. You’re also welcome to email us with any questions at drivegreen@massenergy.org (MA) or drivegreen@ripower.org (RI).

 

Tags: Electric vehicles/Transportation

Comments on this post: