Blog Hero: The Best Electric Vehicles of 2021

The Best Electric Vehicles of 2021

Rhythm Energy on Friday, December 3, 2021

During the Roaring Twenties, people experienced a period of growth and development and also gained a significant amount of personal freedom through widespread adoption of the automobile. We are now entering a 21st century ‘roaring twenties’ as we revolutionize the way we generate power and consume energy.

This is no more apparent than in the evolution of transportation as we transition from gas-guzzling cars with internal combustion engines to zero-emission electric vehicles powered by electric motors and rechargeable batteries.

This decade will see an electrification of transportation as electric vehicles (EVs) rise from an eclectic alternative to an obvious choice. And increasingly, consumers will decide which option is right for them:

Hybrid Electric Vehicle — have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and a small battery which improves fuel economy. The ICE does all the heavy lifting, and the car runs off traditional fossil fuel sources. The battery activates when coasting, going downhill, and it’s recharged through the ICE and regenerative braking system, so the vehicle does not get plugged in to recharge the battery.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle — have both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. With larger batteries and motors than hybrids, Plug-in Hybrids can run for moderate distances solely on their electric motor. The battery can then be recharged by plugging the vehicle into an electric source. The car also takes gasoline, and while the fuel economy improves when the battery is charged, the car operates off the engine even with an uncharged battery.

Battery Electric Vehicle — fully electric vehicle that does not have an internal combustion engine and is fully powered by an electric motor and rechargeable battery. Without the ICE and the need to fuel up on gas or stay lubricated with oil, battery electric vehicles are cleaner, easier to maintain, and more economic in the long run than traditional vehicles with ICE. To learn more about electric vehicles, visit our EV FAQ page.

Here is a look at the best battery electric vehicles in 2022.

Tesla Model 3

An electric vehicle with a minimalist dashboard that houses little more than a steering wheel and a tablet, the Tesla Model 3 stands out as being beautifully simplistic yet extremely intuitive. The 2021 Tesla Model 3 has increased range, with its standard performance reaching 263 miles per charge. The Model 3 also has Performance and Long-Range models which reach ranges of 315 and 353 miles, respectively.

The Model 3 variants provide a wide price range, with the economic model being accessible to many consumers and the top line delivering a luxury experience. The Model 3 has a slick Summon feature that allows a driver to remotely summon their parked Tesla to a pickup spot anywhere within a 200-foot radius.

As with earlier models, the touchpad tablet has an intuitive interface. Amongst other capabilities, the interface allows the driver to confidently embark on long drives by mapping out locations of Tesla Supercharger stations along the route. It also has lighthearted features (such as a whoopee cushion) that give this electric vehicle a unique personality along with its stylish elegance. The Tesla Model 3 received a MotorTrend 8.8 rating, and it is absolutely worth consideration if you are in the market for an electric vehicle.

  • Range: 263 miles

  • MSRP: $39,990

  • Rating: 8.8/10 (MotorTrend)

Kia Niro EV

The Kia Niro EV provides a battery electric vehicle option to the Niro line which already had hybrid and plug-in hybrid alternatives. The Niro EV offers a smooth ride and a 239-mile range. The car comes equipped with fast charging capability and has a regenerative braking system applied via paddle levers around the steering wheel.

With three driving settings — Normal, Eco, and Sport — the car can conserve power or add some accelerating punch. While on the smaller side for an SUV, the Kia Niro EV does have a larger body frame than an electric car, providing a comfortable and spacious interior.

Drivers have the option to connect their smartphones to the vehicle’s display system using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, allowing for easy and convenient technology integration. At a reasonable price, the Kia Niro EV provides a solid option for those looking for a spacious EV that comes with style and zip.

  • Range: 239 miles

  • MSRP: $39,090

  • Rating: 7.6/10 (MotorTrend)

Chevrolet Bolt EV

Small, compact, and long-range, the Chevrolet Bolt EV offers a range of 259 miles. The Chevrolet Bolt EV comes in an LT and Premier trim. The Premier comes with fast charging capability and some additional stylings, but the battery capacity and vehicle range is the same between the two. With the vehicle’s long-range being one of its most alluring features, you’ll likely find everything you’re looking for in the LT model.

Even with considerable amount of plastic lining both the car’s exterior and interior, the Bolt EV does have comfortable seating and interesting trim that infuses the cabin with a splash of color variety. With solid torque and sport mode capability, drivers will have no problem merging or passing slower drivers. But test drivers have noted an unnatural feeling when braking.

The vehicle does not have in-car navigation, so drivers will have to rely on their smartphones for directions. While on the simpler side, there are considerable financial incentives available for the Bolt EV which can help lower barriers for those in the EV market. Reliable yet not flashy, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is a nice option for the daily commuter.

  • Range: 259 miles

  • MSRP: $36,500

  • Rating: 7.5/10 (MotorTrend)

Volkswagen ID.4

The Volkswagen ID.4 marks the German manufacturer’s first go at building an electric vehicle from the ground up. And their first attempt does not disappoint. This electric SUV brings a little of everything, from a comfortable ride to a spacious interior and sleek aesthetic.

The electric SUV comes with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models with slight style upgrades on the AWD version. The high dependence on the infotainment display can take some time to get used to, but it does give the cabin a sleek, futuristic look and feel. The Volkswagen ID.4 offers a nice price point when compared to competing electric SUVs such as the Tesla Model Y and the Ford Mustang Mach-E

With a full battery range of 250 miles and 201 horsepower, the ID.4 offers a responsive driving experience that is well suited for rugged exploration or moving around in the city.

  • Range: 250 miles

  • MSRP: $39,995

  • Rating: 8.2/10 (Edmund’s)

Hyundai Kona Electric

Its 201-horsepower electric motor and responsive handling enable the Hyundai Kona Electric to deliver a fun driving experience. Reliable acceleration allows for easy freeway merging, and this electric vehicle comes equipped with a tiered regenerative braking system that can even bring the vehicle to a complete stop.

This electric SUV crossover boasts a battery range of 258 miles, making it one of the most efficient electric vehicles in its class. While it does come in three trim levels, all models possess the same battery size and range capacity.

The Hyundai Kona Electric does not have ample backroom seating, but the cabin interior is nice and well manufactured. With solid range and an affordable price, drivers looking to transition to electric will have a fun time with the Kona Electric.

  • Range: 258 miles

  • MSRP: $37,390

  • Rating: 8.1/10 (Edmund’s)

Nissan Leaf

The introduction of the Nissan Leaf was a hallmark moment for the automobile industry, proving a demand for electric vehicles. Even though it’s more sophisticated than previous models, the 2021 Nissan Leaf is likely most appealing for its economic price, with the base model Nissan Leaf S coming in at an MSRP of $31,670.

The 2021 Nissan Leaf comes in 5 trim levels. The two most economic models have a smaller battery and more limited range than the other models. If vehicle range is an important buying consideration, then it is worth looking at the Nissan Leaf Plus, which offers a range of 226 miles compared to the base model’s 149-mile range.

The Leaf comes with semi-autonomous driving features that provide steering assistance, acceleration, and braking to aid in highway driving (especially handy in traffic). This electric car provides seating for five, but it does feel like a tight squeeze with the small backseat space and cluttered front. If you are an infrequent driver with simple needs, the Nissan Leaf could be a good fit.

  • Range: 149 miles

  • MSRP: $31,670

  • Rating: 7.3/10 (MotorTrend)

Audi e-tron

Satisfying range. Smooth ride. Spacious interior. The Audi e-tron provides a luxury experience with an appealing 222-mile range that is sure to satisfy the needs of those wanting a sleek, powerful, and accommodating luxury electric SUV.

Its 222-mile range will satisfy the needs of most, but it does fall short of other rival luxury electric SUVs such as the Tesla Model Y. Where the e-tron shines is in its comfortable, spacious interior and smooth driving experience. Noise doesn’t readily enter the cabin, allowing for quiet driving in a high-quality interior space. The AC can deliver up to 4 personalized temperature settings so all passengers can ride in comfort.

While most drivers note the comfortable ride, well-manufactured interior, and reasonable range, some have complained about the SUV’s finicky tech, noting inconsistent log-in and convoluted menu setup. The e-tron also does not feature steering wheel paddles to engage the regenerative braking. Overall, the Audi e-tron provides a comfortable, luxurious ride with sufficient range for the everyday driver.

  • Range: 222 miles

  • MSRP: $65,900

  • Rating: 8.2/10 (Edmund’s)

Tesla Model Y

Very similar in build to the Tesla Model 3, the Model Y is a compact SUV which provides more seating and cargo space than the Model 3 sedan. Like other Tesla electric vehicles, the Model Y comes with great range, impressive acceleration, and a clean interior with an intuitive dashboard.

The Model Y has two variants — Long-Range and Performance. As the name implies, the Long-Range version allows for a greater range, reaching up to 326 miles on a fully charged battery. The Performance variant comes with a slightly inferior 306-mile range, but it has more horsepower and lowered suspension, allowing for quicker acceleration and greater control through turns.

The Tesla Model Y offers exceptional range and handling, but lower quality cabin materials give it a less high-end feel than other luxury electric SUVs. The cabin can also get quite noisy. In addition, the Model Y’s low clearance makes it less suitable for off-road driving than other SUVs.

  • Range: 306/326 miles

  • MSRP: $53,990 / $60,990

  • Rating: 8.2/10 (MotorTrend)

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Named the 2021 MotorTrend electric vehicle of the year, the Ford Mustang Mach-E competes with other electric SUVs such as the Tesla Model Y and the Audi E-Tron. The Mustang Mach-E is an attractive vehicle that provides comfortable seating for 5. The backrow seating can be lowered, making room for ample cargo space.

The Mustang Mach-E clearly took inspiration from the Tesla Model Y when designing the interior. Similar to the Model Y, the Mustang Mach-E’s dashboard features a large, central tablet to control settings and engage with the infotainment system. Unlike the Model Y, the Mustang Mach-E also has an electronic display right in front of the steering wheel so that drivers can see their battery life, expected range, and mph immediately in front of them.

The Mustang Mach-E has a 230-mile range. This provides plenty of driving capacity for the typical driver, but it does fall short of the Tesla Model Y. In addition, the charging infrastructure is not as developed as the Tesla Supercharger system. Despite these shortcomings, the Mach-E offers considerable range in a sporty looking electric vehicle that comes in at a more reasonable price point than its primary competitor.

  • Range: 230 miles

  • MSRP: $42,895

  • Rating: 9.2/10 (MotorTrend)

Porsche Taycan

As one might expect from Porsche, the Porsche Taycan is a 4-door electric vehicle sedan that offers a thrilling driving experience. The electric car’s exterior showcases a sporty design that is well matched by its luxurious and stylish interior. Although there isn’t tons of backseat legroom, the interior seating is comfortable and the tech fueled dashboard is intuitive and sleek.

Simply sitting in the Taycan is a notable experience, but the car’s breathtaking acceleration and incredible handling really give this electric vehicle the look and feel of a luxury sports car. Although it comes with stellar car handling and performance, the vehicle range is less overwhelming, providing a range of 227 miles. Still sufficient for most drivers’ daily needs, the Taycan’s high price point makes it a desirable option for someone looking for an all-electric rocket ship to navigate the cityscape.

  • Range: 227 miles

  • MSRP: $79,900

  • Rating: 7.9/10 (MotorTrend)

The age of electrification is here. From reliable commuter cars to luxury vehicles, there are now EV options for a wide range of consumers. These electric vehicle options prove that you can lower your carbon footprint without sacrificing style and power.

Most EV owners will implement an at home electric vehicle charging station to keep their vehicle ready for their daily or adventure seeking driving needs. With that said, adopting a clean energy plan empowers EV owners to embrace a truly clean driving lifestyle — one that doesn’t pollute our air or depend on devouring fossil fuels.

To explore clean energy options for your home, check out our EV electricity plans. With an electric vehicle and a 100% renewable energy plan, you’ll be well on your way to a carbon-neutral lifestyle. Ready to start shopping? Visit our Electric Vehicle Marketplace to compare different EV makes and models.

Categories: Electric Vehicles
Tagged: electric vehicles, EVs, renewable energy, best electric vehicles, best EVs

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