Cast your mind back to 2006, and you might remember that a documentary film entitled "Who Killed the Electric Car?" was released that year. The film looked at the creation, promotion and ultimate demise of the battery-electric motor vehicle, investigating the various "suspects" in turn. Under suspicion were oil companies, car companies, and even the US government – but the documentary also explored the notion that consumers just weren’t ready to accept such a big change.
Fast forward to the modern day, and things have changed significantly. Today, Elon Musk is a household name, and the Toyota Prius is a common sight on city streets. Whether this shift has occurred because of improved technology, the encroaching threat of climate change, or simply because we’ve had enough time to adjust, people around the world have begun to truly embrace the electric car.
The question is: which vehicle is right for you?
If you’re not ready to fully commit to electric, start with a hybrid. Topping the list for many people will be the newest Toyota Prius, a 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback with front-wheel drive, which offers 50 miles per gallon on the highway and 54 in the city. Though not speedy or particularly stylish, this is a solid, reliable mid-range vehicle that’s perfect for families.
Taking one step further is the Toyota Prius Prime, which has given the average person in the street (who may find themselves intimidated by Tesla) a reliable and eco-conscious vehicle to fall back on. This plug-in hybrid handles smoothly and has a total electric-gas range of 640 miles.
The Hyundai Ioniq is another model to consider. This 4-passenger, 5-door hatchback boasts a leaner, sleeker look than the Prius, but is equivalent in terms of fuel consumption and speed.
The Full Electric
If you want to take the leap and go fully electric, you could do a lot worse than the Nissan Leaf. This comfortable, spacious vehicle doesn’t have a huge amount of esthetic appeal, but it enjoys a range of 107 miles, and offers 124 MPGe (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent) in the city.
For something smaller and quirkier, there's the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive. This cute little vehicle promises 134 MPGe on the highway and 108 in the city, although you may not get to test that theory as the Fortwo ED’s estimated range is just 90 miles. All round, a great runabout for someone who doesn’t have kids – or a Great Dane.
The top dogs of the electric world are the Chevrolet Bolt EV – which goes from zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds and boasts a 238-mile range – and, unsurprisingly, the Tesla Model S, an undoubtedly expensive vehicle, but one that holds its own against the very best on the non-electric market. Sleek, comfortable, and oh-so-fast, this is the ideal vehicle for the eco-conscious car-lover with some money to spend.
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