Best electric cars for every budget and lifestyle in 2021

Updated

best ev's in 2021

 

Only a few short years ago, electric vehicles were considered a less-exciting driving option, with only a handful of models to choose from. Now, electric cars are gaining popularity, thanks in part to Tesla, which has showcased cool electric cars and took the lead in shifting towards more eco-conscious lifestyles.

Now that there are so many electric cars to choose from, the hardest part is deciding which one suits you best. In this article, we compiled the best options to fit your budget and lifestyle. 

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    What are the best EVs for 2021?

    Our top electric car choices were rated for their quality, mileage, and practicality. After all, there is no point in having an electric car that you do not enjoy to drive or does not offer the right mileage range for you. We broke down the cars into two categories: luxury and practical. 

    Luxury:

    • Tesla Model X
    • Porsche Taycan
    • Jaguar I-Pace SUV
    • Audi e-tron

    Practical:

    • Nissan Leaf
    • Hyundai Kona Electric
    • Chevrolet Bolt
    • Tesla Model 3

    Luxury electric car options

    If you are in the market for a smooth driving, luxury electric car, with fast pickup and numerous features, there are many to choose from. We’ve rounded up 4 of the best:

    Tesla Model X 

    Tesla has become one of the biggest names in the electric car manufacturing industry since the debut of the Model S in 2012. Tesla offers a few models but the luxury SUV Model X includes all the exciting features Tesla has to offer, from driver assist to the thoughtful internal and external styling.

    the Tesla Model X

    Tesla is the top brand name for luxury EVs, offering the furthest mileage range. Image source: Tesla

    The Tesla Model X is a bit pricey, starting at $89,990 for the Long Range model, but it has a mileage range of 360 miles after a single charge. The Long Range model can also reach a speed of 60mph in 3.3 seconds and has a 670 horsepower rating. 

    Wherever you need to get to, the Model X offers speed, luxury, and quality, with interior features like a touch screen monitor and HEPA filtration air conditioning systems.

    Learn more: All Tesla models & prices in 2021

    Porsche Taycan 

    Porsche is finally making the leap into producing fully-electric cars, starting with their Porsche Taycan. 

    A side view of a blue Porsche Taycan car

    Porsche’s first all-electric vehicle does not compromise on aesthetic appeal. Image source: Porsche

    The base model Taycan is a luxury electric sports car that boasts a 0-to-60 time of less than 5.1 seconds, rear-wheel drive, and a 402-horsepower electric powertrain engine. The base model starts at $79,900, while more advanced options like the Turbo S Cross Turismo model will cost around $187,600.

    Jaguar I-Pace SUV 

    Jaguar is also adding to the electric car luxury model lineup with its well-received I-Pace SUV model. 

    Image of a Jaguar I-Pace in motion with desert mountains in the background

    Electric SUVs offer customers the space they need without the high gas prices. Image source: Jaguar 

    The high build quality of the I-Pace includes a 90kWh battery pack and dual electric motors, producing 394 horsepower. It can reach an EPA-estimated 234 miles of range on a single charge, with pricing starting at $69,850.

    Audi e-tron 

    The Audi e-tron is the first purely electric car from Audi, and as an SUV, it offers rear seat space, comfort, and all-wheel-drive. 

    The Audi e-tron on a street

    The Audi e-tron is a great all-electric luxury car option. Image source: Caranddriver.com

    The Audi electric car does not skimp on performance, reaching 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds, and offers 4,000 pounds of towing capacity. Starting at $65,900, the e-tron can drive up to 222 miles after a single charge, and offers an exciting driving experience. 

    Practical electric car options

    If you are looking more for an EV that does not need to be super fast or include fancy features, there are many practical options available.

    Nissan Leaf 

    The vehicle that comes to mind for most people when they think “electric car” is the Nissan Leaf. Debuting in 2010, it was the first mass-marketed electric car, and at a price point starting at $31,670, it is more budget-friendly than its luxury counterparts.

    A red Nissan Leaf

    The Nissan Leaf was the first mass-marketed electric vehicle. Image source: Nissan 

    As of April 2021, there are five models available, the S, SV, S PLUS, SV PLUS, and the SL PLUS. They range in price, from $31,670 for the base model to $43,970 for the SL PLUS. The driving range of each car is different but you can expect 149 miles per charge for the basic models and up to 215 miles for the SV PLUS model and 226 miles for the S PLUS.

    The Nissan Leaf offers a certain confidence in purchasing since it has been in production and used by drivers for over 10 years, and not many other electric car models can say that.

    Hyundai Kona Electric 

    Hyundai's original Kona vehicle is considered one of the best subcompact crossovers on the market, so it comes as no surprise that their new electric version will likely end up being one of the most popular electric options on the road.

    Image of a Hyundai Kona electric car driving on a city street 

    The Hyundai Kona electric car is sleek and affordable. Image source: Hyundai

    The Hyundai Kona is an electric hatchback that can reach a range of 258 miles. 

    As of April 2021, the Hyundai Kona Electric is only available in limited markets throughout the United States at a price point of $37,390 for the SEL model. Hyundai says it will soon expand availability to the rest of the country.

    Chevrolet Bolt 

    The Chevy Bolt offers 259 miles per charge at a great starting price point of $36,500. 

    chevy bolt

    The Chevy Bolt is a compact electric car with an impressive mileage range. Image source: Chevrolet 

    Although the Chevy Bolt is small, it offers great torque and pickup, with 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds. The Bolt EV charges at a rate of 25 miles per hour with the at-home charger versus 4 miles per hour with the portable charging cord, so charging at home is ideal. 

    Tesla Model 3 

    Compared to the Tesla Model X, the Tesla Model 3 is a little more affordable. So if luxury and the appeal of driving a Tesla are important to you, a Model 3 is a great choice. 

    Aerial shot of a red Tesla 3 car

    The Tesla model offers luxury at an affordable price. Image source: Tesla 

    The Tesla Model 3 has a starting range of 250 miles for the Standard Range Plus model, but the Long Range Model can reach 322 miles. The Standard Range Plus model costs $33,690 (without any add-ons). The car is also outfitted with an all-in-one touchscreen and an all-around 5-star safety rating.

    What electric cars are there to look forward to?

    The future of cars is electric and there are plenty of new vehicles to be on the lookout for.

    More and more manufacturers are producing electric cars as part of their yearly lineup of vehicles, ranging from the Volvo Polestar 2 to the new Volkswagen ID. Some of the most exciting electric cars are not yet available, but include the electric Hummer and the Tesla Cybertruck

    The future holds endless possibilities as more people start searching out and buying electric cars. For now, there are many manufacturers that are build electric cars in addition to their more well-known combustion engine counterparts, including companies not listed above, like the BMW i3, Ford, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota, Mercedes, and Honda. 

    How do I choose the best EV for me?

    Electric cars are becoming more desirable, more affordable, and easier to own and charge. Charging stations are popping up nationwide and cars' electric range per charge is increasing. 2021 is a great time to purchase a new electric vehicle and install solar panels to charge your new car CO2-free.

    Once you've made the decision to purchase an electric car, you'll want to make sure to do your research on the models that are currently available on the market - there are plenty of options, not just what we listed above. A few things to take into consideration include:

    • The type of vehicle you will need based on your driving habits. Your options include a sedan, crossover SUV, or luxury
    • The mileage range you need, i.e., will you be driving to and from work, do you live in a city with ample charging options, or do you need this car to travel hundreds of miles?
    • Will you have access to charging stations where you live and work?
    • Your budget - a Porsche price point is definitely luxury but there are many great, well-priced options on the market

    Just like shopping for a gas-powered car, your best option is to compare the different types of electric vehicles that you are interested in, including their features and warranty options. Ultimately, test driving a potential electric vehicle is the best way to pick one you will like.

    Once you determine the right option for your needs, consider installing solar panels to save even more money by reducing your electric bills and completely eliminate your CO2 output by charging your car with clean energy. 

    Find out how much solar panels will cost for your specific roof

    Key takeaways

    • Electric cars range from the luxurious Tesla Model X to the practical Nissan Leaf, there is one to fit every budget and personality.
    • Each electric car has different mileage ranges, with Tesla at the top with 360 mile range and the lowest being 149.
    • You can get a fully-electric vehicle for as low as $32,000 or as high as $190,000, either option offers the modern appeal of an electric car.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Ana Almerini

    Web Content Specialist

    Ana is a web content specialist at SolarReviews. She has 5 years of marketing experience blended with 2 years of experience in climate communications and holds a master of arts degree in climate and society from Columbia University. Ana frequently volunteers for environmental causes ranging from oyster reef restoration in NJ to expanding bike sharing in Naples, Italy.

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