The term “electric vehicle” is not used solely to describe those cars that run on electric power only. The industry now calls any car that has at least at electric option an EV, adjusting the terms accordingly.
Thus, a plugin hybrid is called a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or PHEV; the Chevrolet Volt fits this category. A straight hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, is an HEV while an FCEV is a fuel cell electric vehicle or what the Honda FCX Clarity is. Terms such as BEV represent battery electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric.
Regardless of how it is described, today’s car shopping consumer has several choices for consideration including the following five EVs worth your inspection:
1. Nissan Leaf — Nissan’s Leaf is priced about $36,000 and runs exclusively on electric power. Its range is about 70 miles, making this car perfect for the person who relies on a vehicle for a local commute. Its drawback is its limited range which means, like the Ford Focus EV, you’ll have to recharge before you can move on.
2. Chevrolet Volt — Is it an EV or is it a hybrid? Neither. The Chevy Volt is a PHEV and it has an electric-only range of 35 miles before a 1.4-liter gas engine kicks in. No emissions are emitted when this model operates in EV mode — the gas engine ensures that you can take long trips without having to recharge the electric motor. Base price is $39,995; you may do better buying the similar-sized Chevy Cruze for half the price.
3. Ford Focus Electric — The Ford Focus is already a popular car in its own right. The Focus BEV gives Ford its first major EV and is a good alternative to the Nissan Leaf. Its price point, however, is at $39,000, making this car one of the more expensive EVs on the market. Consider the gas version instead.
4. Mitsubishi i-MiEV — The “i” as it is commonly called is the lowest cost pure EV on the market. This vehicle retails for about $29,000 and with its federal tax credit in place can cost buyers less than $21,000, just a few thousand dollars more than a conventional gas-powered vehicle.
5. Toyota Prius — The Prius made this list should come as no surprise. The Prius is the best selling EV in the world and is now available in several body styles and includes a PHEV edition. The Prius has the broadest offerings of EVs available, giving shoppers much to consider when comparing new cars.
Most major manufacturers offer additional EV choices including Toyota with its Camry Hybrid, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Chevrolet Malibu with eAssist and others. You may be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit with some new models and find state incentives such as rebates available to you as well.