A growing number of drivers are now looking at electric vehicles. It makes sense — these cars can eliminate gas costs, and they’re obviously a good choice for conscious consumers looking to reduce their impact on the environment.
Of course, electric cars aren’t exactly new. They have actually been around a lot longer than the traditional internal combustion engine that many drivers have sitting in their driveways right now. While the first modern internal combustion engine was created in 1876, electric vehicles got their start with a motorized carriage built in the 1830s. Batteries that could be recharged came into existence in 1859, making the EV into reality.
Although the EV didn’t take off quite like the gasoline-powered counterparts, we’re seeing renewed interest in electricity. And while the electric revolution didn’t swoop in all at once, it is here now. Today’s electric options are making huge leaps in terms of range, performance, and style.
Just a few years ago, EVs were limited by short range that made them impractical for longer commutes and a lack of charging stations. But with renewed interest and recent technological advances, EVs are carving out an exciting new segment in the automotive industry. These technological advances make the EV a viable option for just about any driver.
So, whether you are new to electric vehicles, or you are a current EV owner looking to upgrade to something new, we have rounded up the best new electric cars and SUVs available on the market right now. This list is limited to all electric vehicles that are available for 2021.
Tesla Model 3
MSRP: from $39,990 for Standard Range Plus
When it comes to electric cars, Tesla pretty much sets the standard. And the entry level Model 3 leads its class with range, performance, and handling. The Standard Range has been replaced with the base Standard Range Plus, which will get you an EPA-estimated 263 miles of range. For more money, you can opt for the Long Range (MSRP $48,990), which will get you about 353 miles of range. If you need to go farther than that, you have access to Tesla’s 25,000+ Supercharger fast-charging stations.
Inside, the car’s interior is definitely modern, and it feels roomy, partially thanks to an all-glass roof. There is a large 15-inch touchscreen that acts as a central control center for everything, and the easy-to-use navigation display is one of the few that pulls Google Maps data in real time.
Although the Model 3’s stated trunk capacity is relatively well-sized at 15 cubic feet, it can hold more than expected thanks to a pass-through and fold-flat rear seats. The car also features a front trunk where an engine would go in a traditional vehicle.
MSRP: from $59,900
New brand and Volvo-offshoot Polestar has released their second model (as implied by the name!), and the Polestar 2 is a fully electric rival to the Tesla Model 3 — though it comes at a higher price. It offers an EPA-estimated 233 miles of range, which is plenty adequate for regular day-to-day driving. It drives and handles with ease, and can stop on a dime.
As expected with a luxury sedan, the Polestar 2 has a stylish and comfortable interior, though it’s a little “cozy.” The infotainment system is powered by Google’s Android, so Google Maps and Google Assistant are built in. That means you can just say “Hey, Google” to do things like check the weather or turn on your seat heater. And unlike with Tesla, the Polestar 2 thankfully doesn’t rely entirely on the center screen for basic functions like setting cruise control or operating the windshield wipers.
The Polestar 2 has a few neat features, like using your phone to stay updated on remaining range or remotely setting your cabin temperature. You can also send a temporary digital key to someone else if you’re away and you need to give them access to drive the car.
Kia Niro EV
MSRP: from $39,090 for EX
In terms of affordability, the Kia Niro EV shines. This is the fully electric version of Kia’s hybrid Niro, using a 64-kWh battery with a 201 hp electric motor. It’s zippy with quick acceleration and stable handling, and offers an EPA-estimated 239 miles of range. Although it’s technically a crossover SUV, all-wheel drive is not an option and the vehicle handles more like a small performance car.
Inside, you’ll find plenty of space and generous headroom for its size. Plus, there are plenty of small storage places inside the cabin, and excellent rear cargo space thanks to rear seats that fold flat and the hatchback. With the base EX model, the Niro EV comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, and there is a 10.25-inch screen available with the EX Premium package. It’s easy to use, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV
MSRP: from $36,500 for LT
You can always expect a solid car from Chevrolet, and the company’s all electric Bolt EV is no exception. You’ll find that this hatchback delivers surprising range and performance for the price point. And if you’re willing to wait a little longer, the 2022 Bolt EV is expected to cost even less. It’s also worth noting that the Bolt EV is one of the easiest all electric vehicles to purchase and service no matter where you live, thanks to Chevrolet rolling it out to dealers nationwide.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard in the Chevy Bolt EV, but you’ll have to use these systems to run navigation through your phone because there is no integrated navigation system in this hatchback. Most of the features, including advanced driver safety features, are optional, while these are standard among other comparable vehicles.
Considering its size, the Bolt EV has a relatively spacious cabin, and it feels larger inside than you’d think. It also comes standard with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that you can choose to activate.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
MSRP: from $42,895 for Select
You don’t have to give up sporty handling and performance to attain a zero-emissions electric vehicle. It wears the iconic Mustang badge, but the Mustang Mach-E features typical SUV proportions. It’s been labeled the 2021 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. It is the first Ford designed specifically as an electric vehicle, and expect it to take you far — it offers an EPA-estimated 305 miles of range.
Sitting in the luxury class with the likes of the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model Y, this all electric Mustang-slash-SUV mashup lives up to its luxury counterparts. You’ll find comfortable seats, a big 15.5-inch touchscreen with Ford’s Sync 4 infotainment system, and the Mach-E also has a digital drive cluster right in your line of sight. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you have your choice between connecting through USB cord or wirelessly.
And while it’s not the fastest EV, it is definitely quick and zippy. It also drives smoothly, and has a pretty quiet cabin that keeps out wind and ambient noise. All in all, it lives up to the Mustang badge.
2021 Audi e-tron
MSRP: from $65,900
Although the Audi e-tron has a lower range than some of the other vehicles on this list, with an EPA-estimated 222 miles of range, it still has plenty for average day-to-day driving. Plus, this SUV offers up the same comfort, performance, and luxury that you’d expect from the Audi badge. It’s just paired with an electric powertrain instead, leaving you with a smoother, quieter ride than ever before.
Inside, you’ll find a stable, smooth ride thanks to its air suspension. The climate control system will keep everyone comfortable, and there is plenty of space. The infotainment system has a 10.1-inch screen, and there is also a high definition digital instrument display.
You won’t have to leave your toys at home, either. The e-tron has a max towing rating of up to 4,000 lbs when properly equipped, so you can still pull your boat or any other fun stuff along for the ride.
2021 Tesla Model S
MSRP: from $79,990 for Long Range
For a full-size electric vehicle, it’s hard to beat the oldest Tesla in production. Thanks to dual motors, it boasts an unparalleled EPA-estimated 405 miles of range. It’s extremely quick, going 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds, and the car’s top speed is 155 mph. With all that speed, the Model S is still pretty smooth, with seamless acceleration.
Much like the Model 3, all of this vehicle’s major controls are run through the big touchscreen display in the center of the dashboard. It’s clean-looking, but it does mean that simple tasks like setting the cruise control take longer as you have to navigate the screen. There is no support for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, so you’ll have to connect your phone through Bluetooth. However, the easy-to-use navigation display pulls Google Maps data.
The newly redesigned interior also has one feature that none of the other cars on our list have: video games. It boasts 10 teraflops of processing power, which rivals some of the big gaming consoles out there. It has wireless controller compatibility, too. I guess this could give you something to do when you stop for a quick charge at Tesla’s 25,000+ Supercharger fast-charging stations.