Top 10 EV’s Of 2015
Enthusiasm surrounding all-electric vehicles appears to be getting infectious, because more and more Americans are opting go green than ever before.
Wanting to buy a hybrid or an electric vehicle to help save gasoline—and maybe the planet? These are our picks for the Top EVs of 2015.
The 2015 Kia Soul EV electric cars are the 19th plug-in vehicles to hit the state’s market. However, only select California dealers will sell the zero-emission 2015 Kia Soul, and the Korean automaker expects that demand for the 2015 Kia Soul EV will easily outstrip supply.
On the road, the Kia Soul EV is well mannered and, like most electric cars, provides a comparatively soothing driving experience. A 109 hp electric motor operates smoothly and quietly, whether under acceleration, while coasting or in regenerative braking mode. The Kia Soul EV has been rated at 93 miles of range and 105 MPGe – putting the “family vehicle” near the top of the market in that regard.
With three ways to charge, including standard DC Fast Charging that is capable of providing an 80 percent charge in about half an hour, the Kia Soul EV can be recharged at home, the office, and any of the thousands of public stations. The ultra-dense battery features more energy in a more-efficient package, giving you a longer driving range and greater cabin room than most others in its class.
In the last two years the German automaker has displayed a flurry of activity around plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, including the revolutionary XL1 and the new all-electric 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf.
Like most all-electric cars it will apply regenerative braking whenever your foot comes off the accelerator pedal. It can be disconcerting at first, but it’s actually pretty convenient once you get used to the automatic braking that starts as soon as you lift off the throttle, especially during city driving. The driver can select from multiple levels of regeneration, with noticeable changes in the e-Golf’s ‘braking without braking’ effect. The e-Golf also comes with 3 driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Eco Plus. Again, the changes in driving dynamics between each mode are noticeable, especially with the Eco Plus mode limiting top speed to 71 mph.
Out with the old, in with the new: It’s hard to believe the Nissan Leaf is already entering its fifth model year. With the 2015 Nissan Leaf models that are already reaching dealerships, there’s no boost in range or performance, but there are some minor feature improvements that might be cause to home in on a car from the new model year.
The 2015 Nissan Leaf is available in S, SV, and SL models. As before, key differences between the model are mainly a matter of standard appearance, comfort, and convenience features. Base S models start at $29,860 before any credits or incentives and include smaller steel wheels, halogen headlamps, cloth upholstery, and a four-speaker sound system with 4.3-inch display, as well as a USB port, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a rearview monitor.
If there are two things many electric-car buyers wish for, it’s more range and more space. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive will get the 2014 model’s “Range Package” as standard equipment, as part of an update that includes revised styling and other equipment changes, according to InsideEVs. The Range Package allows drivers to to use more of the battery pack’s capacity for a temporary boost in range.
Activated by pressing a button on the center console before charging, this feature adds another 15 miles of range. That’s in addition to the EPA-rated range of 87 miles.
In the end, the B-Class proves to be slightly less efficient than the Tesla Model S but have a slightly longer rated range than the BMW i3 against which it is often compared. And that’s likely due to its origins as a gasoline- and diesel-engined vehicle, with a full steel body, that’s been converted to electric operation.
With its stubby styling and revolutionary carbon-fiber/aluminum structure, the i3 takes BMW’s driving principles to a new realm.The 2015 BMW i3 now comes standard with DC fast-charging capability, satellite radio, and heated front seats–for a starting price that’s $1,075 higher than the 2014 model.
The EPA estimates the range at 81 miles per charge; it can charge in three hours from a 220-volt outlet. An optional range-extending gas engine provides a total range of 150 miles and helps quell dead-battery.
Dual Motor Model S is a categorical improvement on conventional all wheel drive systems. Each Model S Motor is lighter, smaller and more efficient than its rear wheel drive counterpart, providing both improved range and faster acceleration.
The Model S dispels conventional thinking about EVs, with a luxurious interior and excellent driving dynamics—it’s a glimpse of the future, which earns it a 10Best award. Tesla offers versions from the 302-hp 60-kWh base model to the 85-kWh Performance version with 416 hp and 265 miles of range. It’s still a stylish way to go green, regardless of the price.
Sometimes size doesn’t matter. With its tiny size, zippy handling, and an EPA range of 87 miles, the 500E is a fine city car—as long as you don’t need to go anywhere else. The interior is cramped, with an awkward driving position and a rear seat that is best reserved for short people and short distances. This Fiat is a bit quicker, smoother, and quieter than the gas-powered 500, and the 500E even comes with free credits towards a conventionally powered rental-car when you need to go on longer trips.
Featuring swan-wing doors, a shark-nose front end, and a supercar stance, the i8 plug-in hybrid is BMW’s most revolutionary car in decades. A turbocharged three-cylinder engine/electric motor duo with a combined 357 hp delivers M3-like acceleration, a 155-mph top speed, and Prius-like efficiency. Handling is agile and steering precise; breaking is great for any car, let alone a hybrid. Very impressive indeed.
General Motors is #1 in plug-in hybrid sales with the Chevrolet Volt, a four-passenger compact hatchback that has 38 to 40 miles of electric range and 380 to 400 miles per gasoline fill-up range. Its sales are down in 2014 but that may be because a revised version is due in 2015 as a 2016 model. Styling will be updated as well as potentially a longer EV-only range and other new features. The versatility to drive around town and potentially commute as an electric car, coupled with the ability to take longer trips relying on the gasoline “range extender” makes it a great choice for a one-car household.
Toyota, world-leading seller of hybrids, also sells both plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars. Although the typical Toyota Prius driver might call America’s most popular hybrid fun to drive, excitement behind the wheel is not the goal. Instead, each model in the growing Prius family offers virtually unmatched fuel efficiency. The lineup includes the original hatchback, the compact and affordable Prius C, the Prius V wagon, and a plug-in version with a longer electric-only range.