Some might think electric cars offer the style and performance of a 1970s mail truck, and that might've been true regarding EVs from just a few years ago. Today, however, it's a very different story. The latest crop of high-end electric cars are some of the fastest-accelerating cars money can buy, offering performance the old gasoline-powered models could never dream of.
It's not hard to see the appeal of electric performance cars. The instant shove an electric motor provides means drivers of electric supercars don’t have wait for power to build, as you do with a fossil-fueled engine. Floor the accelerator on any of these cars, and the sensation is more akin to being shot out of a cannon than gradually picking up speed as the revs increase in a conventional car.
Not all of us are looking for a car that would beat a Formula 1 car off the line though, there are those who need practical vehicles as well, and the EVs are taking over those market segments as well. The best ones are quiet, cheap to run, smooth to drive, and they'll offer generous range as well as decent performance.
However, there are some electric cars out there that get it wrong. Some of them might come as a surprise. We don't need any loose connections in the EV game, so to speak, and we'd definitely want to see some of them recycled rather than seeing them on the road.
Here's our list of EVs we'd love to own, and some that should be recycled.
25 Respectable: Jaguar I-Pace
The I-Pace SUV is Jaguar’s first electric car and is said to be able to drive for more than 310 miles on a single charge when it goes on sale next year. It's not often we have the need to drive 310 miles in a day, so that should be enough for most people.
If 310 miles per day isn't enough, you'll be happy to hear that the I-Pace can be charged to 80% of capacity in just 90 minutes from a conventional charging point. We also like its futuristic interior that features two 12-inch screens and another 5.5-inch screen for climate settings.
24 Respectable: Nio EP9
The Nio EP9 is built by a start-up company, it features in-wheel electric motors and has the sort of sleek supercar lines you might have drawn as a child. Its electric motors pump out a lot of power—1,341 hp in total—making it capable of doing the 0-62 mph dash in 2.5 seconds.
The EP9 has a chassis built to Le Mans race-car specifications and clever adaptive suspension. It lapped the Nürburgring in a remarkable 6m 49.5s, which lead Nio to claim the EP9 is the world’s fastest electric car. Just 16 will be built, each costing in excess of $1 million.
23 Respectable: Chevrolet Bolt EV
Fortunately for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, beauty is only skin deep; other than that, it's arguably one of the best electric cars on the market. It has 238 miles of EPA-certified range, a relatively low price tag, and a great powertrain with an excellent regenerative braking system. Once you master the Bolt's one-pedal driving system, you'll be laughing.
The Bolt boasts the kind of range that was previously the sole domain of Tesla, but it's also zippy and fun to drive. It does lack some cargo space and the interior looks cheap, but it's a great car for everyday use.
22 Respectable: BMW i3
The i3 looks incredibly futuristic, plus its smart and user-friendly interior is one of the best there is—stylish and modern with nice materials—which makes it one of the most appealing electric cars available. Its groundbreaking use of super-light carbon fiber and aluminum offset the weight of the heavy battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, and the recent facelift makes it better than ever.
It doesn't have a massive range, but compensates with an optional gas-powered range extender, thus providing peace of mind to buyers with range anxiety. The best part? It drives the way you'd expect a BMW to drive.
21 Respectable: Kia e-Niro
When it comes to real-world usefulness, it's hard to find a more suitable candidate than the Kia e-Niro. It smashes through the EV range barrier with a realistic range of more than 250 miles, which should be more than enough to keep the majority of drivers happy since not many people will want to do more miles than that in a day.
It's also well equipped, has strong acceleration and more room for passengers and luggage than its rivals. What more could we possibly ask for? The e-Niro's attributes make it a great option for anyone considering going electric.
20 Respectable: Renault Zoe
We really wish Renault would actually go ahead and give us the one-off sporty version of the Zoe. Sadly, that will never happen. However, the Zoe we actually can buy is a really good car.
Its main strength is that it's like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the trunk is decent and easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping.
19 Respectable: Tesla Model S P100D
The Tesla Model S barely made it onto our list. It’s on Consumer Reports' list of worst vehicles for a reason. However, the flagship P100D version of the Model S gained a new "Ludicrous+" performance mode, and with its 2.4-second 0-60 time it's the fastest-accelerating electric car money can currently buy.
What makes the Model S even more incredible is that it's a large, comfortable executive saloon car that offers a huge amount of interior space; buyers can choose a seven-seat option that has a pair of small folding seats installed in the trunk.
18 Respectable: Porsche Taycan
Porsche's Tesla competitor—previously called Mission E—is now named the Porsche Taycan. The three initial versions offered will be 402, 536, and 670 horsepower and have all-wheel drive.
Porsche wants to outdo Tesla when it comes to high-speed charging. Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America is at work building a network of fast-charging stations around America - an 800-volt infrastructure that will produce enough juice to take the Taycan 250 miles on just 15 minutes of charging. Porsche has also promised free charging at those stations for the first three years. Oh, and it'll have charging ports on both sides of the car.
17 Respectable: Hyundai Kona Electric
The Kona Electric is another EV that offers bucketloads of everyday usability. The 64kWh version effectively blasts range anxiety out of the water with a real-world range of around 250 miles between charging.
Even those who buy the less powerful 39kWh version will have a car that manages a respectable 158 miles between plug-ins, which should be plenty for most commutes.
Add in the fact that the Kona Electric is reasonably priced and has great acceleration, and it’s no surprise why we'd love to own one. It's currently one of the best electric cars on the market.
16 Respectable: Vanda Dendrobium
The Vanda Dendrobium has crazy styling to go with its equally crazy name. There’s not much conventional about this car, that's for sure. It was conceived by Vanda Electrics, and as with the Aston Martin RapidE, Williams Advanced Engineering has been brought in to develop the battery, motors and electrical systems. There's no production date, but the Dendrobium will likely cost more than $1 million.
It will cover 0-60mph in 2.7 seconds and has a top speed of more than 200mph.
The simultaneous opening of its rear-hinged doors and roof is reminiscent of the opening Dendrobium orchid flower the car is named after.
15 Respectable: Genovation GXE
The Genovation GXE might look like and go like a Corvette, but it certainly doesn’t sound like one. Where you’d usually find a big V8 engine, there's instead a plethora of electrical components making the GXE the world’s first street-legal electric car to top 200mph. There's no official 0-60mph time, but somewhere around three seconds is likely.
That car used the previous C6 generation of Corvette, but production models will be based on the C7 Corvette Stingray. It offers incredible performance, but a list price of around $750,000 means you could buy nine equally fast Corvette Z06s and still have change.
14 Respectable: Aston Martin RapidE
The Aston Martin RapidE is aiming to be the upmarket alternative to the Tesla Model S. As the name suggests, it’ll be based on the Aston Martin Rapide S, but the familiar 6.0-liter V12 gasoline engine will be replaced by a fully electric powertrain, co-developed by the technology division of the Williams Formula One team.
There are few official details, but power could top 1,000 horses and it will be four-wheel-drive, so its 0-62mph time should be around the three-second mark. The RapidE is expected to have plenty of bespoke materials befitting its likely ludicrous price tag.
13 Respectable: VW e-Golf
Unlike purpose-built electric cars such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf, the e-Golf is based on a conventional hatchback. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it means it has all the good points of the regular Golf, but with reduced running costs.
One of our favorite things about the Vee Dub is its subtlety; it doesn’t scream that it’s an electric car. It even has the same grille as fossil-fueled Golfs. It's not just its understated, yet classic and graceful styling that does it for us though. There's also the roomy interior, decent range, and affordable price.
12 Respectable: Rimac Concept One
The Rimac Concept One is among the world's most famous electric supercars, largely thanks to a crash involving Richard Hammond. While that unfortunate event put Rimac on the map, it also overshadowed the fact that the Concept One is the second-fastest accelerating electric car around, with a 0-62mph time of just 2.5 seconds.
That’s thanks to the 1,224 hp it produces—not bad considering the Concept One is the first car from Croatian firm Rimac. It has an electric motor driving each wheel and a system called torque vectoring to make it more stable on the road or more agile on track.
11 Respectable: Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster could be the ultimate supercar. Tesla’s claimed figures seem otherworldly on paper; 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds and 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds are acceleration times as those experienced by Formula 1 or Rallycross drivers, and the claimed top speed of around 250mph is faster than both.
The standing quarter is said to take just 8.9 seconds—the fastest time ever for a production car. It’s not all about speed, though; It has a claimed range of 620 miles, and there's space for four thanks to a 2+2 layout. Even luggage space is said to be decent. Yes please, we'd love to own one.
10 Recyclable: VW e-Up!
It would be so easy to think the e-Up would be a great urban runabout. Just like the regular gasoline-powered Up, the fully electric e-Up is blessed with tidy driving manners and turn-on-a-dime maneuverability. Alas, it's anything but great—unless you enjoy a bit of range anxiety to liven up your day.
The VW e-Up is battling for sales against the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric, Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, which all offer real-world ranges of more than 100 miles - vs the e-Up and its real range of 66 miles.
9 Recyclable: Smart Fortwo EQ
The Smart has never been on our favorite car list, and this electric version doesn't do anything to change that. Although the Fortwo EQ is relatively cheap to buy, you could get a Renault Zoe for similar money, which also offers far more space and more than double the range between charges. So that's a no-brainer then.
The Fortwo’s ride is poor and, with just two seats and a tiny trunk, space pretty much non-existent. But the worst part by far is the ridiculous real-world range of 59 miles. The Smart Fortwo is just useless in every possible way.
8 Recyclable: Tesla Model X
The flagship Model X P100D offers the Ludicrous+ mode, which cuts the 2.9-second 0-60mph time by a further tenth, making the Model X the world’s fastest-accelerating SUV.
Other than that, the Model X has been plagued by problems since day one—not that the Tesla fanboys will ever admit it.
The "Electric Cars Rated Worst for Reliability in 2019" by Consumer Reports is topped by the Model X. According to the report, the vehicle has several problems, such as cabin electronics, drive system, body integrity, and climate control. In fact, the Model X is the lowest-ranked passenger vehicle on the U.S. market.
7 Recyclable: Ford Focus Electric
The fossil-fueled Ford Focus has six straight years of the worst reliability ratings and may very well be the most troubled car of the decade. Over the years, owners reported problems with the transmission, cabin electronics, drive system, engine, body hardware, and power equipment.
Admittedly, the Focus Electric does have fewer parts that can malfunction so the EV version probably won’t turn out as bad as gas-powered models. However, according to Consumer Reports, the Ford Focus Electric should be avoided, even those that seem like really good deals on the used market.
6 Recyclable: Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but those who think the egg-shaped Mitsubishi i-MiEV looks good should consider wearing glasses, at least when shopping for a new car.
The good news is that Mitsubishi discontinued the i-MiEV for 2018—that's probably the best thing about the little Mitsu.
Miraculously, Mitsubishi managed to make the interior look and feel even cheaper than it really is. As far as range goes, it's laughably short at just 62 miles, and charging it takes forever unless using the quick-charge port. Recycle it!
5 Recyclable: Fiat 500e
It’s hard not to smile when you see a Fiat 500. Who doesn't love its retro styling? So why do we think it should be recycled? Well, think about it. Can you name one Italian car manufacturer who's mastered the art of car electronics? No? That's what we thought!
The fossil-fueled versions of the Fiat 500 have quite a few issues, and some of those issues are related to the electronics in the car. The Fiat 500e is 100% electric! It's an accident waiting to happen. Luckily, availability is limited to only a handful of states.
4 Recyclable: Honda Clarity
Sure, brand new car models tend to have a few issues in the beginning as automakers perfect the platform and correct the usual glitches via recalls and updates. Even a top automaker like Honda will sometimes make mistakes, which is a nice way to describe the Honda Clarity.
Owners have reported issues with the cabin temperature sensor and the key fob along with warning lights that went on/off without reason. Overall, Clarity landed a 16% reliability score, which was actually low enough to place it among the worst vehicles of the year. Would we want one? No thanks!
3 Recyclable: Nissan Leaf
We're talking about the previous generation Nissan Leaf here. The new model has been improved in pretty much every conceivable way, so that could be a decent purchase.
While some cars are styled to resemble a woman's curves—or maybe a fighter jet—the Leaf looks like the designer took his inspiration from a baby's shoe. It's awful. Couple that with the fact that those who drive one don't seem to have a clue that there are turn signals on the car—nor do they ever drive faster than 40 mph. It just makes us want to recycle every Leaf ASAP.
2 Recyclable: Reva G-Wiz
The G-Wiz received the not-so-enviable crown of being the “Worst car ever in Britain” after a poll was conducted by the motoring magazine Auto Express. It was originally designed to make parking easier on the city streets, but instead, it ended up as a car that would be parked in junkyards and was easily forgotten.
Owners complained about the car’s lack of comfort and that it was so sluggish that walking would be a quicker option. Walking would also be a lot safer than risking an accident while driving the G-Wiz.
1 Recyclable: GM EV1
GM’s first step into the electric vehicle industry was nothing short of lackluster. The EV1 featured state of the art technology and had a great aerodynamic design, but nobody wanted it. Even its trials of sales in environmentally conscious California were a bust.
The EV1 was plagued with reliability issues, as well as not offering anywhere near the range one can expect from an electric vehicle today. And then there was the price tag, at around $34,000 it was way too expensive. The EV1s ended up being recalled, and then crushed in a spectacular event known as "The Killing Of The Electric Car."
Sources: Inside EVs, Edmunds, Consumer Reports