Electric cars are a revolution in motoring; they're clean and quiet, and the driving experience can be unbelievably fun and perky.
Yet they're certainly not viable for every household. If you've decided to narrow the field of prospects to all-electric vehicles, it's likely you've done a lot of reading up on electric cars, and you feel quite resolved that your commuting and errand needs coincide with a realistic driving range—well under 100 miles in most cases, provided you're not considering the Tesla Model S.
Our companion publication Green Car Reports is a great resource on such topics, and we recommend you head there for more background.
That said, which new electric car should you buy? The Car Connection has some help. As with shopping for any new vehicle, finding the right EV can be very time-consuming.
Or you can take our shortcut. We've looked at the data, we've considered the ratings we apply to every new vehicle we review—and have come up with this buying guide, to help you more quickly find the best electric vehicle you can buy.
To qualify as one of our Best Electric Cars To Buy 2015, a vehicle must:
- score at least an 8.0 rating on The Car Connection's full review
- have a base price of less than $100,000—twice the amount we allow for our Best Car To Buy competition
- have no reported score lower than four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Keep in mind, these electric vehicles may finish with higher scores than our annual Best Car To Buy winner—because that vehicle is chosen from brand-new or significantly changed vehicles in a model year. These rankings pit all vehicles against each other, regardless of how many years they've been on the market, and they're open to every vehicle on sale during the current model year.
After vetting all the pure electric vehicles offered for the 2015 model year, we've narrowed it down to the following set, and given our insight in the bottom line from our original review. They're ranked in the order of scoring as of our latest update. Since our reviews are updated frequently for safety data, late model changes, or fuel-economy revisions, the order may change occasionally.
It should be noted that the 'Green' category of our reviews process isn't numerically factored into our full review rating. If you do place a lot of weight on efficiency and keeping all-electric (and we're guessing you do if you're reading this list), then you may want to expand the list to some vehicles that approach but don't quite meet 8.0—such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3--or to pricier vehicles like the BMW i8.
But back to those standards, here are the models that stack up as today's best new vehicles with all-electric powertrains:
TCC Rating: 8.8
2015 Tesla Model S
The 2015 Tesla Model S has no direct competition; the electric luxury hatchback is the benchmark among its kind in a market with more than 20 plug-in models. It's likely the most advanced car on the planet. Read more »
TCC Rating 8.6
2015 Kia Soul EV
The 2015 Kia Soul is a recognizable five-door boxy wagon that fits into urban environments and carries occupants with comfort and style.Read more »