September 29, 2023

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If You’ve Been Saying You’re Waiting For A Good Non-Tesla Electric Car, Now Is The Time!

I had this article title drafted up a while back. It had just hit me that there were really several highly competitive, highly compelling electric vehicles on the market now — even in the USA — and that it’s now a prime time for mainstream car buyers to start going electric. So, I wrote the title and stuck it in drafts (where many stories go to die).

Then, while this was sitting in drafts, something funny happened. My uncle had told me for a few years that he was planning to buy an electric car the next time he bought a car, but that he was waiting for the big boys to get into the game. He wanted a solid electric car from a legacy automaker that he trusted. I had spent plenty of time talking about the benefits of Tesla and my Tesla Model 3, but I didn’t push it too hard, because, well, that’s just not cool. And I understand the sentiment — even though I still think buying a Tesla gives you the most bang for your buck, I understand that many people want to buy a car from a company that’s been around for decades. My aunt and uncle are very “mainstream” buyers, and I knew that we were early in the adoption curve for EVs, so I could see they’d need more time and need to see more EVs on the streets to feel comfortable going electric. Well … last week, they bought a brand new Volkswagen ID.4!

I’ll get back to the ID.4 and their purchase in another article. Actually, I’m going to document their ownership in a long-term review of the ID.4 — an ongoing review “from normal people.” Rather than just pumping out more car reviews from professional auto journalists, more EV reviews from longtime EV enthusiasts, we’re going to see how a normal couple from the Baby Boomer era went about buying an electric car, how much they like or dislike it in the early days, and how their experience of the electric car evolves over time. But, first, back to the theme of this article….

The Volkswagen ID.4 is clearly one of the electric cars that is now super competitive with any gas-powered crossover SUV in its class, especially when you consider the $7,500 federal tax credit that’s on the table. You can get one for a starting MSRP of $39,000, or more commonly get one with more range for a starting MSRP of $44,000 (as my aunt and uncle did). With gas savings, potential maintenance savings, and all the great tech that you get with an ID.4, find me a better non-electric model for that price. (Good luck.)

Then there are the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6 from the popular Korean sisters. I find these slightly more appealing than the ID.4 on the surface. Again, these are in the car class that is very dominant on the market these days. These are small SUVs/crossover that provide ample space, decent ingress/egress, and a somewhat high seating position — what everyone and their grandma seems to be craving. The IONIQ 5 has a starting MSRP of $41,450 for the model with 220 miles of range (EPA rating), but you can again spend a few thousand dollars more ($45,500) for a longer range version (303 miles of range). Its brother from another mother, the EV6, doesn’t bother with a lower-range trim. Its lowest cost trim is the “Wind” (RWD), with $48,700 MSRP and 310 miles of EPA-estimated range. (This is the EV I’d probably buy.) There are four higher trims, but they all use the same battery.

Getting even more affordable, there’s the Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Bolt EUV. The former has a starting MSRP of just $26,500! The latter, a small crossover, just $27,800! One of our writers recently bought the former. Another writer bought the Chevy Bolt EUV, and so did a reader who is also now contributing long-term review articles of the EUV.

Need something bigger? Aside from the various large luxury-class electric vehicles now on the market, we finally have electric pickup trucks on the market. Most notably, we’ve got the famous Ford F-150 Lightning, which easily competes with other conventional pickup trucks from Ford in terms of cost. It also comes with various features a normal truck doesn’t have — most popularly, vehicle-to-load and vehicle-to-grid capability. (And, for a bit more money, there’s the Rivian R1T.)

There’s another Ford model that deserves a strong nod, too. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is actually competitive in price with the other crossovers above, and my goodness is it a fun and cool vehicle! In fact, the Mustang Mach-E is such a compelling package for the money (starting MSRP of just $46,000) that it was the 3rd best selling electric car in the United States last year (and the 4th best selling model in the 4th quarter, due to a resurgence from the Chevy Bolt EUV).

Naturally, there’s also the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. I almost forgot to mention them since they’re so dominant and so obviously competitive. The latter was the 4th best selling vehicle — of any kind — in the world last year. The pair dominate US electric car sales. There’s more than one reason for that — these EVs are competitive with anything in or near their classes.

The bottom line is that, here in 2023, there are at least 10 solid electric vehicles on the US market that are cost-competitive with similar gas-powered vehicles, that are clearly better than them, and that can easily be recommended to and swooped up by mainstream car buyers on the market for a new automobile.


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