by KYLE STOCK / pics BLOOMBERG
WITH every day that goes by, the electric car market looks more like, well, the regular car market. Just a few years ago, US electric vehicle (EV) options could be counted on one hand: Bolt, Leaf, Tesla, the end.
Conduct that same tally today, and US drivers bent on buying electric now have 39 cars to choose from, including six new options this year. Factor in all the available trims and variations — body styles, bigger batteries, etc. — and you’re looking at 117 distinct models.
Bloomberg Green has compiled all of them here, alongside range, battery size, base price and our own “green” score that speaks to how easy each of these whips is on the environment.
But what’s notable about the newest crowd of electric options is its breadth: There’s a six-figure SUV, a mid-market family truck, a historic Cadillac and a Mercedes sedan for the everyman.
In short, the EV market is no longer driven by superlatives — the quickest, the cheapest, the fanciest. Rather, it’s defined by idiosyncrasies: designers and engineers tuning their products ever more precisely to find a particular buyer. Ten years ago (even five years ago!) the EV buyer fell into one bucket. Now that pool is big enough to contain multitudes.
Is a car from the new class right for you? Here are the highlights.
Nissan Ariya | The Everyman’s EV
The long-awaited Ariya is the most affordable of the bunch, with a window sticker starting at US$43,190 (RM184,421). If the midsize SUV has any of the sales mojo of the Nissan Leaf, its (much older) sibling, the Ariya may soon be one of the best-selling machines on the market.
Critically, Nissan has done with the Ariya what incumbent auto giants are great at: Configuring it in a dizzying array of options. Add up the different trim levels and batter y choices and one will find nine different Ariyas on offer, a veritable choose-your-own-Ariya-adventure. (For what it’s worth, the Ariya “Venture+” notched a 52.4 on our Green score, the highest of the parade of new vehicles).
Audi Q4 e-tron | The Tesla Fighter
The Q4 e-tron is another sub-US$50,000 entrant, pulling the swanky brand slightly down-market. While it lacks some of the polish and performance of its predecessors (the e-tron, e-tron GT and e-tron Sportback), this model does offer similar range with a smaller battery, making it the greenest Audi in the line-up. It should go head-to-head with higher-end versions of the Ford Mustang
Mach-E, which has become one of the segment’s top sellers.
Cadillac Lyriq | The Design Play
The Lyriq is leading Cadillac’s charge to electric with one of the boldest designs in the business. A bona fide SUV, this electric Caddy makes a statement with a sleek grille veined with LED lights and a teardrop-shaped rear end, which increases both cargo space and aerodynamics.
The Lyriq isn’t as sporty as some of its rivals, but at US$62,990, it is far more affordable than the rest of the luxury EV field. If Cadillac is around 50 years from now, auto dorks will bookmark this as one of the major reasons why.
Mercedes EQB SUV, EQS SUV, EQE sedan | Good, Better, Best
Mercedes is going full blitzkrieg on Musklandia with three all-new EVs: The EQB SUV, EQS SUV and EQE sedan. The carmaker bills the EQB as “resourceful”, and starting at US$52,750, it will no doubt prove resourceful in stealing a tide of would-be Tesla buyers. However, the beginner Benz comes with a smaller battery than its siblings, and all three have ranges under 482.8km.
The EQS SUV arrives in more expensive territory, as a Costco-capable follow-up to the brand’s EQS sedan. Although it’s priced the same — around US$104,000 — the truck is far less efficient, and thus less green, than its predecessor. The ski moms and soccer dads, however, may not care overly much.
Finally, Mercedes has delivered a third new EV smack between the other two. The EQE sedan starts around US$86,000, with a battery pack and range figures squarely in the middle of the EQB and EQS. — Bloomberg
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition