If you live in Southern California and want to go green, you've probably seen this question asked a million times: what are the best long-range electric cars? But why are range extenders for electric cars so much better than engine-driven generators? And does the battery size matter more than the drive gear? Our goal is to bring some clarity to these subjects. You might think that an electric car with a longer range is hard to find but as it turns out – there are quite a few! We do hope this will help you make up your mind when you are about to shop for an EV.
The BMW i3 has a very usable amount of cargo space for its size. The rear seat folds down to create a flat load floor and there are two bins up front for storing small items. The rear seats can also fold down to make more room if needed.
The BMW i3 gets an EPA-estimated 153 miles of range from its 42.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a motor rated at 168hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, showing that it can often exceed that estimate in real-world driving conditions — though you'll need to pay extra to get access to those extra batteries in your car via an optional range-extending engine (available on the i3s model).
The Bolt is the first long-range affordable electric car to hit the market. It was introduced in 2017 and has been available nationwide since 2018.
The Bolt is powered by a single 200-horsepower motor that drives its front wheels, earning the car an EPA-estimated 259 miles of range on a single charge. The Bolt has DC fast-charge capability, which can add up to 100 miles of range in just 30 minutes.
The Bolt EV comes with standard features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and two USB ports. It's also the first all-electric car to offer an optional rear-view mirror camera and rear park assist sensors, which alert drivers when objects are behind them.
The Fiat 500e is a cute electric car with a range that’ll take you well outside the city. It’s powered by a 117-hp electric motor and carries 32.3 kWh of battery power, enough to drive as far as 199 miles on a single charge. The EPA pegs its range closer to 160 miles per charge.
The car’s interior has an interesting layout — it’s unlike any other car on the market — but it feels spacious in the back despite its tiny footprint. The seats are comfortable, the steering wheel is adjustable and there are plenty of storage compartments throughout the cabin.
The Fiat 500e is available in two trim levels: Pop and Lounge. The Pop comes with 15-inch wheels, automatic climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay compatibility and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, and cruise control among other features.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric just got better, with a range increase, more power, and a new infotainment screen. It's still a strong contender in the family electric-car class.
Acceleration is slightly slower than average for this class. It takes 8.8 seconds to reach 60 mph. Ioniq doesn't stop as well as others, measuring a lengthy 136 feet from 60 mph. The steering is light, precise, and stable at higher speeds; overall it drives smoothly. It's not quite the athletic type, but its handling can be surprisingly fun.
Kia Soul EV
The KIA Soul EV has an EPA-estimated driving range between 171 and 280 miles, depending on which battery you go for. A 77kW rapid charging system means a 0-80% top-up takes just under an hour for either model.
The Soul EV has five trim levels to choose from: Base, Plus, Premium, Exclaim, and Prime. All models offer features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.
All versions of the KIA Soul EV come with standard safety equipment including forward collision warning with emergency braking assist; adaptive cruise control; blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert; lane departure warning; lane keep assist; rearview camera with backup auto parking sensors; hill start assist; hill descent control; traction control system; electronic stability control (ESC); anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD); Brake Assist System
The Nissan Leaf has acceptable performance for jockeying for position in traffic. It posted a reasonably quick 0-60 mph time of 7.8 seconds, and it handles well on curvy roads. The brakes feel smooth, and most routine braking can be handled by easing off the accelerator if you engage the e-Pedal mode, which adds control and a bit of fun to the daily drive.
The Leaf comes with a standard 115-volt charger that can fully recharge its battery in 8 hours or less when plugged into a 240-volt outlet. Nissan also offers an optional 240-volt charger that can fully recharge the battery pack in 4 hours or less.
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 comes with a long-range battery and can go 215 miles on a charge. It also has a quick 0-60 time, boasting its long range and quick acceleration, and it's loaded with safety features like automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance. Plus, it offers the Autopilot suite of advanced driver-assistance features that can be enabled with an over-the-air software upgrade.
The Model 3's 15-inch touchscreen display provides access to all sorts of information about your car including its current charge level, available range, how much power you've used or saved for charging later, and more. You can also use voice commands to control many functions such as adjusting climate controls or locking/unlocking doors from inside or outside your vehicle using the key fob or smartwatch app.
If you live in Southern California, these are the EVs you should consider buying.