EV Car and Driver of the Year 2021: The Contenders
With electric vehicles poised to go mainstream, we assess the field and choose the best.
Battery prices continue to drop, there are multiple fast-charging networks nationwide, and the world’s largest automakers are finally building electric vehicles that you may want to buy not out of guilt or a sense of moral obligation, but because they really are. desirable. The time has come: electric vehicles are poised to become mainstream.
Despite this progress, the electric frontier remains a wild and unordered place. There are four different plugs in play. Mosaic public infrastructure is littered with broken or painfully slow equipment and has vast dead zones if you stray too far from major interstate highways. And while we look forward to the day when we can write about a new electric vehicle without dwelling on its range, many new models still can’t go the 200 miles on the road.
TAVIS COBURN CAR AND DRIVER ILLUSTRATION
To make sense of this transition period, we rounded up all the electric vehicles we could get our hands on and put them through instrumented testing, subjective evaluation, and parallel comparisons. We measured range in the real world with our 75 mph road test and hooked it up to DC fast chargers to see how fast today’s EVs can refuel. We organized a 1000 mile rally to find out how those two factors would combine on a road trip. Closer to home, we drove down back roads and city streets and poked touch screens and dash covers. We then compare our impressions and cast our votes to determine the best one.
We chose our winner based on the same criteria we used to decide the Car and Driver 10Best awards. Our electric vehicle of the year is excellent value, fun to drive, and serves its purpose better than any other vehicle in its class. To those guiding principles, we add a fourth factor: At this critical time, our electric vehicle of the year must advance to the state of the art. That could mean raising the bar on the driving range, lowering the price of entry into a segment, or generating more driver engagement than the competition. However, that manifests itself, the best electric car of the year should make electric vehicles more attractive to drivers.
After testing 11 vehicles over three weeks, we can confirm that automakers are moving into new territory. In terms of practicality and entertainment value, today’s best electric vehicles are capable of serving as your only vehicle with a little planning. And an electric vehicle is more qualified than all the others. But first, in no particular order, the competition. . .
PERFORMANCE OF THE TESLA MODEL 3
POLAR STAR 2
NISSAN LEAF PLUS
PERFORMANCE TESLA MODEL AND
KIA NIRO EV
PORSCHE TAYCAN 4S
CHARGING THE VOLVO XC40
TESLA MODEL S LONG RANGE PLUS
FORD MUSTANG MACH-E
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