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Are EVs the future or merely a novelty?

Electric cars are here, and they’re here to stay. Now while dedicated electric car manufacturers like Tesla and Rivian might be leading the charge, the traditional car industry is also catching up and we’re seeing more and more electric cars being produced by traditional internal combustion manufacturers.

A lot of these cars are simply electric versions of existing gas-powered cars that are already in a manufacturer’s lineup. This is advantageous as the company only has to invest in a new drivetrain and battery technology. The general platform of the car is already available and just needs adaptations to become electric.

That said, it’s not like car manufacturers aren’t innovating in the field either. We’re seeing new electric models being released by traditional car manufacturers by the day as they try to mount a challenge to Tesla, which is still the leading OEM when it comes to EVs, delivering 936,000 cars in 2021.

The Volkswagen Group comes in second, and BYD Auto, a Chinese company jumped four manufacturers to secure the third spot in 2021, delivering approximately 600,000 units (excluding buses).

A major reason behind this rise in popularity of electric vehicles is that they’re finally catching up to their gas-powered equivalents in terms of range and as more and more charging locations pop up and countries improve their charging infrastructures, range anxiety is starting to look like an issue of the past.

In terms of power and performance, electric cars have caught up and pretty much overtaken internal combustion cars. Tesla’s Model 3, their cheapest car, is still capable of going zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. That’s wicked fast for a car that starts at around $30,000.

However, Tesla isn’t the only player in the market anymore, and while it may be the most dominant, the industry is catching up rather quickly.

Below are the five best electric cars you can buy right now made by traditional car manufacturers.

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Taycan

Manufacturer: Porsche | Price: Starts at $86,700

Porsche has been making cars since 1948 and the company is known for making extremely well-handling, fast cars that are an absolute joy to drive, and the Taycan is no exception. The highest trim of the car, the Taycan Turbo S has a 560kW motor (with Porsche’s Overboost Power) giving it roughly 750hp, a zero to 100 time of 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 260 kmph.

Charging the car shouldn’t be a problem either. The car can go from 5% to 80% in 93 minutes on a 50 kW DC charger. For higher wattage chargers (270 kW+) it’ll only take 22.5 minutes to get to the same level of charge.

The 114.2-inch wheelbase gives the car a sedan feeling when driving and while the car is quite heavy with its 5101-pound kerb weight, it doesn’t feel heavy when driving. You still maintain the agility that comes with Porsche’s other cars all from the comfort of a four dour sedan.

SpecsTaycan Turbo S
Range323 kms (EPA-estimated range with Performance Battery Plus)
Battery Capacity98 kWh
131 kWh on the Extended range model
Horsepower616 horsepower (750 with Overboost Power)
Torque1,050 Nm
Top Speed260 kmph
2.6 second 0-100 kmph

F-150 Lightning

Manufacturer: Ford | Price: Starts at $39,900

The F-150 Lightning is Ford’s electric equivalent to their massively popular F-150 truck and it comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an electric truck. You get two motors that can propel the truck to 100 kmph in less than four seconds. The two motors combined produce a total of 563 horsepower and 1050 Nm of instant torque.

Ford also claims that the truck has an almost 4500 kg towing capacity and can even power up your house for up to three days with its 98kWh battery (on the top trim).

The truck takes about 10 hours to charge fully, eight hours if you’re using Ford’s Charge Station Pro. The truck drives much like its gas-powered sibling, the F-150, with Ford maintaining just about the same size either. The two electric motors are powerful enough to not make you feel the weight of this massive truck when you’re pulling sub-four-second zero to 100s.

SpecsF-150 Lightning Platinum (top trim)
Range483 km(EPA-estimated range)
515 km on the Extended range model
Battery Capacity98 kWh
131 kWh on the Extended range model
Horsepower563 horsepower
Torque1,050 Nm
Top Speed180 kmph
3.5 second 0-100 kmph

Ioniq 5

Manufacturer: Hyundai | Price: Starts at $43,650

If you’re looking for an electric car that makes a design statement, Hyundai has done a surprisingly good job for you. The car doesn’t exactly look like a spaceship, but it’s unmistakably electric from the moment it catches your eye. The car is available in four trims, two for a two-wheel drive variant and two for a four-wheel drive variant.

However, probably the most surprising thing about the car is its charging capacity. Both the 72.6 kWh battery on the long-range model and the 58 kWh battery on the standard model can charge from 10% to 80% from a 350kW charging station in a mere 18 minutes. That’s equivalent to 111 km and 88 km range in a five-minute charge time for the long-range and standard models respectively.

Outside of that, the car has around 300 horsepower generated by its 225 kW motors and 605 Nm of torque on the all-wheel drive spec. The driving range is also rather impressive coming in at 481km as claimed by Hyundai with a top speed of 185 kmph and a zero to 100 kmph time of about 5.2 seconds.

SpecsIoniq 5 (4WD, Long Range variant)
Range481 km (claimed)
Battery Capacity72.6 kWh
Horsepower300 horsepower
Torque605 Nm
Top Speed185 kmph
5.2 second 0-100 kmph

RS e-Tron GT

Manufacturer: Audi | Price: Starts at $99,900

Audi has been making extremely quick sedans for quite some time now and the e-Tron GT does more than enough to earn its RS badge. For starters, the case has two 440 kW electric motors giving out 830 Nm of instant torque enough to propel it to its 250 kmph top speed with a zero to 100 time of 3.3 seconds. The car also features active aerodynamics having two settings for the rear wing and cooling air inlets at the front.

The e-Tron GT is similar to the Ioniq 5 in terms of battery tech. Both cars share an 800-volt charging system. This means that the car can charge its 83.7 kWh battery from 5% to 80% in just 22.5 minutes over 270 kW DC charging. This slightly outperforms Hyundai’s system, especially for a car with a WLTP claimed range of 481 km.

SpecsRS e-Tron GT
Range481 km (claimed)
Battery Capacity83.7 kWh
Horsepower590 horsepower
Torque830 Nm
Top Speed250 kmph
3.3 second 0-100 kmph

i4

Manufacturer: BMW | Price: Starts at $66,895

Last but not least, BMW has also emerged as one of the best electric vehicles from traditional ICE manufacturers in recent years. The i4 features 250 kW motors generating almost 340 horsepower and 430 Nm of torque. Now those may not seem like mind-blowing figures, and that’s because this car isn’t trying to be just fast; it’s trying to be a complete car.

The spacious five-seater interior has more than enough room for a sedan. The car doesn’t strike out as visually electric but instead blends in with the traffic. The driving experience isn’t very different from BMW’s other offerings either.

As for the range, BMW claims up to 590 km WLTP range, one of the highest on the list. The 83.9 kWh battery can be a bit of a task to charge, however. There is fast charging available and a 205 kW charger can get you from 10% to 80% in around 31 minutes but it pales in comparison to what Hyundai or Audi can do.

Specsi4
Range590 km (claimed)
Battery Capacity83.9 kWh
Horsepower340 horsepower
Torque430 Nm
Top Speed190 kmph
5.7 second 0-100 kmph

How are traditional car manufacturers doing against Tesla?

Telsa has become the largest car company in the world despite the fact that it only sells electric vehicles. While the net number of cars delivered by Tesla was 936,000 in 2021, much smaller than the combined vehicle deliveries of any other major car manufacturer, in terms of electric cars, Tesla still is miles ahead.

For context, Porsche only delivered 41,296 Taycans worldwide last year. BMW more than doubled its sales in 2021, coming in at 103,855 units, an increase of 133.2%. Audi could only muster 81,894 deliveries in 2021, an increase of 57.5%.

Ford, America’s best-selling automaker, had around 70,000 orders to fulfil by December as its Mustang Mach-E saw higher sales and the F-150 Lightning looks to enter the market. Last but not least, Hyundai has shipped over 97,000 EVs this year, an increase of 80% over this year.

Even after a significant increase in sales over their previous figures, these manufacturers are still not even close to Tesla’s sales figures. That said, the increase in sales indicates that they might just be catching up and if the trend continues, it won’t take long for traditional ICE manufacturers to start hitting close to Tesla.


Electric vs gas

As for the sales comparisons between their own lineup, ICE cars are still seeing more sales than EVs.

For Porsche sold 301,915 cars in 2021. Out of these, only 41,296 were Taycans, the company’s only electric offering at the moment. In the US alone, Porsche sold 70,025 cars last year, 9,419 of which were Taycans.

It’s a similar story for other manufacturers as well. Audi sold 1,680,512 cars last year, out of which 81,894 were fully electric. The company plans to expand its electric car portfolio to around 20 by 2025, expecting the growth rate in EVs to continue. BMW sold a record-high 2,213,795 sales last year, out of which 103,855 units were electric.

Ford has come the closest to Tesla in terms of EV sales, at least in the US. Its Mach-E sales totalled 27,140 in 2021. That said, gas cars outsold EVs quite a lot, with the company selling 169,076 gas vehicles in Q4 2021 alone. Hyundai also repeats the pattern with 1,646,888 sales in 2021, only a fraction of which were electric.

There’s enough data to support that EVs aren’t selling as well as their gas-powered equivalents. That said, the growth trend for EVs is skyrocketing and with manufacturers planning to add more EVs to their portfolios and some even looking to replace their entire gas-powered lineup with electric cars in the future, EVs certainly look like the future of cars.

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