The Top 11 Affordable Electric Cars in 2017
Electric Vehicles have come a long way to get to the point they are at today. Numerous questions and real-world challenges related to the practicality of electric cars as well as the sticker price for the newer technology has hampered growth in the segment. All that is changing, last year (2016) was the year of the comeback for EVs in North America. As we look forward to the rest of 2017 new EVs and updated models will be launched which are more cost effective, practical and stylish than ever before. Buyers have already started to respond to the new models with March of 2017 saw an all-time high record for total EVs sold in Canada. Here is our top 10 + 1 list of the most affordable electric cars for sale in North America for 2017. Which one would you get?
11. Hyundai Ioniq
- Total sales in 2016: N/A
- Total sales in Q1 2017: N/A
- Starting price: $30,035
If the Ioniq turns out to be as good as it looks, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, and other EV manufacturers will have quite a fight on their hands. You can already purchase the hybrid version of the Hyundai Ioniq, with fully electric and plug-in versions coming later this year.
But no matter which version you choose, the Ioniq is ready to surprise you with its well-designed interior, luxurious amenities, and advanced safety features. The front seats are heated, the back seats can be folded, and the sunroof can be opened with a press of a button. Ioniq’s long list of safety features includes Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection.
10. Hyundai Sonata PHEV
- Total sales in 2016: 3,095
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 660
- Starting price: $34,600
The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid has often been referred to as a compliance car – built in order to comply with zero emissions mandates, and is only available in select states. That being said, for those who are able to get their hands on one, the car gives drivers many ways how to improve their fuel economy.
Everything comes down to the combination of the GDI 2.0L 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine with 39 MPG and the 64 HP electric motor powered by a 68-kW-hr Lithium-Ion battery. Running only on the electric motor, the Sonata can drive up to 27 miles before it needs to be recharged. When the electric motor is combined with the combustion engine, the total range increases to 590 miles.
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The interior is designed to be as efficient and luxurious as possible. Front seats are ventilated, the steering wheel is wrapped in leather, the Infinity audio system offers high-fidelity listening, and the 8” touchscreen display is perfect for navigation as well as entertainment. Safety features include Lane Departure Warning (LDW), rear parking sensors, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), rearview camera, Blind Spot Detection (BSD), and automatic head beam assist.
9. Ford Focus Electric
- Total sales in 2016: 901
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 691
- Starting price: $29,120
While the previous generations of the Ford Focus Electric were often criticized of their limited range, the latest model is finally competitive with other fully electric cars on the market, featuring 118 miles of rated range. The exterior is mostly the same, and so is the limited boot space.
The main strong points of this EV are its fun and responsive handling and a high-quality interior packed with amenities. Standard features include enhanced voice recognition communications and entertainment system with an 8″ LCD capacitive touchscreen in the center stack, push-button start, dome lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, remote start, two configurable 4.2″ color displays, and much more.
8. Volkswagen e-Golf
- Total sales in 2016: 3,937
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 967
- Starting price: $28,995
Apart from being propelled only by an electric motor, the next best thing about the e-Golf is the fact that it drives like a Golf. On a single charge, you can expect to get up to 80 miles, which should be enough for most people’s daily commutes. You can charge the e-Golf either at home with an available Bosch home kit or at any public charging station.
As with all electric vehicles, the instant availability of all power makes the car feel responsive and fun-loving. With regenerative braking set to the max, it’s almost never necessary to step on the brake pedal, unless you find yourself in an emergency situation. To help you avoid those, the e-Golf comes with a number of driver assistance features, including Forward Collision Warning system with sensors in the front to monitor traffic, Park Distance Control with visual illustrations of the position of obstacles, and Park Assist, which can automatically squeeze the e-Golf even to the tightest parking spots—all you have to do is operate the pedals.
7. Audi A3 e-Tron
- Total sales in 2016: 4,285
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 1,201
- Starting price: $38,900
Audi is in no rush to enter the EV market. The car manufacturer believes that regular combustion engines are far from being obsolete, and the A3 e-Tron has clearly been designed with this in mind. Its electric range is just 16 miles—barely enough even for short urban crawling—and some may even argue that those 330 or so pounds of Lithium-Ion batteries are not worth the decrease in performance.
But sitting behind the wheel, and the A3 e-Tron suddenly starts to make sense. The interior feels premium despite being simple and intuitive, and all smart features are accessible with just a few button presses. The dashboard is dominated by the 12.3” display that puts navigation, radio, phone, and other media right in the view. Audi’s adaptive cruise control maintains distance according to traffic conditions, and the active lane assist feature alerts the driver in case the car suddenly start drifting out of its line without signaling.
6. Ford C-MAX Energi
- Total sales in 2016: 7,957
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 1,774
- Starting price: $27,120
Ford electric vehicles are hard to come by, even in an EV-friendly state such as Florida, which only makes the already impressive sales figures that much more remarkable. The C-Max Energi starts at $27,120, and its fuel economy estimates are quite good for its class, even though are not as impressive when compared to other hybrids.
The highlight of this EV is its upscale cabin with very spacious front seats. Even though the space in the back is somewhat limited because of the intruding 7.6 kWh Lithium-Ion batteries, rear passengers will still ride in comfort. The C-Max Energi features Ford’s 2.0L Hybrid Electric Powertrain with electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT) and regenerative braking system. Those willing to pay extra can equip the car with heated exterior mirrors, reverse sensing system, or panoramic fixed-glass vista roof, among other things.
5. Ford Fusion Energi
- Total sales in 2016: 15,938
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 2,445
- Starting price: $31,120
Apart from December, when Ford’s struggle to keep up with the demand started to take its toll, the Ford Fusion Energi was a big hit during 2016, and early sales numbers from this year suggest that it will remain one of the most popular EVs available.
The refreshed model for 2017 features a new fascia, more efficient electric motors, increased all-electric range, and improved EPA fuel economy ratings – among many other things. The car comes with the 2.0L iVCT Atkinson-cycle I-4 engine, eCVT automatic transmission, ABS, EPAS (Electric Power-Assisted Steering), regenerative braking, dual-zone temperature control, 11 speakers, and active noise control, just to name a few standard features.
4. Chevrolet Bolt EV
- Total sales in 2016: 579
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 3,092
- Starting price: $37,495
Chevrolet plans to launch the Bolt EV nationwide later this year, but the car has already achieved rather impressive sales in California and Oregon—the two states that Chevrolet selected for its launch. Motor Trend named the Chevrolet Bolt EV their 2017 Car of the Year, which is an amazing testament to its quality.
At first sight, the car may lack the glamor and advanced technology of high-end EVs, but looks can be deceiving, and they certainly are in this case. The Chevrolet Bolt EV features open-pedal driving for maximum energy efficiency, precision electronic shifting for a smooth and precise response, as well as a 10.2” central touchscreen and an 8” customizable driver information center.
3. Nissan Leaf
- Total sales in 2016: 14,006
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 3,287
- Starting price: $30,680
The change from the smaller 24 kWh battery of the basic model to the current 30 kWh lithium-ion battery midway through the year 2016 certainly helps Nissan Leaf maintain its strong position in the market, attracting over 3,000 new owners in the first three months of 2017.
This all-electric car isn’t for everyone—the Leaf’s range is only 107 miles—but it’s an excellent choice for those who commute just a few miles every day and want to reduce their tailpipe emissions to zero. Besides being highly eco-friendly, the Nissan Leaf is also packed with useful features such as push-button start, steering wheel-mounted controls for the integrated Bluetooth phone system and cruise control, rearview monitor, heated front seats, USB ports for charging, and modern safety systems that have earned it 5 out of 5 stars in the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).
2. Toyota Prius Prime
- Total sales in 2016: 2,422
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 4,346
- Starting price: $27,100
It took a while for the first-generation Prius to be replaced, but the new model is finally here, and customers love it. Toyota’s new offering is priced extremely competitively (not to mention that you can receive up to $4,500 in federal tax credits), sports an improved design that makes the older model looks like its younger teenage brother, and its fuel economy is 133 miles per gallon.
When the car is switched to its EV mode, it can drive up to 25 miles, and its total driving range is estimated to be 640 miles. The center console has been replaced with 11.6” high-definition multimedia display that offers a smartphone-like experience and cutting-edge features. Toyota includes a home charging cable with every Prius Prime, allowing you to charge your car in less than 5.5 hours using a standard household outlet.
1. Chevrolet Volt
- Total sales in 2016: 24,739
- Total sales in Q1 2017: 5,563
- Starting price: $33,220
Starting at $33,220, Chevrolet Volt’s sales numbers speak for themselves. Not only was it the best-selling affordable EV in 2016, but it also managed to outsell all other EVs in the first quarter of 2017. First unveiled at the Wintergarden headquarters in Detroit in 2008, the Volt has undergone many changes and revisions, making it one of the best affordable electric cars on the market.
This plug-in hybrid offers 53 electric miles and a total range of 420 miles, according to its official website. With regular charging, you should be able to exceed 1,000 miles between fill-ups, thanks to the 1.5L direct injected high-efficiency engine. It takes approximately 4.5 hours to charge the Volt with a 240-volt charging system, and 13 hours with a 120-volt portable cord.