When final data is released, expectations are that global sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and other EVs will have reached nearly 2.5 million in 2020, according to IHS Markit, and then see about a 70% rise in 2021.
China and Europe will account for the largest market shares by far in 2021, with Europe at nearly 28% and China far ahead at about 44%. Lagging behind are North America with a 16% share and an 11% combined share of Japan/South Korea.
If you’re looking to buy an EV in 2021, here’s a top 10 list of EVs to buy in 2021
- Tesla Model 3
Base price range: $37,990-$54,990
EPA estimated range: 263-353 miles
Battery capacity: 54-79.5 kWh
Tesla and its outspoken owner, Elon Musk, may occasionally be quite controversial, but there’s no controversy about the advancement brought about by the company in the EV state-of-the-art. The Tesla Model 3 sedan remains the top buy for 2021. It can be configured for more than 350 miles and its dual-motor Performance variant can sprint to 60 mph in a supercar-like 3.2 seconds. Also, Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance technology is the most ambitious in the industry.
- 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric
Base price range: $38,575-$46,785
EPA estimated range: 258 miles
Battery capacity: 64 kWh
The Hyundai Kona Electric gets a 201-hp powertrain in a small, light, and environmentally friendly package. The EV is quick on its feet and nimble, and whether you’re in rush-hour traffic, pinballing your way through, or rushing down your favorite curvy road, it’s a lot more fun than you might expect such an environmentally-friendly car to be.
- 2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Base price range: $37,495-$41,895
EPA estimated range: 259 miles
Battery capacity: 66 kWh
The Chevrolet Bolt EV beat Tesla to delivering the long-range, affordable EV in 2017. Since then, the Bolt’s range has taken quite a jump to 259 miles, its cabin is roomy, and it’s fairly quick and surprisingly rewarding to drive. On the downside, many of the advanced driving assistance features found in competing EVs are extra-cost options for Bolt.
- 2020 Kia Niro EV
Base price: TBD
EPA estimated range: 239 miles
Battery capacity: 64 kWh
The Kia Niro EV Is a close relative of the Hyundai Kona Electric (2nd on the list). Kia’s advantages include its bigger body which gives it more cargo space and rear seat (and costs it 20 miles of range compared to the Hyundai). According to Motor Trend, “the Kia Niro EV offers regenerative braking, but its paddle setup doesn’t allow for true one-pedal driving, something many electric vehicle drivers come to love.” Its driving experience is not the best but it packs a comfortable ride, responsive powertrain, and responsive, if not particularly enjoyable, handling.
- 2021 Nissan Leaf
Base price range: $32,545-$44,845
EPA estimated range: 149-226 miles
Battery capacity: 40-62 kWh
Having made its debut a decade ago with only 73 miles of range, today, the base-model Nissan Leaf goes twice that far on a single charge, and yet it still has the shortest tether of any BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) on this list. Nissan Leaf would have got a higher place on the list if it offered more range, but it’s a quiet car, and the driver-assistance technology works well.
- 2021 Hyundai Ioniq
Base price range: $34,040-$39,610
EPA estimated range: 170 miles
Battery capacity: 38.3 kWh
Led off by the upcoming Ioniq 5, the 2021 Hyundai Ioniq, for now, is a small Toyota-Prius-like hatchback available with a plug-in hybrid, hybrid, or (covered here) battery-only powertrains. Its 170-mile range and driving experience would have been laudable a few short years ago but is not too great at this point but it does feel very well put together and it offers a comprehensive collection of driver-assistance features.
- Volkswagen ID.3
Base price range: $42,000
EPA estimated range: 330-550 miles
Battery capacity: 45-77 kWh
Unveiled on 9 September 2019 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Volkswagen ID.3 delivered almost 57,000 units in 2020, ranking among the world’s top 10 best-selling plug-in cars with just four months in the market. The 77 kWh variants have 4 and 5 seat options, the others, 45kWh and 58kWh, seat 5. It has got a nice interior and exterior design.
- Tesla Model S
Base price range: $79,690
EPA estimated range: 334-387 miles
Battery capacity: 31-35 kWh
The Tesla Model S might be Tesla’s oldest EV in production, but it still holds its own among the American company’s high-tech offerings. The full-size Model S combines an attractive and roomy cabin with outstanding range and driving dynamics. According to Edmunds, “Depending on how it’s equipped, it can also be staggeringly quick in a straight line. The price tag, however, is equally intimidating.”
9. 2021 Volvo Polestar 2
Base price range: $61,200
EPA estimated range: 233 miles
Battery capacity: 37 kWh
As the name implies, the Volvo Polestar 2 is the second model released by the Swedish company’s electrified offshoot division. Unlike its first version, the Polestar 2 is fully electric, offering an EPA-estimated 233 miles of range. That may not be class-leading, but it seems to be more than adequate for day-to-day driving.
10. Renault Zoe
Base price range: $26,000
EPA estimated range: 245 miles
Battery capacity: 22-52kWh
The affordable Renault Zoe has a driving position similar to a crossover’s but you’ll get used to it – after all, a direct consequence of it is better visibility. According to Top Speed, “the ZOE also can also charge with 22 kilowatts when plugged into an AC outlet (its competitors only manage 7.4 kilowatts or 11 kilowatts at best) but the greatest bonus is that you can actually take it for a longer trip between two cities without worrying about range anxiety.”