Electric cars I'd never buy, after driving 24 different models
I've driven more than 20 different electric vehicles.
I've enjoyed most of them, but I'd steer clear of three particular EVs if I was ready to buy.
Those models are the the GMC Hummer EV, Nissan Leaf, and ElectraMeccanica Solo.
In the course of testing 24 electric vehicles over the last couple of years, I've gotten behind the wheel of some true gems — vehicles that I'd buy in a heartbeat if given the chance.
A badass, $200,000 Porsche station wagon that zips to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds? Yes please. A luxurious, four-wheel-drive SUV from Rivian that eats off-road trails for breakfast? Sign me up.
While my experiences have overall been positive, three vehicles stand out as ones I'd steer clear of. I'm not saying nobody should buy these cars — by all means, have at it. But for my personal tastes and needs, their downsides outweigh their benefits.
Scratch that — maybe I've only driven 23.5 electric cars, given the ElectraMeccanica Solo's inclusion on this list.
The single-seat, three-wheeler challenges the American desire for bigger and bigger vehicles, which I think is great. Surely, many are taking up more space and spewing more emissions than they need to.
The Solo seems like a cheat code for getting around some cities. It has a little trunk for groceries, a tiny footprint for fitting into practically any parking spot, and it's enclosed, making it more comfortable than an electric bike or motorcycle. But it doesn't exactly suit my driving needs.
My trips typically take me far away from the city, often with another person or some bikes in tow. The Solo and its 100 miles of claimed range don't quite fit the bill. Plus, during my 20-minute test drive in downtown Manhattan, I felt dangerously exposed and invisible among all the tall SUVs and trucks.
GMC Hummer EV
The new $113,000 Hummer pickup's sheer enormity and excessiveness makes it fun to tool around in for a weekend. It feels like a ridiculously huge and expensive toy.
But it's much, much more vehicle than I (or most people) need. Although its rear-wheel steering helps maneuverability, its many blind spots and tank-sized footprint make city driving nerve-racking. Even when you get out on the highway, the Hummer feels unsettlingly large. More than once, I peered down at a puny sedan passing me and wondered how long it had been cruising in my blind spot.
It's also the least efficient EV on the market, which kind of defeats the purpose of ditching gasoline in the first place. Other electric pickups out there — the Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning — are more sensibly sized, less in-your-face, and just as functional.
The Nissan Leaf is one of the OGs of the EV world. Although it was a pioneer when it first launched more than a decade ago and remains one of the most budget-friendly EVs you can buy, it can't beat modern offerings.
The base, $27,800 Leaf is EPA-rated for only 149 miles of range, significantly less than other options and not enough for confident road-tripping. The $43,000 Tesla Model 3 delivers 272 miles of range, while the $26,500 Chevrolet Bolt EV rates at 259 miles. The pricier Leaf SV Plus still comes in at only 215 miles.
Plus, the Leaf uses a different fast-charging port than the rest of the industry, limiting the stations where it can be refueled. Given the sorry state of EV-charging infrastructure today, I'd prefer to have access to all the plugs possible.
Still, the Leaf is a solid, low-cost choice for someone who doesn't need to drive all that far and can charge primarily at home.
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