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A funny thing happened since the last time we did an electric-only car roundup: multiple countries including the world’s largest auto market, China, announced gas and diesel cars would no longer be sold past a given date within their borders. With few other technologies ready for primetime, automakers face a stark choice - electrify or close up shop. Although the gas car isn’t dead yet, here are our favorites from current showrooms for those who want to avoid the rush.

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
The Model S needs no introduction - it’s quite simply the car which proved electrics could be more than mere transportation appliances, they could be objects of desire. Swoopy sheetmetal promised speed and Tesla delivered with a succession of ever-faster updates culminating in the car’s current status as the fastest production sedan... ever. The base Model S 70 won’t go quite as fast but has an estimated range of 234 miles and starts well-equipped at $72,700

Chevrolet Bolt
Chevrolet Bolt
The Bolt may not stand out next to the Model S but as the first electric car from a mainstream automaker that could replace a family’s gasoline car its importance is hard to overstate. With a quick engine, long range, and nimble chassis, the Bolt earns high marks as just a car, never mind what powers it. It’s the surest sign yet that this time no one can kill the electric car. The real headliners are the range - 238 miles - and the price. At $37,495, a $7,500 credit brings it down to around $30,000 msrp, or below the average price for a new car.

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf
The Leaf is the grand poo-bah of the current crop of EVs. Way, way back in 2010, the Leaf was the first pure electric car which would eventually be offered to drivers in every state. Sales for the little hatch have been modest but persistent since then and Nissan will apply the lessons learned on the next generation Leaf.  Although older and its 107 mile EPA rated range is lower than the Bolt’s, at $30,680 before incentives it’s also cheaper.

BMW i3
BMW i3
The i3 was BMW’s first crack at a mainstream pure-EV, and the while the i3 doesn’t radiate the same kind of machismo as BMW’s other offerings, it’s a capable machine nonetheless. 0-60 passes in a respectable 6.6 seconds, though doing so will quickly exhaust the battery pack, which is only good for 81 miles under normal loads (although a small gas engine option is available, which can add 150 extra miles). Access to the quirky but nicely appointed interior is granted by way of rear suicide doors, where eco-friendly interior materials create a handsome effect. Luxury, even weird-looking luxury, seldom comes cheap; the i3 starts at $42,400.

Volkswagen E-Golf
Volkswagen E-Golf
A few automakers offer electric powertrains in existing cars - the Ford Focus, Fiat 500, and Kia Soul all come in rare electric flavors. However, the best of these is Volkwagen’s electrification of its excellent Golf hatchback. While its $30,495 price is on par with the Leaf, its 124 mile range is nothing to get excited about. The E-Golf stands out by retaining all of the good parts of the gas-powered Golfs - composed ride and handling, class-above interiors, and subtle styling.


www.Dishmag.com / Issue 197 - November 2017
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