As automakers continue to pour ever more cash into developing cutting-edge electric-vehicle technology, the cars at the bottom rung of the range-anxiety ladder are moving from niche oddities to viable, mainstream daily drivers capable of running for 200 miles or more per charge. Chevrolet is launching its Bolt EV soon, and we hear Nissan will roll out an all-new Leaf shortly thereafter. Then there’s Tesla and its much-hyped Model 3, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk says will debut in production-spec trim late next year.
Riding on the first dedicated EV architecture General Motors has built since its EV-1 experiment in the ’90s, the Bolt will be the face of Chevrolet’s vision for the future of electrified urban mobility. You’ll soon see the Bolt in driveways, Lyft fleets, or Maven car-sharing spaces, and while it has virtually no hope of being as cool or hip as the Model 3, it may prove more practical. Plus it has a good head start on the Tesla, which doesn’t even have a finished interior yet.
|On Sale:||Late 2016|
|Motor:||Permanent magnetic drive|
|Output:||200 hp, 266 lb-ft|
|Battery Pack:||60 kW-hr lithium-ion|
|Charge Time:||9.0 hours (240V)|
|Max Range:||238 miles|
2018 Nissan Leaf SV
It’s safe to assume that Nissan, a mass-market EV pioneer, isn’t going to let Chevy and Tesla steal all the headlines—and more importantly—sales. The present-generation Leaf has a 107-mile range, and while Nissan hasn’t officially confirmed anything yet, it’s not denying the new EV is on the verge of a crucial breakthrough, either. Rumor has it the all-new Leaf will be capable of traveling 200-plus miles per charge thanks to a battery pack that’s twice the size of the one powering its current car—just what it needs to stay relevant.
|On Sale:||Mid-2017 (est)|
|Price:||$37,000 (base) (est)|
|Output:||220 hp, 265 lb-ft (est)|
|Battery Pack:||60 kW-hr lithium-ion (est|
|Charge Time:||8.0 hours (240V) (est)|
|Max Range:||220-plus miles (est)|
Car enthusiasts come in all forms, as the debut of the Tesla Model 3 illustrated. Some 375,000 prospective customers plunked down $1,000 deposits—many of them before they had even seen the car. So while Tesla had no trouble garnering a tremendous amount of buzz around the Model 3, now comes the hard part: delivering on its promise to fulfill most of those orders in 2018. Even if it is delayed, it will likely be worth the wait, thanks to advantages such as Tesla’s Supercharger network compatibility and impressive advanced technology features.
|On Sale:||Late 2017|
|Motor:||AC induction (dual AC induction for AWD)|
|Output:||221 hp, 244 lb-ft front; 235 hp, 317 lb-ft rear (est)|
|Battery Pack:||55-70 kW-hr lithium ion (est)|
|Max Range:||215-plus miles|
Manufacturers new and old take eclectic approaches
From BMW to Harley-Davidson, almost every mainstay motorcycle manufacturer is experimenting with EV bikes, molding them to motorcycling’s wide array of needs. Here are but five examples of the vastly different offerings that are available for riders to buy today.
The LS-218 holds a handful of land-speed records and is the first-ever electric motorcycle to defeat all comers—gas- or electric-powered—
in the bikes category at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
|Built by:||Lightning Motorcycles, San Carlos, California|
|Motor:||150-kW liquid-cooled synchronous|
|Max Output:||200 hp, 168 lb-ft|
|Battery Packs:||12 kW-hr, 15 kW-hr, 20 kW-hr lithium-ion|
|Charge Time:||2 hours (220V)|
|Max Range:||120-170 miles|
|Top Speed:||218 mph|
Sora by Lito
A hand-built bike with carbon-fiber bodywork, Öhlins suspension, and a 5.7-inch touchscreen navigation system, the Sora Signature Series costs about the same as a Jaguar F-Type S Coupe.
|Built by:||Lito, Quebec, Canada|
|Motor:||42.5-kW liquid-cooled AC induction|
|Max Output:||57 hp, 66 lb-ft|
|Battery Packs:||12 kW-hr lithium-ion|
|Charge Time:||9.0 hours (110V)|
|Max Range:||120 miles|
|Top Speed:||120 mph|
Ten-year-old Zero recently revealed its new FXS, a playful supermoto with performance tires, lots of lean angle, and battery packs that can be swapped out at the track in about a minute.
|Built by:||Zero Motorcycles, Scotts Valley, California|
|Motor:||32.8-kW air-cooled AC synchronous|
|Max Output:||44 hp, 70 lb-ft|
|Battery Packs:||3.3 kW-hr, 6.5 kW-hr lithium-ion|
|Charge Time:||1.5-1.7 hours (220V), 2.1-3.8 hours (110V)|
|Max Range:||45-90 miles|
|Top Speed:||75 mph|
A funky, bug-eyed streetfighter with an aggressive look, approachable character, and a well-balanced chassis derived from Energica’s own superbike, the Eva.
|Built by:||Energica Motor Company, Modena, Italy|
|Motor:||71.0-kW oil-cooled AC synchronous|
|Max Output:||95 hp, 125 lb-ft|
|Battery Packs:||11.7 kW-hr lithium-ion|
|Charge Time:||8.0 hours (110V)|
|Max Range:||125 miles|
|Top Speed:||125 mph|
Alta Redshift MX
Built to compete with the best in the 250-cc motocross class, this dirt bike is only some 25 pounds heavier than most of its competitors and benefits from instantaneous torque, which helps get the holeshot.
|Built by:||Alta Motors, Brisbane, California|
|Motor:||29.8-kW liquid-cooled AC synchronous|
|Max Output:||40 hp, 34 lb-ft|
|Battery Packs:||5.8 kW-hr lithium-ion|
|Charge Time:||2.5 hours (220V)|
|Max Range:||2 hours (trail use only)|
|Top Speed:||65 mph|