Tesla Isn’t Your Only Option: Here Are Top 15 Best Range EV Options For 2021 (So Far)

Want an EV you don't have to charge after every commute? Here are your best options

What’s the most cost-effective, best range EV?

While some of you aren’t quite ready to make the jump into fully electric cars, some are seriously eyeing the prospect. On the whole, owning an EV is far less expensive than an internal combustion engine vehicle. Not only that, but your immediate environmental impact also looks rosier as you aren’t emitting greenhouse gases wherever you go. One figure that still stands above all others during electric car shopping, as it long has, is range. Clearly, it’s not practical for many people to buy these cars if they’re going to spend most of their time sitting around charging.

For those who mainly use their cars to commute, though? Your options are indeed improving. What’s more, it’s not a case of just running to Tesla anymore. While those cars do still pack the best range (not-so-spoiler alert), other automakers are beginning to close the gap. Long gone are the days where a Ford Focus Electric gets a laughable 76 miles of range on a charge. Instead, even everyday small crossovers like the forthcoming Volkswagen ID.4 can manage up to 250 miles. VW’s first U.S.-sold EV prompted me to visit the top 10 best-range EVs, as its official EPA estimates came in Wednesday. Fortunately, the German manufacturer squarely hit its target for the rear-wheel drive ID.4 Pro with its 82-kWh battery pack.

As Tesla is still sitting pretty if you’re purely looking for range, I prefer to take a price-to-range approach. For this top 10 best range EV contest, the options will include the maximum range per EPA figures and a dollar amount per mile that you’ll have to spend (before incentives).

Tesla Isn't Your Only Option: Here Are Top 15 Best Range EV Contenders For 2021 (So Far): Tesla Model S
Of course the Tesla Model S currently sits out far in front of the competition…but that sort of range comes at a price. (Photo: Tesla)

Top 15 Best Range EV Contenders:

RankModelEPA Range (miles)Starting MSRP1Price per mile2
15Porsche Taycan 4S (Perf. Battery Plus)203$110,380$543.74
14Volvo XC40 Recharge208$53,990$259.57
13Audi e-tron222$65,900$296.85
12Nissan Leaf (S Plus)226$38,200$169.02
11Polestar 2233$59,900$257.08
10Jaguar I-Pace234$69,850$298.50
9Kia Niro EV239$39,090$163.56
8Volkswagen ID.4 (late 2021)250$39,995$150.98
7Hyundai Kona Electric258$37,190$144.15
6Chevrolet Bolt EV259$37,495$144.77
5Ford Mustang Mach-E (ER)300$52,000$173.33
4Tesla Model Y Long Range326$49,990$153.34
3Tesla Model 3 Long Range353$46,990$133.12
2Tesla Model X Long Range371$79,990$215.60
1Tesla Model S Long Range402$69,420 (Good one, Elon)$172.69
1Prices do not include destination, tax incentives, taxes, fees, etc.
2The effective price per mile may be lower for some cars that can still capitalize on higher federal EV tax incentives (Tesla can no longer do that in 2021)

What about the other EVs?

You likely noticed a few major omissions concerning EVs that are launching in 2021. Models like the much-hyped Rivian R1S, Lucid Air and the GMC Hummer EV. We do have pricing for these vehicles, but since they don’t have verified range ratings outside the manufacturers’ own claims, I’m not including them here yet. Say what you want about EPA ratings, but having something “official” gives a fairer means of comparison. Rivian, for example, promises “300+” miles from the R1S. However, there’s no exact figure yet. Lucid does give an exact figure, with its $130,000 Touring model promising 517 miles when it launches in 2021. However, in the best range EV contest, it can’t compete yet. Not until official figures roll in, which should happen in the coming months.

Others, like the Mini Cooper SE, do offer affordable means into EV ownership, if not the best out-and-out range.

In terms of pure EVs on sale in 2021 with official EPA range ratings, the chart above does yield some thought-provoking information. For example, the “cheap” Nissan Leaf Plus doesn’t quite match the Chevy Bolt or Hyundai Kona Electric on a price per mile basis. Since both of those vehicles get better range, those are more cost-effective options if you’re solely looking at range. This list does not necessarily take into account lower-range, cheaper variants (which the Leaf and Mustang Mach-E have), as well as insurance, maintenance costs, or just the general ownership experience. However, it does help tackle one of the biggest issues when shopping for EVs.

Fortunately, the top rivals among this top 15 best range EV list will grow in the coming months. More competition is improving the entire industry, and soon affordable EVs with 300+ miles of range shouldn’t be a Tesla-exclusive endeavor.