2014 Electric Cars

The market for plug-in electric vehicles will enter its fourth year in 2014. What started as a niche market with two vehicles in December 2010 has grown over the past three years to 14 cars from nine different automakers. The expansion of consumer choice continues in 2014 with new electric entries from BMW, Cadillac, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Tesla and Volkswagen.

That adds up to seven new plug-in vehicles in 2014—pushing the total number of options beyond 20 models. Most of the new EVs and plug-in hybrids will be offered only in a few markets, or in limited numbers.

Nonetheless, as 2014 progresses, upscale consumers seeking to displace gasoline with greener electric propulsion will have an array of luxury vehicles to consider: including a Tesla SUV, a Cadillac extended-range coupe, and an all-electric urban Bimmer. There will also be two supercars: a pair of plug-in hybrids, one each from BMW and Audi.

More practical cost-conscious buyers will not be left out. Volkswagen enters the electric car market for the first time in 2014, with a battery-powered version of its ultra-popular VW Golf.

Audi A3 E-Tron

Plug-in Hybrid Luxury

30 miles (electric + gasoline)

After years of developing all kinds of plug-in prototype, Audi will finally put one on sale in 2015. The A3 Sportback platform has a compelling mix of attributes—elegant lines, high-quality materials, and practicality. Combine that with a capable 1.4-liter turbocharged gas engine and an electric powertrain providing 30 miles of electric driving. The result is a small snazzy and robust plug-in hybrid.

BMW i3

Electric Vehicle Sedan

81 miles (pure electric)

The stylish if slightly odd-looking BMW i3 is the lightest EV on the market. That makes it very efficient while providing a fast and fun 170-horsepower ride. The i3's battery pack delivers more than 80 miles of range. The electric Bimmer is also available with a small gas engine that essentially doubles that distance.

BMW i8

Plug-in Hybrid Coupe

25 miles (electric + gasoline)

The i8 is BMW's expensive sleek futuristic plug-in hybrid supercar. The car is powered in a one-two punch by a powerful 96-kilowatt (129-horsepower) electric motor driving the front wheels—and an efficient 230-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine motivating the rear wheels. The car has a delightful split personality: switching on command between virtuous EV silence, and a delightful Porsche-like engine note when driven as a sports machine.

BMW X5 xdrive40e

Plug-in Hybrid SUV

13 miles (electric + gasoline)

The X5 is everything you’d expect from a BMW. High quality materials abound inside the vehicle’s refined cabin. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and 111-horsepower electric motor provide a solid 308 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. With the ability to plug in, X5 xDrive 40e grants 13 miles in electric-only mode, and 24 mpg strictly from the gas engine.

Cadillac ELR

Plug-in Hybrid Coupe

37 miles (electric + gasoline)

The ELR boasts an electric-only range of 37 miles and a total combined range of about 340 miles. The ELR shares most of its technical elements with the current Chevy Volt, including its 1.4-liter gasoline engine and 17-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The ELR features Cadillac's signature angular look, but that alone is not worth the steep price.

Chevrolet Bolt

Electric Vehicle SUV

200 miles (pure electric)

In January 2015, General Motors drew a line in the sand, proclaiming that it will be the first to offer an affordable 200-mile electric car. It will be based on a sleek small crossover concept, and due in late 2016 or early 2017.

Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-in Hybrid Sedan

27 miles (electric + gasoline)

Hyundai takes on the plug-in competition with a powerful motor, six-speed automatic transmission, and a battery pack providing about 27 miles of all-electric range. It's packaged in the attractive and comfortable Sonata mid-size sedan.

Kia Soul EV

Electric Vehicle Sedan

93 miles (pure electric)

Hyundai-Kia arrived late to the EV party. But it appears that Kia made a careful study of the competition, and loaded its Soul EV with smart features for electric car drivers. For starters, it offers 93 miles of real-world range.

McLaren P1

Plug-in Hybrid Coupe

19 miles (electric + gasoline)

The McLaren P1 is a limited-run British plug-in hybrid sportscar. It’s considered one of the most exciting road cars ever built. The $1.15 million P1's 3.8-liter 727-hp V-8 is paired with a 177-hp electric motor to unleash a mind-boggling 903-horsepower, revealing that plug-in hybrid technology can be applied to the highest end of supercar performance.

Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive

Electric Vehicle Sedan

85 miles (pure electric)

This small Mercedes electric car directly competes with the BMW i3. Its powertrain is provided by Tesla Motors, but engineers turned it into a comfortable and relaxed commuter car. If driven with care, the well-appointed B-Class could offer around 100 miles of range from a battery pack capable of holding 31.5 kilowatt-hours of juice.