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

16 miles (electric + gasoline)
$37,900

After years of developing all kinds of plug-in prototype, Audi put one on sale in January 2016. 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 about 16 miles of electric driving. The result is a small snazzy and robust plug-in hybrid.

BMW 330e

Plug-in Hybrid Sedan

14 miles (electric + gasoline)
$43,700

If you like the styling and road manners of a BMW 3-Series, but want to push the envelope on efficiency, then the 330e is the answer. Commutes of less than 14 miles can happen purely on electricity, with an official 72 MPGe rating. Punch the accelerator for combined power from a 2-liter turbocharged engine and 87-hp electric motor. That results in nearly as much torque as the V6 340i at a lower purchase price after federal incentives.

BMW i3

Electric Vehicle Sedan

81 miles (pure electric)
$43,300

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)
$137,000

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)
$64,000

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)
$76,000

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 Sedan

238 miles (pure electric)
$37,500

With the Bolt, General Motors will be the first to offer an affordable long-range electric car, rated to provide 238 miles on a single charge. It's due before the end of 2016.

Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-in Hybrid Wagon/Van

30 miles (electric + gasoline)
TBD

Chrysler unveiled the all-new 2017 Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid at the 2016 Detroit auto show. It is Chrysler’s first plug-in car—and the industry’s first plug-in hybrid minivan. With the rise of crossover SUVs, and the stodgy image of bloated family-haulers, the minivan market has shrunk in the past decade or so. Perhaps Chrysler’s plug-in hybrid, offering 30 miles of all-electric range, will lure families back into the segment.

Hyundai Ioniq

Electric Vehicle, Plug-in Hybrid Sedan

124 miles (pure electric)
TBD

Hyundai’s new aerodynamic compact hatch is offered as a pure electric car with a driving range of about 124 miles. The EV will become available at the very end of 2016, followed by a plug-in hybrid in fall 2017.

Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-in Hybrid Sedan

27 miles (electric + gasoline)
$35,400

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.