It’s exhilarating to watch how quickly innovation is moving us away from fossil-fuel powered vehicles, the second-largest source of carbon dioxide emissions by direct fuel use according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While the electric vehicle industry has a long way to go, it has come far enough that there are options for a variety of budgets.
With nearly 300 million vehicles in the United States alone, it’s no wonder we’re seeing health problems on the rise as a result of intensifying poisonous gases being trapped in our atmosphere. Cars release approximately 333 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, which is 20 percent of the world’s total, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Gas-powered vehicles are no longer the default decision by consumers because we better understand the impact that fossil fuels have on our world. And, companies are responding to market demands.
Electric-powered vehicles are faster, safer and more reliable. Most importantly, they represent a movement towards renewable energy that helps people contribute at an individual level. We do have control over our future because if we all make better choices for ourselves, we can shape a healthier planet.
The increase in usage of electric vehicles is helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Tesla, for example, has saved 3.5 million tons of CO2 that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere. We looked at everything that is available today and what is helping to mobilize transportation in a more sustainable, more enjoyable way with better safety. Here are our picks for the top five electric vehicles for every budget, in no particular order.
Walnutt’s Spectrum Mini is the most portable skateboard in the world. It only weighs 9.2 pounds so it’s easy to carry or even throw in your backpack! It has a top speed of 12 mph and a six-mile range. One of the most unique features of this miniature electric vehicle is its 3D posture control, giving you the ability to control the board with your feet. Simply lean forward to go and lean back to stop.
If you are constantly traveling short distances between work and the train this is a great option. However, for longer commutes, this would not be an electric vehicle we would recommend investing in.
Downside: Weight limit. The weight limit is restricted to 165 lbs so if you plan to hit any inclines you can expect to lose some power.
The Model One
Unagi makes commuting simple by achieving what many scooters do not. Not only is the design flawless, but its lightweight, foldable, fast and has a respectable range of 15.5 miles.
Their mission is freedom.
“We are hellbent on liberating people from the tyranny of transportation frustrations—the costs, inconveniences, the carbon emissions. So we built the ideal personal liberation device.”
Upsides: Design, speed, and range
Downside: Not much to complain about here!
Analog Motion 1
The Analog Motion 1 has the simplicity of a single-speed bike with the convenience of an electric bike. It has an average speed of 15 mph and a range of 20 miles with up to five levels of assists, and many more fascinating features that will help get you to your destination with ease.
The e-bike industry is booming. While established companies like Specialized or BMC Switzerland continue to design great bikes, smaller brands are joining the movement with their own innovative designs.
While much of the variety on the market tends to scream e-bike, the AM1 makes use of a subtle and classic design.
What makes the AM1 stand out is its progressive pedal sensor. Many pedal-assist bikes kick in the motor once a rider begins pedaling, but the AM1’s integrated sensor increases or decreases power depending on how much effort is being exerted. The amount of assist that kicks in can be adjusted, allowing owners to choose whether they want a leisurely ride or a sweat-inducing workout.
Upsides: Lightweight, 20-mile range, 24-month warranty
Downside: The AM1 is a stiff bike for a long commute, but great for getting around town
Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric is a small SUV that provides more value than most other electric vehicles. Not only do you get the most pleasant-looking electric car in its class, you also get a respectable range of 258 miles per charge. It also recently received the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award
This car truly has a sporty design with utility in mind. You can fold all of the rear seatbacks down for 45.8 cu. ft. of cargo space for those weekends in the mountains. Plus, buyers receive three free years of standard BlueLink® so they can easily find public electric charging stations. Add the lifetime electric battery warranty, and this is an electric vehicle you can feel comfortable investing in.
Right now, you can receive a $50 reward card for test driving this bad boy.
Price: Starting at $36,950
Upsides: Storage, utility, 258-mile EPA estimated range, Apple Carplay and Android Auto, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, driver attention warning
Downside: Two-wheel drive makes it challenging in some weather conditions
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 is without a doubt the best vehicle we have driven. The minimalist design and utility of each function – including the acceleration – is unparalleled. Drivers can quickly reach a top speed of 162 mph and recharge 180 miles in 15 minutes at a Supercharger.
The Tesla Model 3 has the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested by the US government and now has a total range of 310 miles. In Europe, The European New Car Assessment Programme released safety and crash test results for the Tesla Model 3 and it set a “new safety technology benchmark,” according to the organization.
With a 310-mile range and acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, this car is the perfect blend between excitement and environmentally conscious. And, if for some reason you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund within seven days of purchase of 1,000 miles – whichever comes first.
Price: Starting at $39,990
Upsides: Autopilot, acceleration, clean and minimal design, safety rating
Downside: Beware of tire wear. If you opt for the 20″ wheels, expect to see that tread fade quickly.