plug in plug out

"Tesla killers"? 7 cars that could rival Elon Musk's lineup

The most exciting new electric cars aren't coming from Tesla. Old-school automakers are finally showing up to the EV wars.

Originally Published: 

This might well be the year of the electric car. Though Tesla has had a near-monopoly on interesting and exciting electric vehicles over the past few years, mainstream automakers and a few startups are making serious EV moves.

Until now, most non-Tesla EVs have been unexciting and underwhelming. Though the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt EV are competent electric cars in their own right, they won’t get anyone but the most hardcore EV enthusiasts excited.

But all this is about to change with a new crop of juiced-up trucks and SUVs from an unlikely crop of traditional and upstart automakers. Whether it’s the reinvention of the gas-guzzling Hummer as the greenest off-roader around or a Mercedes-Benz ultralux e-bourgemobile pulling up at Augusta National, the electric car is no longer fringe.

Here are some of our picks for the seven most exciting new EVs coming out in the next year or so.

7. Ford F-150 Electric


The Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in America and has been for decades. That means anything F-150-related is huge news. Last year, Ford released a hybrid version of the truck, delivering clever features like an onboard generator that can power your house in a blackout.

But this year, Ford is expected to announce an all-electric F-150 that would likely make it the world’s first full-size EV pickup to go on sale. It will join the critically acclaimed Mustang Mach-E in Ford’s EV lineup, but we don’t know anything beyond the fact that it exists right now. Range, price, and even the name are all under wraps at Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan HQ.

6. BMW i4


BMW has never been shy about making bold design statements, and the enormous kidney grille on the front of the new i4 is no exception. Even though an electric car doesn’t strictly need a big radiator, BMW’s design team stuffed one up there anyway. That’s okay.

The i4 ticks all the luxury EV boxes, including 300 miles of range, 530 horsepower, and a 0-60 time under four seconds. But above all, BMW wants to make sure its new electric cars still feel like the Ultimate Driving Machine. “With its sporty looks, best-in-class driving dynamics, and zero local emissions, the BMW i4 is a true BMW," said a company executive in a press release.

5. Mercedes-Benz EQS


The Mercedes-Benz EQS is perhaps the most luxurious and impressive EV of them all. With an enormous 56-inch wide “Hyperscreen,” an enormous interior swathed in soft leather, and an enormous price tag to match, Mercedes’ new ultra-lux EV will make even Tesla’s most ardent superfans drool with admiration. Probably.

With ten USB-C ports scattered about the interior, including six with enough juice to charge a laptop at 100 watts, plus seats promising hot stone massages, and a custom scent, the Mercedes-Benz EQS just raised the EV bar to a whole new level.

4. Rivian R1T


Of all the EV startups, Rivian is definitely the most impressive. With major investors like Amazon and Ford investing billions of dollars, plus massive orders like 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon, there’s some real gravitas here. But none of that matters if they can’t deliver.

We expect Rivian to begin deliveries of its R1T pickup and R1S SUV at some point this summer, and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel. With more than 300 miles of range and starting at $67,500, the truck seems to check all the EV pickup boxes with a luxury price to match. In 2022, Rivian promises a 400-mile version, with a cheaper 250-mile version to follow.

3. Kia EV6


The Kia EV6 doesn’t just share a similar name with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 — they share a platform, too. Hyundai and Kia are corporate cousins, but both brands go out of their way to separate from the other in terms of style. The EV6 has a lot more attitude than the tamer Ioniq 5, meaning whether you want something brash and bold or something calmer and more harmonious, Kia and Hyundai have options to make you happy.

The EV6 comes with a bonus feature where it can supply up to 3.6 kilowatts of electricity as an emergency backup power source for your home or as a generator while enjoying the great outdoors. Because what’s a camping trip without being able to plug in a flatscreen TV to enjoy Ted Lasso on?

2. Hyundai Ioniq 5


Hyundai is killing it lately, with a full range of terrific cars, including the new Palisade, the Elantra, and the new 2022 Tucson. But we’re more excited about the upcoming launch of Hyundai’s new all-electric Ioniq subbrand. Its first vehicle, the Ioniq 5 SUV, is expected this fall.

It includes clever things enabled by an EV like a totally flat floor with a removable, sliding center console and fully-reclining seats that look perfect for a nap during a road trip charging stop (that's probably not a coincidence).

1. GMC Hummer EV Pickup


It takes some cojones to reinvent the unapologetically militaristic Hummer as an earth-friendly EV, but GMC is doing it. And boy, what a truck they’ve built for us. With deliveries beginning as soon as the end of this year — plus a UI straight out of the Marvel movie — the Hummer EV may be the electric pickup to beat.

The new version is unapologetically feature-packed, with an unashamedly high price to match. The launch edition (which will make 830 horsepower and go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds) will run well over $100,000. But can you put a price on something called WTF Mode?

I’d love it if you signed up for PRNDL, my free car review newsletter. And then email me all your car questions!

This article was originally published on

Related Tags