If we’re honest, the first crop of electrified vehicles was built more for commuters than gearheads. The hybrid Toyota Prius and all-electric Nissan Leaf were technically groundbreaking a decade or two ago, but they didn’t really get the heart racing. They were fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly, and as exciting as QVC at 3 a.m. — basically the exact opposite of a rip-roaring V8 that wakes the neighbors with a glorious explosion of fuel and noise.
Today’s EVs are anything but staid and boring. Yes, they’re fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly (-ish), but they can get also sideways with the best of them, turning electrons into speed and fury and tire squeal without waking the neighbors. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the eight best electrics to get your heart racing and your blood pumping.
Whether you want to get sideways on a racetrack or get down the toughest trails in Moab, we’ve put together a list of our favorite EVs that can bring a jolt to your automotive life. Some are on dealer lots while others are still in development, but all of them are electrifying.
Enough with the EV puns. On to the cars.
8. Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Ford Mustang has always been an exciting car, but the Mach-E takes that to new levels. The first Mustang with four doors, two motors, and no exhaust pipe, it’s a gauntlet thrown down by Ford as a declaration that the all-electric future doesn’t have to be boring.
The Mustang Mach-E is available at your local Ford dealer or online in several different trims, including the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance shown above.
7. Porsche Taycan
The Taycan is the German answer to the Tesla Model S. It’s luxurious, gorgeous, and filled with Porsche passion. New for 2021 is the entry-level Porsche Taycan which starts at $81,250.
It has a 79.2 kWh battery capable of fast charging at 225 kW (a larger battery option improves on both numbers), and the standard unit produces 402 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. That’s good enough for 0-60 in 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 143 mph. Not bad for the base model.
There are a whole host of other Taycan models to choose from, including the 4S, Turbo, Turbo S, and the new wagon-esque Taycan Cross Turismo. All are available now at your local Porsche dealer.
6. Tesla Model 3 Performance
No list of sporty EVs would be complete without mentioning the Model 3 Performance. Elon Musk has been touting the performance abilities of EVs for years, particularly around the 0-60 sprint, where the electric motor’s momentous torque is the most useful.
The Tesla Model 3 Performance clocks a supercar-worthy 3.1 second 0-60 mph run and a top speed of 163 mph. That’s from a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup that Tesla asks a surprisingly reasonable $56,990, which is, of course, payable in Bitcoin.
5. BMW i4
We’ll need to see the BMW i4 in person before passing judgment on its enormous (and enormously unnecessary, since it’s all-electric) kidney grille. But the new 4-Series has the same look, and that one grew on us kinda.
The i4 is packed with performance thanks to 530 horsepower and a 0-60 time under four seconds. That’s matched up with an estimated 300-mile range. “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. In other words, BMW thinks it has built the Ultimate (Electric) Driving Machine.
We’ll have to wait and see on that one. Expect the BMW i4 to begin deliveries by the end of 2021.
4. Jeep Wrangler Magneto
The Jeep Wrangler is the king of the 4x4 world and has been for years. Many competitors have come and gone, and the Wrangler is still kicking. Jeep knows what 4x4 buyers want, and they’re only too happy to give it to them. And, if this concept truck unveiled earlier this year is to be believed, Jeepers want an all-electric Wrangler. They’ve named it the Jeep Wrangler Magneto, and it could be a preview of what’s to come.
In many ways, electric motors should be a godsend for extreme off-roading. They have ridiculously high torque, which is helpful for rock crawling and getting out of tight jams, and you can install multiples of them to get some kind of all-wheel-drive system that Jeep has nicknamed 4xe. Get it? It’s like 4x4 but with an e. Oh, the endless EV marketing puns.
Jeep launched a plug-in hybrid version of the Wrangler earlier this year, and a full-electric version is probably not too far behind.
3. Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in America and has been for decades. For the first quarter of 2021, total F-Series pickup sales were up 24.5 percent year-over-year to 203,797 trucks. Ford says 7,176 of those trucks were the new F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid that can do clever things like powering your house in a blackout.
But later this year, Ford is expected to announce an all-electric pickup that Car & Driver says will be named the F-150 Lightning. That’s a throwback to the V8-powered street truck that Paul Walker crunched into a curb in the first The Fast and the Furious movie. We don’t know much more than the name (it’s too perfect for C&D to be wrong) and the fact that it can pull a train. That last bit will be useful for folks who want to tow an electric off-road motorcycle with their electric truck.
Range, price, options, and the release date are still under wraps until an expected reveal event later this year.
2. GMC Hummer EV Pickup
The launch edition will make 830 horsepower and go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, which is great on the asphalt, but GMC also promises that the Hummer EV will be an off-road beast as well. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel and see what she can do.
Expect the Hummer EV Pickup to begin deliveries late this year. Preorder it now on GMC’s website or at your local GMC dealer.
1. Special Mention: The New Tesla Roadster
Elon Musk unveiled the second-generation Tesla Roadster as a special surprise at the end of the Tesla Semi event back in 2017. Of course, neither vehicle has come to fruition yet, but it sounds ridiculously exciting.
Tesla says the car will be able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in a dangerously quick 1.9-seconds (that’s Formula One-car speeds) and a 250 mph top speed thanks to some mind-boggling specs that don’t particularly matter because the car isn’t real yet.
That said, Elon has delivered some seriously fast cars in the past, and there’s no reason to expect otherwise from the new Roadster. Just about the only thing that isn’t quick is its current shipping time. Mark this one with a firm wait-and-see status.