After almost a decade of hype, there are some signs that the electric vehicle revolution is finally coming to pass. There were 19 EVs for sale in the United States in the first quarter of 2021, plus many more hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Almost every concept that graces a showroom floor (or, lately, an over-produced livestream) has an electric angle. Automakers are promising to launch dozens of EVs over the next decade. Governors are promising to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles. And improvements in charging infrastructure and battery technology mean that the vision of an electrified future is clearer than ever.
But there’s still one problem: in order for EVs to change the world, people are going to have to start driving them. To track the progress on that score, we’ve created this list of the 12 best-selling EVs on the market for the first quarter of 2021. Not all carmakers provide sales data for their EVs, especially in cases where the electric models share a nameplate with a gas or hybrid model. It’s possible that one or more of the vehicles in that category (which includes the BMW i3, the Kia Soul Electric, and the Polestar 2) would appear on this list if we knew the numbers, but our guess is that if the numbers were big we would hear about them.
12. Hyundai Ioniq Electric (445 units sold)
Hyundai’s Ioniq lineup includes a hybrid and plug-in hybrid in addition to the EV fêted here. The 445 new Ioniq Electrics sold in the first quarter of 2021 represent a 191 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2020. The Ioniq EV has a relatively small 38.3 kWh battery pack, and its estimated range of 170 miles is on the small side, too. Shoppers who like the Ioniq’s looks but need more range are in luck: Hyundai also sells hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Ioniq. The plug-in hybrid has 29 miles of EV range and earns 52 mpg even after its battery pack has been depleted. Altogether, Hyundai sold 4125 Ioniqs in the first quarter, most of them hybrids.
- Base price: $34,250
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 133/145/121 MPGe
- EPA Maximum EV range: 170 miles
11. Volkswagen ID.4 (474 units sold)
The ID.4 isn’t technically Volkswagen’s first US-market EV (remember the e-Golf?), but it seems poised to make a bigger impact than its forerunners. The ID.4 makes an appearance on this list despite having been on sale in the United States for only a few weeks this quarter. The first of these electric crossovers rolled off a boat in Baltimore in mid-March, and by the end of the month Volkswagen had sold 474 of them. Volkswagen says owners can expect up to 260 miles of range from the ID.4, which has rear-wheel drive and 201 horsepower in its launch edition. The crossover will eventually be available with all-wheel drive and 302 horsepower.
- Base price: $41,190
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 91/104/89 MPGe
- EPA Range: 250 miles
10. Hyundai Kona Electric (1556 units sold)
The Kona Electric had more than three times as many customers in the first quarter than its stablemate, the Ioniq. The Kona has a larger battery pack than the Ioniq, providing an estimated 258 miles of range compared to the Ioniq’s 170 miles. And it’s based on the extremely popular Kona crossover, making it more attractive to the growing portion of the buying public that’s hungry for utility vehicles. Word to the wise: the driver may sit higher in the Kona than the Ioniq, but the hatchback has more cargo space than the crossover, with 23 cubic feet of space in the back compared to the Kona’s 19 cubic feet.
- Base price: $38,575
- EPA Fuel Economy Combined/city/highway: 120/132/108 MPGe
- EPA Range: 258 miles
9. Porsche Taycan (2008 units sold)
Porsche builds some of our very favorite cars, so we weren’t surprised they built an exceptional EV. But we were pleased. And we’re also pleased that other people seem to be excited about Porsche’s first electric offering, too. The Taycan Turbo S can get to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds, and all Taycans have 800-volt charging infrastructure that should allow them to suck in electrons faster than any other EV on the road (though charging speeds will depend upon the availability of charging stations with architecture as hefty as the Taycan’s). Before you start window-shopping a Taycan, be prepared: the upper trim levels approach $200,000.
- Base price: $81,250
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 79/76/84 MPGe (RWD)
- EPA Range: 200 (RWD) 227 (4S Perf Battery Plus) miles
8. Nissan Leaf (2925 units sold)
On paper, the Nissan Leaf is not one of the most desirable EVs on the market. It’s priced in the same ballpark as a Chevrolet Bolt but offers only an estimated 149 miles of driving range with the standard battery pack—the Bolt has 259 miles of estimated range as standard. The Leaf isn’t as attractive as many of the other EVs on this list and suffers from a purposefully weird interior layout. But the Leaf is also something of an institution in the EV world. When it first entered the US market as a 2011 model, it was one of only a few EVs on the market. It has improved since then, but its competitors have improved faster.
- Base price: $32,620
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 111/123/99 MPGe (40 kWh)
- EPA Range: 149 (40-kWh) 226 (62-kWh S) miles
7. Tesla Model S (4155 units sold)
The Model S was the first mainstream ambassador for Tesla’s groundbreaking electric vehicle and automated driving technologies, but interest in the Model S has cooled as buyers await the S’s first major redesign, which promises a massive 520 miles of range in the uppermost trims and will feature a yoke (not a round) steering wheel. Tesla had originally promised that deliveries of the new S would start by April 2021, but now the company says the redesigned model will launch in June. The ultra-long-range Plaid Plus edition is currently scheduled to debut in mid-2022.
- Base price: $81,190
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 117/121/112 MPGe (Long Range Plus)
- EPA Range: 402 miles (Long Range Plus)
6. Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback (4324 units sold)
Audi’s e-tron electric crossover and its flashy-looking twin, the e-tron Sportback found 4324 homes last quarter. The e-tron channels Audi luxury into an electric package with a two-motor all-wheel drive system with 355 horsepower (and, in short bursts, up to 402 hp). The e-tron can travel an estimated 222 miles on a full charge; the e-tron Sportback can go 218 miles. The price is high, but while many EV interiors are swathed in cheap plastic, the e-tron’s interior can feature leather and real wood.
- Base price: $66,995
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 78/78/77 MPGe
- EPA Range: 222 miles
5. Tesla Model X (5106 units sold)
Sales of the Model X, like those of its platform-mate, the Model S, have slowed somewhat in the lead-up to the release of a redesigned version of the car. The X will get the same interior treatment as the S, which includes a yoked steering wheel and does not include a traditional gear shift (Tesla’s Elon Musk says the X and S will “guess” at drive direction based on input from the outward-facing cameras and the navigation system). The new Model X was expected to start rolling off the line sometime in the first quarter of 2021, but it’s now delayed until at least this fall.
- Base price: $91,190
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 105/109/101 MPGe (Long Range Plus)
- EPA Range: 371 miles (Long Range Plus)
4. Ford Mustang Mach-E (6614 units sold)
The Mach-E isn’t Ford’s first EV, but it is the first Ford EV to inspire an excited following, or to feature on any list of best-sellers. The Mach-E is available in a handful of configurations, including with rear- or all-wheel drive and with up to an estimated 305 miles of driving range. The Mach-E is designed in the style of the Mustang and drives like it was engineered by people who care. An extra-sporty version, the Mach-E GT, is on its way. The GT will have 480 horsepower and Ford says it will hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.
- Base price: $43,995
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 100/105/93 MPGe (RWD)
- EPA Range: 230 (RWD) 305 (California Route 1 RWD) miles
3. Chevrolet Bolt (9025 units sold)
The Chevrolet Bolt is on the cusp of a redesign (pictured here)–and on the cusp of adding a new member to its family in the form of the Bolt EUV, a crossover. But the promise of an improved model has done nothing to slow down sales of the existing Bolt, which were up 54 percent this quarter compared to the first quarter of 2020. The Bolt has 200 horsepower and an estimated 259 miles of range. DC fast-charging capability, which allows the Bolt to gain 100 miles of range every 30 minutes at Level 3 charging stations, is optional.
- Base price: $37,495
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 118/127/108 MPGe
- EPA Range: 259 miles
2. Tesla Model 3 (23,110 units sold)
It’s been almost four years since the Model 3 first hit the road, but it’s still remarkable for its combination of class-leading range and a relatively low price. The Model 3’s minimalist design and massive touchscreen control center set trends for the rest of the EV market, and customers have flocked to the car. But the Model 3’s massive popularity has taken a hit in the last year. The 23,110 sales that Tesla notched in the first quarter of 2021 represented a 45 percent decline compared to the first quarter of last year. What’s to blame for the big change in interest? Click through to find out.
- Base price: $38,690
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 142/150/133 MPGe (Standard Range Plus RWD)
- EPA Range: 263 (Standard Range Plus RWD) 353 (Long Range AWD) miles
1. Tesla Model Y (33,629 units sold)
The Tesla Model Y went on sale last summer and quickly eclipsed demand for all of Tesla’s other offerings. In fact, more people bought Model Ys last quarter than bought all other non-Tesla EVs combined (that doesn’t include the EVs sold by Kia and Polestar, for which there is no public sales data). The Model Y drives and looks like a bloated Model 3. It can come with a two-seat third row but beware that the seats are cramped, and you’ll sacrifice cargo space. The good news: The Model Y Long Range has an estimated 326 miles of range, and even the entry-level model can go an estimated 244 miles between charges.
- Base price: $41,190
- EPA Fuel Economy combined/city/highway: 129/140/119 MPGe (Standard Range RWD)
- EPA Range: 244 (Standard Range Plus RWD) 326 (Long Range AWD) miles
Every New Electric Vehicle Model for Sale in the U.S.
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