Hitting 300+ miles on a single charge is no longer a pipe dream.
The words "range anxiety" entered the lexicon in 1997 courtesy of Richard Acello reporting on the General Motors EV1 for the San Diego Business Journal. GM's EV1 was the first mass-produced EV of the modern automotive era and had a range between 70 and 100 miles. Claiming it would be used for "promoting public awareness of electric vehicle capabilities," GM tried to trademark the term "range anxiety," The phrase then disappeared along with electric cars until Tesla reared its head and we saw a push for mass-market EV adoption. Now, the term is all but dead, and electric vehicles are on the rise. It's gone due to a mixture of public awareness on how many miles people actually drive, but more because the actual range of EVs has risen dramatically. Now, it's only a factor for those that really log the miles week-in and week-out. These are the cars clocking over 300 miles of range that those people should be looking at in 2021.
If you want to buy the longest-range electric vehicle possible right now, you'll be looking at the Tesla Model S Long Range. However, you're more likely to wait for the refresh if you're spending that kind of money, and we'll get to that. If you want to buy the next longest-range electric vehicle possible right now, you'll be looking at the Tesla Model X Long Range. The EPA estimates it at a 371-mile range per full charge, but Tesla only claims 360 miles. That makes us believe the 360 is more accurate, but it's still the battery-powered vehicle you can go furthest with on a single charge. Plus, you get 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, Tesla's latest and greatest technology, and doors that open up to look like the Model X has wings. It costs $89,990 before any federal or state incentives are applied.
If a couple of miles won't make or break you and you prefer a sedan of the slightly more compact variety, Tesla's Model 3 Long Range gets 353 miles according to the EPA, and Tesla isn't arguing. It'll cost you $46,990 before federal and state credits, leaving you $43,000 compared to the Model X to spend on road trips and hotels. It's a little slower, hitting 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, but putting your foot to the floor isn't a friend of range in any case, so if range is what you're after, you'll seldom be accessing Tesla's rapid acceleration in any case.
Tesla's entire S3XY lineup can now be bought as 300+ mile range models. The Model Y Long Range comes in at a relatively reasonable $49,995 with an EPA-rated range of 326 miles in Long Range trim. However, it's still expensive if you consider it in line with the hugely competitive compact crossover market. It also doesn't have scorching performance despite the Long Range trim including an all-wheel-drive and a two-motor setup. Its 0-60 mph time is a relaxing 4.8 seconds, slow for a Tesla but still pretty quick for a compact crossover.
People can whine all they want about the name, but the Ford Mustang Mach-E is here to stay, and it's a great electric vehicle. It may not live up to its muscle car name to some, but its extended-range rear-wheel-drive California Route 1 Edition has earned an EPA estimated 305-mile range on a full charge. Expect a 6.1-second 0-60 mph time despite its 290 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. If you want Mustang Mach-E GT's levels of speed, you'll need to sacrifice a lot of range, 70 miles in fact, to get a sub-3-second 0-60 time.
We're now into the 300+ mile range cars yet to come in 2021, and Rivian claims its 300+ mile range claim for its truck and SUV comes through the same testing the EPA performs. We're expecting big things from Rivian as it has been a long and patient build-up for the company. Rivian is coming to market without the Tesla and tech industry approach of rushing to market then fixing the product as it goes, and is hitting the ground running with a truck - which promises to be a hard-fought segment of the auto industry. It's also worth noting 300 miles plus is the estimate for just the base model and at the cost of $69,000. Expect over 400 miles of range from the highest trim levels with the 180-kWh battery equipped. We're expecting the truck to come first in late 2021, hence its inclusion in this list.
We love the concept car look of the Nissan Ariya. It will be Nissan's second EV and follow the Leaf onto the market when it gets to dealerships sometime this year. Estimates from Nissan USA claim the long-range variant, equipped with an 87 kWh battery, will attain approximately 300 miles range on a full charge. The Ariya will also showcase Nissan's next generation of tech and come with a $40,000 starting price reflecting that. The new battery and drivetrain tech could also signal that a third generation of the lower-priced EV could be on its way using the smaller 66 kWh battery pack. This gives us a chance to suggest that, with the Ariya, Nissan could be about to turn over a new Leaf.
Karma's second electric vehicle only exists right now as a few teaser pics and a couple of details, but its reveal is expected this year, and production to start at the end of the year. The Karma GSe-6 is a sedan being built on the same platform as the Fisker Karma, but with an updated platform that has been called E-Flex. Pricing is reported to start at $79,900, and the all-new sedan will have a claimed range of 300 miles. We presume that orange will a color offered, but we don't know anything else beyond that. In fact, the GSe-6 could be vaporware, but we're going to play optimistically here and include it on this list.
We're putting the Lucid air at the bottom of this list year as, although it is due in the spring of 2021, it's an entirely unproven new automaker claiming 517 miles of range on a single charge for its Air Grand Touring model. It also claims its Touring model will have 400 miles of range, and its Dream Edition will clock up 503 miles. Those are outlandish claims for a brand new company building a brand new car. Lucid claims it came up with the figures using the same cycles as the EPA for range estimation, but this writer is still going to file them under "We'll See." And, with prices ranging from $74,400 to $169,000, the Lucid Air will need to be something special, especially if it's going to stand a chance against the final entrant on this list...
If you haven't got Tesla fatigue, there's one more to consider. The Tesla Model S Plaid+ has only recently been added to Tesla's website and is advertised with a range of 520+ miles. Which, you'll notice, is just a touch over Lucid's highest claim. There's little reason to doubt Tesla's claim, though; the California-based company has been driving battery technology forward from day one, and if anyone is going to crack 500 miles in a production EV, our money is on Elon Musk's company. Tesla is also claiming the Model S Plaid+ is the "Quickest 0-60 mph and 1/4 mile acceleration of any production car ever." The claim is 0-60 mph in an eyeball-popping sub-1.99 seconds and the quarter-mile run in under 9 seconds.