Best Electric Cars to Buy and How to Identify Them

While an electric cars are a great asset in the twenty-first century, there are no doubt several factors to consider when looking for the best to buy.

This article provides a simple, straightforward and evergreen guide to determine how suitable an electric car product is, for any intended purpose, and thereby identify the best among available products.

1). Some Key Factors to consider when Deciding on an Electric Car

2). Comparison of Electric Cars using these Key Factors

3). How we can actually Decide on which Electric Car is best to buy: An Illustration

4). Conclusion: Are Electric Cars Worth it?


Identifying Best Electric Cars: Key Factors to Consider

Before proceeding in this section, it is necessary to answer a fundamental question, about electric cars in today’s society. The question is as follows;

Are Electric Cars Worth it?

Without doubt, this question is on the mind of countless potential buyers of electric car products. Considering the erratic nature and fast pace of technological growth nowadays, the question is quite justifiable. The twenty-first century has seen the upsurge of numerous innovative developments, many of which have been only momentary.


So, are electric cars a potential fad?

Well, while there can be no perfect prediction in the world of science, economy and technology, we can make use of some important factors to produce a good answer to this question.

One of these is Sustainable Development. In recent years, this term has become a resonating concept, with developed and developing countries being actively involved.

Sustainable development stems from a desire to develop modern society in such a way that is sustainable. This means that technology, science, environment, economy and industry must all be driven in such a manner that future generations will not be negatively affected.

Speaking of technology, gasoline cars have always posed a risk of low sustainability. This is due to cost and availability of gasoline, and issues of environmental degradation.

Electric Cars will likely remain relevant because of their sustainability relative to gasoline cars.

In its overall lifespan, a gasoline car will tend to cost more in maintenance and operation than an electric car. This gives the electric car a higher economic potential.

Also, with the improvement of artificial intelligence and renewable energy technology, electric cars are very likely to improve in terms of efficiency and reliability in the coming years. Along with the other advantages, they are likely to surpass gasoline cars eventually.

Several new entrants are being introduced into the market as well, meaning that the cost of electric vehicles will generally reduce in the near future.

Therefore, electric cars are more likely to develop further than diminish.

While they are generally worth owning, the region where they are to be used is important, since these the accessories and charging stations for these vehicles are not equally distributed in all parts of the world.


Key Factors for Identifying the Best Electric Cars

With the presence of a fairly large variety of electric car brands and models in the automobile market, making a good choice among them might be tricky. The following are important factors that can be used to determine the quality and suitability of an electric car;

1). Performance

This is one a very broad factor, and a very effective one, for assessing electric vehicles.

The performance of an electric car refers to the quality of its output, when measured based on some important elements. These elements include the speed and flexibility of locomotion.

When we are assessing performance, we must consider;

a). Top Speed

b). Acceleration

c). Braking Efficiency

d). Cornering Efficiency

What this means is that the qualities which suggest that an electric car has a good-to-high level of performance, include momentum, acceleration, and velocity.

While this may suggest that sports and racing cars are essential high-performers, it is more elaborate than that. High performance is a product of above-average engine power, and relatively light weight. It also depends on the efficiency of the suspension system, aerodynamic design and tire grip.

A good suspension system and firm-grip tires increase momentum, while a sleek aerodynamic design reduces air friction and increases acceleration.

In general, a Top Speed of 150 – 210 mph can be considered minimum for a high performance car [3; 12; 19]. This value is exceeded by several high performance electric cars, with some reaching top speeds of 250 mph, like the Tesla Roadster [7]; and 258 mph like the Rimac Nevera [11].

tesla roadster
Tesla Roadster (Jurveston 2019 .CC BY 2.0.)
rimac nevera
Rimac Nevera ( Credit: Aepli 2018 .CC BY 4.0.)


The rate of acceleration of the vehicle from a top speed of 0 mph to 60 mph is another way of assessing performance. Generally, high performance cars will accelerate from 0-60mph in at most 3 seconds [1; 20].

We can find good examples of such electric cars in the 2019 Porsche Taycan Turbo S, which has an acceleration time of 2.6 seconds; and the 2019 Tesla Model S [18].

porsche taycan turbo s
Porsche Taycan Turbo S ( Credit: Van der Maar 2019 .CC BY 2.0.)

2). Torque

What does the Torque in a Car mean?

This is another important factor which can be used to evaluate an electric car, or any vehicle. Torque is simply the force which the engine shaft of the car can withstand when rotating.

How Important is Torque in a Car?

Torque represents the power of the car engine, and the amount of load it can handle while exerting rotational force. It is very important because it affects the performance of the vehicle.

How does Torque Affect Car Performance?

Recall that car performance is determined by speed, acceleration and angular momentum.

Torque is simply a time-function of angular momentum (torque= angular momentum/time). This means that the ability of the car to navigate effectively is largely determined by torque.

How is torque in Electric Cars Measured?

Torque in a car is measured in Newton-meters (Nm) or Pound-feet (lb-ft).

What is considered Good Torque in Electric Cars?

A very high torque will reach about 700-1,000 lb-ft, and an example of an electric car with this value is the Koenigsegg Gemera; a hybrid electric car [10].

All-electric cars (or Battery-electric cars) usually fall slightly below this value at their best. However, a torque of 250 lb-ft can be considered fairly high. An example of a high torque all-electric car is the Rimac Nevera, which exceeds 1,741 lb-ft.

Koenigsegg Gemera
Koenigsegg Gemera (Credit: Walker 2020 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)


How to Calculate Torque of a Car

The torque of a car is related to its engine power. However, its value is not always provided among the specifications.

To determine the torque value of a car, we can simply use this formula;

Torque= [Engine power (in Horsepower units) × 5252.11]/rpm

Where; rpm is engine revolution-per-minute (in radians/second),

and 5252.11 is a constant value derived from 1/2 × Pi × 33,000


3). Engine Power

What is Horsepower in Electric Cars?

As the term implies, engine power is the amount of power (work done within a period of time) which the electric car can produce. It is measured in Horsepower units.

How is the Power of an Electric Car Engine Measured?

To calculate the power of an electric car engine, we can use the formula;

Hp= [T × rpm]/5252.11

Where Hp is the engine power in horsepower units,

T is the torque in pound-feet

and 5252.11 is the engine-rotation constant

What is a Good Engine Power?

It must be mentioned, that engine power in electric vehicles can also be expressed in Kilowatts (kW). To convert from horsepower units to kilowatts, we may use the following formula;

kW= 1.369/Hp

This means that for every 137 horsepower(Hp) units, we have one kilowatt (kW).

A good engine power for an electric car would be up to 300Hp and above. This is an average-performance value. High-performance electric cars reach engine power values of up to 1,200Hp.

What is the most Powerful Car Engine?

For electric cars, this may be a disputable choice to make.

However, vehicles like the Pininfarina Battista have recorded high engine power ratings of the order of 1,900Hp [6]. Other high-performance electric cars hover around the 1,200-1,300Hp mark.

4). Range/Efficiency

The range and efficiency are two very important factors to consider for any electric car.

Compared to gasoline cars, electric cars are undoubtedly very efficient.

However, it is important to understand the difference, and relationship, between range and efficiency.

What is Electric Car Range?

Simply put, the range of an electric car is the average distance which an electric car can travel on one full-recharge.

How is the Range of a Car Determined?

The range of any car can be determined practically, by operating the car from its point of full-charge to the point of need for a recharge.

For a gasoline vehicle, this will be from the point of a full-tank, to the point of an empty tank.

For an electric car, the range will be determined by driving consistently on a fully-charged battery, and recording the distance travelled by the time the battery is fully-drained.

How is the Range Measured?

Either of two units can be used in measuring car range. These are the Mile and the Kilometer (km). The range can be observed on the dashboard of some vehicles.

Efficiency, on the other hand, is how much engine power the car can sustain along the way, without declining.

Which Electric Car has the Longest Range?

While there are variables with respect to how long an electric car can go on a single charge, some models have recorded impressive ranges.

One of these is the Tesla Model S, which has a range of above 560 km per recharge, and the Rivian R1S, with about 506 kilometers (315 miles) [16].

Generally, a range of 240 kilometers to 400 kilometers can be considered very good, while some high-performance electric cars may exceed the 400 km range.

5). Noise

Although this could be an overlooked factor, the noise made by a vehicle is important in its rating. Also, this assessment combines both internal and external noise in an electric car.

Electric cars generally make little to no noise, especially when compared to their gasoline counterparts. This is due to a much simpler engine design and operation.

For electric cars, noise pollution is brought to its barest minimum.

However, this affects safety for both the driver and other occupants of the road being plied.

It is recommendable for electric cars to have a sound-enabling mechanism especially when driving at top speed, or reversing. In EU countries, a directive was given to this effect in 2019 [2].

6). Multimedia System

The multimedia system is very important to an electric car, because it affects the car’s range and efficiency.

Recent innovations are working toward developing multimedia systems which will use only a very small fraction of the car engine’s energy, so as to optimize its efficiency and range.

A good multimedia system will consume at most 50-60% of the energy consumed by traditional multimedia systems [13]. It will also have an advanced navigation, audio and visual system.

7). Safety

Safety is another factor which we must consider. Electric cars are usually assigned a rating based on their operational safety.

How is a Vehicle’s Safety Rating Determined?

Some factors are used to determine the overall safety rating for electric cars. These include structural resilience, airbags, survival space, and effectiveness of seatbelt. Other factors include crash-avoidance efficiency, through alarms and maneuvering.

Crash-tests (a test in which a dummy version of the vehicle is made to collide with another object) are used to carry out this evaluation [4].

What is a Good Safety Rating for Electric Cars?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a rating of 4.0 or 5.0 indicates a high safety performance for an electric vehicle.

A rating of 3.0 would be average, and any rating below this would be considered low.

Some vehicles may be given a rating above the threshold of 5.0, for exceptional safety performance.

8). Cost

When assessing based on cost, it is necessary to consider the other factors like the range, performance and efficiency.

Relatively inexpensive electric cars can range from about $25,000-$29,900; such as the 2019 BMW mini-electric and the Smart EQ ForTwo.


2019 BMW mini-electric (Credit: Migl 2019 .CC BY-SA 4.0)
2019 BMW mini-electric (Credit: Migl 2019 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)


Smart EQ ForTwo (Credit: Migl 2019 .CC BY-SA 4.0)
Smart EQ ForTwo (Credit: Migl 2019 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)


9). Battery

This is perhaps the most important feature to look out for. Because all-electric cars depend solely on battery power to operate, we should expect the battery capacity to affect every aspect of the vehicle.

Generally, a battery capacity of up to 80kWh and above can be considered beyond-average. Capacities between 60-70kWh are good; 30-50kWh can be considered average; and below this range is low.

Which Electric Car is Best to Buy? Comparison of Electric Cars

The following table shows how all the important criteria which have been discussed in this article; can be used to make a choice from among a set of electric car options.

The values are approximate and may vary based on location, product modification, and market dynamics.

The efficiency values which have been assigned, are based on battery capacity, range and torque.

The terms ‘Quiet’, ‘Subtle’ and ‘Loud’ are used to represent increasing levels of relative noise. Blank spaces are given where there is no reliable data.

Electric Car Top Speed (mph) Acceleration time (0-60mph) in seconds Torque (lb-ft) Power (Hp) Range (km) Efficiency Battery (kWh) Noise Safety (IIHS) Cost ($)
Audi e-tron 124 5.5 229 590 357 ~90% 95 Subtle (varies with speed) 5.0 65,000
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo 4S 149 3.9 479 482-500 405 93.4 Subtle 110,300
Tesla Model 3 Long Range 162 4.2 389 346 568.1 ~85% 75 Quiet 5.0 48,990
Tesla Model X Long Range 163 2.5 364 670 ~600 95   5.0 89,900
Audi e-tron GT 152 3.9 472 469 ~380 95% 93.4 Loud (artificial, safety purpose) 5.0 99,900
Porsche Taycan Turbo S 161 2.9 774 616 484 93.4 Subtle 5.0 185,000
Tesla Model X Plaid 163 2.5 310 1020 580 95 Highly variable 119,990
Rimac Nevera 258 1.85 1,741 1,914 ~560 120 Loud (artificial) 2,400,000
Tesla Model S Plaid ~210 1.99 1,050 1,020 ~560 ~99 Variable 119,990
Volvo XC40 Recharge 112 4.7 486 402 359 78 Quiet 55,300
Tesla Model Y Perf. LR AWD 21″ 155 3.5 376 384 488 80 Quiet 61,990
Rivian R1T (Large pack, 21″) 125 3.2 ~850 ~750 644 180 67,500
Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 140 5.3 ~260 283 422 60 Subtle 5.0 41,990
MINI Cooper SE 93 6.9 199 181 183 32.6 Quiet 4.0 29,900
Hyundai Kona Electric 104 7.9 290 201 415 64 Loud (mainly due to engine load) 5.0 34,000
 Kia Niro EV (e-Niro) 104 7.5 291 201 385 64 Very Loud (relative, internal, external) 39,990
Smart EQ ForTwo 80.8 6.5 118 80 ~140 17.6 Variable 23,100


How these Criteria can be used to determine the Best Electric Car among Available Options

Because of the fast pace of the electric car market, it will constantly encounter changes, not only in product models, but in prices and product features as well.

Therefore, it is important to be able to evaluate electric car products in a flexible manner, using the above guidelines.

For example, the chart below compares the electric cars from the table above. in terms of Top Speed;

ev speed chart: felsics
Top speed comparison chart for electric cars

Provided there is need for speed, the Rimac Nevera obviously makes a first choice. We must then consider other factors, like range and battery capacity, as shown in the charts below;

ev range comparison chart: felsics
Range comparison chart for electric cars


ev battery comparison chart: felsics
Battery comparison chart electric cars

For both range and battery capacity, the Riviana R1T is clearly at an advantage (although there is no reliable value given for the range of the Rimac Nevera in the chart). Others like the Tesla Models 3 and X Plaid are also high on the scale of range.

At 120kWh, the Rimac Nevera adds the advantage of a good battery capacity to its top speed advantage. We may also consider the cost of the electric cars, as shown below;

ev cost comparison chart: felsics
Cost comparison chart for electric cars


The above chart clearly justifies some of the high performance features which we have observed in the Rimac Nevera. It also gives more value to other vehicles in this comparison, like the Rivian R1T and the Tesla Model X Long Range.

At $2,500,000, this vehicle may be beyond the budget price for some buyers. This will probably bring other factors into consideration, like economics of choice, quality, required functionalities, performance, etc. Considering multiple factors in this manner will help decide which electric car is best to buy.


Again; Are Electric Cars Worth it?


While there are some features which make gasoline cars more accessible and preferred, than electric cars, the benefits in terms of innovation cannot be denied for electric cars.

Asides their quality and innovation, these vehicles support sustainable development, and reduce ozone layer depletion, by providing cheaper and cleaner energy.

The electric car industry is also rapidly advancing, and might soon take over the automobile market space.

If well selected and maintained, these vehicles have a lot to offer, to both the driver, other occupants, and the environment.

To get the best among available products, the selection process can no doubt be made easier and better by using the criteria listed in this article.



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