Tag Archives: electric trucks

Best Car Reviews
Best CarsBuying GuidesNew Car Reviews

The best cars we’ve reviewed (so far) ranked!

Welcome to the start of our ever-expanding home base of car reviews, where we file the best cars we’ve driven so far in order. Don’t think of this as an outright competition to see what is the definitive best vehicle out of a few classes. We’ve got more than that, anyway. Best EVs, best sports cars, best compacts, best trucks, and more! Think of this as all our existing car reviews coming together to help you decide on what are some hot ticket choices to look out for on the new or used car market. 

Check out the linked subheadings for full reviews with specs and pricing, and check back occasionally as we continue to grow our portfolio of car reviews!

(Editor’s Note: Updated 3/1/2024 with pickup trucks and EVs category!)

Skip to category:

🚦Get ready, set, full disclosure! Some of the links powering our posts contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase, even if it’s not from the page we linked. Affiliate links are not always an endorsement of the product. To really help us keep our headlights shining to make more content like this, subscribe to the Acceleramota newsletter.

Best EVS

1. Audi Q8 e-tron – A proper take on urban luxury EVs, even if it’s not a spec sheet winner

What’s hot?

  • Proper luxury car interior with all the accouterments
  • Serene ride and NVH

What’s not?

  • Some minor Audi MMI glitches
  • A tough sell with a high price and okay-ish range

Is it too late for the legacy automakers to topple the startup giants? Will no one eclipse them in terms of price, production output, or range? Ah, screw it. Let ’em have it when automakers like Audi still know how to build a damn good car and damn good features. The Q8 e-tron may not take home any victories in Top Trumps or bar stool drag racing, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed, because what Audi has delivered is a sublime urban EV for those who’ll heed its offerings. Ride quality is plush, even on such big wheels, and the interior is well-built and well-equipped, with enough screen to satiate the especially tech-indulgent without appearing cheap or gaudy.

The Q8 e-tron is a fine automobile. We just wish it could be an easier sell so more folks can bask in what it gets right. But we get it. What it gets wrong are things that wouldn’t be the fault of any sensible buyer should they say turn the e-tron down. With a price that starts at $74,400, it’s already an uphill battle. And with a range of only 285 miles, it’s tough to convince folks to fork over the dough for one of these instead of the comparable Tesla or a cheaper Mach-E. But give it a chance and let it thrive in the urban environments it was made for, and you may see that the numbers game isn’t the point of the e-tron. The point is to just be a great product.

2. Chevrolet Blazer EV – That one SUV from the Barbie movie is actually quite a stunner

What’s hot?

  • Sharp and sporty like its looks
  • Quiet and refined

What’s not?

  • Range lags behind key rivals, including fellow Ultium-based EVs
  • Oh boy, yet another expensive electric SUV

Hey there, Barbie! Let’s go party! And party indeed, as the Blazer EV is actually quite the charming and likable EV, with polarizing styling that contrasts with the sea of egg-shaped lunchboxes that also occupy the pantheon of electric SUVs. But for that price, you get a highly configurable package, with trim levels to match anyone’s wants, and drivetrains that offer front, all, or rear-wheel drive. Can’t think of another vehicle where you can pick either three. The Blazer also matches its sharp looks with dynamics that don’t fall on its face in the twisties and acceleration that earn the top trim its SS badge. And if you like cockpit-like interiors, the Blazer certainly fits the bill with a digital dash and infotainment setup that vaguely reminds us of a C8 Corvette and Alpha-platform Camaro blended together.

If we had to complain, there’s that sorry excuse for a frunk that’s easily trumped by rivals in its class. Range is only okay and doesn’t set any new records, with the most frugal trims seeking out 324 miles. Oh, and there are the embarrassing software issues that plagued early cars enough to cause a stop-sale. Ironically, not long after winning a round of praise and awards from all who’ve driven it. Oh, Chevy.

3. Mercedes-Benz eSprinter – Electrified mobility for businesses and tradesmen

What’s hot?

  • Fairly quick and responsive at low speeds
  • Still perfectly capable of around-town work

What’s not?

  • Uncomfortable seats
  • No dual-motor variants as of yet

Not much to say here, is there? It’s an electric cargo van with plenty of space for products or tools, enough pep for stoplight drags, and just enough range to accomplish a day of work and still have some to spare. The Mercedes eSprinter is exactly as advertised: a nicely made, well-appointed, electrified take on work vans intended for urban environments. And you know what? That’s a-okay with us. The interior is standard Sprinter, with an attractively-designed and functional infotainment system and seats that are less than optimal but get the job done. Hey, you’re getting paid to work, not lounge!

Aside from wanting more comfortable seats, a 42-minute max charge speed to 80% is only okay, there are currently no dual-motor variants available as of yet, and the payload takes a significant hit versus any gas or diesel Sprinter. Gardeners and Geek Squad folks will be fine. But no trying to smuggle kei cars in the back, you hear me?

Best plug-in hybrids

1. Mazda CX-90 PHEV – Bridging the gap between family crossovers of the past and future

What’s hot?

  • Commendable EV range for such a massive thing
  • Mazda edges closer and closer to the luxury car kingdom

What’s not?

  • Not the most cavernous three-row SUV
  • Rotary dial infotainment controls only

Mazda has been on a not-so-secret upward spiral toward faux luxury car stardom for some time now. From smooth, sporty driving dynamics to interiors with actually pleasant build quality and aesthetic design, the Zoom-Zoom brand has been making quite the name for itself. The CX-90 three-row crossover cements its status as a serious brand worth more than just one mere damn, and the plug-in hybrid variant acts as a wonderfully executed bridge between family cars of the past and present. 26 miles of EV range? Not bad! 24 mpg in the city? Heck yeah! 369 pound-feet of yoinking power? Now, you got me flustered. And these are just the specs. We haven’t even started with the gorgeous, airy, wood-lined interior that can shame the Germans or the sporty dynamics that can actually put the “sports” in sports utility vehicle.

Okay, so a big lunk like this will never score the range or MPGe of smaller plug-in crossovers. And its towing capacity and average mpg took a hit versus the Bimmer-flattering inline-six. Oh, and touchscreens be damned because the Mazda’s infotainment is controlled via a rotary dial only, which will definitely not resonate with anyone who hasn’t come from an older BMW. But if you can live with those nitpicks, you’ll still be left with one of the most compelling products to come, not just from Mazda but from any automaker in recent memory.

2. Alfa Romeo Tonale – A commuter a way only the Italians can

What’s hot?

  • A family crossover that’s actually a drop-dead stunner
  • Commendable performance and handling

What’s not?

  • Dodge Hornets are cheaper if you don’t mind the styling differences
  • Dodge Hornets have an ICE-only powertrain if you don’t care for plug-ins

Nothing says car enthusiast like anything sporty from Italy. Nothing says drab and dreary appliance like a compact crossover. Combine the two, and you might just have the recipe for a fun little urban runabout, as Stellantis has proven with the Alfa Romeo Tonale. Although ICE variants exist elsewhere, we Yanks get a bold, powerful plug-in powertrain as our sole option. It pairs a spunky little 1.3-liter turbo four boosted to high hell with an electric motor to yield over 30 miles of handy EV range and produce 285 horsepower and 347 pound-feet, which, last time I checked, is a lot more than your average compact crossover.

Sadly, it also costs a lot more than most compact crossovers and is lined up squarely against competent, similarly powerful rivals like the RAV4 Prime. Those who are a fan of spunky Italian dynamics but are willing to forgo the spunky styling can also step down to the cheaper Hornet, which produces more torque, has a similar EV range, and offers a significantly cheaper ICE powertrain. Still, flawed or not, there’s a lot to love about the Alfa Toe Nail, and there’s something to be admired when offered a fun, stylish alternative to the usual crop of cookie-cutter family cars on the market.

3. Dodge Hornet R/T – I’m like the guy right above me but with less swagger

What’s hot?

  • Fun and fast for lil’ crossover!
  • Usable EV range

What’s not?

  • Why is there no Regular-Ass Prius mode?
  • Minor electronic annoyances

“I do everything the guy above does, but better,” says the Dodge Hornet R/T, probably. Psst, it’s not better, but it is just ever so slightly different.

Not much to say here that hasn’t already been said about the Tonale. I don’t think we can say anything until we score an all-ICE Hornet GT to sample. But here it is, the Americanized take on Italy’s dandy little compact crossover, complete with the same KONI two-valve shocks, vividly red Brembos, and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 tires. The car receives the same plug-in powerplant in R/T trim, albeit with an extra motor to help it yield 288 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of faux hot hatch fury. It costs a few grand less for a comparable Hornet R/T versus a Tonale, too. What’s not to love?

Well, it’s still a Tonale. This means it still suffers from the typical Italian (or perhaps just Stellantis) electronic hiccups that make it difficult to recommend, from awkward lane centering and intermittently dysfunctional safety sensors. It may also be too small for some families, and asking for the R/T skyrockets the price tag fairly quickly. But if you can live with all of it, the Hornet is still a lovable, fun-to-drive alternative in an otherwise ho-hum segment of effective yet uninteresting cars.

Best hybrids

1. Toyota Prius – shockingly fun but still lovably practical

What’s hot?

  • New powertrains are punchy
  • Easiest 50-mpg solution on the new car market

What’s not?

  • Some interior ergonomic quirks
  • Still viable in today’s world of plug-ins, EVs, and upscale economy cars?

Go ahead. Laugh. But you won’t be laughing for long when a $30 or $40 fill-up nowadays buys you well over 500 miles of range, not including the short bits of EV cruising you can manage behind the wheel of the current-gen Toyota Prius. Did I make fun of Priuses before? Of course! Do I still do? On occasion. Do I love them, though? You bet your ass.

City slickers, you can’t beat 50-plus mpg and all-electric parking lot creeping in a car with the forward and side visibility of a fishbowl (the rear is a different story) and a footprint small enough to fit in nearly any parking space. There’s an abundance of nifty safety and convenience tech to make you feel as though you’re in a more substantial vehicle, and the new chassis and powertrain result in a Prius that’s a bit of a hoot to fling around.

The question remains if the Prius is still the obvious solution when compact family sedans and crossovers are now as efficient as ever while sitting at a slightly lower price point and offering comparable, if not better, practicality and ergonomics. Not to mention the growing waves of affordable EVs and plug-ins if efficiency is really your absolute top priority. But if a middle ground between them all is what you’re eyeing, then the new Prius remains a fantastic, well-rounded entry, even if it’s not necessarily the best.

Best luxury sports sedans

1. Lexus IS 500 F Sport Performance – A final bastion for V8 sports sedans

What’s hot?

  • N/A V8 rear-drive sports sedan? For real?
  • Typical Lexus premium vibes, inside and out

What’s not?

  • Not a true IS F replacement
  • Could go for more low-end torque

If you can’t find an ounce of love for something like this, you’re either not human or one of those stereotypical Tesla fans we were warned about on social media. The Lexus IS 500 was a last hurrah we didn’t expect, but we couldn’t be happier it exists, even if it’s for a moment. Lexus delivers a compact executive sedan with rear-drive, go-fast suspension and braking hardware, and a monstrous, free-breathing V8 pushing 472 ponies! What a day to be alive! And in typical Lexus fashion, it oozes style and quality inside and out, from the way it drives and handles to the materials and tech. 

Sure. It’s not a true IS F successor in the same vein as the RC F coupe. The platform is quite old, dated, and small by car industry standards. But perhaps we shouldn’t complain about its age and shortcomings. For less money than a BMW M3, here’s a final bastion for naturally-aspirated V8 sport sedans with more charm and character than a current M3 will ever have.

2. Genesis G70 – A bonafide sports sedan to challenge the Germans

What’s hot?

  • Actually fast, fun, and engaging across all trim levels
  • Oozes style and quality at a strong price point

What’s not?

  • Fuel economy pales in comparison to German I4 and I6 engines
  • No hotted-up M, AMG, or F rival (yet)

I’ve driven and ridden in a small handful of Korean cars over the years, each getting more and more alluring the newer they got. Now, the icing on the cake, the Genesis G70 cements a notion in my head that’s been parroted by auto journalists since the Sonata got good: South Korea will take over the world. Good. Let them. Because they can build a damn fine sports sedan.

The latest G70, the only Genesis product I’ve yet to sample, sports a buttery smooth 8-speed auto directing power from either a 300-horsepower, 2.5-liter turbo four, or a 365-horsepower, 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6. You can get it dipped in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive sauce, and V6 cars can be sprinkled with a serving of electronic suspension and limited-slip diff. Sounds like a good time, yeah? But thankfully, Genesis knew not to sully the car’s luxury mission with an overly “sporty” setup, so it remains posh, refined, and quiet, perfectly balanced for wannabe touring car champs and yuppies alike.

No, there’s no super-hot M3 killer yet. And no, the fuel economy is good but not great, as BMW’s crop of turbo engines beg to differ. By like, a lot. Backseat space can be a bit tight, and interior design, while impeccably well-built, may not offer enough flair and pizazz as one might like. But these minor nitpicks shouldn’t stop you from considering the G70, especially when you get the chance to experience all that it gets oh-so right.

Best luxury SUVs/crossovers

1. Acura MDX Type S – Quick and cushy

What’s hot?

  • Genuinely fun to drive
  • A cushy, coddling cruiser for the whole family

What’s not?

  • Not as sporty as it could be, especially in the face of German rivals
  • Curse these touchpad infotainment controllers

We love a good, unsensible dose of automotive debauchery. Manic vehicles with fire-breathing engines or cyberpunk-esque EVs with more gimmicks than goodwill. Are they useful? Not always. But they sure are fun. Yet, here stands the Acura MDX Type S as the near-perfect Goldilocks’ choice of crossovers. A cavernous interior invites occupants to revel in plush leather seating accented with real wood and metal accouterments, controlled via logically arranged hard buttons to show that physical switchgear ain’t going out of style just yet! And once you take control, you’re rewarded with a lovably pleasant driving experience, defined by a powerful and silky V6, well-tuned automatic transmission, and supple suspension that’s still competent in the canyons and freeway on-ramps. Sometimes, it’s good to enjoy the middle ground.

Of course, it’s not without faults. The most glaring of which is that infernal touchpad infotainment controller, which will apparently bow out in favor of a better system in future Acuras. Good riddance. And of course, people eying the Type S badge hoping for a true M or AMG fighter may be disappointed. It’s not that car. It’s fun and engaging. Really fun, actually. But it’s not that car. In a day where clout-chasing is king, the MDX Type S reigns itself in and stays true to its family crossover roots without being afraid to have just a little senseless fun every once in a while.

Best hot hatches and sports compacts

1. Acura Integra Type S – The surprise knockout

What’s hot?

  • Chassis, brakes, engine, and pretty much everything else by the gods
  • Easily daily-drivable for thousands of miles on end

What’s not?

  • Exhaust is too quiet for how raucous it can be
  • Expensive for its class

Oh, Integra Type S, my beloved. How incredible you are clubbing GR Corollas and Golf Rs over the head with the sheer force of your awesomeness. The gods bestowed upon you suspension soft enough for tattered highway commutes yet taught enough for unflappable canyon cornering prowess. You’ve been granted a rev-happy powerhouse of a turbo four-banger with a Bimmer-rivaling 320 ponies channeled through a manual whose shifts hit crisp like ice water with a mint. And you carry yourself with civility and politeness when it’s time to calm down for the long journeys home. 

Could you tell I’m obsessed? The Acura Integra Type S is an easy winner and a rockstar in its segment, delivering Civic Type R attitude in a slightly more comfortable and mature package. Perhaps the only reason we leave here at Number 1 is because we haven’t yet tested a real Type R, which sports more supportive bucket seats and a whimsically cool wing for several thousand dollars less, trumping any value proposition the Acura had. Until then, the Acura will stay our king of the sport compact hill. 

2. Hyundai Elantra N – Shattering Korean car stereotypes

What’s hot?

  • Rip-snorting lil’ WTCC car for the road, even with the dual-clutch
  • Premium interior and performance at a stellar price point

What’s not?

  • Bucket seats are a pain on road trips
  • Ugly duckling

“Am I the only one who understands the complexity of this ambitious automotive masterpiece? This car isn’t stupid! You’re stupid!” – Billy, probably.

Hyundai’s N division has proven to be a massive disruptor in the performance car world, building comparison test winners and headline stealers since the Veloster N in 2019. The Elantra N carries forward much of the same spirit and hardware, routing 276 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo-four through your choice of a good ol’ six-speed stick or a snappy 8-speed dual-clutch. 

Brakes rock. Adaptive suspension rocks. The selection of drive modes that all make a meaningful difference rock. Everything rocks. And, best of all, the Elantra N goes about its performance biz with genuine chassis feel and an eager, soulful playfulness seldom found in European sports sedans. Couple that with its strong value proposition, and you have an affordable halo car that poses a serious threat to our current sports compact king. 

3. Volkswagen Golf R – The mature grown-up’s hot hatch

What’s hot?

  • Sports sedan performance with all-wheel-drive versatility 
  • Mature, elegant bodywork with hatchback practicality

What’s not?

  • Controversial infotainment system is a tad bit of a learning curve
  • On the steeper side of the pricing fence

The Mk8 Volkswagen Golf R is a divisive product, as praiseworthy as it was a source of ire among auto journos for a variety of reasons. But one thing is for certain, and it’s that no one can really hate on the fiery powerhouse that is the EA888 four-cylinder, pushing 315 ponies in Golf R trim, a sliver more than its Audi S3 cousin. It also features a trick Haldex all-wheel-drive system with Drift Mode for sideways action and Volkswagen’s baby-PDK DSG dual-clutch. 

That said, the mighty Golf R has some Achilles heels. It’s not the fiercest, most playful thing in the toybox, trading the antics of something like a Focus RS or Type R for a more upscale and serious demeanor befitting its German heritage, which may or may not resonate more with certain buyers. Its heftier price tag may also push some buyers away, as well, sitting comfortably above the likes of Elantra Ns, GR Corollas, and its not-too-dissimilar, front-drive GTI sibling. Oh, and that love-it-or-hate-it infotainment. Sheesh. At least they’re bringing buttons back.

Best affordable sports cars

1. Subaru BRZ – Jack of all trades, master of many

What’s hot?

  • A palette-cleansing trendsetter of what proper driver feedback should be
  • 2.4-liter engine staves off most desires for extra power… most

What’s not?

  • GR86 is more playful for slightly less money
  • Lame engine and exhaust sounds

Here comes the little Subaru BRZ trying to prove it has everything you need and nothing you don’t. 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet from its 2.4-liter flat-four quells most complaints about the last car being gutless, bolstered by short gears and a svelte 2,800-pound weight. There’s a supple ride, CarPlay, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate, and options for banging sound system and scalding heated seats. 

Sure, it’s not perfect. Far from it, actually. The flat-four in stock form makes some pretty gruff, uninspired engine and exhaust noises. Space and practicality will never rival that of a hot hatch. And then there are those pesky RTV shards and daunting oiling pressure woes that have forums in a frenzy for permanent fixes. Still, if you want a track-capable, confidence-inspiring, infinitely tunable plaything that’s at home on the daily drive as it is high up in the canyons, few cars come close.

Best luxury sports cars

1. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray – “Budget supercar” is no hyperbole

Black Corvette C8 at Joshua Tree National Park
Image credit: Gabe Carey (Acceleramota)

What’s hot?

  • Faux supercar performance for a fraction of the price
  • Impressively practical

What’s not?

  • The usual supercar headaches in traffic and urban settings
  • Some stylistic quirks and nitpicks

Value is important when choosing a car. And I don’t think the value gets much stronger than the C8 Corvette Stingray. You’re telling me I can snag a base one for between $60,000 to $70,000 and still have the time of my life? Hell. Yeah. And before you snark at me and say no one gets the base model, know that me and Gabe’s tester absolutely was. No Nappa leather. No Z51 pack. No aero kit. Just the C8 ‘Vette in its most pure form.

Even with none of the extra fancy thingamajigs like MagneRide, auxiliary coolers, and Pilot Sport 4S tires, which I’m sure would have been transformative in the LA canyons and on SoCal freeways where we tested, we were still blown away at the base Corvette’s unfathomably serene ride and handling balance. It can haul all our camera gear for the LA Auto Show in the frunk, stow a body, uh, extra luggage in the rear, comfortably soak up all the expansion joints and potholes California had to throw at us, and still be an engaging ripper in the canyons.

Sure, it could be a little sharper. It could be a little lighter. It could be a little more connected. My advice? Don’t drive a 718 Cayman GTS before this. But I suppose for the money, this thing is a tough act to follow. A really tough act to follow.

2. Lotus Emira – A driving enthusiast’s dream come true

What’s hot?

  • Shocking ride and handling balance, even with Sports suspension setup
  • One helluva’ V6

What’s not?

  • Somewhat baulky manual shifter when cold
  • Not long for this cruel world

I can’t say it any better than Peter, so I’ll slip in a little excerpt.

“The 2024 Lotus Emira First Edition is a very special sports car for this day and age. It one-ups everyone else by making the most of old steering technology. This blissful steering then combines with a wonderfully communicative chassis, manual gear shift, rousing supercharged engine, and overall brilliant driving dynamics to make it a true top-level driver’s car.”

The Emira looks like so many other sports cars and supercars out there, but beneath the skin, it’s a rare breed like few others, if any at all. So it’s not the most practical or efficient thing on this list, nor is it that strong of a value in the presence of Porsche. It’s not even long for this world, slated for replacement by 2027. But when it comes to a pure driving experience, you can’t argue with some good ol’ analog fun, or as Rob Crespo and I call it, “oldfashionedasfuck.” And you know what? That’s exactly how the fanboys want it. And it’s how Colin Chapman would want it.

3. Maserati GranTurismo Trofeo – A true grand tourer with sports car chops

What’s hot?

  • Near supercar fast!
  • Sports car reflexes don’t hurt its cross-country comfort

What’s not?

  • Annoyingly long in parking situations
  • Priced smack dab in the middle of some serious rivals

God, no one does a driver’s car like the Italians. And yes, this portly, (possibly) two-ton, leather-clad, land yacht is a driver’s car. From its hellaciously fun Nettuno twin-turbo V6 to the trick Skyhook adaptive suspension with air springs. I didn’t quite know what to expect with the GranTurismo Trofeo. I kind of expected it to be a bulky, lazy touring car with tons of cross-country cred, as a car of its class should have. But I’m happy to report it can also straddle the line between touring car and sports car shockingly well, with quick, intuitive steering and a well-tuned all-wheel drive system that never lets the threat of understeer rear its ugly head in the tightest of Malibu canyons.

Sadly, its occasional electronic quirks, which range from meh to motherfu-, ahem, excuse me. It’s Stellantis-ness makes itself apparent. Not that it feels cheap. It sure as hell does not! It just has hiccups. And it better not feel cheap, not at nearly $230,000 as-tested! That’s a touch cheaper than GTs from more prestigious nameplates, but it places the GranTurmismo right in the middle of key rivals like the Mercedes SL, Porsche 911 Turbo, and even Maserati’s own MC20 supercar.

Best pickup trucks

1. Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison – A serious contender in factory-fresh prerunners

What’s hot?

  • A bonafide adventurer with otherworldly suspension!
  • Plush, well-appointed interior

What’s not?

  • Steeply priced
  • Limited to crew cab with short bed only

Huzzah! Chevy’s baby Ford Raptor before Ford brought their own baby Raptor stateside. The ZR2 Bison is a phenomenally capable, lovably riotous off-roader that defies the weak and feeble stereotypes of smaller mid-size trucks. Not that today’s crop of mid-sizers are what anyone would call small, especially the Bison and its hulking 35-inch rubber. Like the new batch of Colorados, the interior is reasonably spacious, modern, and well-appointed, even including ventilated seats, which is a thoughtful addition for desert rats on Chevy’s behalf. The turbo four-banger plucked and retuned from base-model Silverados proves strong and more than up to the task of rocketing this Tonka truck cosplayer down sand dunes with ease, and the Multimatic suspension is every bit as capable and impressive as you’d expect from this company.

If you can live with the presumably abysmal fuel economy and the questionable styling, then this is a worthy rival to any fast Ford on the trail or in the open desert. Just mind the steep price tag, because ticking the Bison box on your build sheet will skyrocket the already pricey ZR2 to right around $60,000. You could buy Raptors for not that much more not long ago.

read more
EVs Explained range no text
EVs Explained

The secret to electric car range estimates—and why Tesla always scores big

Welcome to yet another lesson on what’s perhaps the biggest selling point on today’s crop of electric cars: EV range. Yes, everyone would love to have an EV that can keep pace with, if not outlast, their gasser companions on the open road, but what some may not know is that those big ol’ range numbers people use in their games of Top Trumps come from tests. Different tests. Not every EV is held to the same standard and, therefore, can produce wildly varying range numbers in real-world scenarios, oftentimes as a bid to earn the bigger number just to say they can.

Gasp! You mean an automaker can willingly choose a method of range testing if it means being able to advertise that they can wave a bigger stick, even if the product doesn’t necessarily yield the same results in practice? That’s obscene! They would never choose a less honest route just to fluff up their brand image, would they?

Ha! Well, yes. Yes, they can. And they have. Many electric cars have been recorded not to hit their original estimates, and only a few are noted to match or exceed. Tesla and, recently, Lucid have been accused of being the worst offenders in magazine range comparisons, and there’s angst out there regarding it. Enough for me to pen up this EVs Explained piece just to tell you all about the wonderfully riveting world of EV range testing. Don’t get too restless. Like an old compliance car, I won’t take you too far.

A white 2023 Kia Niro EV is seen driving through the city.
Image credit: Kia

One size fits some

Varying EV range tests have been a thing for some time. Such methodologies include America’s EPA, Europe’s Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), Europe’s now-obsolete and unrealistically optimistic New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and the controversially unrealistic China Light Duty Vehicle Test Cycle (CLTC).

On a recent press launch, I had the opportunity to discuss such varying test methods with Edmunds test editor, Reese Counts, who commented on his Mach-E long-term loaner’s range. And although it didn’t quite hit its EPA estimates, as he commented that almost no electric car does, he does enjoy that it was a very “real” range estimate and didn’t leave him feeling as though a buyer would be conned. As a youngin’ in this field, I asked him what he meant.

Each agency has slightly different testing practices, which already yield different numbers on just the window stickers alone. In America, automakers have a choice of two routes within the EPA’s own set of rules. Because of this, it’s become a clear trend for certain cars from certain brands to come closer to their estimates than others, while others are seemingly blatant lies, except they’re not actual lies. They’re just tested under optimal conditions that favor them. Frequently, it seems these test results can be too optimistic, as seen in some of these big-name magazine range tests, where some cars consistently leave egregious gaps, sometimes as big as 100 miles or more, between their as-tested range and their advertised estimate, like the Tesla Model 3 or Lucid Air in Motor Trend’s recent test.

Mustang Mach E in the snow
Image credit: Ford

“They don’t bullshit you,” summarizes Counts regarding automakers with comparatively uninspired range claims for cars that can at least come close in the hands of normal drivers on real roads. Then he recounts cars that willingly choose alternate tests to bolster the range numbers as yet another example of “overselling but underdelivering.”

“Their numbers rarely line up with each other and can also differ from real-world ranges because each organization has its own specific test procedures,” explains Jeremy Laukkonen in a tech explainer for Lifewire. Enough content exists on the internet to explain at least some of those in greater detail, but I’ll summarize them with key highlights as best as I can.

EPA vs. WLTP vs. CLTC range testing

Basically, all EV range tests involve strapping a car down to a dynamometer or dyno, a “rolling road” as they’re sometimes referred to and basically function as a treadmill for cars. The vehicles are then charged to full, left overnight, and run through various cycles to simulate city and highway driving until the batteries can’t power the car. The vehicle is then recharged and run again and again for many tests. EPA and WLTP function similarly but have a few slight twists to them to make their estimates vary.

There’s enough nuance and small details to spin each agency’s test methods off into their own article… which we may actually do at some point. But for now, here are quick, digestible breakdowns of each one.

For greater detail, please consult your doctor (this breakdown by InsideEVs) to see which EV range testing method is right for you (less of a load of crap, in your opinion).

EPA

EPA gives the automakers a choice of a “two-cycle” or “five-cycle” range test, which essentially just dictates how many times the car goes through testing cycles. More on those cycles in a bit, as those are what give us the bigger and smaller gaps in real-world range numbers. City test cycles are conducted for a hair over 11 minutes at a time with a top speed of 56 mph and an average speed of just over 21 mph. Highway test cycles are run for a bit over 10 minutes at an average speed of 48 mpg and a top speed of 60 mph. The combined range figure is estimated by weighing together the city and highway numbers, with city driving accounting for 55% of the score and highway driving for 45%. To further simulate the range-dropping factors of real-world environments, the range is then multiplied by 0.7 to lower it.

In 2008, the EPA added three more cycles an automaker can test for that would better indicate range in real-world conditions, including a 95-degree hot weather test with air-conditioning on, a 20-degree cold weather test, and a high-speed test. Again, the results of using these extra cycles are detailed in a section below, but first, let’s see how they do things across the pond.

WLTP

Like EPA, WLTP uses cycles to test vehicles, but they’re also broken down further into classes based on max speed and power-to-weight ratios. The higher the vehicle’s performance, the higher the test speeds, hence why a Model S Plaid won’t be held to entirely the same standard as, say, a Renault Twizy. A WLTP test will be broken down into Low, Medium, High, and Extra High sub-cycles and run for 30 minutes over 14.4 miles at an average speed of 31 mph and a top speed of over 81.

Unlike the EPA range tests, the lab temperature is static at 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and they do not add the 0.7 real-world multiplier to lower the final range numbers. This is partly why EPA numbers are typically lower than their WLTP counterparts. For instance, the combined range of the most frugal Mustang Mach-E in America is rated at 300 miles. Compare that European Mach-E estimates of up to 372. Want another? The refreshed Tesla Model 3 Highland Long Range has a range of 305 to 341 miles, depending on wheel choice, but WLTP estimates peg it between 390 and 421.

Ah yes, the Long Range’s range is indeed long.

CLTC

This is a China-exclusive measure that isn’t necessarily relevant to Western EV buyers unless you enjoy speculating and eyebrow-raising. Criticized as “pushing an EV down a hill in a vacuum,” this methodology has been panned for the same reason as the now-defunct NEDC by producing highly optimistic range figures that may not be anywhere near indicative of what a real-world owner may experience. Unless they apparently push their car down a hill in a vacuum.

This CLTC test is conducted at a constant cruise of 25 mph until the battery goes kaput and is then adjusted for weather, terrain, and other factors via data compiled from real Chinese drivers across its many regions. While yes, this very much plays into an electric car’s inherent lows-speed efficiency and is not quite representative of what Western-driven cars will see, it’s important to remember that this is a Chinese test for Chinese market cars, so EVs are held to a different standard for their own driving environments, which are often dense, slow, and without too much intercity travel on massive high-speed highways.

Two-cycle vs five-cycle range testing

EPA test cycles
Image credit: fueleconomy.gov

Okay. So, different regions in the world conduct varying range tests and score different figures. Alrighty then, but what about the rampant talk of some brands like Tesla and even Lucid having massive disparities between lab-brewed estimates and real-world numbers?

As Counts explained to me when talking Mach-E numbers, this widdles down to the number of test cycles an automaker chooses to use.

As mentioned, the EPA offers a simple way to test for city and highway ranges with a city and highway cycle. Most automakers opt for this two-cycle test, while a few, particularly smaller startups, opt for the five-cycle test, which, as you can imagine, tests the car over more cycles. As detailed in another InsideEVs piece, it’s not that these companies are conning anyone or cheating a system. They’re just using the options available to them to gain an advantage. Such an advantage yields them a higher number that, therefore, looks better to the press and consumers and puts these startups or anyone else who uses the five-cyle option on a pedestal.

Why is this? Simple.

More cycles let EV makers take advantage of a car’s low-speed efficiency since they’re obviously exerting less energy to move at slower speeds and are bolstered by goodies like regenerative braking. The additional test cycles reportedly also include “high-speed” or aggressive driving, hot weather with air conditioning, and cold weather tests, all of which are done at a low enough speed to work in an electric car’s favor. Cool beans, except when magazines and owners conduct their own independent tests, typically on highways and at far higher speeds than the EPA’s lab experiments. This means the range disparity is, well, to say “noticeable” would be an understatement. Still, this practice of extra low-speed tests is allowed by the EPA and is totally legal, even if it’s not exactly aligned with other automakers’ decisions and doesn’t perfectly convey real-world range results on American roads.

“Such variance. Much wow.”

In case this article, its more detailed source material, and the embedded videos haven’t engrained this into your head by now, there is a mindboggling, brain-jerking, head-spinning array of variance and inconsistencies involved in EV range testing and, by extension, MPGe testing. Not only do global agencies use different methods, but there are also different cycles and sub-cycles within these methods that all yield different results for different cars. On top of that, it doesn’t help that electric vehicles are politically and societally forced to be one of the fastest evolving niches of cars on the road today, with vehicles from several years ago being nearly unrecognizable from a technical perspective from electric cars produced today.

“EVs are one of the fastest-changing areas that we deal with in our laboratory just in terms of how fast this technology is moving,” says engineer, Jarrod Brown, in CNBC’s look at EPA EV testing. “If you look at a vehicle that we had in here even five years ago, a 2016 or 2017 electric vehicle looks almost completely different internally from what we’re seeing in vehicles coming in 2024.”

When testing for range and efficiency, automakers have different ways of recording data for certification, and their cars can all use power differently. One car may not allocate the same energy to running HVAC systems as another, or they may intake and exert electricity to propel the car differently, and so on.

“Every manufacturer kind of has their own way of reporting data on where the power is coming into and going out of the vehicle,” Brown continues regarding the complexity of EV power distribution. “How it’s moving around between the motors and the batteries, or if it’s doing things like regenerative braking, or strategies about how power goes to the heating and cooling system versus how to keep the battery at the right temperature.”

The EPA system, with its many cycles, strives and often succeeds to at least come closest to what consumers can see on their commutes. But this level of added complexity and nonstop evolution may have the current ways of lining up their rulers all tripped up and out of spec. Many critics agree that modern EVs have well outgrown their archaic methods and that a new wave of standardization must come in order to bring realism and uniformity to electric car efficient measuring.

And if the word is true, change is indeed coming. One popular suggested method is providing city and highway range estimates like how the EPA already does for MPG and MPGe instead of weighing together the two for an average number. That way, consumers know what their best and worst-case scenarios are and don’t take a singular number as the definitive range their cars will always achieve.

Class dismissed

Did I lose you yet? Summary time!

The world has its many ways to measure range, all of which controversially lack a resemblance to real-world range tests, an issue which can be attributed to a variety of reasons, such as different test lengths and speeds, varying methods of averaging out final numbers, or even a lack of air resistance being in a lab strapped to a giant automotive treadmill. Europe currently has WLTP, China has CLTC, and America has the EPA, the latter of which offers a two and five-cycle test for automakers to run their EVs through.

Tesla EVs Explained range
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

A two-cycle test is a fairly basic test with cycles to simulate city and highway driving. The longer optional five-cycle test introduces high-speed, air-con, and cold tests conducted at fairly low-ish speeds, which works in favor of EV manufacturers since electric cars are incredibly efficient in urban use and deliver the best mileage at slower speeds. This, along with a final range number that favors 55% city and 45% highway driving, makes the five-cycle incredibly alluring to startups like Tesla and Lucid, who claim the biggest numbers in the game yet tend to show the biggest disparity in real-world range come independent tests, which are often done at higher speeds over mostly highway. And while it doesn’t deliver the prettiest, most headline-worthy figures, other automakers opt for the simpler two-cycle test as it yields the more realistic final number that is then more likely to be met by actual owners or at least have come close to.

So go forth and stay educated! And remember this one big takeaway: Like gas mileage, EV range can vary greatly. Everything from weather, road conditions, speed, and HVAC usage can affect your range, and, like these many different magazines, your own electric car’s range may be different from what any agency or even another owner gets. Your driving style may yield a 10-mile range disparity or a 100-mile one. Who knows? Just know that whatever car you buy, whether from some big-name legacy automaker or a fancy-schmancy startup, take those window sticker estimates with a grain of salt.

read more
The Tesla Semi, Tesla Roadster 2.0, Tesla Model 2 and Tesla CyberTruck
News

Every new Tesla (supposedly) coming in 2024, 2025, and beyond

(Editor’s note: updated 2/8/2024)

Tesla, the American automaker owned by electronic musician Grimes’ on-again-of-again “situationship” Elon Musk, continues to be one of the most popular and ubiquitous electric vehicles on the road. Despite the bad press surrounding the erstwhile richest man in the world’s stewardship over X (formerly known as Twitter), the enthusiasm for new (and used) Tesla electric vehicles remains high – and not just among Musk fanboys, as one might assume.

Elon Musk greets his fans at an event.
Elon Musk in happier times. Credit: AP/Andrej Sokolow

Since becoming one of the pioneering electric-only car companies, Tesla has had its fair share of controversies, blow-ups (both literal and figurative), and general bad vibes. The quintessential example of the adage “no such thing as bad press,” Tesla’s engineers are known for setting the pace within the industry (for better or worse) and the end result has been consistently impressive – with sales to match.

Chart credit: Statista

The Tesla landscape in 2023

If you’re thinking about going all-in on Mr. Musk’s latest mystery machines, some patience might pay off in the long run. Tesla continues to cut the MSRP for its cars, with further reductions expected following yet another earnings miss and waning investor confidence. Otherwise, you can find a used Tesla for less than the price of a base Nissan Altima, especially the Model 3.

For some bleak outsider comedy, the transcripts from the earnings call are out there – and they feature moments like this one that prove Elon totally knows what pennies are and also definitely watched Game of Thrones.

It’s like Game of Thrones but pennies. I mean, first approximation, if you’ve got a $40,000 car, and roughly 10,000 items in that car, that means each thing, on average, costs $4. So, in order to get the cost down, say, by 10%, you have to get $0.40 out of each part on average. It is a game of pennies.

Elon Musk – Tesla Q3 2023 Earnings Call

What’s next for Tesla in 2024 and beyond?

Now that we’ve got that all out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff. As mentioned above, Tesla continues to innovate in the electric vehicle space. The American automaker’s upcoming roadmap includes a production fleet of Tesla Semi trucks, a refreshed Roadster 2.0, the diminutive Model 2 (or Baby), and, of course, the elephant-colored chunk of metal in the room – the Cybertruck.

Four of Tesla's upcoming electric vehicles, the Tesla Semi, The Tesla Roadster 2.0, the Tesla Model 2, and the Tesla Cybertruck.
Clockwise from top left: Tesla Semi, Tesla Roadster 2.0, Tesla Model 2, and Tesla Cybertruck (image: Acceleramota)

There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s start with the long-promised reboot of the electric car that put Tesla on the map: the Roadster.

Cybertruck (SURPRISINGLY, IT’S FINALLY HERE)

Let me start this section with an apology.

If you follow me on Twitter or know me IRL, you’ve probably heard me make fun of the Cybertruck. Maybe you’ve seen me make fun of the way it looks, or the door panels don’t align, or how it couldn’t jump a small curb in “off-road mode”, or how its basic design flaws were costing the company untold millions. You definitely would’ve seen me make fun of the time he revealed the Cybertruck to investors by smashing its supposedly unbreakable window with a rock.

Welp. Against many people’s negative outlook, the Cybertruck is finally here for U.S. orders in 2024. And that’s despite the testing hiccups that have occurred over this truck’s gestation period. The prototypes were breaking down like crazy, and the model year was pushed to 2025. It certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence that Elon Musk is saying things like “[Tesla] dug our own grave with the Cybertruck” on investor calls.

So yeah, there’s been a lot to make fun of with the Telsa Cybertruck, but this past week Elon completely redeemed himself. Oh no, I’m still joking, all he did was shoot it with a danged Tommy Gun – surely this will make the Cybertruck the #1 choice of getaway vehicle for old-timey scofflaws, rascals, and ne’er-do-wells.

There isn’t really much else to say about the Tesla Cybertruck that hasn’t already been said. At the moment of writing, Tesla is claiming a production run that’ll start in 2024, but even long-time fans are starting to lose faith. As a recent post on r/RealTesla (the Subreddit for Tesla drivers who haven’t “drank the Elon-Ade”) calls out:

While I have little faith in humanity left, surely nobody is going to actually buy a CyberTruck, right?

I just can’t imagine the shame.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be “that guy”?

Would you confuse all the smirking attention for admiration? I can’t get my head around the mental gymnastics it would take to buy, own and drive one.

Additionally, can you imagine the type of person who would buy one? Like, just think about it for a second. It’s horrible!

u/St3fanz on r/RealTesla
Concept art of the stainless steel Tesla Cybertruck on a desert somewhere.
Image credit: Tesla

Tesla Cybertruck Info:

  • MSRP: $60,990 (Rear-Wheel Drive), $79,990 (All-Wheel Drive), $99,990 (Cyberbeast)
  • 0 to 60 mph: 6.5 seconds (single motor), 4.1 seconds (dual motor), 2.6 seconds (Cyberbeast)
  • Top speed: 130 mph
  • Weight: 6,843 pounds
  • Towing: 7,500 lbs (Rear-Wheel Drive) 11,000 lbs, (All-Wheel Drive), 11,000 lbs Cyberbeast)
  • Battery capacity: 123 kWh
  • Range: 250 mi (Rear-Wheel Drive), 340 mi (All-Wheel Drive), 320 mi (Cyberbeast)
  • Seating: 5 adults
  • Cargo volume: 120.9 cubic feet

Roadster 2.0 (maybe?)

When the original Tesla Roadster was announced for production in 2008, the upstart carmaker’s first release boasted some eye-popping stats. The sleek, futuristic design felt right for the advanced electric motor hidden within that could accelerate from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Throughout its lifespan, the Roadster has seen MSRPs for competitive models balloon, making the 2009 edition’s $98,000 price tag seem quaint in comparison. The original run of Tesla Roadsters ended in 2012 despite the 2010 model being Elon’s daily driver of choice. Since getting blasted off into literal space on the back of a goddamn rocket, the O.G. Tesla hasn’t made many headlines, so a refresh shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Elon's red Tesla Roadster which was mounted to the Falcon Heavy Rocket and shot into outer space. You can see the earth placidly behind the car.
“Elon’s Roadster” mounted on the Falcon Heavy Rocket (Credit: Wikipedia)

While official details are hard to find, it’s clear that the new model of the Tesla Roadster will pick up where version one left off. It will be sleek, it will be stylish, it will be full of next-level tech, it will be fast, and you’d better believe your ass that it is going to be expensive. The Tesla Roadster is not an entry-level electric vehicle and we can’t wait to see how it compares to the original. Unfortunately, for now, all we can do is poke around the internet for some concept art and dream of yet another high-performance vehicle we simply cannot afford.

Concept art of the Tesla Roadster 2.0
Image credit: Tesla

Tesla Roadster 2.0 info:

  • Expected model year: 2026
  • Expected MSRP: $200,000 (Founder’s edition: $250,000)
  • Expected 0 to 60 mph: 1.9 seconds
  • Expected top speed: 250mph (403 kmh)
  • Expected battery capacity: 200 kWh
  • Expected battery range: 620 mi (998km)

Tesla Model 2 (Q/C)

When it comes to more practical electric vehicles in the works from Tesla, the Model 2 absolutely has the Cybertruck beat – but basically every EV available has the Cybertruck beat. Sometimes referred to as the Model Q or the Model C by the Tesla nerds who hopefully won’t find this article and “punish” me by clicking on it angrily (and repeatedly), the Tesla Model 2 promises to be a smaller, more futuristic hatchback.

Tesla Model 2 teaser rendering
Image credit: Tesla

Taking design cues from both the popular Model Y and (apparently) [sigh] The Cybertruck, the Model 2’s real headline will be its price. In early teases about the new model, it appears the automaker is targeting a $25,000 MSRP for the base-level edition. Very little is known about the Tesla Model 2/Q/C, but we’ll be sure to update this page as soon as more information becomes available.

Tesla Model 2/Q/C Specs

  • Expected model year: 2025
  • Expected MSRP: $25,000
  • Expected 0 to 60: 5 seconds
  • Expected top speed: 120mph (193 kmh)
  • Expected battery capacity: 75 kWh
  • Expected battery range: 279 miles (single motor)

Tesla Semi

Concept art of the "New Tesla Semi" semi truck.
Tesla Semi concept art (Credit: Tesla)

The Tesla Semi truck was called “badass” when the company announced it way back in 2017 and while the aggressively futuristic freight vehicle has impressed in the abstract, the rollout has been a bit of a mess. Musk’s notoriously dodgy PR is at least partially to blame for the confusion, according to my new favorite website Freight Waves,

Trucks in the United States are allowed to weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds, including the tractor, the trailer and everything you’re fitting inside. Electric trucks, like the Semi, are allowed to weigh 82,000 pounds. Companies typically want to haul as much as they can in a single truck, so getting close to that 80,000-pound limit is ideal.

However, Tesla, which did not respond to a press inquiry, has not released information on how much the truck actually weighs.

That limits what the Semi is able to haul, and for how long. Right now, snack and beverage behemoth PepsiCo is the only company to have received its Tesla Semis. It has three dozen electric big rigs servicing two California warehouses.

From one base in Modesto, California, 15 Tesla Semis are hauling Frito-Lay products up to 425 miles, according to a 2022 Reuters article. That means potato chips and other snack foods — a (literally) low-lift task. From another base in Sacramento, California, 31 Tesla Semis are hauling loads of soda. It’s a much heavier load, but these trips are around 100 miles, per Reuters. 

That would make the Tesla Semi a less versatile truck than a traditional option, where you know what it weighs and how long a distance it can handle. When communicating to a commercial audience, it’s crucial to include those details.

Rachel Premack – Freight Waves

Most recently, the Tesla Semis that have been put into use had a major safety recall after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered the electric trucks could “fail to move into the park position when the parking brake is activated,” which is kind of an important thing for a 30,000+ lb truck to be able to do.

New Tesla electric semi trucks parked at the Pepsi plant in Sacramento.
Image credit: PepsiCo
  • Expected model year: 2025
  • Expected MSRP: $250,000+
  • Expected battery capacity: 950 kWh
  • Expected 0 to 60: 20 seconds
  • Expected maximum gross combined weight: 82,000 lbs
  • Expected battery range: 300-500 mi

FAQs

So, there we have it, every new vehicle Tesla claims will be released in the next few years. We’ll keep this page updated when more details come in, but candidly I would not be surprised if at least one of these models fails to materialize before 2030. Maybe I’m being a pessimist, but then I look at the Cybertruck and I know deep in my soul I am right.

When will Tesla release the Tesla Roadster 2.0?

The Second-Generation Tesla Roadster was teased in 2017, but hard details are difficult to find. At the time of publication, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is rumored to be part of the 2026 model year.

When will Tesla release the Tesla Model 2/Q/C?

While Tesla has been teasing it for a while now, details about the hatchback Tesla Model 2 (also known as the Model Q or Model C) are scarce. This entry-level electric vehicle will have an MSRP of around $25,000 and could be part of the 2026 model year.

When will Tesla release the Tesla Semi Truck?

A fleet of Tesla Semi Trucks was delivered to PepsiCo in Sacramento, CA late last year, but the production model has not yet surfaced. Based on the relative lack of updates, we’re anticipating more information in 2024 and beyond.

read more
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Quarter View
Best CarsFeaturesNew Car ReviewsQuick Take Reviews

These are the best EVs we’ve driven for 2024

The number of new electric models is exploding, but like gas vehicles, some are great and others leave something to be desired. We’ve had a chance to drive several of the year’s best EVs and have come up with a list of the best electric models we’ve driven so far this year! Do any of these fine science projects on wheels tickle your fancy?

We’ll update this list as the year goes on and we get our hands on newer vehicles, but let’s get rolling to see our current favorites.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Ioniq 5 charging
Image: Hyundai

Starting price: $41,650

Horsepower: 168 to 320 hp

Torque: 258 to 446 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 99 to 114 mpge

Battery Capacity: 58 to 77.4 kWh

Range: 220 to 303 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Top Safety Pick +

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 combines retro-futuristic styling with advanced driver aids and smooth, silent acceleration. It operates on an 800V electrical architecture, enabling blazing-fast charging, and it can travel up to 303 miles on a charge in its most generous configuration. While all-wheel drive is available, the most efficient and longest-range models are those with rear-wheel drive. The Ioniq 5 has a smooth ride and refined operation, and while it’s not the most powerful or exciting EV on the market, it’s certainly tuned for comfort and delivers on that promise.

Hyundai’s tech isn’t as fancy or flashy as others, but it gets the job done and makes interacting with the vehicle a pleasure. The EV comes standard with a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD radio, SiriusXM, and more. Additionally, the Ioniq 5 earned a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS in 2023.

Kia EV6

Kia EV6 rear quarter on display
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Alexander Migl

Starting price: $42,600

Horsepower: 167 to 576 hp

Torque: 258 to 545 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 83 to 117 mpge

Battery Capacity: 58 to 77.4 kWh

Range: 218 to 310 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? No

The Kia EV6 shares a platform and much of its underlying technology with the Hyundai Ioniq 5, though it presents unique styling and a hotter performance variant in the EV6 GT. The 800V architecture it features enables a 10 to 80 percent charge in as few as 18 minutes using the fastest chargers available. All configurations offer healthy acceleration, but the EV6 GT’s prowess rivals that of some supercars. At the same time, the SUV has engaging handling and can hold its own in corners. It’s a little tightly wound, but most will find the ride quality agreeable. 

Psst. To any speed junkies here, note it’s the only Korean EV available with that hotted-up, sports car-fighting powertrain option. Or at least it is until Hyundai drops the Ioniq 5 N on our shores. But until then, it’s an EV6 GT or bust!

Like Hyundai, Kia focuses on functionality over flashiness in its infotainment systems. It also offers two 12.3-inch screens, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 14 speakers, wireless charging, navigation, and more. It earned a Top Safety Pick in 2022, but the IIHS hasn’t yet smashed it in the newer, tougher side-crash tests.

Ford F-150 Lightning

F-150 Lightning in the dirt
Image: Ford

Starting price: $49,995

Horsepower: 452 to 580 hp

Torque: 775 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 66 to 70 mpge

Battery Capacity: 98 to 131 kWh

Range: 230 to 320 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? No

Ford wasn’t the first to market with an electric pickup, but it hit the market hard with the F-150 Lightning — a normal-looking, full-sized truck that is surprisingly capable and demonstrates decent range. Though it has raised prices and struggled to keep up with demand, Ford configured the truck to be as familiar as possible for everyday buyers, and the Lightning delivers on that goal. It offers fantastic interior space and comfort and plenty of available tech – including BlueCruise hands-free driving. Though its range extends to 320 miles, towing and hauling heavy loads has an outsized impact on the distance it can travel, but 66 to 70 mpge combined is still pretty darn good for what it is.

Ford’s excellent Sync infotainment system runs on a 12-inch touchscreen, and the truck comes standard with a 12-inch digital gauge cluster. Buyers can upgrade to a massive 15.5-inch display, and other options include wireless charging, HD radio, and SiriusXM radio. Though it missed out on a Top Safety Pick, the Lightning comes standard with a load of advanced safety kit, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane keep assist, and more.

All said and done, it’s a fairly well-equipped and heavy-hitting product, even if it can get egregiously priced near the top of its trim levels. And sure. Although, it’s clearly not ideally sized for urban environments, don’t let a little girth deter you from an otherwise compelling product, especially if utility is a huge plus for you.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

Mercedes EQS quarter view
Image: Mercedes-Benz

Starting price: $104,400

Horsepower: 355 to 649 hp (751 hp w/ boost)

Torque: 417 to 700 lb-ft. (752 lb-ft. w/ boost)

Combined MPGe: 76-96 mpge

Battery Capacity: 108.4 kWh

Range: 280 to 352 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet tested

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is a flagship electric sedan from the luxury brand that offers futuristic tech, striking style, and an available AMG variant with breathtaking performance. No matter the powertrain choice, the car carries itself with authority and composure. It remains comfortable over various road surfaces and is surprisingly capable in the corners. At the same time, the interior remains quiet, and the car feels like an S-Class Mercedes at all times.

Mercedes offers a serious array of tech in the EQS, including standard 64-color ambient interior lighting and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Though optional before, the expansive Hyperscreen system now comes standard, bringing a 17.7-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch passenger display. The EQS comes standard with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward and rear automatic braking, and more.

Nissan Ariya

Nissan Ariya Front Fascia
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Kazya Kuruma

Starting price: $43,190

Horsepower: 214 to 389 hp

Torque: 221 to 442 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 87 to 101 mpge

Battery Capacity: 63 to 84 kWh

Range: 205 to 304 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Top Safety Pick +

Nissan had delays with its new EV, the Ariya, but it landed in 2023 with a decent range and impressive horsepower. Acceleration feels solid, though the front-wheel drive model takes more than seven seconds to reach 60 mph. The all-wheel drive configuration is considerably quicker, making the run in 5.5 seconds, and the SUV manages itself well on the road. Braking and steering are confidence-inspiring, and the Ariya holds its own in the corners.

Nissan equips the Ariya with a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen running wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Wi-Fi hotspot, HD radio, Amazon Alexa capability, and much more also come standard. The Ariya has a solid list of standard safety equipment, though the IIHS hasn’t tested it yet. It’s equipped with blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, lane departure warnings, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and driver attention warnings.

Genesis Electrified G80

Genesis Electrified G80
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Damian Oh

Starting price: $79,825

Horsepower: 365

Torque: 516 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 97 mpge

Battery Capacity: 87.2 kWh

Range: 282 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet evaluated under new criteria

Genesis took a tried-and-true approach with the Electrified G80, fitting batteries and an electric motor to the gas model’s body. The results are impressive: 365 horsepower, 282 miles of range, and all the luxury ride quality anyone could want. The car retains its flagship sedan feel, and the silent electric drivetrain offers strong acceleration and smooth operation. It’s not the most agile option around, but the car’s extreme level of comfort is a substantial consolation prize.

The Electrified G80 gets a 14.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 12 speakers, dual-zone automatic climate controls, a digital gauge cluster, and USB inputs. A 12.3-inch gauge cluster is available, along with wireless charging and an upgraded Lexicon audio system. The Electrified G80 earned a Top Safety Pick + in 2022 but hasn’t been subjected to the new, more intense side-crash tests. 

Cadillac Lyriq

Cadillac LYRIQ on China roads
Image: Wikimedia Commons, Dinkun Chen

Starting price: $58,590

Horsepower: 340 to 500 hp

Torque: 325 to 450 lb-ft.

Combined MPGe: 89 mpge

Battery Capacity: 102 kWh

Range: 307 to 314 miles

IIHS Top Safety Pick? Not yet tested

The Lyriq is Cadillac’s first EV, riding on GM’s advanced Ultium platform. And while not everyone on board Acceleramota seems to love it, there’s no denying what it has to offer GM fans. It offers up to 500 horsepower, and even the base configuration brings 340 ponies to the table. Acceleration isn’t exceptionally thrilling, but the SUV delivers refined power and good handling. It’s also every bit a Cadillac, bringing a smooth driving experience and a stable ride quality. The Lyriq’s one-pedal driving function works well, and standard braking feels solid.

The Lyriq’s dash is adorned with a massive array of screens, collectively spanning thirty-three inches, and equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, multiple USB ports, seven speakers, and more. Additionally, Cadillac includes ambient interior lighting, an AKG premium stereo, and a panoramic sunroof. Though it hasn’t been evaluated by the IIHS yet, the Lyriq comes standard with a vibrating safety alert seat, lane departure warnings, pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warnings.

read more
Teslas in winter
EVs ExplainedFeatures

Electric cars and winter: A guide to EV winter survival and how to drive in the winter

It’s cold. So cold. But life doesn’t stop in the cold, and neither does your EV. Winter weather can present unique obstacles for your electric vehicle that don’t often affect gas-engined ones, and you must know how to tackle them. So we compiled everything there is to know about EV winter survival!

Unlike combustion engines, batteries are indeed negatively affected by winter, or at least to a significantly greater extent. You also need to consider your charging habits and where you park your vehicle. And traction is something every car lover must understand when the roads get slippery. We’re not necessarily debunking EV myths here; we’re only providing straight facts on electric car performance (as well as general driving and car ownership tips) during winter. So, let’s dive in and ensure your EV is winter-ready!

Tesla model S winter
Image credit: Tesla

🚦Get ready, set, full disclosure! Some of the links powering our posts contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase, even if it’s not from the page we linked. Affiliate links are not always an endorsement of the product. To really help us keep our headlights shining to make more content like this, subscribe to the Acceleramota newsletter.

Maximizing range in cold weather

At temperatures below 32°F (freezing), battery chemistry functions all slow down, reducing how fast your battery can charge and discharge. Some battery compositions are more susceptible to degraded performance than others. At extremely low temperatures, the electrolyte can freeze, and your battery might be unable to discharge. Charging at low temperatures can also reduce your battery’s life span.

It’s important to note that battery pre-heating is common in electric vehicles, and most will not let you charge before the battery has heated sufficiently. Batteries also generate their heat when you drive. However, note that range may still take a hit as your energy consumption may rise with your reliance on climate controls and heating.

You will lose range. As little as 3% but can be as drastic as 25% to 30%. Whether you’re driving a Tesla or Audi E-Tron, any lithium battery loses range in weather below freezing. The degradation in performance should you find yourself with a nickel-metal battery or perhaps a dinosaur with a lead-acid one.

EV battery winter solutions

Some positive news is that there are solutions to improve your winter battery performance.

  •  Precondition your EV (arguably the most important thing!): Although your car will probably do this before charging, it can help to precondition your EV before this. You can do this using your vehicle’s app, smart home system, or even the car’s infotainment.
  • Park in a garage: Removing your electric car from complete cold weather exposure does help. Parking in a heated garage is an even better option. 
  •  Use a winter car cover: Parking outside is the only option for many people. If that’s you, a winter car cover is your best bet. Yes, more high-tech solutions are coming, but this can prevent your vehicle from freezing over and further reducing battery temperatures.
  •  Warm your EV while charging: Heating your seats and cabin is essential. Warm up while charging is the best way to do this without reducing range.

Winter tires (duh!)

Tesla side view tires
Image credit: Tesla

All-season vs all-weather tires

Winter tires are necessary for those in colder states, but there’s more to tires than just the rubber that meets the road.

All-season tires offer traction in light snow, and some top-tier offerings can fare far better than others, but they’re generally not usable for especially deep snow, ice, and below-freezing weather. Anything below 45°F means it’s time to switch to a more effective tire. 

All-weather tires are better than all-season tires if you live in states with freezing temperatures. Think of them as all-seasons with a marginally broader spread of talents. A more aggressive tread pattern means you get excellent traction in snow and no hydroplaning in melting conditions. The caveat is that these tires are noisier and don’t offer equal performance compared to summer tires. They’re also still not as good as snow tires in winter, and tread life is worse than all-season tires.

Studded vs. non-studded snow tires 

Let’s talk about the real deal. Snow tires are the ultimate winter tire for snow, ice, rain, and temperatures below freezing. The main issue is that these tires are unusable in hotter conditions, so you must switch them out in the summer.

Studded snow tires offer extra traction in icy conditions. The metal studs dig into the ice, are generally the safest option when the roads are icy, and can withstand extremely harsh winter conditions. Non-studded snow tires are just as usable for winter as studded snow tires, albeit with reduced traction when ice is on the road. Not all states allow studded snow tires, and some only allow rubber studs.

Winter tire maintenance

Not all winter tires are the same. On average, electric vehicles weigh more than gas cars, increasing tire wear, specifically during winter. Choose an extra load (XL) winter tire for your EV to prevent this.

Make sure to check your winter tire tread before setting off. A great way to do this is by using a quarter; it’s time to replace the tire If you see the top of George Washington’s head. Regularly checking your tire pressure in the winter is also vital because the air is denser, which lowers pressure. 

Mustang Mach E in the snow
Image credit: Ford

All-wheel drive

Power to the car, people. The basis of all-wheel drive is that it powers all four wheels. Four-wheel drive functions similarly with a different mechanism, but the gist is that you get more traction on slippery surfaces. Winter tires will improve the safety of your vehicle in the colder months; all-wheel drive is that additional step for surviving winter.

It’s important to note the power of AWD systems is significantly reduced without winter tires. Many AWD cars will not help you escape a jam if your vehicle gets stuck, nor will it help you stop and turn since there’s no traction from the ill-equipped tires. That is not to say it is entirely useless in winter, but don’t go out and buy an AWD car if you don’t already have one; winter tires will do just fine.

However! Should you fancy the extra driven wheels, consider the viable options below. Heck, we have pictures and videos of them doing this exact kind of driving.

No winter tires — no problem

Winter is coming! But sometimes, life happens, and winter tires are not an option. Thankfully, there are alternatives to help you get by if you can’t score a set of winter rubber or all-weathers, ones that can be totally transformative and still save your skin when it gets really nasty outside. Some of your options are:

Autosock snow socks are the perfect winter traction tool for sports cars and emergencies. These textile wheel covers pull over your wheels just like a sock. Super quick, super traction!

Snow chains are metal chains that attach to your wheels. It’s a tried and true solution; you can buy these as a fixed set instead of buying them yourself. Even though these are an effective solution for winter traction, snow chains can be quite challenging to install.

Anti-skid tendons are similar to snow chains but forgo the old-school metal for plastic. You could also opt for long-cable ties as they perform the same function.

How to drive in winter

So you’ve put your winter tires on and are ready to take off in your super quiet EV. Another critical point about driving in winter is the driving part. Winter brings a significant loss of tire traction, which is the resistance between your rubber and the road. Too much resistance and you lose speed; too little, you start to slide and lose control of the vehicle.

Here are some extra winter driving tips:

  • Keep your headlights on for improved visibility and to spot black ice easily.
  • Keep your wipers elevated when parked so they don’t freeze to the glass
  •  Increase your following distance to a minimum of five seconds.
  •  Brake more gradually and accelerate gently.
  •  If you hit black ice, take your foot off the gas pedal, steer toward the spin until you regain traction, and do not slam on the brakes. If you find your EV’s brake regen to be quite aggressive, consider dialing it to a Medium or Low setting if it’s adjustable.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 N winter driving
Image credit: Hyundai

Surviving a winter emergency

Let’s discuss what you should keep in your emergency kit and what to do if you get stuck. And this goes for all of you, EV or ICE powertrains!

Don’t leave your car. The worst thing you can do is stumble into a winter storm and become stuck outside your vehicle. Run your car every ten minutes for heat, but (and here’s one for the ICE car owners we know are still reading this) crack the window for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Check for any snow that can clog your vehicle’s exhaust.

Keep a kit for emergencies. The National Weather Service recommends these items:

  • Flashlight and Extra Batteries
  •  Blankets/Sleeping Bag
  •  Extra Clothing
  •  First Aid Kit
  •  Non-perishable food like granola bars
  •  Kitty Litter for traction
  •  Snow Shovel
  •  Bottled Water
  •  Cell Phone & Charger
  •  Ice Scraper
  •  with Brush
  •  Booster Cables
  •  Flares/Triangles

Acceleramota recommends staying at home

Image credit: Toyota

The safest place during winter is your house. There are those situations where you have to venture out into the icy depths, but if you don’t need to travel, don’t go out! Winter expeditions are risky even if you take the correct precautions and drive safely. So stay inside where possible and cozy up for more Acceleramota!

read more
News

Ford has a two-year-old skunkworks team dedicated to EVs

Automakers have long established secret divisions to work out challenging engineering and design issues. Their efforts often turn out some of the most impressive performance models seen from those brands, but Ford’s new skunkworks division is wholly focused on something else.

Ford’s CEO told investors that the company created its skunkworks division two years ago with the goal of building next-generation affordable electric vehicles. Alan Clarke, a former Tesla engineer, is heading the efforts in his role as executive director of advanced EV development. 

Surprise, surprise. EVs haven’t been a golden egg-laying goose for Ford, which reported losses of $1.6 billion on its Model E division last year. The automaker announced a pullback on investments and expanding EV production efforts, but this announcement shows that it hasn’t abandoned the program. CEO Jim Farley said, “We made a bet in silence two years ago. We developed a super-talented skunkworks team to create a low-cost EV platform. It was a small group, small team, some of the best EV engineers in the world, and it was separate from the Ford mothership. It was a startup.”

The skunkworks team developed a platform that will be flexible enough to underpin a wide range of vehicle types. Farley also said the team’s work will support software and connected services, such as Ford’s commercial telematics systems. 

While this is an interesting development, it’s unlikely to yield any immediate products. The team is said to be working on Ford’s third-gen EVs, which would come after the electric truck and SUV we already know about. In the meantime, Ford will lean on hybrids, saying its sales climbed 20 percent last year with an expectation of another 40 percent increase in 2024. 

read more
Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
FeaturesNew Car Reviews

First Drive: The new 2024 Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is everything an electric van should be without the fanfare

Many companies, from established automakers to fresh upstarts, view the quandary of last-mile transportation as a business opportunity best solved by electric vehicles. And now, the big dog of van life has jumped into the fight: Mercedes-Benz with an electrified version of the popular Sprinter vans.

The obvious advantages of stop-start efficiency, low-speed torque, and compact drivetrain packaging make vans something of a perfect use case for electric utility. And not just to help Jeff Bezos earn another penny or two on every Amazon Prime one-day delivery, since mobile detailers, handymen, contractors running a handful of local projects, and even private buyers might view this new electric van as a solid solution. To show off the eSprinter’s capabilities and range, Mercedes-Benz recently invited select media out for a test drive around Southern California.

Skip to section:

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Price & specs

Base price:$71,886 (standard output)
As-tested price:$75,316 (high output)
Motor/battery choices:Single permanent magnet synchronous motor w/ 113 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery pack
Transmission choices:single-speed
Drivetrain choices:rear-wheel drive
Power:134 horsepower (standard), 201 horsepower (high output)
Torque:295 pound-feet (for up to 30 seconds)
Weight:6,746 lbs
Top speed:75 mph
10-80% fast charge time:42 mins (at 115kW)
MPGe:TBA
Range:approx. 273 miles

eSprinter exterior design

Other than branding on early vehicles that Mercedes-Benz brought to Newport Beach for media testing, the eSprinter flies under the radar next to ICE vans. And that’s kind of the point: avoiding any of the frill or futuristic styling that more consumer-focused EVs might prioritize to woo any early adopters unless that’s your jam like the Koreans would like to hope.

The big Benz logo on the front hides a charge port, so the eSprinter lacks a fuel filler door. But even the open grille allows airflow to support an impressive cooling management system that combines the drivetrain and climate control circuits to best maximize range and battery life cycles. Otherwise, the sliding side door, double rear doors, and high roof all create a familiar profile.

What’s hot?– Electric drivetrain is perfect for urban delivery or work vans
– Mercedes’ expertise and engineering at work
– Peppy and quick below about 50 mph
– Planted handling helps make this big van eminently easy to drive
– Just enough range for some freeway cruising

eSprinter pricing breakdown

A base eSprinter starts at $71,886 with a 113-kWh battery, a 170-inch wheelbase, and a 100-kW electric motor powering the rear wheels. The battery pack and exterior dimensions remain the same across the lineup, though an optional high-output 150-kilowatt motor bumps that sticker up to $75,316.

The rest of Benz’s planned options pricing remains something of a mystery. On other vehicles, the MBUX infotainment system typically runs between $1-2,000, but keep in mind the eSprinter’s version will include specific navigation software that takes into account traffic and charging stops, even elevation topography to better estimate potential range remaining. Other eSprinter options will include the choice of dual bucket seating layouts or different access configurations for the rear cargo area.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Mercedes will build the eSprinter at a plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, which may make government incentives and rebates possible for buyers in the right income bracket.

Pricing and destination, however, totals $2,295—not an insignificant number, and likely attributable to the eSprinter’s serious size.

eSprinter interior and tech

In something of a surprise, but one that also makes sense, the eSprinter’s interior can best be described as Spartan. Maybe the Benz logo suggests another rung up the luxury ladder versus Ford’s E-Transit, the eSprinter’s main competitor at this point, but the design hews more closely to the utilitarian ethos. Severely upright seats that require a choice between legroom or seat recline especially prove the point—for drivers jumping in and out constantly rather than taking long road trips, presumably, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

The steering wheel will look familiar to anyone who owns a Benz, but for construction workers or delivery drivers, getting used to haptic buttons will require an adjustment period. Whether the buttons can sense finger movement through work gloves also remains a mystery. Plenty of cupholders and room for central storage, at the very least, round out the compact front cabin.

In terms of tech, the optional MBUX gets those aforementioned EV-specific helpers, displaying range remaining, navigation, and drive modes in addition to the standard media screens. A perfectly serviceable, happily basic gauge cluster also provides a minimum and maximum range estimate, as well as displays for power output and regen, plus battery state of charge and speed. Using paddles on the steering wheel shifts between five different regen modes, from “D-” for the closest to one-pedal driving all the way to “D++” to allow for full coasting.

A variety of configurations for the front seats include dual buckets, a driver’s bucket, and a single passenger jumpseat with a narrow door to the rear cargo area in between, or a driver’s bucket with a double bench for two passengers—the latter requiring a solid wall blocking access to the cargo area.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

In the back, the eSprinter’s large canopy and compact electric drivetrain packaging allow for a 79.1-inch standing height at the center of the 173.6-inch-long bed. A variety of tie-downs and shelf mounting points dot the floor and walls, respectively. But in another surprise, the rear does not include any power outlets for powering tools or accessories. Benz reps on site in Newport suggested that upgrade will almost certainly arrive for later model years.

SUV: Sport Utility Van? Not quite…

For drivers accustomed to either gasoline or diesel-powered Sprinter vans, the eSprinter’s 201 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque might sound a bit underwhelming (and that’s the high output motor’s rating). But first things first, rest assured that the little e-motor does just fine. Low-end torque means that pulling off the line at a stoplight or stop sign requires just a bit of light toe into the go pedal (can’t call it “throttle” here). Though power dies off a bit from there, once wound up, the eSprinter accelerates most happily from about 30 to 50 miles an hour.

Note that Benz mounted a 440-pound box in the cargo area to allow journalists to mimic tools or packages for delivery. Meanwhile, the modular low-slung skateboard chassis (which all Benz vans will share starting in 2026) helps to prevent body roll and top lean much better than on ICE Sprinters. But that composure comes at a cost, mainly felt when harsh reverberations jolt up into the van while rolling over pitted road surfaces or speed bumps.

Still, the eSprinter is surprisingly easy to just get in and drive. At 92.3 inches wide without mirrors, the tall sidewalls squeeze through traffic without much concern for the overall 280-inch length, and the rear tires even track closely to the fronts thanks to a 170-inch wheelbase. Visibility sometimes presents a challenge, though large rearview mirrors and blind-spot monitoring help a ton.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Playing around with electric drive modes

Once accustomed to the sheer size and speed of the eSprinter, fiddling with the three drive modes came next. Starting in “Comfort” allows full access to every last horsepower and pound-foot of torque, but dropping into “Eco” or “Maximum Range” cuts max output to 100 and 80 kilowatts, respectively. The difference is immediately noticeable, especially at low speeds in Maximum Range mode where full “throttle” all day becomes necessary. In reality, does that then save range versus driving as economically as possible? Sounds like a game that employers can play with employees.

In each drive mode, the “+” and “-” paddles on the steering wheel can then toggle between five regen settings. With “D++” selected, the eSprinter coasts almost more smoothly than an ICE car, with zero engine braking. Three steps down to “D-” and the van almost approaches one-pedal driving, but not quite. 

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

For those eagle-eyed readers keeping track of their abacuses, D- to D++ only adds up to four regen settings—correct, because holding the + paddle also activates “D-Auto,” which allows the eSprinter to adjust regen based on the scenario to maximize range. The concept sounds good, taking the onus away from flawed or distracted humans, but in execution, D-Auto requires serious attention while used in traffic because the rate of regen changes from moment to moment.

The lack of one-pedal driving, meanwhile, makes a lot more sense within the context of last-mile deliveries. After all, if a driver in one-pedal mode comes to a stop without touching the brake, they might then forget to put the eSprinter in Park before hopping out and dropping off a package. Not ideal, from both logic and liability standpoints.

In Comfort mode with full power available, the eSprinter can get up to highway speeds just as fast as average traffic. The top speed of 75 miles per hour means employees don’t have to risk incurring their employer’s wrath after getting a speeding ticket, though reaching that pace creates a fair amount of wind noise within such an upright vehicle.

On other electric Benzes, reducing NVH clearly took far more of a priority during the development process. Not so for the eSprinter and that Spartan ethos. Even the leather seats seem fairly firm—though, in another surprise, also very well bolstered for a confirmed non-sports car. Maybe with all the climbing in and out, the seats will break in more, though the walled-off cargo area means that taller drivers definitely face a tough choice between knee room and back comfort.

Real-world range performance

Range performance clearly took a higher level of priority than M-B’s more standard silent and sumptuous interiors. And the eSprinter absolutely delivered over the course of 100-plus miles in traffic and on the highway around Newport, despite confirmed journalistic drag racing.

Part of the impressive range performance for such a large, aerodynamically inefficient van comes down to effectively managing the battery and inverter temps, so a nifty setup that combines the routing for coolant used in climate control and drivetrain components probably plays a big part in maintaining accurate range estimates.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Mercedes-Benz’s research indicates that the average delivery van travels much less than 100 miles per load anyway, so the eSprinter’s claimed ability to drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on a single charge should do the trick just fine. But a few shortcomings do arrive due to the electric drivetrain, as well. Mostly a significantly reduced payload compared to ICE Sprinters, officially rated at 2,624 pounds or less than half of a gas or diesel van. The lower number stems from the batteries making up more of the official Gross Vehicular Weight Rating, though if the batteries actually weigh 1,007 pounds as Benz claims, the math doesn’t quite add up.

A few other practical questions arose in Newport, too, in addition to the payload and whether haptic steering wheel buttons can sense work gloves. No, Benz currently has no plans to build an all-wheel-drive dual-motor eSprinter. Outlets in the rear will almost certainly arrive later, as will a fully open cockpit and cargo layout with no wall divider behind the seats. 

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

And most importantly for a company running eSprinters as delivery vans: charge times. Benz claims the eSprinter can manage a 10-80% charge in 42 minutes, which falls in line with the large battery pack. The lithium-iron phosphate battery itself also uses zero cobalt or nickel to help reduce the environmental impact of mining rare-earth minerals.

And yet, the eSprinter maxes out at only 115-kW charge speeds, so the best fast charging stations will need to throttle back. That’s a bummer because two drivers working together can probably pack in another load of boxes and reach the max payload faster than the van can top up on electrons. Presumably, the guesstimated drive routes under 100 miles for each delivery run fit into this equation, as well.

What’s not?– Not particularly comfortable seats
– Needs 120-volt outlet(s) capacity in the cargo area
– No all-wheel-drive version in the works
– No wide open layout so far

Built to satisfy very specific use cases

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

In many ways, the eSprinter seems catered to very precise use cases rather than satisfying the full gamut of the van market, from utilitarian delivery spec to uber-expensive overlander platform. But the electric drivetrain kind of cancels out camping or overlanding as a market segment, anyway. 

Without a doubt, the few production-line vans in Newport showed all the quality expected from Mercedes-Benz, and pricing seems just about right for the commercial buyer. More refinement, increased range, and more configurations will almost certainly arrive in years to come. But for now, Benz clearly waited this long to make their first step into the electric van game a strong one.

read more
Sony x Honda AFEELA CES booth
EventsFeaturesNews

CES 2024 recap: New cars, concepts, and other automotive tech at the show

CES 2024 has fallen upon Las Vegas, drawing an international audience to come and see all the latest and greatest in techy goodness and electronic nerdery. Nowadays, much of that includes cars and mobility, especially as the former evolves more into supercomputers with every passing day and as the latter becomes a growing concern in a densely populated world. Poised as the next great car show for its showcase of future tech and mobility solutions, we owe CES our attention as motorists to see just what it has to offer us, and we’re happy to report CES 2024 didn’t disappoint. In fact, we’re actually quite bummed we didn’t take it that seriously if we’re being honest!

But we made it. We covered it. We shot it on our socials and on camera. So here’s our round-up of all the innovative future rides on display at CES, including some of the pens we unfortunately missed–and I’ll say this again: they really got to put up more signs in more places. I couldn’t find squat half the time!

Sony Honda Mobility Afeela – New ADAS and specs announced

Ah, how refreshing it is to see a fancy new EV launch with relatively normal styling inside and out. The Afeela is as relatable and familiar as it is innovative and cutting-edge, and that’s why this is arguably the biggest star of CES 2024. The lovechild of Sony and Honda, the Afeela is poised to be one of the market’s hottest new EVs when it launches next year.

The Afeela isn’t totally a new thing, as it’s been circulating around headlines and internet discussions since its debut at last year’s CES. But now, the car takes the stage once again, sporting some updated tech and a fresh laundry list of specs. Boilerplate items? How about standard dual motor AWD with a 241-horsepower motor on each axle (combined output TBA)? Or what about a comprehensive ADAS system backed by lidar, radar, and cameras for added safety and better visualization of its environment in a variety of conditions?

On top of all that, go back to the styling and just look at it. The Afeela is a beauty, which is ironic, given how smooth and plain it is. But in an age where it seems companies try too hard to stand out with their design languages, it’s the Afeela’s inoffensiveness that makes it one of the more visually attractive choices.

(link will open in same tab)

XPENG AeroHT eVTOL Flying Car – The mobility solution for those whose net worths are measured in billions

Riiight. Because this will solve all of our problems. But man, it sure is cool!

If anyone remembers XPENG from that one earnable car from the Forza Horizon 5 playlists, well, they also built this in 2022, and it’s been making rounds around the world ever since. Go figure. With zero attempts at subtlety, this is exactly what it looks like: a freaking flying car… literally called “Flying Car.” 

Designed and built from XPENG’s AeroHT spin-off, it’s merely another one of their efforts at normalizing flight as an optional mode of transportation. Among other offerings include the X2 and X1 eVTOLS. However, the Flying Car differs by serving a dual purpose as a semi-practical supercar for shuttling oneself from the mansion to the country club before deploying the retractable quad rotors and departing for the office in the city.

Will it be a practical mobility solution should they ever put this into mass production? Ha. Not for us, it’s not.

VinFast Wild Concept – Vietnam’s take on cyberpunk Americarna

“Get in, choom. We’re going mud-bogging. Sound nova to you?”

Okay, so no one is really going mudding in an electric mid-size pickup, but the VinFast Wild Concept certainly looks the part. Bulging body lines and squared-off edges scream macho pickup, and the large wheels with all-terrain tires carry implications that it’s ready for overlanding excursions (within its range, of course). It’s mid-size, too. This means you waste no less space on the road as a Tacoma, Ranger, or Colorado

However, this is merely a concept and a vision of what to expect from a VinFast entry, so certain things definitely did not scream production-ready. There were no visible backup cameras or parking sensors. The seats were bolstered aggressively in a way you’d usually only see at Tokyo Auto Salon. And the pillarless suicide doors, while incredibly fun to adore, seemed a bit far-fetched for a company that prides itself on affordable, accessible EVs.

Should the Wild make it to production, expect it to challenge the lower tungs of Fisker Alaska and Rivian R1T, with anywhere between 230 to 321 miles as those trucks do. Dual motor all-wheel drive ought to be standard, as will street and off-road-oriented packages. If anything, don’t be surprised if production variants just rehash powertrains from the VF8 and VF9.

The next big question is: Will the Wild rectify the VinFast’s past controversies and missteps or perpetuate them?

(link will open in same tab)

Volkswagen ID.7 and Mk8 Golf GTI – ChatGPT voice commands

I’m not quite sure how to feel about this, really. On one hand, the kid in me thinks, “Wow, cool gizmos! Just like the sci-fi movies.” On the other hand, the cynical adult thinks, “Is that it? Is that really it? Alright then.” But who cares what I think because this entry will certainly enthrall legions of consumers all over the world, regardless if it serves them any practical use or not.

Partnered with Cerence, Volkswagen delivers ChatGPT-based voice controls for most of their ID electric cars, as well as the Golf, Tiguan, and Passat. That’s right. Volkswagen storms onto the scene at CES 2024 with… an AI chatbot-based voice command system for most of their future cars. Not the most groundbreaking thing at this year’s show, but whether you love or hate the idea, it’s certainly interesting enough to talk about it. 

As a traditional system does, you can use it to assist with infotainment functions and navigation, but the system can also be used to control in-car functions like the radio, climate controls, or ambient lighting. It can also be used to provide vehicle status updates, weather reports, general knowledge questions, assist with conversations, and more. Being an AI system, it could be capable of learning over time to better meet the needs of owners as their ownership tenure carries on, which one could infer from VW’s claims of its “continuously expanding abilities.”

Cool or gimmick? I’ll let you decide. But one can easily call it a fun, innovative evolution of a familiar, age-old convenience feature. 

(link will open in same tab)

Kia PBV Prototypes – Mix n’ match electric vans

I can see the SEMA maniacs clamoring for one to slam on its battery pack and turn it into an art van or a parts runner for their shop. And you know what? They’d have a hell of a van to do it in. Say hello to Kia’s “Platform Beyond Vehicle” concepts and peek at what they intend to be a production line of modular, customizable urban haulers.

The idea is fairly simple, and it’s an idea hinted at in previous EV concepts from auto shows of years past. Take a skateboard EV platform and make it do many things. In Kia’s case, their idea of “many things” is having niche cargo and people movers with swappable bodies that can be changed to suit a variety of tasks, from handicap-accessible transport to taxis to moving goods for small businesses. The driver’s cab would remain mostly the same, but the space behind the driver can be interchangeable for whatever purpose. 

Kia aims to launch their Transit-sized PV5 in 2025, followed by the larger, extended-wheelbase PV7, and the diminutive PV1. The latter is unique, positioned as an autonomous grunt intended for finishing those last-mile stints to the final destination, complete with four-wheel steering and a crab-walking mode for maximum urban mobility.

Brilliant idea for Kia to possibly steal shares of the market from Rivian or whoever makes those new postal service vans, but one can only imagine the potential and practicality of a privately-owned PV5. Party van or camper, anyone?

(link will open in same tab)

Hyundai’s Ease The Way plan – Revitalizing interest in hydrogen cars 

Kia packed the van. Hyundai has the plan. 

Although Hyundai had little vehicular presence outside of an Ioniq demo car here and there, they still managed to make waves for their bold and optimistic plan to revitalize interest in hydrogen power as the first half of their Ease The Way plan. The latter half focuses on software and connectivity to improve mobility, but for the sake of not making this a whole essay, we’ll focus on their hydrogen game plan. 

Key boilerplate items for the hydrogen half? Deploy the means of generating hydrogen, not only from the traditional method of electrolysis but also through recycling waste. Any waste. From sewage slop to plastics and garbage. From there, they aim to build an abundance of regional hydrogen production and distribution plants around the world, including several across the United States and with Georgia plants already under construction. Such a move would give us the much-needed infrastructure boost to adopt more clean energy for not only our cities and homes but also our vehicles, as Hyundai was also eager to tease its upcoming NEXO fuel cell car, due in 2025, and mention its XCIENT fuel cell semi-trucks.

No, this CES announcement was not related to any specific car. But it is related to a clean, green future, where commuters can potentially fuel themselves on clean energy, and gearheads can feel a little less guilty about installing high-flow cats on their two-decade-old muscle car. So, hats off to Hyundai for reinvigorating interest in something other than your traditional battery electric vehicle. 

(link will open in same tab)

This gargantuan John Deere tractor thing – I got a little sidetracked

I don’t know why this was here. There was no panel or spec sheet anywhere detailing what it was or what new-fangled tech it was sporting. Apparently, John Deere was present to showcase autonomous farming equipment and remote-controlled tractors. But I didn’t know that at the time. My small ape brain sees big giant machine. My big monkey brain says climb inside of big giant machine.

To our agricultural trade workers who get to whip these suckers on a regular basis, I envy you. 

Honorable mentions we missed out on…

Honda 0 Series

Separate from the Sony Afeela collab, Honda launches their own headline-grabbing EV pucked straight from video game and sci-fi fantasies. Enter the 0 Series of EVs, wildly outlandish and alien-looking electric cars that Honda insists will enter production within the next few years. Seriously, these concepts look like they belong in Blade Runner

The Saloon flagship and the Space Hub minivan thingamajig are mere concepts, and it’s too early to hit anyone with any sort of range estimates, power figures, or powertrain details. Honda does promise superb aerodynamics, a new generation of ADAS, and great battery efficiency. We’re willing to bet a company like that could make it happen. Honda states that a production Saloon based on the concept should debut in 2026, so by then, perhaps we can expect 800V architecture and 400 miles of range as standard. Maybe. Expect the Space Hub to follow not long after.

In addition to these hot new concepts, Honda has also announced a simplified “H” logo for all EVs going forward, reminiscent of old Honda logos without the squared surround. Certainly, these cars can earn that callback to CVCCs of old if they turn out just as innovative today as that car was back then. 

(link will open in same tab)

Mercedes-Benz CLA Concept

Nothing too earth-shattering here, although it is exciting to see a legacy automaker like Mercedes dive into the realm of 800V architectures. This vision of a next-generation CLA-Class rides on a rear-drive, single-motor, 800V platform with faux-Maybach styling and a proposed 466-mile range. More specifically, it’s Mercedes Modular Architecture or MMA. Should such a vehicle make it into production with the same specs, it’d handily keep up with the very best in the market and blow most rival EVs way out of the water, all with the efficiency of an 800V system. 

The CLA Concept is not all that new, having debuted in the Fall of last year, but it’s nice to see it making rounds at auto and tech shows like CES. Following the lukewarm reception to the EQ family, something like a production CLA Concept could be just what Mercedes needs to launch the brand right towards the front of the pack for dependable, high-performing, far-driving luxury EVs. Perhaps this concept serves as a test bed for future EQs, which will reportedly upgrade to 800V architectures starting in 2025.

Indy Autonomous Challenge

AV-24 CES show car
Image credit: Indy Autonomous Challenge

For Sheilah, if she was a robot.

The Indy Autonomous Challenge is exactly what it sounds like. Take Indy cars, or scaled-down clones of them in this case, and tell them to drive themselves around a track and compete to see who’s the fastest Level-4-autonomous supercomputer. It’s a program for colleges to assemble teams of young brainiacs to see who can develop the fastest robo-racer AI.
CES 2024 marks the debut of a faster race car, the AV-24, complete with radar by Continental and lidar by Luminar, the same company that demoed their lidar systems on the Polestar 3 and AMG GT Black Series from our social media. And while it currently sits as a test bed for college students’ brains, it’d be a whimsical spectacle to see OEMs get in on the fun. After all, they say competition improves the breed.

read more
Kia PBV stock photo
News

CES 2024: The Kia PBV is the modular minivan of the future

Platform Beyond Vehicle — A perfect summation of Kia’s vision for this next generation of vehicles. The Kia PBV is positioned to be the single vehicle that meets most, if not all, your needs. A key line in the sand for sustainability, but is it even possible to build such a vehicle? Kia certainly hopes so.

Revealed at CES 2024, The Kia PBV concept is more than a single vehicle or platform. Kia wants to be the end-to-end “Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider” for businesses and consumers. The key idea behind the PBV is Modularity.

Life modules will allow you to extend and customize your vehicle for every purpose. Deliver your cargo in the morning and take your family camping in the evening. The tech is still behind closed doors, but Kia calls them “Easy Swap” life modules, secureable with mechanical couplings and electromagnets. A skateboard electric powertrain will have a fixed driver cab, and the rest of the vehicle will be hot-swappable.

Kia PV5 to launch first, followed by larger PV7 and tiny PV1

The Kia PV5 will be this platform’s first proof of concept with innovative and intuitive technology and will likely be the most commonly sold variant, being available in passenger and cargo van configurations. With the consumer model in mind, Perovskite solar roof cells will supply power to the vehicle and provide electricity along the rails for users to use immediately.

Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

The modular tile system allows you to change your seating and add a desk, lights, or other accessories. So you can face your friends for more intimate drives and fun or have your mobile hustle-station on hand when driving to the meeting. The steering wheel can be equipped with an iPad or Smartphone and put away for more front cabin space. For mobility-impaired people, a lift will place you perfectly in the vehicle with magic folding seats!

The Kia PV5’s high roof is designed with automated commerce in mind for more commercial use. Kia says it can accommodate multiple “cabinets”, essentially large boxes with items in them, enabling large-scale single-trip deliveries. Real-time management software can access delivery information at the touch of a button.

And your spunky little Kia PV1 completes the trip with automated last-mile delivery. Its active electromagnetic suspension allows up-and-down and tilt movement of the floor with 4-wheel steering and a crab-walking mode (like a baby Hummer EV).

The Kia PV5 will hit the market in 2025 with a pricing goal set around $35,000. The PV7, the larger, longer-wheelbase model, is expected in 2027, and the smaller PV1 soon after that. A robo-taxi and pickup are also potential additions to the lineup.

read more
VinFast VF Wild Concept
News

CES 2024: VinFast shows off the VF Wild electric pickup truck concept

VinFast has had ups and downs since coming to America, but the automaker finally appears to be eying an upward trajectory with its electric vehicles. It’s building a factory in North Carolina and will offer at least one new model by the end of this year. The company attended this year’s CES in Las Vegas and brought a previously unseen concept that it said could be available in the next two years.

The VF Wild pickup truck concept features seating for five and a unique midgate function similar to the setup seen in the new Chevrolet Silverado EV. We don’t have any other solid details yet, but the truck’s interior design is an adventure khaki-inspired acid trip that would be a radical departure from traditional truck styling if VinFast pushed it to production unchanged. That said, this is an early-stage concept, so it will most likely see updates on its way to the factory.

VinFast also announced the VF 3 electric microcar. The company considers it a “mini eSUV,” and said that the Vietnam-focused vehicle would enter production later this year. Surprisingly, the automaker confirmed that the car would come to the United States, where it would compete with Tesla’s upcoming small car and the future Chevrolet Bolt EV revival.

The Vietnamese company is set for significant growth in the States, as it plans to open 125 dealers in its first phase of expansion, with the first five openings in Kansas, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. It originally planned four crossovers for sale here but changed course to include the VF 3 after prospective dealers asked for the tiny car.

read more
1 2 4
Page 1 of 4