What Are the Benefits of Electric Cars?

For more than a century, gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles have dominated the roads. However, recent technology advancements in self-driving, battery range, and power electronics have leap-frogged electric cars ahead of their gas counterparts, making what has long felt like the future available to drive today. Now we have electric cars that are just as fast as petrol-powered cars, if not faster.

In fact, electric cars accelerate faster than gasoline vehicles since the induction motor of an EV pumps out instant power with no engine lag – instant torque! These high-performance cars can go zero to 60 in seconds, no problem. Not to mention, electric vehicles have better traction control and stability than a typical internal combustion engine vehicle, due to their low centers of gravity and weight from the battery packs, typically located underneath the vehicle. So bring on those winding roads and enjoy the drive!

It gets better; there are many benefits why you should drive an electric car. Let’s have a look.

 

Eco Benefits of Electric Cars

Think about this for a minute; the average mid-sized gasoline-powered vehicle emits about 19 pounds of carbon dioxide every time it burns a gallon of fuel. If you do the math, that is about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Keep in mind those are just the statistics for a mid-sized gasoline vehicle.

The air pollution can be so harmful that in some congested cities, gasoline and diesel vehicles are banned or restricted temporarily due to causing smog. DC, for example, has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and transport plays a significant role in accomplishing this.

Because electric vehicles have zero carbon exhaust emissions, that means it’s possible to prevent smog and improve air quality by driving electric cars. Bonus: Say goodbye to that annoying emissions test every couple of years – more on that later.

Besides that, you can take it a notch higher and use renewable energy like electricity produced using solar, hydropower, or wind to recharge your electric vehicle. Even the lithium-ion batteries can be shipped to recycling plants to be restored or improvised for lesser demanding tasks.

In the future, we will probably see more electric cars like Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, or Ford Focus Electric that are made using recycled materials. 

Whichever way you look at it, electric cars are environmentally friendly since they reduce pollution significantly.

 

Access to Advanced Technology & Safety Features

Most electric cars today come with the latest cutting edge technology and safety features. How advanced are we talking? Imagine you’re sick, and you can’t drive yourself to the hospital, but you got a Tesla Model S in your parking lot. It’s possible to summon your car using a smartphone, get inside, put your destination in the tab, and let it self-drive you to the hospital (you do need to keep your hands on the wheel, no sleeping!).

It’s not a joke anymore; we’re probably getting to the point where if you steal an electric vehicle, it will self-drive you to the nearest police station.

However, it’s not just Tesla electric vehicles that come with autonomous driving technology since most electric cars released in the past few years have semi-autonomous features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping. It’s much easier for electric cars to adapt to self-driving technology due to their electrical controls and fewer moving parts.

Outside of autonomous driving, electric vehicles feature the latest advanced technology such as overhead camera views, voice control, night vision, weather informatics, assist navigation routing, parking assistance, smartphone key, climate control, and AI infotainment system.

What’s more, you can preheat your electric car in winter and avoid scraping the windows in the morning. If you’re plugged into a charging point, you won’t need to draw power from the battery when heating your electric car overnight. You can even turn on the A/C through an app without starting the engine, something that you can’t do on most diesel and gasoline vehicles without draining the battery.  

 

HOV Access in Certain Areas

In some places such as Colorado, California, Maryland, Florida, Ontario, and British Columbia, EV drivers enjoy the privilege of driving in the HOV lane. This benefit is so helpful, many people who live in places with insane traffic congestion such as Los Angeles buy or lease electric vehicles just to use the HOV lane and evade the traffic.

It can be exhausting sitting in traffic for hours, but a pool lane can save you at least 30 minutes or more, especially during rush hours. Besides saving you time, HOV lanes are safer to drive, and at the end of your trip, your EV will consume less energy.

 

No Emissions Testing

Remember when Volkswagen was fined $2.8 billion for cheating on emission tests in the United States? That is just how serious emission tests are regulated, and there are dire consequences if you fail. For those driving ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles, it can cost an arm and a leg if you don’t pass an emission test.

It could be worse if you fail the emission test, and the DMV doesn’t register your vehicle. Sometimes even the repairs are not enough, and it would make sense to buy a new car rather than spend thousands of dollars trying to fix the problem. It sounds expensive, right?

Of course, since electric vehicles have zero exhaust emissions, you don’t need to go for mandatory emission testing. Even if you buy an old second-hand electric car, you don’t have to worry about harmful pollutants coming out of your exhaust system. It doesn’t happen!

 

No Oil Changes

What is the oil maintenance budget for an electric car? Zero! That is because you don’t need it. Unlike internal combustion vehicles, electric vehicles are engineered with very few moving parts, so they eliminate the necessity for oil changes, transmission servicing, tune-ups, and replacing the drive belts, spark plugs, and air filters.

Except for a few little things like rotating the tires, checking the tire pressure, occasionally topping up the windshield washer fluid, coolant, blinker fluid, and brake fluid, electric vehicles don’t require a lot of maintenance. In contrast, it won’t cost you more money than what you would spend maintaining regular gasoline or diesel engine vehicles.

Later, you will need to swap the batteries in the future, but most EV manufacturers have a warranty covering between 100,000 to 200,000 miles. Most likely, you won’t need to change the batteries for the next 8 or 10 years.

 

Premium Parking Spots

In most major cities, you can access premium parking close to the entrance of a mall, restaurant, office, or store where you can charge your electric vehicle. EV drivers can use apps such as PlugShare or OpenCharge, ChargePoint, and ChargeHub to find the nearest parking lots that accommodate electric vehicles.

The best part? Most public locations in the United States and Canada with plug-in charging outlets are free to charge. Did somebody say ‘not fair’? Well, you can’t say the same about internal combustion engines getting free gasoline or diesel.

However, it’s considered bad manners to park your EV in a public charging spot without connecting it. If you’re not charging, you should allow other EV drivers to plug in their vehicles. But if your battery is low, go ahead and take your time.

 

No Stopping for Gas

Back in the days, there was a significant oil shortage in the United States that caused the price of gas to skyrocket overnight, and drivers lining up for miles at the gas station. It happened back in 1973 to 1974, but there is a chance history could repeat itself. Such an inconvenience due to gas shortage and rations wouldn’t be possible if you’re driving an electric vehicle.

Even today, the price of oil can be unpredictable, and we’ve probably seen it a hundred times before when oil prices fluctuate.

Suffice to say, it’s easier to be self-sufficient using electricity, and its price doesn’t change that much compared to oil. Also, you can utilize solar panels at your home to produce your electricity and store it in a backup battery. You know, save it for a rainy day?

Beyond that, if you have installed a level 2 charging station at your residence, you can wake up to a fully charged electric vehicle every morning. No more waiting in line at the gas station.

 

Spend Less on Fuel

The money you spend on gas per mile is twice as much as what you would spend on electricity per mile. The difference is more prominent if you’re driving a vehicle with low miles per gallon consumption rate. Still not convinced? Let’s do the calculation.

If the current price of gas per gallon is $3 and your gasoline car has a mileage rating of 20 miles per gallon, that means you will spend 15 cents per mile. On the other hand, if your Tesla Model X has a 100kWh battery that can deliver 315 miles range, it will cost you about 4 cents per mile, considering the average price per kWh in the United States is 12 cents. 

But that’s not all; you probably won’t spend a dime if you’re sourcing electricity from solar panels installed at your home. All you would need is a constant supply of sunshine, and you’re good to drive for a few miles. Don’t forget, most public charging stations are free.

 

Potential Tax Incentives

When you buy an electric vehicle in the United States, there are tax incentives available of up to $7,500 (the amount can vary by manufacturer, see below). For instance, if you buy a BMW i3 and you owe $10,000 in income taxes, you will get a tax credit of $7,500, and the taxes you owe will go down to $2,500.

On the other hand, if you owe $5,000 to the IRS, your tax liability will be reduced to zero, but Uncle Sam won’t give you a $2,500 refund. Basically, if you owe less than the tax incentive amount, you will only get a tax reduction up to that amount you owe. Also, the remaining tax credit balance can’t be deducted when filing for next year’s taxes.

However, the $7,500 tax credit doesn’t apply to every electric vehicle since it depends on how many total EVs have been sold by the manufacturer. If a manufacturer sells more than 200,000 EVs, the federal government slowly phases out the tax credit within 12 months. Tesla has hit this threshold in 2020 and no longer qualifies for federal tax incentives, for example.

Despite that, a lot of electric vehicles on the market are still eligible for $7,500 tax incentives, and you should take advantage of that before it’s too late.

 

Conclusion

There’s never been a better time to drive an electric vehicle. Most electric cars nowadays can go more than 250 miles after a charge, and there are more than 50,000 charging points in the United States.

What else? Driving is more fun and relaxing when using one pedal and semi-autonomous technology. The torque is instant, and the power is smoother with no gearshifts. The engine doesn’t stutter, shake or vibrate, and it’s as quiet as a vacuum in space.

Other significant benefits of electric cars include not paying public parking fees in most eco-friendly cities and potential tax incentives. 

Above everything else, you will be doing the planet a favor by reducing your carbon footprint.

Ready to make the switch to electric? Get started with Steer today!

 

 

 

 

 

11 Tesla Features You (Probably) Didn’t Know About

You constantly hear about the dangers of cars, but how often do you hear about a vehicle saving a life?

 

Last week a newspaper in England reported, “Laurence Sanderson said he, his wife and three children, and the occupants of a second car coming in the opposite direction, would have ‘undoubtedly’ been killed by a falling 400-year-old oak tree – but in an extraordinary coincidence, both vehicles were self-driving Tesla Model X cars, which have automatic emergency brakes.” Both cars sensed the tree falling and stopped suddenly, so it landed on their hoods and missed the occupants, saving everyone’s lives. 

 

Automatic braking is just one feature that makes Tesla cars quite unlike any other. Given that Tesla’s are among the most popular vehicles in the Steer garage, we wanted to make sure our members are taking advantage of all the features and fun that Tesla’s come equipped with.

 

Let’s have a blast exploring 11 Tesla features that make driving them a different world from almost any other vehicle on the market. 

 

1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Tesla Model S a rating of 5.4 out of 5. 

 

The passenger cabins of Teslas are so safe that the story in the newspaper above may well have reported that the passengers would have been saved from the tree even it had landed on the cars’ roofs. Why? In the NHTSA test, their machine for testing objects falling on the Model S roof broke before it was able to crush the cabin! 

 

What this means for you is that these cars are incredibly safe, even when their electronics aren’t keeping an eye on you while you’re driving down the road. 

 

2. Ludicrous and Insane Mode

 

For some reason, Ludicrous Mode on the Model S P110D is even more insane than Insane Mode on the Model S P85D. 

 

Ludicrous Mode has the bipolar outcome of accelerating like a cat off a hot tin roof (2.5 seconds to 60 anyone?) yet can also extend the range of the car to over 300 miles on a charge – the first-ever electric car to manage this range. 

 

When it comes to acceleration, a Tesla in this Mode can line up next to a Ferrari or Lamborghini and put their foot down, leaving the gas guzzler struggling to even be on the same road, let alone keeping up!

 

Insane Mode on the Model S P85D takes advantage of the dual motors to get the car up to 60 in an impressive 3.5 seconds, blowing most other cars off the road when you put your foot down. Who says that electric cars are boring old trolleys when they can embarrass drivers in cars that cost ten times the price?

 

 

3. Full Self Driving (FSD)

 

The first thing to say about this is that you should always have your hands on the wheel and foot ready to jam on the brakes – while one of the most advanced self-driving systems on the road today, you can’t have a doze while it drives you everywhere! The car can sense whether your hands are on the driving wheel and will take measures to make you take control if you don’t, even slowing it down and putting on the hazard lights. 

 

However, it can get you over busy interchanges and put you in exactly the right lane on bigger roads, and can do things like slow and stop the car on streets of speed limits up to 60mph. If the lights change on you, you’ll have to respond, but if they do for the car in front, the car will react to it. 

 

It’s this cool front-end sensing, that’s even on Teslas without FSD, that may have saved the two families’ lives when the tree fell on their cars. This Tesla feature is available on all models built after 2016. 

 

4. Standard Autopilot – Lane Departure and Emergency Lane Departure

 

Emergency lane departure avoidance is a feature where if you haven’t seen another vehicle and are about to change lanes into its way, or you’re about to come off the road, the Tesla car will steer out of harm’s way. 

 

This feature is linked to the lane departure warning system where the car will sound an alarm if you change lanes without putting on your indicator to show other drivers your plans. 

 

In both cases, if these events take place too often, the car will ultimately slow down and flash its hazard lights to warn other drivers you could be in trouble (perhaps in a medical emergency). In these cases, authorities can slow you down and stop you without touching the car. How? They can surround your car and stop, and the car’s collision avoidance system will stop it – now that’s pretty cool!

 

 

5. Navigate on Autopilot

 

Did you know that the car will drive you from A-to-B using its navigation system on Autopilot too? This means on most roads, and in safe conditions, you could tell the car where to go and rest your hands on the wheel while it takes you where you’re going. 

 

This feature puts Tesla cars head and shoulders above its rivals. As always, you need to be sober, alert, and have your hands on the wheel throughout as the car won’t drive you without you doing it.

 

6. The Easter Eggs!

 

We can’t talk about Tesla features without a word on their Easter eggs, can we? These are little apps that you can find all over the autopilot and infotainment systems that can make life a little lighter while driving them. Let’s have a look at a few of the best. 

 

  • Your kids (and not so young ones) will love the ‘Emissions Testing’ Easter egg, where the car can make a range of different fart noises almost anywhere in the cabin thanks to its excellent sound system. Your children/menfolk can make it seem that anyone has farted in a range of different ways. Don’t worry, though, the car can’t make real smells…yet.

 

 

  • If you are closing out the evening with a date that’s gone well, perhaps you could switch on Romance Mode to inspire the right mood – this is a log fire that appears on the main screen. A little warmth from the climate control system and appropriate music, and you could set the mood perfectly as you go home for your after-dinner entertainment. 

 

 

  • With the car parked and stationary, you can play Beach Buggy Racing on the main screen, using the actual steering wheel, brakes, and accelerator to race the car on the screen around the course! This makes for a game control console that you just won’t find anywhere else. You can even play a two-player game with the passenger using the controls on the screen to race you. Perfect for passing the time while charging or put a twist on game night!

 

 

Dozens of other Easter eggs will keep everyone happy, including fun the driver can have while driving it on Autopilot as well as the passengers old and young. Though most of them can be found on a dedicated screen, some can only be found by hitting the Tesla button in certain circumstances. Have a play and see what you can find!

 

7. No Need for a Child Lock

 

As with all cars on the road today, there is a standard child lock on the rear doors of Teslas to stop your little ones from falling out while playing in back as they do. But did you know that at speeds of over 5mph, no doors will be operable from the inside anyway? You can only open the doors from the inside when the car has come to a complete stop. That means everyone is safe all the time. 

 

There is one time you could regret this feature – in a carjacking, there will be no escape until and unless the vehicle is at a standstill. Given that we’re not the first to point this out, we’re sure that there will be an Over The Air update in good time that fixes this issue – perhaps you could say a code word and press the screen to unlock the doors and get away with your life? Who knows what the Tesla engineers will come up with?!

 

8. Reverse Can be Engaged While Moving Forward

 

Unlike other cars where you have to put your foot on the brake and come to a standstill, you can tell your Tesla to go into reverse while it is rolling forward. The car will come to a stop safely and then reverse. 

 

Though it is only available while you’re traveling at a maximum speed of 5mph, this is a feature that can allow you to maneuver more quickly and effectively. 

 

9. Explicit Lyrics Bar on the Infotainment System

 

If you have kids in your car, you won’t want them to hear the language that adults use. That’s why Teslas have an ‘explicit lyrics bar’ on their infotainment system – all you need to do is check a box, and you won’t hear songs that may teach them the language that you’d prefer they won’t. 

 

This is just one of a large number of family-friendly Tesla features on the range that makes their cars so good for families to use. How many other automakers have thought so deeply about things like these?

 

10. Over The Air (OTA) Updates

 

The car you lease from Steer today will be far better at the end of the lease term than it was when you drove it away. Sound strange? That’s because Tesla releases regular OTA updates to the car’s software, where Tesla HQ can upgrade your car while it is in your garage or parking lot. 

 

Improvements so far have included updating the Autopilot software so it can get you in precisely the right lane on the road in cities and highways where you need to be in a particular lane to change roads, turn right or left. Other regular refinements make every Tesla made after 2016 almost as good as one another. 

 

Where there is a problem with an OTA, you can send a report back to Tesla HQ (again without leaving the car), and they can come up with a software patch to fix it. That means that unlike certain operating software companies, the company will keep you on the road even if there is a bug in the code!

 

11. Model X – Bioweapon Defense Mode

 

Quite apart from being tailpipe-emissions free and saving others from breathing gunk from your driving, the Model X keeps the air inside just as clean inside as it does the air outside!

 

On the crossover Model X, there is a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter that cleans the air coming into your car to the same standards as a hospital operating room. On Bioweapon Defense Mode, that could mean you could theoretically drive away after a terrorist ‘dirty bomb’ attack on your city and be perfectly safe inside. 

 

Basically, the dirty air of a city is cleaned by the car as it flows inside the cabin. If you or a friend have a lung condition such as asthma or COPD, this means that you or they can breathe the air without risks of unwanted pollutants, causing a reaction. 

 

The Takeaway

 

From exceptional safety ratings to gadgets to keep the kids happy, Tesla cars are totally different from those made by other automakers. Hopefully, we’ve given you a flavor of some of the unique Tesla features out there. 

 

Subscribe to your next Tesla with Steer to go on your own journey of discovery to find out what else there is on these machines too!

 

Tesla Model 3 vs Porsche Panamera vs Audi e-Tron vs Jaguar I-PACE

Of all the electric and hybrid cars in the Steer garage, we have four models that are consistently among the favorites of our customers – the Porsche Panamera, Audi eTron, Jaguar I-PACE, and Tesla Model 3.

 

All are among the best-selling electric and hybrid cars on the market today, but why are they so popular? This article takes a look under the hood to show you how these models compare to help you find the perfect EV for you.

 

Porsche Panamera 4 e-Hybrid

Basic model price: $103,800

Top speed: 172mph

0-60 time: 4.3 seconds

Electric-only range: 14 miles

 

The most expensive car in this article at over $100,000, the Porsche Panamera e-Hybrid is essentially a giant gas-guzzling sedan with a conscience. It’s Porsche’s best-selling car in terms of global sales and has a lot going for it – let’s look at what you get for your money. 

 

Despite its size and weight, as soon as you put your foot on the gas pedal, you know you’re in a Porsche – it accelerates hard with its 462bhp engine. It also has a 136 horsepower electric motor that delivers 295lb-ft of torque, and despite weighing over 5,100lbs, it will get you to 60mph in a jack rabbit-like 4.3 seconds with your foot down. It also has a top speed of 172mph (not that you would ever try that on the highway!).

 

Though this is essentially an eco-friendly gas engine car, the Panamera 4 e-Hybrid has a 14.1kWH battery that can get you around 14 miles per charge. This is supported by three different re-charging systems – the regenerative braking system, the gas engine itself charging the battery, and the charging port with the plug. With its optional 7.2kWh charging system, you can top up the battery in as little as 2.5 hours. 

 

Let’s face it – this is a Porsche at the end of the day, and you don’t drive a beast like this just because of its fuel economy. Inside you are comforted with miles of wood and leather that make this a comfortable drive for driver and passenger alike. The car also has a range of options, including massage seats and sports seats, that can be almost endlessly adjusted for your comfort. 

 

Like Americans, Germans are big people, so as you get into it, even a taller person won’t crick their neck to get inside. Cargo capacity is also surprisingly solid, amounting to 17.6 cubic feet. 

 

A state of the art infotainment system is controlled with a 12.3-inch touchscreen in the center console. It is Apple CarPlay compatible and also offers navigation, climate control, and even a Wi-Fi hotspot. Dare we complain it doesn’t have a wireless charging system for your cellphone? There, we have!

 

Overall, if you want the cachet of driving a large luxury sedan, you will find the Porsche Panamera e-Hybrid everything that you could desire in a car of over $100,000 – refined luxury combined with excellent engineering. That said, even with its electric motor conscience, this is still thirsty when it gets to the gas pump!

 

Audi e-Tron

Prestige model price: $74,800

Top speed: 124mph

0-60 time: 5.7 seconds

Electric range: 210 miles

 

Audi is another prestige German brand, and you will find its all-electric model one of the best EVs on the market today. 

 

Luxury and comfort are core to the driving experience, with massage front seats standard on the Prestige model. This model also comes with a head-up display for easier driving, and the central console has two touchscreens – a 10.1-inch one controlling the Bang & Olufsen sound system as well as an 8.8-inch display for the climate control. These are both user-friendly and intuitive. 

 

The car’s cargo capacity is substantial as well, with 29 cubic feet with the seats up and 57 cubic feet with the seats down. If you are into outdoor family fun, then with its towing capacity of up to 4,000lbs, you should be able to get a lot of gear about in even one haul. 

 

Its two motors have a combined 355 horsepower and 414lb-ft of torque that translate to 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and a top (limited) speed of 124mph. Driving is in near silence with just the rumble of the tires on the road – a strange experience at high speeds, but if you’re listening to the state of the art infotainment system, the music won’t be covering much in the way of engine noise. 

 

The range is good but not spectacular on the e-Tron, with its 95.3kWh battery giving a range of around 210 miles on the 2020 model. It is certainly more economical than the Panamera above with a real-world fuel economy equivalent of 74 miles per gallon. 

 

For longer trips, you can put up to 150kW of DC charge into the battery, giving up to 160 miles in just half an hour. This makes it one of the quickest charging cars on the market today. 

 

Adaptive cruise control isn’t as funky as that on the Tesla we also look at in this article, but for long highway legs, it can take a lot of the driving from you. However, please keep your hands on the wheel, as it isn’t what one could call autonomous. 

 

Overall this is a luxury electric car that will compete well with its immediate market rival, the Tesla Model X, though it doesn’t compete on range. Audi drivers are a particular tribe, and if you want an Audi with all that this brand stands for, then the e-Tron is a serious alternative. 

 

Jaguar I-PACE

SE price: $69,850

Top speed: 124mph

0-60: 4.5s

Electric range: 253 miles

 

Despite being a big luxury car, the Jaguar I-PACE can storm from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds, very slightly quicker than the Tesla Model 3 Long Range we look at below. That’s quite something for a big beast of a car like this! 

 

As with the other battery-only cars in this article, its battery is under the floor. This feature gives the vehicle a low center of gravity and, therefore, agile, sharp handling should you want to throw it about the country lanes. Performance is supported by its all-wheel-drive system from two motors that sit at the front and rear. 

 

Range isn’t a worry either in this luxury sedan. The EPA range is 253 miles, getting an equivalent of over 70 miles per gallon in mixed condition driving. That means this car costs just pennies per mile to charge up. Its 100KW DC charging system is suitable for long drives too, with it being able to charge 80% of the battery in just 40 minutes – that’s a decent lunch but very quick as charging systems go these days. 

 

At over $70,000, you should take it that luxury is as standard. It has adaptive cruise control, an optional head-up display, and two touchscreens in the center console. The top one is 10 inches and controls the 380 Watt Meridian sound system. The infotainment system also can be controlled with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It comes with a mobile hotspot too. 

 

Cargo space? Though nothing as massive as the e-Tron above, 25.3 cubic feet with the seats up and almost 52 cubic feet with the rear seats down can make for quite a cargo capacity. 

 

Overall this is a very good electric car as luxury sedans go. With its agile driving and decent range, it’s a vehicle that will serve you well in a variety of uses, from turning up to see friends in style to carrying the family on a more extended holiday. As a whole, that makes for a great package.

 

Tesla Model 3 (Long Range AWD)

Base price: $48,990

Top speed: 140mph

0-60: 4.8s

Electric range: 322

 

What do we say about the Tesla Model 3 that Elon Musk hasn’t said himself? Let’s talk about sales volumes – the Model 3 far outsold all other small and midsized luxury car models by every other manufacturer in the USA in 2019. No matter the Tesla haters, it has been unbeatable in terms of units sold. Though the baseline list price is under $50,000, it’s still pretty challenging to get a hold of one of these without a special order.

 

Tesla’s famous Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system has come as standard on all the Model 3 versions since last year. It can steer the car around bends, keep exact distances from vehicles in front, and do all simple driving with your hands hovering over the wheel. Please remember that this is not a fully autonomous system, and people have been in accidents from over-reliance on it. 

 

The standard models of the Model 3 have a range of up to 220 miles, with the Long Range capable of going over 300 miles per charge. The battery is under the floor (like the Jag above), which gives it a lower center of gravity and better handling thanks to the weight distribution. 

 

Where it comes to acceleration, the Long Range version is capable of 0-60 in 4.8 seconds, which isn’t as quick as the iPace above. Where it comes to fuel economy, each trim has an equivalent of well over 100MPGe miles per gallon.

 

When Tesla’s designers came to put this car together, they weren’t coming from the same direction as the big auto manufacturers. When you sit in the car, you realize that there isn’t a speedometer in the dash – that all comes from the screen in the center console, which also controls the infotainment system, autopilot, climate control, and navigation system. 

 

Unlike the luxury car models above, you aren’t paying huge amounts of money for what is still a very good car. It’s still significantly less than the iPace, and that makes it very competitive. The top-end Model S variants sit closer to the Jag, Audi, and Porsche. 

 

Tesla is unique in so many ways, from their eccentric CEO down to the very driving experience you get in one of their cars. When it comes to driving and using a Model 3, it is unique in that it is built by a company that threw the automotive design rulebook in the trash and then got on with making a car that would thrash all other automotive manufacturers in terms of sales. That makes this car worthy of note. 

 

The Takeaway

 

Comparing the Tesla Model 3 to the luxury end sedans above isn’t a fair comparison – it is aimed at a different demographic with a different income. That said, it is an extremely popular car as can be seen in the sales figures we discussed above. 

 

The other cars are luxury cars from established carmakers, and you get what you expect from them. Porsche, Audi, and Jaguar are some of the top European carmakers with reputations they maintain well in these very comfortable and well-appointed machines.

 

Still can’t decide? No worries. With Steer, you don’t have to. Our subscription model allows you to swap our cars as often as you’d like! Click here to check out the full list of cars!

 

Comparison chart

 

Porsche Panamera Audi eTron Jaguar I-PACE Tesla Model 3 (Long Range)
Top Speed 172mph 125mph 124mph 140mph
0-60 4.3s 5.7s 4.5s 4.4s
Electric Range 14 miles 210 miles 253 miles 322 miles
Charging Time 2 hours 30 minutes to 80% 40 minutes to 80% 40 minutes to 80%
Base Price $103,800 $74,800 $69,850 $48,990
MPG equiv 51 74 50 121
Trunk Space (cubic ft) 17.6 29 25.3 15

 

9 Best Electric Car Apps You Should Download in 2020

When you want easy-to-use electric car apps to help plan how and when to charge up for your next trip, you have quite a few options. This guide goes over some of the top EV applications that are now available, and all of the features and functions that make them useful to drivers of fully electric vehicles. 

 

You’ll see how membership or pay-as-you-go models combine with customer service, visibility, crowdsourced data, and more, to offer the drivers of today a smoother process in keeping their electric cars fueled up. Altogether, these options offer drivers a way to transition from the old-fashioned gas pump to a new system of clean and sustainable energy chargers as we move toward more renewables for the electrical grid itself. 

 

After looking at everything that innovators have brought to the table within the last few years, you’ll have a fully customized set of options at your fingertips, whether you’re checking into a hotel, commuting to work, or just cruising the open road, alone or with a friend. 

 

Take a look and select the EV charging app that best fits your electric car model, your drive patterns, and your location, as well as your preferred method of paying for EV charging services.  When choosing an app, or apps, it’s often helpful to test-drive any apps you’re interested in before committing. You may find one has more features you’ll use, and you prefer a certain interface over another. It’s a matter of personal preference. 

 

1. PlugShare

 

Cost: Free

Android/iOS: Both

 

As one of the top EV charging information apps available worldwide, PlugShare has over 230,000 locations on file and works according to a social model where users self-report on local charging status.

 

Drivers of conventional gasoline vehicles would have wished they had this kind of functionality back in the days of long fuel lines, or in other shortage situations. PlugShare is essentially a “crowdsourced” platform, offering detailed information and user-reported updates like “waiting for charge” and “could not charge.” 

 

You can search by the type of station—public, high power, or residential—and filter by network provider. It’s interactive map also shows residential chargers shared by PlugShare members. 

 

Many EV drivers are really “charged up” about using PlugShare for trips, saying that the platform really builds in transparency for the road ahead, and also has available trip planner features that are popular with many EV drivers.

 

 

2. ChargePoint

Cost: Free

Android/iOS: Both

 

The ChargePoint app is quickly emerging as a favorite for commuters and other EV drivers, with 108,500 charging spots across workplaces, multifamily dwellings, homes, retailers, and parking garages.

 

Its app shows ChargePoint stations in addition to other networks and public stations through a real-time map that lets you filter by type of charger, price, and network. With the app, you can locate open stations, see costs, check your charging status, and view your charging history.

 

Real-time updates are another popular feature of this application. The app will show you busy charging times and offers features such as a waitlist, which lets EV drivers get in line at ChargePoint stations when all ports are full. 

 

Early adopters are enthusiastic about ChargePoint’s functionality, including search capabilities and filtering to match charging stations with an EV vehicle.  You can tailor the charging station map only to see stations compatible with your car, and you can get satellite views of charging stations down to the parking spot.

 

Some drivers might bemoan the complexity of ChargePoint’s automatic billing systems. However, the auto top-off and other features meant to make full charging more convenient are significant incentives for some users to download and use this app when they’re busily moving from one place to another.

 

 

3. Charge Hub

Cost: Free

Android/iOS: Both

 

With over 100,000 users, Charge Hub helps EV drivers to find their way to the closest charging stations in their areas. Users can share their charging experiences or flag stations with particular difficulties. Users can also chat with other users, which can be helpful in certain situations, for example, if you need to unplug another driver’s car.

 

You can also share photos through the ChargeHub app and leave comments and tips about specific stations. The app’s map lets you filter by type of charging station, and green and red icons let you know if a station is currently in use.

 

The visual dashboard display of this platform helps to make local charging strategies transparent, and customizable profiles help target your EV trip to your needs – check-in and leave comments and add photos and more.

 

 

4. EVgo

Cost: $10

Android/iOS: Both

 

For Americans who often travel domestically, EVgo provides services in 34 states, including the Washington DC area, along with other big cities like Boston and Chicago. Its network provides information on over 1,000 DC fast charging locations that can re-up many EVs in under an hour.

 

Real-time updates are a popular function of this app with turn-by-turn route directions and a user-friendly interface.

 

One of the best-selling points of the network that comes with an initial $10 charge is live customer service. Think of the old AAA centers and add electric vehicle service to the mix, and you have the type of service that the EVgo app provides.

 

The EVgo app is quickly gaining traction with some American drivers, especially in busy communities like DC. As some drivers point out, EVgo has a lot of coverage, and it’s easy to see where you’re going to get your next top-up.

 

For those willing to pay for a membership to get a more robust service model, EVgo is a popular option.

 

5. EVHotels

Cost: $.99

Android/iOS: Both

 

The specific functionality of the EVHotels app involves finding a place to lay your head at night.

 

Drivers who want lodging facilities with EV charger stations can find over 250,000 hotels worldwide and get traveler rewards with the EVHotels system that is made for hospitality customers. There are specific features for Tesla drivers, and rating and review services for everyone.

 

Over 170 international brands have signed onto allow EVHotels users to increase hotel loyalty points, which provides excellent synergy for the app -some have also said they like EVHotels more for longer trips, because of the sophisticated route planning features.

 

EVHotels also places a premium on walkability. The “walk range” feature allows users to look for the perfect EV hotel within walking distance with detailed map information on walk times and specific location data about chargers. The idea is that drivers can get creative in combining their EV vehicle’s charge needs with the human power of getting from one place to another on their own two legs.

 

 

6. Chargeway

Cost: Free

Android/iOS: Both

 

Want a way to focus on your particular model and charging system?

 

The Chargeway app focuses on identifying only the charging networks that work with a particular type of charger. The app uses color-coding to distinguish between 120 V and 240 V levels and DC fast charging as well as features distinguishing ChaDeMo and CCS and supercharger. 

 

By working with car dealerships, utilities, and other stakeholders, Chargeway’s creators are trying to drive more awareness about how to innovate the national charging system as more electric vehicles roll onto American roads.

 

 

7. ChargeMap

Cost: Depends on Pass

Android/iOS: Both

 

Canadian and American drivers can use ChargeMap to chart their course with color-coded charging destination identifiers. Navigation and photos give drivers detailed information to help them make decisions about where to power up. Free download and registration make it easy to install this app with its worldwide database of over 166,000 stations.

 

Users love the clear interface and fast search capabilities and find the app to be reliable, accurate, and up-to-date. Users can look up their charging histories and monitor consumption, while ChargeMap also automates billing processes.

 

Although network compatibility is limited, the company says its engineers are working on enabling charges from the mobile app itself. Customer support 24/7 by phone or email is another draw for this green driving application.

 

 

8. Greenlots

Cost: Free

Android/iOS: Both

 

Another top EV choice, the Greenlots app is brought to you by the corporate Shell Group and has an unusual territory – Singapore and Thailand, along with the US and Canada.

 

Drivers get all of the usual stuff from Greenlots – real-time charging updates, history and balance information, and a look at all local public charging spots.

 

There’s also an RFID and QR code functionality to make research convenient, and a customer care team to help answer questions.

 

While Greenlots presents detailed information on CCS, ChaDeMo, and various charging options, the program doesn’t set networks apart the way that some others do. However, with an extensive network and lots of convenience features, Greenlots is becoming popular with some drivers who use their EV regularly.

 

Some drivers complain about per-charge fees, while others like to use the Greenlots app to find free charging without a long wait time.

 

 

9. MyGreenCar

Cost: Free

Android/iOS: Both

 

Unlike most of the apps listed here, MyGreenCar is the type of app you’d use before you select your EV. A researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created this app that lets drivers virtually test drive green vehicles. 

 

Users download the app, choose a few EVs they’re interested in and then drive their own car as usual. The app records data on your driving style—such as how you brake and accelerate, fast or slow—and conditions on your regular routes such as traffic and hills. It also compares your fuel costs in your car versus your selected EVs and predicts your range viability and charging needs.

 

After collecting data, the app then helps you evaluate which EV would best fit your lifestyle based on the data collected, essentially taking the guesswork out of comparing cars.

 

 

Enjoying the Best Electric Car Apps

 

Any of these EV apps can be a handy way of getting your hands on the information that you need to motor on down the road with convenience in your fully electric plug-in car.

 

As an additional resource, Steer offers the SteerPass to subscribers to help simplify public charging. Similar to an EZ-Pass, it allows our customers to access stations under many of the above operators and adds even more convenience for drivers who have participated in Steer’s subscription model for electric cars. We want to support drivers in having all of the choices available to them, and getting more done every day behind the wheel of one of our modern EV cars!

 

Speaking of apps, in case you haven’t already, download the Steer app to get started today!

9 Best Electric Vehicles for Families in 2020

More American families are looking at a plug-in vehicle for the road ahead. Electric cars are quickly making inroads in the national auto market. With that in mind, many shoppers are asking – what are the best electric vehicles for families?

 

These models are some of the most popular family electric vehicles on the market right now, from a variety of automakers betting big on the plug-in phenomenon and its greener future. 

 

What exactly makes a car a great family car? First, lower emissions. Greener cars emit less of the carbon products that can harm the environment – leading to a better future for our kids. Then there’s cool new technology such as in-dash navigation, entertainment and communications, and a myriad of safety features that prevent collisions. Another plus on many of these all-electric family cars in their quiet ride!

 

Take a look at some of today’s most popular EVs and hybrids. Each of these can be great for carting the whole family around! We rated these cars on both seating and cargo space (how many kids and pets you can cart around, along with all of that baby gear!). We also noted safety features like lane-keeping, blind spot sensing, adaptive cruise control, as well as fun infotainment options. 

 

Kia Niro EV

Starting Price: $38,500

Range: 239 mi.

Seating: 5

 

The Kia Niro electric crossover is something of a dark horse in the plug-in market. Kia has only recently come to prominence as a top manufacturer for American car buyers in general. 

 

However, the Kia Niro EV is an attractive option for families that want to stop gassing up and instead rely on electrical energy for transportation. The Kia Niro EV has a nice grill and all of the stylings that this model is known for. Moreover, it seats five and does so comfortably. 

 

The plug-in comes with an estimated range of 239 miles, putting it among the highest in its class. It’s available in two trim levels and includes a lot of infotainment integration in the top EXP premium model. 

 

Additional features include a competitive in-dash navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, LED lighting, sunroof, leather front seats, and more.

 

As a stylish way to get the family around, this EV from Kia is roomy and handles well. It’s a top pick for buyers focused on both value and family transportation, who like Kia’s rise to the top. 

 

Chevy Bolt

Starting Price: $36,620

Range: 238 mi.

Seating: 5

 

For a family EV from an American manufacturer, the Chevy Bolt ranks high on the wish list of many consumers.

 

The Bolt has 238 miles of pure electric range and can recharge the battery in just over 9 hours. It also has a ton of safety gear and good ratings in available crash tests. New safety tech includes forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and automatic emergency braking.

 

The Chevy Bolt’s top trim gets a rear camera mirror, heated front seats, and other attractive features. As a family car, the Bolt has a lot of cargo room for long-distance adventures. 

 

Nissan Leaf

Starting Price: $29,990

Range: 226 mi. (top)

Seating: 5

 

The Nissan Leaf has earned its stripes in the electric vehicle world. Unlike some of the other models on this list, Nissan’s pure EV model has been running on American streets for quite a few years. Some people think of the Nissan Leaf as the “Prius” of pure electric vehicles – used models are now common around the average neighborhood, and this family-friendly car is more widely available than some other options.

 

The 2019 Leaf comes with an estimated range of up to 226 miles, with a 40- 62 kWh lithium-ion battery.

 

Available in a variety of trim levels, it comes with safety gear like Nissan Intelligent Mobility, as well as advanced airbag system car, tire pressure monitoring, and more.

 

Buyers also like the Leaf’s driving and convenience features that Nissan says will allow drivers to “outsmart traffic.” Nissan says the Leaf helps drivers to watch out for intrusions all around them with top safety gear aimed at assisting defensive driving in a full range of scenarios. 

 

Other advanced technology includes connected car features, as well as available infotainment for a vehicle that can accommodate the whole family. Nissan also promotes the instant torque that you get powering up this electric vehicle from a dead stop.  

 

On top of performance, the Leaf offers everything the family needs, from legroom to energy economy. It’s a workhorse for the plug-in fan, with an excellent track record and competitive design. 

 

Volkswagen e-Golf

Starting Price: $31,895

Range: 125 mi. 

Seating: 5

 

For fans of the traditional Volkswagen Golf, the VW e-Golf EV is a pure electric take on this classic favorite. It’s similar in size and style, but updated with numerous convenience and drive features, along with modern safety tech to give everyone peace of mind on the road.

 

Safety features on the VW e-Golf include adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitor, lane assist, park assist, and more. With decent range (125mi. est.), the VW e-Golf does not sacrifice on performance, with 214 pound-feet of torque and a drive that the company calls “agile.” Fast charging is another popular feature, and regenerative braking is just part of the German engineering that helps to optimize this Volkswagen plug-in with top EPA ratings. VW has also programmed in three modes for the e-Golf: normal, eco, and eco+ settings for variable battery use. 

 

VW also cites a high-tech cockpit with voice command and gesture control technology in the cabin, as well as VW’s Car-Net security and service suite and e-mobility features that help you respond to weather and other challenges capably. 

 

It’s a hatchback imbued with what Volkswagen refers to as “sleek lines,” but it’s as functional as it is attractive, and it’s a great family ride. Building on Volkswagen’s history of fuel economy innovation, now you can drive a Golf with no gas engine at all!

 

Tesla Model 3

Starting Price: $35,000

Range: 322 mi. (top)

Seating: 5

 

Want a plug-in from a company that ONLY makes electric cars? Tesla has a reputation for being pricy, but the all-electric 2019 Model 3 stays competitive on price, with a sticker around $35,000, albeit for the base model – pricing tends to go further above this mark due to dealer cost and other factors. Still, Tesla is bringing its EV into the general buying audience by matching others’ price points. 

 

For their money, buyers get award-winning range, with 322 miles estimated on a full charge, and Tesla’s all-wheel-drive dual-motor design for handling. This family car will accelerate from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, but it also has a lot of what family car buyers want. It’s not as competitive on cargo capacity (with 15 cubic feet, including the iconic front trunk). Still, it has a raft of safety features and Tesla’s proprietary autopilot design that, used responsibly, can help to prevent many different kinds of accidents. 

 

The Tesla Model 3 gets top ratings at Edmunds and elsewhere for its style, handling, and safety. It also has a lot of what Car and Driver call, “future is now” technology – with standard navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a lot more geared toward the new tech-savvy driver. 

 

In a sense, Tesla is using an innovative ‘edge system’ designs to profoundly change what today’s sophisticated car computers look like, and that’s another reason that buyers are jumping on board. As for family driving, the range and handling, along with the safety features, appeal to head-of-household shoppers.

 

BMW X5

Starting Price: $60,700

Range: 60 mi. 

Seating: 7

 

For family car shoppers who want something from that perennial name in German-made luxury, BMW is offering a genuinely innovative vehicle, equipped with all of what you’d expect from this top-of-the-line car designer.

 

The reinvented 2019 BMW X5 impressed Motor Trend and other sources, while the all-new 2020 BMW X5 is similarly turning heads with increased range and battery capacity.

 

Technically, the BMW X5 is a hybrid with plug-in capacity. Still, BMW put more effort into making the new X5 models independent of a gasoline engine so that drivers don’t have to worry about range in getting where they need to go every day. 

 

With leather interior features and sporty style to burn, the 2019 BMW X5 also gets high marks from safety researchers, partially by including new tech like collision warning, lane departure warning, crash imminent braking, and dynamic brake support.

 

IIHS top safety ratings are yet another part of the BMW X5’s family appeal.

 

Hyundai Kona

Starting Price: $20,300

Range: 258 mi. (top)

Seating: 5

 

The Hyundai Kona electric’s 64 kWh battery offers an EPA-estimated range of 258 miles. There’s relatively ample cargo space, and in terms of safety gear, this compact SUV comes with lots of standard technology, including collision avoidance assist, driver attention warning, and blind-spot collision warning systems. 

 

An Edmunds review shows how the Hyundai Kona compares well to options like the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3, and Consumer Reports highlights the vehicle’s appeal this way: 

 

“The Kona is playful and inexpensive, making it one of the more appealing subcompact SUVs. Its snazzy styling helps it stand out from some of its more drab rivals, and its smart packing creates quite a bit of versatility despite its compact proportions.”

 

The Kona’s all-wheel-drive capacity also adds to its quality as a ride for the whole family, in every season. 

 

Toyota C-HR

Starting Price: $21,295

Range: <200mi. 

Seating: 5

 

For fans of next-generation vehicle technology, the Toyota C-HR doesn’t disappoint. The C-HR, which Toyota is rolling out for 2020, comes with a low price tag of just over $21,000 for the base trim. 

 

It’s understandable that Toyota, which pioneered hybrid vehicles years ago, would be aggressive in the pure EV space. The C-HR is Toyota’s response to this growing segment, with a small SUV that offers plenty of safety gear and excellent handling, as well as attractive style for the road ahead. Toyota has made Apple CarPlay standard in this EV, although a factory navigation system is optional. 

 

There are a lot more features that interested shoppers can check out in breaking Toyota specs on the 2020 C-HR. The EV version is currently only available in China and scant on information. Still, if it’s like prior models, it will have both Apple Car Play and Android Auto, along with ten airbags and a Safety Sense and pre-collision warning system for safety.

 

Tesla Model Y

Starting Price: $40,200

Range: 300 mi 

Seating: 7

  

Another Tesla? Yes. The Tesla Model Y has the same all-wheel-drive dual-motor design mentioned above on the Model 3, with a 300-mile estimated range.

 

As for safety, a low center of gravity, rigid body structure, and large crumple zones help to protect drivers and passengers.

 

There are, of course, many of Tesla’s competitive safety features included, along with the famed autopilot software. Many of the Model 3 features, such as the attractive proprietary tech systems, are also built into the Model Y.

 

Electric Vehicles for Families in 2020 and Beyond

 

All of these top electric car models can be excellent choices for family transportation. Remember when the minivan revolutionized family driving? Now the electric vehicle is helping to take us where we need to go without all of the greenhouse gas emissions, mechanical problems, and costly fuel prices of the traditional gasoline engine car. Take a look to see just how well automakers have been adapting to the demand for the EV plug-in to accommodate the zeitgeist where shoppers want green transportation and the versatility of a new all-electric car. 

 

Excited about all of these and can’t decide on just one? With Steer, you can get access to them all! Be the first to drive them as they join the Steer fleet in 2020. Learn more here!