Electric vehicles (EVs) today are a far cry from what they used to be in the past. Previously relegated to small, unattractive and relatively weak performance vehicles, they’ve come into their own since then, now offering the same style, luxury and driving experience as the best internal combustion engine (ICE) Sedan or Coupe. This has been thanks to growing faith in the sector which has seen increased investments, as well as greater demand for greener transportation options.
Here are 5 brands that continue to push the EV sector to new heights.
1. Tesla Motors
You can’t create a list like this without mentioning the passion project of eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk. One of the earliest believers in EV technology, the US company has set the standard of what an electric vehicle can be. While not exactly founded by him, Musk was among its greatest financial backers, coming off his success with PayPal.
“In 2008, Tesla Motors released its first car, the completely electric Roadster,” the Encyclopedia Britannica explains. “In company tests, it achieved 245 miles (394 km) on a single charge, a range unprecedented for a production electric car. Additional tests showed that its performance was comparable to that of many gasoline-powered sports cars.”
The company has produced many best-selling models over the years, the most popular of which has been the more budget-friendly Model 3, which has ranked in the top 10 most sold cars (includes ICE and EV vehicles) in the US in 2019.
While Tesla as a firm was created from the ground-up as a solution to the world’s dependence on gasoline-powered vehicles, Nissan’s ultra popular Leaf EV was one of the earliest and most successful attempts by a mainstream automotive manufacturer to mass produce an electric-engine model.
While the company has dabbled with the concept of electric vehicles since the 20th century, their efforts came to fruition with the Leaf, which continues to be one of the most popular electric vehicles in the world.
For a while now, China has been one of the undisputed champions when it comes to manufacturing the batteries that power some of the world’s most popular EVs. That is to be expected, given that the East Asian nation is home to the world’s largest EV market. Among the key players in this market is BYD.
Starting out as a battery maker in the 90s, the company transition to producing automobiles in the early 2000s. It started producing electric vehicles late during that decade, with the F3DM sedan.
Today, BYD has cemented itself as one of the largest producers of electric vehicles in the world (the largest by some counts), and holds a significant portion of both the Chinese and global EV markets. Many see it as one of Tesla’s greatest rivals.
If Tesla is BYD’s rival worldwide, Beijing Automobile Group Co Ltd (BAIC) is BYD’s arch nemesis in China. The Chinese company is the country’s fourth-largest carmaker, producing EVs that consistently rank in the top selling electric vehicles in China. BAIC is a leader in this segment thanks to the popularity of its EU5 SUV.
BAIC has a partnership with Mercedes-owner Daimler and Korea’s Hyundai. In regards to the BAIC-Daimler joint venture, the two companies collaborate in areas such as production, research and development and sales.
5. General Motors
One of the world’s largest automakers with a slew of automotive brands under its name, General Motors (GM) has not spared an effort in catching up with electric revolution. In fact, it’s now playing a role in it.
GM developed (and continues to develop) multiple electric models under many of its subsidiaries. In fact, it is on track to deliver 20 electric vehicles by 2023, the company said in its latest sustainability report, as reported by Tech Crunch. That includes models for nearly all of its brands, including Cadillac, GMC, Chevrolet and Buick. Given its position in the global automotive market, this is big news.
So how does driving an electric vehicle feel like? We test drove the Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchback and the Volvo XC90 SUV, and we were not prepared!