Leading the Charge

Plug-in hybrids are commanding more attention and turning heads with greater performance, but the future looks even brighter for all-electric automobiles. Here’s our guide to spending less time—and money—at the pump.

The Majors

How leading car manufacturers are going greener. 

All-electric vehicle design and engineering is shifting into high gear. Not surprisingly, the movement is championed by dedicated electric brands such as Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid Motors; however, the world’s major car manufacturers are also pushing forward the trend in sizeable ways. 

Beginning in 2025, all-new vehicle architectures from Mercedes-Benz will be exclusively electric. “The EV shift is picking up speed, especially in the luxury segment,” says Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “The tipping point is getting closer, and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade.” 

As proof, the company’s most advanced electric-concept sedan, the Vision EQXX, recently set an efficiency record for real-world driving by traveling 747 miles—from Stuttgart, Germany, to Silverstone, England—on a single battery charge. “As Mercedes-Benz strives to go all-electric by 2030—wherever market conditions allow, it is important to show to the world what can be achieved in real terms,” says Markus Schäfer, chief technology officer for Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

In 2022, Audi sold more than 16,000 all-electric vehicles, which represented an almost 50% increase over similar sales in 2021. In fact, Audi delivered almost 118,000 fully electric vehicles to customers around the world last year, which marked a 44% increase compared to the previous year. Looking ahead to 2025, the German automaker’s North American division aims to develop a vehicle portfolio where at least one-third of all automobiles are electrified. Most recently, Audi of America released the Q4 40 e-tron, an electric SUV that offers rear-wheel drive and an EPA-estimated range of 265 miles. 

The third brand in the triumvirate of German automakers, BMW recently announced that all iX models will be equipped with advanced, predictive heat-management technology, which maximizes the rate at which the vehicle’s battery can be charged. Last summer, the company unveiled the i4 eDrive35, a sedan that features a single synchronous electric motor and produces 281 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds, the i4 eDrive35 more impressively can recoup 70% of its battery life in just 32 minutes of charging time.

Like many of the world’s top automakers, Volvo Cars has declared its intent to be fully electric by the end of the decade. In support of those ambitions, last year Volvo divested its 33% holding in Aurobay—a manufacturer of traditional internal combustion engines—and transferred that capital to Geely Holding, a Chinese company focused on new energy and electric vehicles. One day after sharing that news, the Swedish automaker unveiled the EX90, a seven-seat, all-electric SUV that Volvo’s chief executive, Jim Rowan, described as “the start of something new” for the company. “The Volvo EX90 is a statement for where we are, and where we are going,” he said. “It’s fully electric with a range of up to 600 kilometers on a single charge … and the first Volvo car to be truly defined by its software.”


More recently, Volvo unveiled three new powertrains for its C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge, including two rear-wheel-drive variants, which marks the first time in 25 years that the company has offered an automobile with rear-wheel-drive.

By 2025, Toyota plans to offer a portfolio 70 electric vehicles strong, including 15 models that are exclusively electric-powered. The company’s latest offering in that category, the bZ4x, is an SUV available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The front-wheel-drive model is available in two variants: the XLE, which can drive an EPA-estimated 252 miles, and the Limited, which boasts an EPA-estimated range of 242 miles per charge. The all-wheel-drive model, available as an XLE, delivers an estimated range of 228 miles.

Last year marked the best retail year for Kia America in the company’s 30-year history. That accomplishment was bolstered in no small way by sales of electrified vehicles, which increased 142% compared to sales figures collected in December 2021. The South Korean automaker, a subsidiary of the Hyundai Motor Group, is investing heavily in the technology, as is its parent company, which aims to sell more than 3 million fully electric vehicles annually by 2030. 

Recently, Kia unveiled the EV6 GT, an all-electric SUV that boasts 567 hp, a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of just 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 161 mph. Best of all, such thrilling performance is paired with a battery that can go from a 10% to 80% charge in less than 18 minutes and offers a maximum range of 206 miles. According to Sean Yoon, Kia North America’s CEO, “Customers are taking notice that when it comes to electrification, Kia is a brand to watch.”

Exclusively EV

What to know about today’s all-electric brands.


The unequivocal leader of the electric vehicle (EV) space, Tesla produced more than 1.3 million automobiles in 2022, which represented an almost 50% increase over the company’s record-setting 2021. Tesla’s iron grip on the market is driven largely by the Model 3, which ranked as the world’s best-selling plug-in vehicle for two years, only to be supplanted by the Model Y last year. A Tesla vehicle is more than just an efficient EV, however—it’s effectively a smartphone on wheels. All models feature a unique touchscreen display equipped with apps and streaming services, including YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, entertainment features that only unlock when the car is parked. Tesla’s vehicles also feature a smart air-suspension system, which utilizes GPS to automatically adjust the firmness of the car’s suspension based on road conditions. The cars receive over-the-air updates, equipping them with new features that Tesla claims make them safer. The company celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and it currently produces four vehicles—the Model S, Model 3, Model Y, and Model X—which range in price from $43,990 to $199,990.

Tesla may be the EV market leader, but that doesn’t mean other companies haven’t also achieved industry firsts. Take Lucid Motors, which was founded in 2007 and built a factory in Casa Grande, Ariz., the first purpose-built EV factory in North America. The company currently produces four EV models—the Air Pure, Air Touring, Air Grand Touring, and Air Sapphire—which are tagged with starting prices from $87,400 to $249,000. A quarter of a million dollars may seem steep, but with the Air Sapphire, you get what you pay for—namely, a three-motor powertrain that delivers 1,200 hp, produces a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of less than two seconds, and has a top speed greater than 200 mph. Lucid’s vehicles are also enhanced by luxurious accents, such as Bridge of Weir leather.

The EV producer with the longest tenure in the marketplace, Polestar was founded in 1996 (initially branded as Flash Engineering) and tasked with building a race car that could help Volvo win the Swedish Touring Car Championship. That racing background proved useful in 2019 when the company unveiled the Polestar 1, a low-volume performance hybrid GT outfitted with a carbon-fiber body and bolstered by a powertrain that delivered 609 hp. In March 2022, the company debuted a hard-top concept convertible, one that promises a dynamic driving experience and is designed to maximize the potential of the industry’s sustainable technology. Similarly, in 2024, Polestar plans to release the Polestar 5, a four-door GT born from the company’s first concept vehicle, the Polestar Precept. Looking long term, Polestar aims to build a climate-neutral car by the start of the next decade. For now, the company is delivering the Polestar 2 (starting at $48,400) and plans to launch its first electric SUV, the Polestar 3 (starting at $85,300), by the fourth quarter of this year. 

As Polestar is carving out its niche with high-performance EV roadsters and coupes, Rivian has planted its flag on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Irvine, Calif.-based automaker was founded in 2009, but it wasn’t until the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show that the company unveiled the world’s first electric adventure vehicle, the R1T, which starts at $73,000. Equipped with a 128.9 kWh motor, the R1T delivers 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque, which equates to a top speed of 110 mph, a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of approximately three seconds, and maximum towing capability of 11,000 pounds. More recently, Rivian unveiled an equally impressive SUV, the R1S (starting at $78,000). Both vehicles will be available in three all-wheel-drive configurations later this year, which can increase their range to as much as 400 miles on a single charge.

Prior to establishing his namesake automotive company in 2007, Henrik Fisker launched a design house with the intent of revitalizing the art of custom coach building. Although the entrepreneur has since moved on from the EV auto brand, the Fisker company has remained relevant, building off the brand’s first EV vehicle, the Fisker Karma, which sold more than 2,000 units and was named Time Magazine’s Best Invention of the Year in 2012. These days, Fisker produces the Ocean, an SUV that starts at $37,499, and next year will begin delivery of the Pear, a compact SUV, which starts at $29,900. The company has also provided a glimpse at early drawings for the Fisker Ronin, an uncompromising EV super-car concept.