The Best Electric Vehicles on the Market in 2023 and 2024

Thinking of abandoning your internal combustion engine for an electric vehicle (EV)? There are more electric vehicles than ever before, and numerous vehicle types, including electric pickups, luxury EVs, and SUVs on the market.

Advances in battery technology are also boosting vehicle range, and an increasingly robust charging infrastructure makes electric cars more appealing than ever. Tesla sets itself apart from other manufacturers with a robust Supercharger network.

However, the federal EV tax credits have changed, and while many U.S.-made EV models are eligible for $7,500, others no longer qualify due to factors including final assembly location and sticker price. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy website for the most up-to-date information, as eligibility criteria, like assembly location, are subject to change.

Which Electric Vehicles Are Greenest?

There are numerous factors to consider to determine which EVs have the least environmental impact. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) provides a list of the greenest cars on the market, using the following information in its selection criteria:

  • Tailpipe emissions
  • Vehicle efficiency based on EPA test cycles
  • Vehicle mass (curb weight)
  • Battery mass and composition (for hybrids and battery-electric vehicles

Electric vehicles typically produce more greenhouse gas emissions during the manufacturing process than gasoline-powered cars due to the impact of mining and refining lithium batteries and the energy intensity of the manufacturing process, but the emissions reductions after driving the car for a year more than offsets the additional CO2 produced during manufacturing.

“Not all electric vehicles are created equal,” said Peter Huether, senior transportation research analyst with ACEEE. “Inefficient and heavy EVs have lower environmental impacts than similarly sized gasoline-fueled cars, but they underperform more efficient EVs.”

The five top-ranking cars on this year’s ACEEE list are all battery-electric vehicles include:

  • Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Mazda MX-30 (only available in select markets)
  • Toyota bZ4X
  • Subaru Solterra AWD

This Year’s Top EVs

Chevy Bolt EV

Starting price: $26,500

Qualifies for EV tax credit: Yes, up to $7,500

Vehicle range: 259 miles

Although Chevy is known for producing gas-guzzling cars, General Motors is producing some high-quality electric vehicles and they will soon be able to use Tesla’s nationwide charging network. The Bolt EV is a hatchback sedan manufactured in Michigan, where half of the plant is powered by solar energy or landfill gas.

General Motors ranked #56 on Newsweek’s list of the most responsible companies among the top 500 global companies, and #1 on Greenpeace’s 2022 Auto Environmental Guide. We’re impressed by the range of the Chevy Bolt combined with a modest price tag and eligibility for the federal EV tax credit. Though General Motors announced it would discontinue the Bolt, it later reversed that decision and said it would revamp it.

Chevy Bolt EUV

Starting price: $28,190

Qualifies for EV tax credit: Yes, up to $7,500

Vehicle range: 247 miles

This crossover SUV, which is smaller than standard utility vehicles, offers a 247-mile driving range and the same miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) and wheelbase as the Bolt EV. It is also manufactured in the same energy-efficient plant but it offers a roomier interior with a couple more inches of legroom in the back seat.

The added space and other features result in a starting price higher than the Bolt EV, and the Bolt EUV also qualifies for the EV tax credit.

Hyundai Ioniq 6

Starting price: $41,600/$45,500

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 240 miles/361 miles

Hyundai has an impressive line of green cars, and the company ranked #5 in Greenpeace’s 2022 Auto Environmental Guide. The Ioniq 6 won Car and Driver’s 2023 EV of the Year, and is among the most efficient electric vehicles on the market. Available in two battery sizes that provide driving ranges of 240 and 361 miles, respectively, the Ioniq 6 is a great choice for local and long-distance trips. Unfortunately, it doesn’t qualify for the EV tax credit because the car is manufactured overseas.

Toyota bZ4X

Starting price: $42,000

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 252 miles

Although Toyota was named by Newsweek as the greenest automaker back in 2017, it didn’t even appear on the 2023 Newsweek list of the most responsible companies. The Toyota bZ4X crossover delivers a respectable range and is on the ACEEE list of greenest vehicles. It’s priced similarly to the Ioniq 6 and doesn’t qualify for the tax credit.

The Prius helped Toyota gain a market share in the green car market early on, but the company hasn’t maintained its green image brand image. The bZ4X may be the car that puts Toyota back at the top of the EV game.

Tesla Model Y

Starting price: $47,490/$49,380

Qualifies for EV tax credit: Yes, up to $7,500, MSRP limit $80,000

Vehicle range: 279 miles/330 miles

Although Tesla has a vision for the clean energy transition, its own operations and transparency have been lagging. For example, unlike other automakers, it doesn’t disclose greenhouse gas emissions associated with its manufacturing to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Tesla has a large rooftop solar system on its Gigawatt manufacturing facility in Nevada but has faltered in its goal of making it the world’s largest solar-powered factory.

Yet, Tesla still has the largest market share of U.S. EV sales, at about 60% in 2023. The Tesla Model Y, which is designed to be affordable, provides impressive range, MPGe, and can hold up to seven passengers with its optional third row. It also qualifies for an EV tax credit, making it even more budget-friendly.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Starting price: $33,500

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 258 miles

The Kona Electric is the second generation of a small crossover SUV known for its strong powertrain, excellent safety features, and sleek design. The Kona Electric was introduced in 2018 and is gaining popularity partially due to its long range and reasonable price. Because it is made in Korea, the Kona does not qualify for an EV tax credit.

Nissan Leaf

Starting price: $28,040

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 149 miles

Nissan has the ambitious goal of being carbon-neutral throughout the entire vehicle lifecycle by 2050, including material extraction, vehicle use, and end-of-life. The environmental goals will also require suppliers to be carbon-neutral. Although it has impressive sustainability goals, Nissan currently ranks #8 on Greenpeace’s Auto Environmental Guide.

The Nissan Leaf is an appealing option for drivers who do not need a very long driving range and would like a relatively modest price tag. It also received a high rating from the ACEEE, but the Leaf isn’t eligible for EV tax credit because it is manufactured in Japan.

Electric Mini Cooper

Starting price: $29,900

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 110 miles

The zippy Electric Mini Cooper is one of the most affordable vehicles on the list, yet has the smallest range and doesn’t qualify for the EV tax credit. But, based on its high ACEEE score, the Mini is worth a look if the range is sufficient.

The EV model is similar in design to the iconic Hardtop 2-Door Cooper but with an electric powertrain that delivers even better acceleration. An excellent choice for city driving, the Mini won the Green Car Journal’s 2023 Urban Green Car of the Year award.

Kia Niro EV

Starting price: $39,500

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 253 miles

Kia is a moderately green company with some fuel-efficient vehicles. The Niro EV crossover SUV scores high in practicality as a family vehicle, with a roomy interior and a relatively large range. The Niro is manufactured in South Korea, so does not qualify for the EV tax credit, and is also available as a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Tesla Model 3

Starting price: $40,240/$47,240

Qualifies for EV tax credit: Yes, up to $7,500, MSRP limit $55,000

Vehicle range: 272 miles/358 miles

The Model 3 is impressive because it combines both rapid acceleration and efficiency.

The long-range version nearly tops the list among all EV driving distance at 358 miles, similar to the extended-range Ioniq 6.

Because well-appointed versions of the Model 3 can exceed the MSRP limit of $55,000 in the Inflation Reduction Act it may not qualify for the EV tax credit.

Kia EV6

Starting price: $43,925/$48,700

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 232 miles/310 miles

The Kia EV6 compact crossover SUV has a lot of power, sharp steering, and a bit of a futuristic-looking exterior. The range, price, and features vary widely between versions. Kia is owned by Hyundai, and the EV6 is built on the same platform as Hyundai’s Ioniq 6s.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Starting price: $49,995/$69,995

Qualifies for EV tax credit: Yes, up to $7,500, MSRP limit $80,000

Vehicle range: 230 miles/320 miles

Ford’s all-electric version of the popular F-150 pickup features a solid range and has won numerous awards, including the 2023 Commercial Green Car of the Year from Green Car Journal. Intelligent Backup Power, an onboard generator, can provide electricity for use by homes, tools, or appliances. Although it has the lowest MPGe on our list, it can tow 10,000 pounds with the extended range battery and a maximum payload of 2,000 pounds. Drivers also enjoy the room frunk.

Ford Motor ranked #4 of 10 on Greenpeace’s 2022 Auto Environmental Guide and was on Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies in 2021. However, it dropped off the most recent lists because of challenges it faced in building the F-150 Lightning. The company has some relatively solid sustainability goals, such as using 100% locally-produced renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants by 2035, but isn’t that impressive from a sustainability standpoint overall. For example, it’s Sustainalytic’s ESG score is 22.3, representing medium risk.

Volkswagen ID.4

Starting price: $38,995

Qualifies for EV tax credit: Yes, up to $7,500, MSRP limit $55,000

Vehicle range: 209 miles/ 275 miles

Despite its emissions scandal last decade, Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, has shown a solid dedication to sustainability. It plans to offer 30 EV models by 2025, and reduce the carbon footprint per car by 30% over its lifecycle by 2030, compared to 2018).

The ID.4 electric SUV from Volkswagen has a roomy cabin, lots of storage space, and both single and dual-motor options. Plus, it scored high in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests. Although it has a decent range, with the 62 kWh battery, models with the 82 kWh battery can go 275 miles on a charge.

Honorable Mentions

While the following EVs don’t make our list, they do stand out for various reasons. If you must have a high-performance model, they offer earth-friendlier options to super gas guzzlers.

Polestar 2

Starting price: $49,800

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 270 miles

Praised for being well-built and a quick drive, Polestar aims to make cars that are fun to drive.

Polestar is a spinoff of Volvo, and the Polestar 2 EV was the second offering by this Swedish automaker known for technology and performance. This is a pricier car than others on the list and is often compared to Teslas but with a smaller range. It comes with a 75 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that fits under the floor.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Starting price: $42,995

Qualifies for EV tax credit: Yes, up to $7,500, MSRP limit $80,000

Vehicle range: 250

The Ford Mustang Mach-E compact SUV was the first EV from Ford and is praised for quick acceleration and sharp handling. It has decent cargo space and is eligible for the EV tax credit.

Lucid Air

Starting price: $82,400

Qualifies for EV tax credit: No

Vehicle range: 425 miles

Lucid Motors joined the UN Global Compact, and this California startup manufactures its vehicles in Arizona. The Lucid Air electric sports sedan won the 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year award for its high performance, impressive vehicle range, and engineering excellence. It has the highest MPGe on our list, along with the Ioniq 6. But, this EV sports car is unaffordable to most and doesn’t qualify for the EV tax credit because the MSRP exceeds $55,000.

Comparison Chart

To download our printable comparison chart, click the image below.

Explaining Our Electric Vehicle Criteria

We took numerous factors into account when creating our list, including vehicle efficiency, ACEEE rating, vehicle range, eligibility for the EV tax credit, and sticker price. Certainly, the best EV for you varies depending on your needs, preferences, and budget.

Electric Vehicle Range

There are now numerous electric vehicles on the market with ranges above 300 miles, and the Lucid Air Pure tops our list with a 425-mile range. Although the Nissan Leaf and Electric Mini Cooper received high scores on the ACEEE green car list, they also have vehicle ranges well under 200 miles.

Consider what range will be convenient for your regular needs and if you need a vehicle with a longer range. Some automakers offer standard and extended-range versions, with the latter usually starting at several thousand dollars more.

Federal Tax Credit for New Electric Vehicles

EV buyers can take advantage of up to $7,500 tax credit for purchasing certain new electric vehicle models. Tax credits are more valuable to taxpayers than write-offs because they result in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes owed. That means that a $7,500 tax credit can reduce your tax liability by $7,500. Speak to your tax preparer for more information on whether you can benefit from a tax credit on your federal income taxes.

There is an income limit of $150,000 or $300,000 for married couples filing jointly. Also, refer to the U.S. Department of Energy website for the most up-to-date information, as eligibility criteria for EV models, like assembly location, are subject to change. There is a loophole in the criteria for EVs meeting the tax credit requirements for leased vehicles, which might lead to a lower lease cost or perhaps rebates.

There is now a limit on vehicles qualifying for the tax credit due to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and vehicles over a certain threshold aren’t eligible for tax credits. The MSRP for cars is $55,000, and $80,000 for vans, pickups, and SUVs.

Keep in mind that many used electric vehicles now qualify for a tax credit of up to $4,000 for vehicles that cost $25,000 or less and are sold by a dealer. Also, remember that the tax credit doesn’t result in instant savings. You benefit from it after you file your taxes, which is probably months after purchasing the vehicle.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on November 23, 2018. We updated the EV ratings in August 2023.