Plug-in Vehicles: 3 We Like for 2014

Joann Ackley, special to Nvate

America is getting excited about electric vehicles or EVs. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, the United States EV market has been dominated by the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and the Nissan Leaf all-electric since their debuts in 2010. However, a new wave of EVs are on the way. Here is a run-down of our favorite 2014 models.

2014 BMW i3

Nvate electric hybrid plug-in vehicles by Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Chevrolet Spark, Cadillac ELR

Credit: stevelyon via Flickr

The 2014 BMW i3 is the culmination of BMW’s many explorations in EV testing. The i3 is a compact, extended-range model with a reinforced plastic carbon fiber body. According to Green Car Reports, the i3 will possess a lithium-ion battery pack that powers the 125-kilowatt, or 170-horsepower, electric motor. With sleek lines built from sustainable materials, the BMW i3 is a futuristic machine that hints at a bright future for BMW in the field of electric vehicles.

While BMW has yet to put a price tag on it, estimates range from $42,000 to $48,000, before the federal tax credit and possible state incentives. All in all, it’s a fantastic slab of sleek German engineering for an EV at a reasonable price.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

General Motors built its own proprietary motor for the Spark, which Car and Driver says spins at the equivalent of 140 horsepower and can break speeds of 60 mph in less than eight seconds. That’s not bad for a little plug-in car. With a stated average range of 82 miles, the Spark sounds like the perfect commuter car, especially for those driving into metropolitan cities from the outlaying neighborhoods.

With a price set for U.S. markets at less than $32,500, the Spark seems almost too good to be true and that’s before any tax incentives. When it launches in 2014, it will be available not only in America, but in South Korea, Europe and Canada. Your local Chevrolet dealer has more information regarding 2014 Chevy EVs.

2014 Cadillac ELR

Nvate electric hybrid plug-in vehicles by Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Chevrolet Spark, Cadillac ELR

Credit: That Hartford Guy via Flickr

With its bold and contemporary lines, leather interior and chrome highlights, the 2014 Cadillac ELR betrays nothing of Cadillac’s signature style. Coupled with its low fuel cost and Cadillac power, the ELR is a luxury EV owner’s delight.

A unique electric coupe, the ELR ranges out at about 35 miles, Edmunds reports, making it less effective than other EVs arriving in the 2014 market. What it lacks in efficiency, it does make up for in style. The ELR has a mounted 8-inch touchscreen in the dash that controls audio, navigation and climate control functions with a touch of a finger or smartphone-style gesture. The ELR comes standard with a Bose audio system that boasts 10-speaker surround sound with noise cancellation and the SAS, or safety alert seat, system. The SAS vibrates the driver’s seat when sensors around the car detect an obstacle, such as an imminent forward collision or lane departure collision. Blind spot and rear cross-traffic sensors are also available.

A full charge of the Cadillac ELR takes 4.5 hours from a standard 240-volt outlet, and the ELR will achieve the necessary emissions rating for a California carpool lane pass. The expected price before incentives is estimated at $50,000 when the ELR hits American markets in early 2014.

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