An EV buying guide for people fed up with Tesla's Elon Musk
So you wanted to buy a Tesla, but then Elon Musk bought Twitter, got offended by trolls, flirted with QAnon and started banning journalists. Now you’re not so sure?
You’re not alone: The billionaire’s behavior has made some people publicly declare (on Twitter, of course) they will never buy one of his electric vehicles. And a poll of Twitter users just indicated that most would like for him to step down as the social network’s CEO.
Tesla is still the leading electric-vehicle maker in the world, but China’s BYD is catching up. Tesla got an early jump on the industry with the 2012 launch of the first car it developed from scratch, the Model S, which forced the general public to rethink what EVs could be with its sleek looks, zippy performance and higher-end finishes.
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But strong recent entries from established brands, as well as much-hyped debuts from other startups, are taking a bigger share of the growing EV market.
A market research brand, HundredX, showed a drop in loyalty in recent months among Telsa owners, who are known for their devotion to the company’s leader and his brand.
Still, you’re curious about EVs and considering switching to electric? Perhaps you respect Musk but are interested in what else is on the market. Or maybe you didn’t have strong feelings either way about Musk — but you don’t love Teslas and are hoping to find something more suited to your individual needs.
Here, we break down each model in Tesla’s lineup and what alternatives are out there.
Instead of: Model 3
This is the entry-level Tesla sedan.The Long Range dual motor model starts at $57,990 with a range of 358 miles, though it’s currently unavailable for ordering. The real-wheel drive Model 3 starts at $46,990, has an estimated range of 272 miles and goes 0-60 in 5.8 seconds.The more powerful dual-motor Performance model has a significantly longer range of 315 miles, goes 0-60 in 3.1 seconds and starts at $62,990.
Try: BMW i4, Polestar 2 or Kia EV6
The BMW’s entry into the luxury electric vehicle space came with the stunning i4. Our review noted its tight steering, responsive suspension and powerful motors, as well as the high-quality interiors that BMW is known for.A rear-wheel-drive model, the i4 eDrive40, has a range of 300 miles and starts at $55,900.The i4 M50 goes from 0-60 in 3.7 seconds,has a range of 245 miles and starts at $67,300. “It is impossible to replicate more than a century of German manufacturing in a few years’ time; the fit and finish of interior cabins in the electric vehicles coming from Audi, Porsche, and now BMW is one way it shows," our review said of the i4.
Meanwhile, the Polestar 2’s looks and build quality are better than Tesla’s, with comparable performance and a range of 270 miles. The dual motor starts at$53,300. The Kia EV6 crossover, starting at$48,500,has a range of 310 miles with about twice as much cargo space as the Tesla sedan.
Instead of: Model Y
Although it doesn’t exactly look like a station wagon, the Model Y serves that purpose in the fleet. It’s like a shrunken Model X, but it still has plenty more cargo space than the sedans—or, itcan be configured to fit seven seats.The Model Y Long Range starts at $65,990, has a range of 330 miles and goes 0-60 in 4.8 seconds.
Try: Audi Q4 e-tron or BMW iX
Starting at $49,800, the Audi Q4 e-Tron Premium has a range of 265 miles and goes 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds.Its interior and build quality feels on par with BMW and superior to Tesla. The BMW iX, meanwhile, starts at $83,200, has a range of more than 300 miles, and goes 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds. Our review calls it unattractive and a bit boring to drive but says it has the high quality expected from BMW.
Instead of: Model X
The closest thing Tesla has to an SUV is the the Model X, which starts at$120,990, has range of 333 miles and goes 0-60 in 2.5 seconds.
Try:Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
This Porsche station wagon really drives like a Porsche. Its acceleration is silky smooth and flawless,driving engagement is instant, and thrilling performance can be had at any speed.The range is only about 235 miles and it starts at $97,700, but it has some excellent off-road power and provides a very enjoyable way to get your groceries home.
Instead of: Model S
This luxury sedan from Tesla is quick, especially if you purchase the extra power boost model that gets it to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. The dual-motor model starts at $104,990, with a range of 405 miles and a dash from 0-60 in 3.1 seconds.
Try: Mercedes EQS or Audi e-tron GT
For $104,400, you’ll get the most technologically advanced car that Mercedes-Benz has ever offered to the general public. The EQS makes tight U-turns and has an incredible 485 mile driving range. There are also luxury amenities such as Burmester 3D surround sound. The spacious, beautiful interiors, HEPA air filters and front seats that heat rapidly and offer massages make the car’s environment feel like a health spa.Gripes include the look of the car — it’s reminiscent of a lozenge — and the lack of resistance when pushing the brakes.