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Don't want a Tesla? Here are your top 5 EV options

I get this question nearly every day. “Which EV should I buy if I don’t want a Tesla?”

Essentially the question comes from buyers who don’t want a Tesla (TSLA) because of the antics of CEO Elon Musk, don’t like the build quality of Tesla vehicles and parts and service issues, or just want something different than the ubiquitous Model 3 and Model Y SUV.

With that being said, here are my top choices in 5 different categories that dominate the American roadways.

The cheap EV - Chevrolet Bolt EUV

Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Chevrolet Bolt EUV (Chevrolet)
  • Starts at $27,800

  • Range: 247 miles

The 2023 Chevrolet (GM) Bolt is the cheapest EV you can buy in America — with a caveat. That caveat is the federal $7,500 EV tax credit which then makes it cheaper than the Nissan Leaf, which does not qualify for the tax credit.

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That said, my choice in the cheap EV segment is the Bolt EUV, which is the larger crossover version of the Bolt, and starts at $27,800. The Bolt EUV has nearly 57 cubic feet of cargo space and slightly more than 39 inches of rear-seat legroom, quite a feat for a car with such a small footprint. With 247 miles on a full charge, the Bolt EUV has more than enough range for most American commuters, who will likely have to charge a couple times a week.

Inside, the car is appointed nicely with comfortable seats, and nice tech like dual digital displays and CarPlay (wireless!). Going up a trim level to premier gives you GM’s highly touted SuperCruise highway hands-free assistance tech and nice cabin materials like leather seats.

With a front-wheel motor setup, the car handles nicely in and around town with adequate power and agility with its low center of gravity. The Bolt EUV might be the perfect daily driver for those looking for a cheap commuter to gobble up miles.

The trusty sedan - Polestar 2

Polestar 2 US Launch August 2020
Copyright Free
Polestar 2 US Launch August 2020 Copyright Free (Polestar / Beadyeye)
  • Starts at $48,400

  • Range: 270 miles (Long range single motor)

From the shores of Sweden comes the Polestar 2 sedan. On sale since 2020, the 2023 Polestar (PSNY) 2 features both a front-motor setup or dual motor all-wheel drive configuration, with the AWD version getting huge horsepower numbers (476 hp), but the single-motor version getting the longer range (270 miles).

At $48,400, the Polestar 2 is knocking on the door of the luxury segment, though its current price is essentially the average price for a new car in the U.S. Buyers get a lot for the money, however, with good looks, nice interior materials and fit and finish, and Google-powered tech for deep integration with infotainment and the car’s other systems.

When I drove the launch edition of the vehicle, the car felt light where it needed to be, with firm steering, and the ability to get you out of trouble quickly with a stab of the accelerator. It's a sporty little sedan, and for the 2024 model year the single-motor version moves the motor to the rear of the car for better performance, and Polestar is promising more range too.

America’s choice, the SUV - Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford Mustang Mach-E is presented at the New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 5, 2023. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado
Ford Mustang Mach-E is presented at the New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 5, 2023. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado (David Dee Delgado / reuters)
  • Starts at $45,995

  • Range: 247 miles (standard range battery and RWD)

The debate about whether this crossover SUV is a Mustang or not rages on, but the vehicle's sales are raging as well. Ford (F) sold another 5,500 Mach-E’s in the first quarter, and could have sold more, but the automaker was supply constrained due to downtime at the factory.

When I tested the car in 2021, the first year it was on sale, I wrote, “The Mach E, with its dual motor, AWD system is mighty impressive. Like most EVs, the acceleration is brisk right off the bat, and the Mach-E is no exception. What makes it even more of a standout is the chassis and suspension tuning.”

While that AWD version will set you back $51,000, the value-oriented standard range with rear-wheel drive setup gets you 247 miles of range, and a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds, all for $45,995. And, the Mach-E qualifies for the federal EV tax credit of $7,500.

The pickup truck - Rivian R1T

The Rivian R1T pickup
The Rivian R1T pickup (Rivian)
  • Starts at $73,000

  • Range: 270 miles (dual motor, standard battery pack)

A bit of an aspirational play here, the Rivian R1T is more of an adventure truck than a work truck. But let’s be honest, most people these days are buying a pickup as a lifestyle choice.

In that vein, the Rivian (RIVN) is the perfect specimen. Clean lines, oodles of utility with a frunk and “gear tunnel,” and a near luxury-car interior give the Rivian the edge in the EV pickup space. Add capabilities like a quad-motor design, air suspension, and upcoming max battery pack and this truck can do it all—and it can drive like a sports car on the pavement with breakneck acceleration.

Whether Rivian can ramp up and meet demand is one of the bigger worries for the automaker. The dual motor version of the truck is coming this spring, sporting over 600hp and 270 miles of range with the standard battery pack. At $74,000, this version of the R1T also qualifies for the federal EV tax credit.

The luxury GT cruiser - Lucid Air

The Lucid Air Grand Touring
The Lucid Air Grand Touring (Lucid)
  • Starts at $87,400

  • Range: 410 miles (AWD equipped)

If you're in that market for a high-end, super-performing electric sedan, the Lucid (LCID) is an unbelievable package.

California-based Lucid made headlines years ago with the stunning design of its Air sedan. Combined with its Formula E motor, inverter, and battery technology, the company has the chops to make a legit luxury sport cruiser, and it has done so with the Air.

The Grand Touring Performance I tested earlier this year touted over 1000 hp, 514 miles of range, all packaged in a luxurious cabin that exceeded the levels of any EV-maker today. The power delivery from the powertrain was immense, though tuned in a way that made the drive sublime.

Though the company has sold its top trim levels like the Dream and Grand Touring thus far, Lucid’s Pure version of the car will be coming out soon, featuring a rear-wheel motor design, over 400 hp, and price tag of around $87,400.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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