If you’re like 400,000 or so other people, you put down a $1,000 reservation for the Tesla Model 3 in 2016 and started waiting. As of July 2018, you’re still waiting if you wanted the one with a base price of $35,000.
By the start of 2019, you’re gonna still be waiting for that one. Tesla made it clear in late June that it will be the last trim the electric car maker produces. (Other models, starting at $49,000 and ending close to $90,000, will continue to take priority.)
Therefore, if you’ve grown impatient and want to drive green, you’ll need an alternative for your electric driving needs. Here are three plug-in models that can fill the blank in 2018.
3. Nissan Leaf
- It’s not flashy, but it’s tech-savvy and a big step up from the first.
Many people were skeptical and a little disappointed when they first heard the specs of the revamped Nissan Leaf — especially the 150 miles of range. However, there’s plenty to like in this model, from its highly functional infotainment system to its lively drive character.
Sure, it might not be the sexiest car, but the 2018 Leaf is in many ways a Model 3 antidote: It’s affordable ($30,000), available, and comes with free charging. Those details ought to get plenty of potential EV drivers on the road this year.
Better yet, the 2019 Leaf will feature over 200 miles and hit the road later this year. Pricing is unknown, but no one has balked over the price of a Leaf yet.
2. Chevrolet Bolt EV
- With 238 miles of range at $37,495, it’s the EV driver’s best call.
Initially, we saw the affordable Model 3 as a superior option to the Chevrolet Bolt EV. But that was only on paper.
Once Bolt EV hit the road — and the $35,000 Model 3 didn’t — it became clear that Chevy had won the race among mass-market electric cars.
Many months later, Bolt EV remains the only option topping 200 miles at a price point below $40,000. (Its MSRP held at $37,495 including delivery charges in summer 2018.)
With 200 horsepower and a well-proportioned interior, this model holds its own as far as performance and utility go. You might not love the styling or interior, but if you want a long-range EV in 2018 this is your best call.
1. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid
- This plug-in hybrid pick checks almost all the boxes.
You might call the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid the dark horse on the green car market in 2018. It’s not a pure EV, it didn’t have nearly the hype Model 3 and Bolt EV had, and it doesn’t scream “electric” or “weird/different” at first glance.
However, it does deliver 47 miles of electric range (340 miles total) in a midsize sedan package. No other plug-in can make the same boast. Clarity’s interior designers nailed it, as did engineers who made the ride quiet and smooth.
With a base price of $33,400 and the full ($7,500) federal EV tax credit applicable, we’d say this option would be the most appealing to drivers who want a Model 3 alternative in 2018.
A couple years down the road, if you still want a Tesla, the two would make a very green (and still practical) garage together.
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