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I'll never forget my first car. 

Flaming red. Trunk big enough to fit a body in, complete boat and very safe as required by the parentals. She was old and used, but she was mine, and 17-year-old-Erin loved her. I named my new huge steel beast Ruby, popped a cheesy Hawaiian dancing girl on the dashboard, and dove off into the sunset of many high school shenanigans. 

If only the early ‚Äė90s Ruby could see what automakers were turning out these days.¬†

Not only do most new cars look like futuristic spaceships, but many are also using advanced fuel technologies like electricity, hydrogen or propane and compressed gas to power them.

Gas and diesel-fueled cars have some competition on their hands, especially with electric vehicles, or EVs, growing in popularity. From 2017 to 2018, EVs saw an impressive 63% increase in sales and during the first half of 2019, EVs had already seen a 46% growth compared to 2018.

Since we've all decided to forget the dumpster fire of a year that is 2020 (thank you pandemic and the multitude of other reasons this year shall never be named), we're stoked for what's coming in 2021. 

That excitement includes the futuristic new models of EV hitting the road just around the corner. Let's walk through some EV basics, plus the 17 coolest vehicles to watch out for in the coming year. 

But What Exactly is an Electric Vehicle?

Electric vehicle getting charged

The US Department of Energy considers an electric vehicle is any vehicle that "derives all or part of their power from electricity supplied by the electric grid. They include AEVs [all-electric vehicles] and PHEVs [plug-in hybrid electric vehicles]."

Essentially, EV's have a battery pack in addition to or instead of a traditional engine that powers an electric motor to power the drivetrain. The car is "fueled" by plugging into the wall, a charging station, and cool onboard features like regenerative braking. The range mileage you can get between charging depends greatly on the type of car, driving conditions, and battery type. 

Because these cars don't combust fuel, they have a lower emission rate and are generally considered to be for the environment. 

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Electric Cars

Electric passenger cars are most likely what you think about when you think about an EV. Smaller and lighter than their combustion engine counterparts, these electric models represent the next generation of classic standard and compact vehicles. 

2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric isn't available for pre-order quite yet, but the specs on this electric car paired with the affordable base model pricing make this car one to watch for. Featuring an 8-inch infotainment system that pairs with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

This horseless carriage also offers a lifetime battery warranty for the original owner to help make the switch to electric technology a little less scary. And if you're not ready for a full battery-electric model, the Hyundai Ioniq is also available as a hybrid coupe.

  • $34,020, starting price
  • Available early 2021
  • 134 horsepower
  • 170-mile battery range
  • 5-passenger seating¬†

Toyota Prius Prime

The Toyota Prius is a plug-in hybrid, meaning it derives part of its power from gas and operates using fuel or electric power depending on driving conditions and speed. 

The 2021 model includes a JBL audio system with 10 individual speakers to maximize sound and limit power usage. Plus, this cars infotainment system pairs with Amazon Alexa and offers a slip-proof wireless charging system. 

  • $28,220, starting price¬†
  • 121 horsepower
  • 25 mile full EV battery range, 54 mpg in hybrid mode
  • 5-passenger seating

The Nissan Leaf & Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt are long-standing, dependable EVs, that unfortunately due to the COVID pandemic, aren't expected to make it into production until mid-late 2021. Meaning a new model isn't expected until 2022, maybe at the tail end of 2021 in the case of the Chevrolet Bolt. 

I kept them on the list because they are affordable, introductory electric cars that will be worth watching out for when they do actually make an appearance. 

Related: How to Negotiate a Car Lease [Understanding the Terminology]

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Electric Luxury Cars

Electrification does not have to equate to subpar performance. Luxury cars offer impeccable styling, high-end features and extra amenities from manufacturers that exude class and style. The price tag may be higher, but this is one purchase where you truly get what you pay for.  

Lucid Air Dream Edition

This car is fast. Like really fast. We're talking 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and the ability to crush a quarter-mile in under 10 seconds. The Lucid Air Dream Edition is one of the cars, electric or not, that performs like nothing else on the road. 

The Dream edition also boasts a Glass Canopy roof design, exclusive color options, and state of the art charging that can deliver up to 300 miles in a single, 20-minute charge. Plus, literally, every single option offered on other models will be considered standard for this special edition. 

Production will begin in early 2021 but reservations can be taken now with a refundable $7,500 deposit. 

  • $165,500, starting¬†
  • Available 2021
  • 1,080 horsepower
  • 503-mile projected battery range
  • 5-passenger seating

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Jaguar I-Pace 

The Jaguar I-Pace has been around for a few years, but the 2021 model is set to receive some impressive upgrades like enhanced charging and a complementary 4G wireless plan. This EV also has features you've come to expect from a Jaguar, like all-wheel drive, comfort options for passengers and a gorgeous interior. 

Next year's model will also feature an updated infotainment center with an integrated app to help drivers locate charging stations and alert them to their price and availability. 

  • $71,450, estimated starting price
  • Available mid to lat 2021
  • 394 horsepower¬†
  • 253-mile battery range
  • 5-passenger seating

Porsche Taycan

This electric sedan was made for the sports car lover. The Taycan boasts all-wheel drive, two electric motors, and can zoom through a quarter-mile in just over ten seconds. 

The 2021 model will be adding an on-demand style software addition platform for added customization of features and is available in seven new color choices. 

  • $103,800 starting price
  • Available early 2021
  • 522 horsepower¬†
  • 192-mile battery range
  • 4-passenger seating

Audi e-Tron GT

This four-door sedan from Audi has a bold look, and while no one has actually seen this car driven yet, the spec features are impressive. 

With 0-60 taking just under 4 seconds and a specially cooled battery system that can take pretty much anything you throw at it. There is a serious buzz about this new electric car. 

Note however the warranty is less than impressive, with no specific powertrain warranty and the limited warranty only lasting 50,000 miles. 

  • $100,000 estimated starting price
  • Available early 2021
  • 590 horsepower¬†
  • 240-mile estimated battery range (based on testing standards from Europe)
  • Four-passenger seating

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Electric Trucks

Yes, electric trucks are available and I am here for it! You might think most electric vehicles fall into the sedan category, but these trucks are pretty impressive. 

Bollinger B2

Bollinger B2

With military-inspired styling with an almost vintage Jeep interior feel, the Bollinger B2 is a masculine AF electric pickup. No outdated Prius jokes will be coming your way when you show up in this electric beast. 

Some of the awesome features include a 7,500-pound towing capacity, a fold-away cab and a 75 minute charge time when using DC fast charging. And, opt for the all-glass roof panels, the cherry on top of the sundae.  

While the B2 isn't expected until 2021 you can reserve yours now with a $1,000 refundable deposit. 

  • $125,000, starting price
  • Available 2021
  • 614 horsepower¬†
  • 250-mile EPA rated battery range
  • 2 or 4-passenger seating

Tesla Cybertruck

With all the Tesla models that could have been selected for this list, you may be wondering why the Cybertruck was chosen. Sure, the new Roadster or Tesla Model 3 could easily hold their own when compared to any of the luxury cars on our list. But just look at the Cybertruck. This machine looks like everything a sci-fi movie could ever hope for. Kudos to Elon Mus for such a trippy looking truck.

The Cybertruck offers you 7,500-pound towing capacity, a durable impenetrable exoskeleton, Tesla's iconic autopilot, and vault-like storage space thanks to the most unique truck bed we've ever seen. This EV almost looks more Transformer than a truck. 

Thanks to a recent production, delivery isn't expected until 2022. You can reserve one with a refundable $100 deposit. This will be one EV to watch for updates as production begins. 

  • $39,900 starting
  • Available 2022
  • 800 horsepower¬†
  • EPA estimated 250-mile driving range
  • 6-passenger seating

Rivian R1T

This AWD electric truck was made for off-road adventure. With an incredible 11,000 pound towing capacity and an impressive 400-mile driving range, the R1T is ready to hit the great outdoors. 

Features include extra locking compartments (including a 12-foot tunnel for all that equipment you can never fit anywhere), a truck bed with three outlets and a compressed air dispenser, and flexible crossbar systems for mounting all your gear easily and securely. 

And don't think the R1T is all work and no play; this truck can go 0-60 in just under 3 seconds.

The Rivian R1T is available for pre-order with a refundable $1,000 deposit. 

  • $69,000, starting price
  • Available mid-2021
  • Up to 750 horsepower
  • 400-mile battery range
  • 5-passenger seating
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GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 

This oldie but goodie from General Motors is getting the electric upgrade no one saw coming. The quintessential gas-guzzling Hummer is going electric with their new super truck. 

One of the coolest features of the Hummer EV is lateral driving. The wheels can fully turn to allow you to drive, well like a crab walks, getting you out of tight situations.  Other notable features include a 350 kWh battery that can charge 100 miles in about 10 minutes, an off-road package and an infinity roof.

While the reservation list is full for Edition 1, you can request to be added to the waitlist. 

  • $112, 595, starting price
  • Available Fall 2021
  • 1,000 horsepower¬†
  • 350-mile battery range
  • 5-passenger seating

Related: How to Plan a Trip Along the Pacific Coast Highway

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SUVs and Crossovers

‚ÄčFor the not-quite-a-car-not-quite-a-truck crowd is the SUV and Crossover class.¬†

Have you ever wondered what the actual difference is between an SUV and a Crossover? An SUV is built on a truck chassis, making them usually a bit larger, while the Crossover is built on a car chassis making them usually a bit smaller. 

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 

While the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT won't be available until later in 2021, this car is worth the wait. If you love the classic GT,  you’re going to love the electric version. Touting an impressive battery range with the ability to go from 0-60 in under three seconds, this car is a perfect choice for someone who wants to go with an EV but doesn't want to give up performance.

With Ford's in-home charging options you can power-up while you power-down at home. And, forget about using a key fob; this smart car can use your smartphone to unlock the car and engage the remote startup. This Crossover hatchback will also be available in two new color choices Cyber Orange Metallic and Dark Matter Gray.

  • $60,500, starting price
  • Available Summer 2021
  • 459 horsepower
  • 250-mile battery range
  • 5-passenger seating

Mercedes-Benz EQC

The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the first all-electric SUV from Mercedes and offers the features of an SUV and the styling of a sports coupe. 

The EQC offers a large instrument panel, an enhanced media system, and five driving modes all bundled together with a high-end look and feel you've come to expect from the Mercedes name.

Mercedes will also be debuting an all-electric luxury sedan, the Mercedes-Benz EQS, and the compact EQA, later in 2021. 

  • $68,895, starting price
  • Available 2021
  • 402 horsepower
  • 279-mile estimated battery range
  • 5-passenger seating

Nissan Ariya 

This crossover from Nissan gives passengers a roomy and open feel while giving the driver access to comfort and driving features like ProPilot, an automated driving system, and Amazon Alexa for voice control. The Ariya is available in all-wheel drive or two-wheel drive, with an enhanced battery range option. 

The Ariya isn't available for pre-order or reservation, but you can sign up to be notified of its release and updates via email. 

  • $45,000, estimated starting price.
  • Available in 2021
  • 389 horsepower
  • Up to 300-mile battery range
  • 5-passenger seating

Kia Soul EV 

The Kia Soul EV is all about a smooth, safe ride. This four-door hatchback offers advanced technologies with lane-keeping assist and a blind-spot collision warning to keep drivers and their passengers safe. 

The 2021 model is available in 10 colors and offers features like moonlighting, Apple and Android pairing for remote start and climate control, wireless phone charging and an incredible warranty package.

  • $35,000 estimated starting price
  • Available in 2021
  • 201 horsepower
  • 243-mile battery range
  • 5-passenger seating

BMW X5 

The BMW X5 SUV is available with three powertrain options, one being a plug-in hybrid model featuring an all-new lithium-ion battery.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance ‚Äď New Plug-In SUV

If you like driving a stick shift, the X5 offers users a manual mode and rear-wheel steering. This electric SUV also features a wifi hotspot, wireless phone charging and state of the art climate controls. 

Insider tip: Keep your eyes peeled for the BMW iNext, an all-electric car debuting sometime in 2022. 

  • $60,395 starting price
  • 389 horsepower¬†
  • 30-mile battery range in EV only mode, 50 mpg as a hybrid.
  • 5-passenger seating

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All Hype or Way of the Future?

While electric cars only make up 2.5% of the passenger cars driven in the country, in states like California, where I'm from, they make up 8% of cars on the road today, and these numbers are only expected to climb as charging stations become more readily available and charge times become faster. 

Plus, many models of new EVs are eligible for federal tax incentives, and some models may also qualify for additional state or local credits/incentives, depending on where you live and purchase your vehicle. 

With continued innovation among the vehicle industry and continued incentives for their purchase, these vehicles are only going to grow in popularity and availability. 


Sadly, my Ruby met her demise after only a few short years together when a small school bus full of kids with special needs came back into her while I was at work across the street. It was a bad day for everyone involved but does make a funny story all these years later. 

You might also be interested in: The 7 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners [Small And Mighty]

The 17 Electric Vehicles to Watch for in 2021: 

  1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric
  2. Toyota Prius Prime
  3. Nissan Leaf
  4. Chevrolet Bolt EV
  5. Lucid Air Dream Edition
  6. Jaguar I-Pace
  7. Porsche Taycan
  8. Audi e-Tron GT
  9. Bollinger B2
  10. Tesla Cybertruck
  11. Rivian R1Te
  12. GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 
  13. Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 
  14. Mercedes-Benz EQC
  15. Nissan Ariya 
  16. Kia Soul EV
  17. BMW X5 
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Posted 
Nov 6, 2020
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