Slowly but surely, car companies are going electric. More buyers than ever are considering the switch from fossil fuels.
What’s great for early adopters is that automakers are using cutting-edge electric models as a testing ground for new and interesting designs and capabilities.
I’ve driven more than a dozen electric cars from Ford, Tesla, Porsche, and others and experienced plenty of cool features, but a handful stand out.
California upstart Rivian is looking to become the Tesla of rugged pickup trucks and SUVs.
R1T truck has to be its Gear Tunnel.
It’s a bonus, one-of-a-kind storage area running between R1T’s back seats and bed.
The Gear Tunnel opens from both sides. Both doors house extra goodies like a first aid kit.
Simply point the seven-seat SUV at a deep creek, steep incline, or mass of boulders, and step on the accelerator. Its four powerful motors, adjustable air suspension, and advanced all-wheel-drive system handle the rest.
Tesla rejects almost all conventional buttons and gauges in favor of a sleek and uncluttered look.
And tech geeks will get a kick out of the big, snappy touchscreen that controls basic vehicle settings and receives software updates.
Fun built-in features like a racing game (which uses the actual steering wheel), drawing pad, and Netflix ensure you’ll never be bored while charging up.
EV6 has a trick up its sleeve in the form of bidirectional charging capability.
The clever feature involves using an adapter that plugs into the charge port.
But the best thing about driving the Ioniq 5 is just how cool it makes you feel.
Its retrofuturistic styling — complete with origami-like angles and lights comprised of dozens of little pixels — makes it stand out from regular blob-shaped SUVs.
It can charge at a peak rate of 270 kilowatts, faster than most electric cars, meaning 5% to 80% can happen in just 22.5 minutes.
That’s a game-changer for long road trips with multiple charging stops.
The thought of going without regular buttons may repel some buyers. But the sporty sedan’s Google-powered infotainment system isn’t clunky like some other vehicle touchscreens.
Instead, both the main display and digital instrument panel are remarkably intuitive, simple, and pretty to look at. Hyper-realistic graphics of the vehicle are a nice touch.
iX I drove cocooned me in generous amounts of supple leather.
It had a massaging driver’s seat, a slim, floating screen, and plenty of gold trim.
The Ford F-150 Lightning’s biggest superpower is how normal it feels. Ford took the F-150 and injected it with electric power without sacrificing the familiarity of America’s favorite truck.
But the Lightning brings some big advantages. It has outlets throughout that can provide serious amounts of electricity for power tools and tailgating accessories.
With the right adapter, it can even charge other electric vehicles.
It also offers power outlets and a big, wide opening to make loading things even easier.
Likewise, one of the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s handiest features is its frunk.
It’s made of hard plastic and has a drain hole, making it the perfect spot to stow muddy shoes and wet gear. Lots of electric SUVs go without a frunk, giving the Mach-E a leg up.