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The top 10 most influential electric vehicles of the last decade

electric vehicles
2008 Tesla Roadster

With dozens of new electric vehicles (EVs) on the horizon, the next ten years are expected to make up one of the most revolutionary decades in the history of the auto industry. While automakers charge ahead in the development of new EVs, let’s take a look at the top 10 EVs of the last decade and how they have evolved over the years.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan introduced its Leaf model in 2010, marketing it as a sustainable and affordable option for consumers interested in a fully electric hatchback. The original base price of the Leaf was $32,780 and since then, over 575,000 Leaf vehicles have been sold including first-generation Leaf (2010 – 2017) and second-generation Leaf (2017 – present) vehicles. Advances in technology and the usage of larger battery packs have taken the Leaf’s range from around 75 miles to 226 miles since it was first released, and consumers can get a brand new 2023 Leaf starting at $27,800.

Tesla Model S

Making its debut in the summer of 2012, Tesla’s Model S has made a name for itself as one of the most popular EVs of the decade. At the time of its release, the vehicle had a range of 265 miles per charge and it is now known to have the longest range of any EV, lasting up to 405 miles. The Model S’s base price in 2012 was $57,400 and the vehicle is now available in a dual-motor “Long Range” model and a tri-motor “Plaid” model, which start at $89,990 and $129,990, respectively. Tesla was supposed to come out with a “Plaid+” model, but this venture got canceled as Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said the car was “just too good.”

BMW i3

BMW introduced its electric i3 in the United States in late 2013, advertising the vehicle with a starting price of $42,275. The vehicle initially offered around 81 miles of range in its base model and 150 miles of range in its extended range model but in 2017, this was improved to 114 miles and 180 miles, respectively. While the i3 has become an iconic part of BMW’s production history, the vehicle was discontinued in the summer of 2021 and the automaker’s iX1 is expected to serve as its replacement in North America. BMW i3s from model year 2021 had a sticker price of $45,445.

Porsche Taycan

Porsche released its Taycan EV in 2020, initially selling its “Turbo” model for $153,310 and its “Turbo S” for $187,610. The “Turbo” model initially offered up to 280 miles of range, while its counterpart offered up to 256 miles of range. Today, there are five different configurations of the electric sports car, and each offers a range of at least 200 miles of range aside from Taycans with the Performance Battery Plus option, which can get much more than that. The lower base model of the 2023 Taycan starts at $86,700 and the most advanced “Turbo S” trim starts at $187,400 with prices for the 4S, GTS, and Turbo configurations landing in the middle of those prices. 

Chevy Bolt EV

General Motors began production of its Chevrolet Bolt in 2016, advertising it as one of the most attractive options at the time because it was one of the first to use a larger 60kW/hour battery pack and offered a range of around 240 miles per charge. The base model started at $37,495, while the “Premier” configuration started at $41,780. Despite every single Bolt vehicle being recalled in August of 2021 due to the risk of fires, the Bolt has been one of the most prominent EVs on the market. However, it is expected that it will be discontinued in the coming years as GM shifts to its new Ultium EV platform. For now, a 2023 Chevy Bolt starts at $25,600 and can get up to 260 miles per charge.

Mercedes Benz EQS EV

In 2021, Mercedes Benz released its EQS EV, which was the automaker’s first electric full-size sedan. The 2023 luxury car starts at $102,310 MSRP, which is roughly the same price as it was when it debuted. The vehicle offers up to 649 horsepower and around 275 miles of range, but one of the most impressive specifications of the vehicle is the Mercedes Hyperscreen that covers the dashboard on certain trims. The EQS boasts a range of 350 miles and a torque of at least 417 pound-per-foot.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla made its first attempt at an electric EV with its first-generation Roadster vehicle, which was sold from 2008 to 2012. While the vehicle looked sleek and like a sports car should, under 2,500 of them were sold throughout that time as the standard model started just shy of $100,000 despite unimpressive specs like 200 pound-per-foot of torque and 248 horsepower. The Roadster was discontinued in 2012, but rumors of a second-generation Roadster with a fully glass roof have been swirling for years. Pre-orders began in 2017, and most recently, CEO Elon Musk said production will likely start in 2023 and the first 1,000 2nd-generation Roadsters will cost $250,000 while subsequent vehicles will cost around $200,000.

Renault Zoe

Another important EV recently launched within the past decade is Renault’s Zoe. Similar in appearance to a gas-powered Ford Fiesta, the vehicle is not sold in North America but has become the automaker’s best-selling EV in the past couple of years. The EV was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and boasted a low price of around $26,000 depending on which country it was sold in, and the first version, also known as the ZE, featured a 22-kWh battery pack and offered a range of up to 95 miles. Since then, the ZE 40 model (2016 – 2019) upgraded to a 41-kWh battery and the ZE 50 (2019 – present) features a 52-kWh battery and offers up to 240 miles of range. The price of Renault’s Zoe starts at approximately $35,000.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Brand new to the EV scene within the past few years is the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which comes in four models: Select ($43,895), Premium ($48,775), California Rt. 1 ($52,450), and GT ($61,995). Depending on the model, motor type, and battery pack, the Mustang Mach-E can get between 200 and 300 miles of range. While the Mach-E is a crossover SUV as opposed to a sports car, design specifications closely resemble some of those used in gas-powered Mustang sedans.

Audi e-Tron

Audi has also been making moves in the EV realm, releasing its midsize e-tron crossover in 2018. The initial version offered 204 miles of range, while the latest offers 222 miles. Specifications such as torque and power have not been drastically altered for the latest model, but Audi created a “sportback” model that was released in 2020 and features a more slanted roof and made better use of the battery at that time. The e-tron SUV starts at $65,900 and the Sportback version starts at $69,100. 


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Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly has over a decade of experience as a freelance writer, specializing in article writing and blog creation across a wide range of industries including healthcare, manufacturing, and investigations. She enjoys working with clients throughout the world to help them create engaging, accurate content that will both reach their existing audiences and attract new followers.

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