- I got behind the wheel of 15 electric cars in 2022.
- Six incredible features made six models stand out from the growing pack.
- Tesla’s Model Y is incredibly easy to load, while Pininfarina’s Battista has mind-blowing acceleration.
There are more electric vehicles for sale than ever. In 2022, I was able to drive more than a dozen of the latest and greatest models.
Looking back over hours and hours of testing, six features from six vehicles stood out.
The robustness of the Rivian R1S
Electric vehicle startup Rivian’s SUV is big, comfortable, and ferociously fast. However, what really sets it apart is its tremendous off-road capability.
The Launch Edition model I drove had four motors, one driving each wheel. This setup not only allows for tons of power—835 horsepower and 908 pound-feet of torque, to be exact—but it also helps the R1S’s advanced all-wheel-drive system find grip when the road turns. steep or slippery.
I know next to nothing about off-road driving, but I had a lot of fun rolling over rocks, fording streams, and going up steep hills. The SUV’s air suspension can change ride height and stiffness to suit different types of terrain. And with the help of a built-in air compressor, Rivian owners can recharge their tires after a day on the trails.
The frunk of the Ford F-150 Lightning
An electric version of America’s most popular pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning is a game changer. One of its best features is its huge front trunk.
Open the “hood” of the Lightning and you’ll gain access to a cavernous compartment complete with a divider, power outlet, and underfloor storage. It’s the perfect solution for anything you want to keep safe and out of exposed bed. One plus: The entire rack area lifts up with the hatch, providing a conveniently low cargo area.
The absurd acceleration of Pininfarina Battista
Most electric vehicles are quite fast, thanks to the instant torque of electric motors. But the Pininfarina Battista blows every Porsche, Audi and Tesla out of the water.
Powered by four engines rated at 1,900 horsepower, the $2 million supercar hits 60 mph in less than two seconds. (He recently set a time of 1.79 seconds, claiming the title of fastest production car in the world.)
The feel of the ground is brutal and exciting and makes you question if you just broke the laws of physics.
The Tesla Model Y’s Supercharging Capability
Teslas are known for many things: their minimalist interiors, their sporty performance, and, for better or worse, their boisterous mastermind, Elon Musk.
But the one part of testing a Tesla Model Y that stuck with me the most was Supercharging. Tesla’s proprietary fast-charging network is extensive and makes pit stops remarkably easy.
Once you’ve set up a payment method, SuperCharging is as simple as walking up to an available seat and connecting. It’s much simpler than using other charging providers, which may require owners to swipe a card or navigate through an app.
Plus, when you plot a route in a Tesla’s navigation system, the car recommends charging stops and even primes the battery for optimal charging as you get closer.
The Polestar 2 screens
The Polestar 2’s sleek looks, modern cabin, and sporty handling make it a worthy Tesla competitor. But its Google-powered infotainment system is what captivated me the most.
I’m not usually one to worry about touch screens and vehicle software, but hear me out. In a world where cars are increasingly cluttered with screens and buttons, often at the expense of ease of use, the Polestar 2 is a bright spot. Its infotainment system is straightforward, easy to use, attractive, and doesn’t hide important settings behind a maze of menus.
Its digital gauge cluster is equally well thought out, showing you everything you need to know at a glance and nothing you don’t.
The style of the Hyundai Ioniq 5
In general, the stunning concept cars that automakers display at auto shows never end up looking all that great when (and if) they go into production. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 SUV is the exception.
It has all the over-the-top flair of a prototype, but you can actually buy one. As someone who drools over the hard-edged cars of the 1970s and 1980s, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the Ioniq 5’s origami-like folds, chiseled surfaces, and retro vibe.