Until recently, electric vehicles seemed to be geared toward men who must wear suits for their jobs or women with multiple designer name purses coordinated to match their stilettos. Or maybe your bachelor cousin who has been driving a Prius since it was first introduced on the market in ‘97.
Thankfully, the times have changed, and electric vehicles are more available, more diverse, and more affordable than ever – and geared for family.
What Are the Benefits of Going Electric?
There are more reasons to choose an EV besides its green planet benefits (although that’s a big deal, too, since as God’s image-bearers here on Earth, we’re supposed to be good stewards of our planet).
Right now, you can buy or lease a new or even a used electric vehicle and get money back on your purchase. The IRS is offering a clean vehicle tax credit up to $7,500 to encourage folks like us to invest in a new electric vehicle. If you choose to purchase a used EV, you can qualify for a credit up to $4,000. There may also be state and local incentives, depending where you live, so do some investigating to see how much you can save. If you’re already in the market for a new or used vehicle, these are incentives worth taking advantage of.
Electric vehicles also save you money on fuel and maintenance costs. No more scheduling an oil change, replacing your spark plugs or installing fuel filters. It costs about 50% less to charge an EV than it does to fuel a standard gasoline-powered car driving the same distance.
They’re also super fun to drive, quiet, quick handling, and a pick-up speed to rival their fossil-fuel forerunners.
Family-Sized Electric Vehicles
If you’ve been curious but skeptical about whether you can find an electric vehicle large enough to haul your kids, your groceries, or even your kids and your groceries at the same time, you’re in luck. All sorts of vehicle manufacturers are rolling out family-sized electric vehicles.
Chevrolet Bolt EUV (SUV)
2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Image: Caranddrive.com
With a spacious interior and decent power, this subcompact electric SUV can get your family of five where they need to go on a daily basis without stopping for a charge. The Bolt EV uses a 66 kilowatt battery pack to scoot around town.
- Max. EPA-rated range: 247 miles
- Starting price: $28,795
Kia Niro EV (SUV)
The Niro EV is a well designed, front-wheel drive SUV that will seat five people. You’ll get around town powered by a 64.8 kilowatt battery pack. Note that this vehicle is not eligible for government EV rebates.
- Max. EPA-rated range: 253 miles
- Starting price: $40,875
Hyundai Ioniq 5 (SUV)
Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV SUV. Image: hyundaiausa.com
The Ioniq is Car and Driver’s top-ranking electric SUV. Its high-quality cabin offers lots of space for your family of five. You can customize your vehicle by choosing between rear- or all-wheel-drive and two different kilowatt battery packs (58.0 or 77.4 kWH).
- Max. EPA-rated range: 303 miles
- Starting price: $42,785
Larger Family-Sized Electric Vehicles
Yes, you can even get an electric vehicle that will fit a quiverfull family, or your family plus a couple friends. Some models offer third-row seating, but it’s a tight (and short) squeeze back there, so take that into consideration when making a decision about which EV is right for your crew.
Here are a few options we found to be the most affordable and adaptable for larger families.
Tesla Model Y Long Range All-Wheel Drive
2023 Tesla Model Y Image: Tesla.com
Starting at $55,630 ($52,630 + $3,000 for to add a third row), the Tesla Model Y is an affordable option that falls into the “small kids in the back” category of third-row seat SUVs. The interior is a bit lackluster, with low quality materials, but when you’re dealing with PBJ and juice boxes, maybe that’s not such a bad thing? The base model comes with 279 miles of range, but the long range option gives you 330 miles to maximize your driving range.
2023 Rivian R1S Image: Caranddrive.com
The Rivian R1S is a funky and rugged looking electric SUV that comfortably seats seven. Starting at $79,800, it sure isn’t the most affordable option on the market, but when you’re trying to fit all those kids in one vehicle, nothing is really affordable. Among other perks, it offers promising off-road capabilities and Standard Driver+ hands-free driving assistance, so when you need to swat at a cranky child in the backseat, you can trust the car to stay in its lane. Not that that has ever happened in my car.
2024 Kia EV9
2024 KIA EV9 Image: Caranddrive.com
When it is released in late 2023, the Kia EV9 is slated to offer somewhere between 250-300 mile range and start out around $55,000. It is an all-electric midsize SUV with third-row seating. It’ll be available in rear-drive and all-wheel-drive and, bonus! Its towing capacity is 5,000 lbs. You can go carbon-free camping with this thing!
There are other makes and models of EVs available, but they’re generally more expensive, luxury-style options I wouldn’t want my kids’ Goldfish crumbs messing up anyway. However, digging into these six options, the federal tax credits, and the sticker price got me excited about the possibilities for our family. We’re on our way to having fewer little people in the house, and a small EV sedan could be an affordable, fun option for our next vehicle.
Before you and I switch to electric, however, we’ll want to investigate charging station access in our communities and how to charge cars at home. There are options; we’ll just want to do our research so we can be confident and happy with our choices.
Have you switched over to driving an EV? What has been your experience? Would you recommend a certain make or model? Pop your thoughts into the comments on Instagram.