Fuel-Efficient of 2018
Electrified vehicles continue to be the most fuel efficient in America, and in 2018 there are more plug-in models to choose from than ever before. But with relatively low gasoline prices, sales of pure electric cars remain a mere fraction of their gasoline-powered counterparts, largely due to the primary drawbacks of electric cars — the time they take to recharge, and how far they can travel on a single charge. All 20 vehicles on this most fuel-efficient list have some level of electrification; either pure electric or plug-in hybrid. What follows are the most fuel-efficient vehicles in America, sorted in ascending order by combined MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent, which measures the miles a vehicle can travel on the energy equivalent to a gallon of gasoline). Note: the EPA does not report city / hwy fuel economy for plug-in hybrids.
20. 2017 Tesla Model X 75D
Starting MSRP: $85,500
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 91 / 95 / 93
Range: 238 miles
As the only fully-electric crossover on the market, the Model X certainly stands out from the crowd in both style and capability. The Model X offers impressive performance both in efficiency and acceleration, thanks to its two independently-controlled electric motors for full-time all-wheel drive. Available with three different power levels, the Model X 75D is listed as the most efficient, according to the EPA. The 75D may feature the base-level power, but it can still accelerate to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. Slightly less efficient, the Model X P100D provides acceleration on par with most exotic sports cars. Sporting aerodynamic styling, innovative Falcon Wing doors and a versatile interior, the Model X is unique within the American crossover market.
19. 2018 Ford Fusion Energi
Starting MSRP: $31,305
Electric-Mode — MPGe (combined): 97
Hybrid Mode — MPG (combined): 42
Electric Range: 21 miles
Ford’s midsize Fusion sedan is currently the best-selling American-brand passenger sedan in the U.S., available with a standard gasoline powertrain, as a hybrid, or as the Energi plug-in hybrid. The Energi features a 141-horsepower 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine, an electronic continuously variable transmission and a 118-horse electric motor, which draws power from a 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery. Total output for the advanced hybrid powertrain is 188 horsepower, which is more than the standard gasoline powertrain on the non-hybrid Fusion. As a plug-in hybrid, drivers can take advantage of an all-electric range of 21 miles without any range anxiety — Energi’s total range is an impressive 610 miles.
18. 2018 Kia Optima PHEV
Starting MSRP: $35,210
Electric-Mode — MPGe (combined): 103
Hybrid Mode — MPG (combined): 40
Electric Range: 29 miles
The first plug-in hybrid model offered by Kia, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is available in the well-equipped EX trim only. The stylish sedan comes standard with leather trim, heated front seats, a premium audio system and is available with the latest advanced safety features. Powering the Optima Plug-In is a 2.0-liter gasoline engine teamed with the electrical power of a transmission-mounted 66-horsepower electric motor for a total output of 202 horsepower. Electricity is stored in a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that delivers a range of 29 miles in EV mode, with a total driving range of 610 miles.
17. 2017 Tesla Model S
Starting MSRP: $87,500
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 102 / 107 / 104
Range: 294 miles
A unique alt-fuel vehicle in the American marketplace, the Model S offers impressive performance and a driving range that approaches 300 miles in an attractive electric sedan. The Model S is currently one of two models in the Tesla lineup — the other being the Model X SUV — although the all-new less-expensive Model 3 is just now coming to market. The Model S is available in configurations ranging from the base-level 75 to the P100D, which has the capability of reaching 60 mph in less than 3 seconds when in “Ludicrous” mode.
16. 2018 Kia Niro PHEV
Starting MSRP: $27,900
Electric-Mode — MPGe (combined): 105
Hybrid Mode — MPG (combined): 46
Electric Range: 26 miles
Kia introduced the 2018 Niro Plug-In Electric Hybrid last fall at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, becoming the third plug-in electric model from Kia. Already one of the most fuel-efficient hybrids on the market, the Niro PHEV takes efficiency to the next level. Power comes from a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine teamed with a 60-horsepower electric motor for a total combined output of 139 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor is powered by an 8.9 kWh Lithium-Ion Polymer battery pack that allows up to 26 miles of electric-only driving. Niro PHEV has the same 6-speed dual-clutch transmission as Niro with four drive modes: EV, Hybrid, Eco or Sport. The higher capacity batter is stored under the cargo floor and rear seat, retaining the same amount of cargo capacity as the Niro Hybrid.
15. 2018 Chevrolet Volt
Starting MSRP: $33,220
Electric-Mode — MPGe (combined): 106
Hybrid Mode — MPG (combined): 42
Electric Range: 53 miles
The Volt takes a unique approach to the plug-in hybrid, using the gas engine as a generator rather than for driving the wheels. The second-generation Chevrolet Volt — introduced a few years ago — derives power from a 2-motor electric drive that produces 111 kW (149 horsepower) with 294 lb-ft of torque for an all-electric range of 53 miles. The Ecotec 1.5-liter gas-powered range extender generates electricity to power the electric motors after the batteries are depleted for a total range of 420 miles. The Volt can be recharged on a 240-volt fast charger in 4.5 hours, or on standard 120-volt power in approximately 13 hours.
14. 2018 Ford Focus Electric
Starting MSRP: $29,120
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 118 / 96 / 107
Range: 115 miles
Ford offers a full range of powertrains for its compact Focus, with a variety of fuel-efficient and powerful turbocharged options. However, for the best in efficiency there’s the Focus Electric. The all-electric version of Ford’s compact car was upgraded for 2017, giving the EV a total range of 115 miles on a full charge — a significant improvement over the previous model’s 76-mile range. The Focus Electric is powered by a 107-kW electric motor with 143 horsepower on tap and a top speed of 84 mph. With a DC fast-charging station, the Focus can get 75 miles of range in a mere 30 minutes of charging.
13. 2018 Kia Soul Electric
Starting MSRP: $33,950
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 124 / 93 / 108
Range: 111 miles
The Soul is a fun and versatile vehicle in the Kia lineup, and the Korean brand added the electric version four years ago. The Soul Electric is powered by a 90 kW (109-horsepower) electric motor that generates 210 lb-ft of torque. Electricity is stored in 30 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery with a total range of 111 miles. Recharging a fully depleted battery takes about six hours with a 240-volt outlet, or up to 33 hours with a standard 120-volt source. Soul EV is available in three trims: EV-e, EV and EV+.
12. 2018 smart fortwo electric
Starting MSRP: $23,900
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 124 / 94 / 108
Range: 58 miles
The smart fortwo city car is ideally suited for electric power, and for 2018 the little 2-seater will only be available with an electric powertrain. The fortwo electric drive features an 80-horsepower electric motor driving the rear wheels with 118 lb-ft of torque. Range is a bit shorter than most other EVs at 58 mile; however, the smart fortwo can be fully charged from empty in just three hours with a 240-volt power source. The smart fortwo electric drive is offered in both coupe and convertible versions — the only electric-drive convertible currently on the market.
11. 2018 Honda Clarity PHEV
Starting MSRP: $33,400
Electric-Mode — MPGe (combined): 110
Hybrid Mode — MPG (combined): 42
Electric Range: 48 miles
Honda now offers an entire family of Clarity models, including the EV, Fuel Cell and plug-in hybrid.
The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid features a 181-horsepower electric motor powered by a 17-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. When the battery has been exhausted, a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine generates electricity for the motor as well as to recharge the batteries. Under certain conditions the gas engine can contribute power to the front wheels as needed. Total driving range is reported at 340 miles. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid offers three selectable driving modes: Normal, Econ and Sport, so drivers can choose between optimal economy or improved performance.
10. 2018 Nissan LEAF
Starting MSRP: $29,990
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 124 / 101 / 112
Range: 150 miles
The LEAF was one of the first mainstream electric vehicles sold in America when it was introduced in 2011, and for 2018 the LEAF is all new. It gets a fresh new look, including a roomier interior as well as better performance and efficiency; LEAF also has a lower starting price than the outgoing model. The 2018 LEAF is equipped with a high-response 110-kW AC synchronous electric motor producing 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. The power supply is a new 40-kWh laminated lithium-ion battery made up of 192 cells generating 33 percent more energy than the outgoing model. This gives the LEAF a range of 150 miles, and with a DC fast charger, a 30-minute charge will provide almost 90 miles of driving.
9. 2017 Fiat 500e
Starting MSRP: $32,995
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 121 / 103 / 112
Range: 84 miles
One of the smallest vehicles available in America, the subcompact 500 is great fun to drive, especially the electric-powered 500e. Power comes from an 83-kW (111 horsepower) electric motor that produces 147 lb-ft of torque. The 500e can travel up to 84 miles between charges according to the EPA; however, Fiat expects that in city driving more than 100 miles is possible. The 500e features an electronic shifter with pushbutton transmission mode selector. The 6.6 kW onboard charging module will recharge the battery in less than four hours when connected to a Level 2 (220/240-volt) power source.
8. 2018 Honda Clarity EV
Starting MSRP: Lease only, no price listed
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 126 / 103 / 114
Range: 89 miles
The Honda Clarity Electric is an all-electric vehicle and one of three electrified vehicles that make up the Clarity family. Currently sold in California and Oregon only, the Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower (120-kilowatt) electric motor producing 221 lb-ft of torque. The 25.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides a range of 89 miles. The Clarity Electric can by fully charged in just over three hours at 240 volts, and using DC fast charging it can reach an 80 percent charge in a quick 30 minutes. Like the other Clarity models, the Clarity EV comes well equipped with the latest in entertainment, communications and safety technology.
7. 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
Starting MSRP: $30,495
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 126 / 111 / 119
Range: 125 miles
As Volkswagen moves away from diesel powerplants, the German automaker is putting greater emphasis on electric drive, with the first offering being the e-Golf. Introduced in 2015, the e-Golf received a major update for the 2017 model year with an improved battery and more power. The e-Golf features a new 35.8 kWh lithium-ion battery which increases the driving range to 125 miles — a 50 percent increase over the previous model. The electric motor produces 134 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque, allowing the e-Golf to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds with top speed increased to 93 mph. A 7.2 kW charger is standard for both SE and SEL Premium trims, which will charge the battery in less than six hours with a 240-volt charging station. The optional DC fast charging (standard on SEL Premium) will recharge to 80 percent in an hour at a DC fast-charging station.
6. 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Starting MSRP: $36,620
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 128 / 110 / 119
Range: 238 miles
Chevrolet introduced the innovative Bolt EV last year, and the fun-to-drive compact sedan offers the highest range of any electric vehicle in its class. (Tesla offers more range but at a considerably higher price.) The Bolt EV is powered by a 150-kW electric motor producing 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, delivering acceleration from zero to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds. Electricity is stored in a 60-kWh lithium-ion flat battery pack that resides under the length of the Bolt’s floor. A 7.2 kW onboard charger is standard for charging from a 240-volt wall box, and will provide 50 miles of range in two hours. An available DC Fast Charging system will charge the battery to 90 miles of range in 30 minutes.
5. 2018 Hyundai Ioniq PHEV
Starting MSRP: $24,950
Electric-Mode — MPGe (combined): 119
Hybrid Mode — MPG (combined): 52
Electric Range: 29 miles
Last year Hyundai introduced its new family of electrified vehicles called Ioniq. Initially available as a hybrid or pure EV, the Ioniq adds a plug-in hybrid variant for the 2018 model year. The small but versatile sedan features a 1.6-liter Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder engine teamed with a 44.5-kW electric motor to produce a combined 139 horsepower. The 8.9 kWh battery pack provides enough energy for up to 29 miles of electric-only driving. Unlike many of its competitors, the Ioniq uses a 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox to provide a more engaging drive than the typical continuously-variable transmissions found in electric vehicles.
4. 2017 BMW i3 BEV
Starting MSRP: $44,450
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 137 / 111 / 124
Range: 81 miles
BMW’s electric i3 has been on the market since 2014, offered as a pure battery electric vehicle with either a 60- or 94-amp-hour battery, or with the addition of a range-extending gasoline engine.
Built on an aluminum frame with a carbon fiber body, the i3 has a low center of gravity and quick acceleration; it reaches 60 mph in slightly more than 6 seconds. The i3 with the 60-amp battery is the most efficient in the lineup, featuring a 170-horsepower electric motor with a range of 81 miles. An updated i3 has been introduced for 2018, but EPA numbers have not been released yet.
3. 2017 Tesla Model 3
Starting MSRP: $35,000 (est.)
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 131 / 120 / 126
Range: 310 miles
The third model in the Tesla lineup, the Model 3 is more affordable than the two higher-end models from the American car company. With a high-level of standard equipment and sleek styling that befits the rest of the Tesla lineup, the more economical Model 3 was designed for high-volume sales. Although the Model 3’s standard battery delivers a 220-mile range, the only model tested by the EPA featured the bigger battery that bumps the range up to 310 miles. Performance is expected to be quite good, with the sprint to 60 mph taking just over 5 seconds. Deliveries have been somewhat slow to start, and Tesla reports that orders placed today would be delivered in 12 to 18 months.
2. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime
Starting MSRP: $27,100
Electric-Mode — MPGe (combined): 133
Hybrid Mode — MPG (combined): 54
Electric Range: 25 miles
Shortly after the introduction of an all-new Prius, Toyota came to market with the plug-in version called Prius Prime. With a design that sets it apart from the standard Prius, the Prime uses a larger 8.8 kWh battery pack that provides an electric-only driving range of 25 miles. The Prius Prime uses the same basic powertrain as the standard Prius — except for a larger battery. The hybrid system consists of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gas engine producing 95 horsepower teamed with two electric motors for a total power of 121 horsepower — the same as the standard Prius. The battery can be fully charged in two hours using a 240-volt power source, or in approximately 5.5 hours using a standard household outlet.
1. 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Starting MSRP: $29,500
MPGe (city / hwy / combined): 150 / 122 / 136
Range: 124 miles
The electric version of Hyundai’s new Ioniq is the new fuel-economy champ in America. The economical small sedan features an 88-kW (118 horsepower) permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that generates 215 lb-ft of torque. With a 28-kWh Lithium-ion Polymer battery pack, the Ioniq Electric can travel up to 124 miles on a full charge. Using a 100-kW fast charger, the Ioniq can be charged to 80 percent capacity in about 20 minutes, and can be fully charged in four hours using 240-volt power source. The Ioniq is available in either base or Limited trim, and is currently sold in California only.