This year is poised to be the most important for EVs with nearly every car brand releasing a battery-powered option. But as we await those mainstream and more affordable releases, the majority of EVs are still higher-end and pricey. The average cost of a new EV is over $63,000, which is closer to how much luxury car buyers spend.
Newer companies dominate the the top of the list, while legacy automakers are eking out a slice of the luxury EV market. Most brands have built all-new vehicles with an electric powertrain, but others, like Volvo, are converting existing builds.
The luxury EV market is fairly limited in the first half of 2022, but it’s growing quickly as more basic, everyday options churn out. We’ve looked at the top end of pure electric vehicles which doesn’t include any hybrid models. But the list of fully electric luxury sedans and sports cars is impressive with some of the best range and performance across all EVs.
1. 2022 Lucid Air
Why We Picked It
For people with a big budget, the Lucid Air is an alluring alternative to EVs like the Tesla Model S and Mercedes-AMG EQS. No electric car has ever gone farther on a charge, at up to 520 miles of EPA-rated range, and no EV can charge faster. Performance is similarly off the charts, with up to 1,111 horsepower, all-wheel drive and confident handling. Upsides continue with a striking exterior; a sumptuous, roomy and tech-laden interior; lots of cargo space and the latest driver-assistance features. Read the full review.
- Unbeatable driving range of up to 520 miles; the industry’s fastest charging
- Warp-speed performance, confident handling
- Airy, swanky interior; enormous cargo and passenger space
- Lofty prices, long wait for more-affordable version, limited availability
- Unproven company; fledgling, limited service network
- Screens and software could use a few ergonomic tweaks
2. 2022 BMW i4
Why We Picked It
The BMW i4 may look just like the 4 Series Gran Coupe, but it’s been reimagined and re-engineered with electric motors in place of gasoline engines. The i4 is a powerful EV trapped in the legacy body of a 3 or 4 Series combustion engine sport sedan. BMW’s i4 handling is hard to top. Read the first drive.
- More-than-sufficient range up to 300 miles
- Easy wireless connection for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Fast performance with front and rear electric motors for 536 horsepower, combined
- Trunk space is snug, but both rear seats fold flat
- Cluttered infotainment system displayed on a 14.9-inch touchscreen
- Flashy front end design with double kidney grille
3. 2022 Tesla Model S
Why We Picked It
The all-electric Tesla Model S boasts the performance specs of a supercar with the legroom and creature comforts of a five-passenger luxury sedan. Today the Model S is available in Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive or the startlingly fast Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive Plaid. Plaid will set you back more than $135,000 and isn’t available until later this summer, but its 1,020 horsepower and 200 mph top speed could make it worth the wait.
- Plaid upgrades are impressive: zero to 60 mph in under 2 seconds
- Display and interior makeover, including backseat screens
- Advanced driving system, Autopilot, comes standard with suite of safety features
- Large touchscreen still doesn’t connect to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Yoke steering wheel, almost complete lack of hard controls
- Range has dropped, price has gone up
4. 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS
Why We Picked It
The Mercedes-AMG EQS is a stellar electric sedan with 277-mile range that sets the benchmark for other luxury automakers looking to create a powerful, quiet and luxurious battery-powered sedan. It offers leading-edge technology with a 56-inch Hyperscreen, and powerful performance in a relatively good-looking package. Read the full review.
- All-electric luxury sedan with as much as 751 horsepower
- Incredible 56-inch Hyperscreen that offers augmented reality
- Best-in-the-business ADAS systems
- Exterior looks are a bit pod-like
- Large and heavy on winding roads, even when driving in Sport+ mode
- Less horsepower than some of the luxury competitors like Lucid and Tesla
5. 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS
Why We Picked It
The 2022 Taycan and Taycan Sport Turismo are the first electric GTS models in the brand’s history, marking a pivotal moment in history where Porsche’s EVs are becoming further differentiated in order to appeal to more battery-powered enthusiasts. But rather than gracing them with topline performance numbers, Porsche packaged sporty features but positioned the cars for buyers seeking a mid-level value proposition. The Taycan GTS is distinguished by powertrains that put it between the $103,800 Taycan 4S and the $150,900 Taycan Turbo. Read the first drive.
- Exceptional handling
- Two-speed gearbox for quick acceleration
- Fast all-around: charging and zero-to-60 mph time
- Louder startup sound, aggressive synthetic sounds while driving
- Low 200s range
- No one-pedal driving for brake regeneration
6. 2022 Audi e-Tron GT
Why We Picked It
Audi is known for sporty cars and great styling and its first electric sedan, the e-tron GT, doesn’t disappoint. The e-tron GT is a gorgeous coupe-like four-door with low, slinky lines, plenty of power, sporty handling combined with a comfortable ride and a tasty, driver-oriented interior. Unfortunately, “coupe like” also very much applies to its cargo area and rear seat, both of which are confining. While it’s good at bringing smiles from enthusiastic drivers, its powerful electric drive system is one of the least efficient in its segment. Read the review.
- Horizon-blurring acceleration
- Sensuous coupe-like exterior and thoughtful, well-appointed interior
- Comfortable for driver and passenger
- Less range than most competitors
- Coupe-like back seat and trunk
- Just as expensive as the Taycan
For 2022, our ratings categories are:
- Range, Energy Use & Charging
- Comfort & Room
- Cargo Space & Storage
- Style & Design
Overall: 100 points
- Performance (15 points) The Performance score is a subjective assessment of a vehicle’s handling, braking, acceleration, ride quality and other qualitative performance measures such as horsepower, torque, zero-to-60 time and top speed. Towing capability for trucks and SUVs also is considered. Performance of the vehicles is compared against the identified competitive set. While driving, reviewers look for attributes relative to the expectations set by the manufacturer and by consumer expectations.
- Range, Energy Use & Charging: (15 points) The Range, Energy Use & Charging score for pure electric vehicles is based on range on a single charge, kilowatts consumed per 100 miles and the comparative mile per gallon equivalent, or MPGe.
- Safety (15 points) The Safety score is based on crash test results from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Vehicles not yet rated by either agency receive zero points. Also included in the safety rating are points awarded for certain advanced driver-assistance safety features offered as standard equipment on the base trim. There are nine safety features Forbes Wheels considers mandatory for the standard offering: forward emergency automatic braking, forward collision warning, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic warning, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning or one its higher-level variants, lane keeping assistance or lane centering. Vehicles must have at least four of these in their standard offering to receive points. Vehicles that offer a Level 2 self-driving system, (a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane centering) are eligible for a bonus point.
- Infotainment (15 points) The Infotainment score is based on points awarded for certain features offered as standard equipment on the base trim. Forbes Wheels identifies certain features that are growing in popularity and therefore have been adopted by both premium and mainstream automakers. Some of these features include a minimum 7-inch touchscreen (or premium vehicles that use a rotary knob, touchpad or other mechanism to control a non-touchscreen display), wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a customizable, digital driver information display or instrument panel and at least two USB ports. Additional points are awarded for popular features that haven’t been widely adopted in mainstream vehicles such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and wireless charging capabilities.
- Comfort & Room (15 points) The Comfort & Room score is based on points awarded for the reviewer’s assessment of the vehicle’s comfort, ergonomics and overall interior feel as well as effective use of space. Points also are awarded for the measurement of rear-seat legroom and how it compares with the identified competitive set. Vehicles that offer segment-best legroom in either rear seat or optional third row are eligible for a bonus point.
- Cargo Space & Storage (15 points) The Cargo Space & Storage score is based on points awarded for the reviewer’s assessment of the vehicle’s large and small cargo spaces (as well as small-item storage) and how well they serve their purpose and effective use of space. Reviewers also consider innovative storage solutions and flexible loading features. Points also are awarded for the cargo space measurements for rear cargo hold or trunk and how it compares with the identified competitive set. Vehicles that offer a segment-best cargo or trunk space are eligible for a bonus point.
- Styling (10 points) The Styling score is a subjective assessment of a vehicle’s overall styling and design, inside and out. Reviewers also consider the configuration of the interior and how well the design plays into the function. Build quality also is a consideration.