Charged Up: The Revolution Will Be Motorized

After a rough start, the auto industry has embraced the green movement—an ideology that has been ingrained in the culture of San Francisco for decades. It will come as no surprise to anyone in the tech-savvy Bay Area that the first generation of EV technology left something to be desired or that, with each new iteration, the models improved exponentially. While early electric cars were technologically impressive but highly impractical for the everyday driver—featuring large price tags, low ranges, and speeds that could not exceed those of a souped-up golf cart—they laid the groundwork for the staggering array of high-quality electric/hybrid cars on the market today. The Parkmerced Apartments offer their residents 15 electric car-charging stations to juice up their vehicles. Moreover, Parkmerced leasing agents have access to a fleet of electric vehicles to tour the neighborhood in the greenest way possible. Implementing clean and highly-sustainable technologies is a top-priority here. So if you too are feeling the electric appeal and are thinking of making the switch from the pump to the plug, here are some of our favorites.

Volkswagen e-Golf

The e-Golf has that inimitable VW charm wrapped around an impressive electric motor. The range per charge is a solid 83 miles, the motor provides a peppy acceleration, and the regenerative braking system is highly responsive. A firm suspension keeps the ride remarkably smooth, and the handling is pleasantly on par with the rest of VW’s fleet. VW did not want their electric vehicle to look or drive like an electric vehicle; they wanted it to fit right in with the rest of their internal combustion options, and it absolutely does.

BMW i3

The BMW i3 looks like a vehicle from the future. Its stylish, mostly carbon-fiber frame bends and dips in unusual places, making its aesthetic effect undeniably unique. Performance-wise, it’s among the best in its class, with quick acceleration, finely tuned handling, and an 81-mile range per charge. It is a two-door, compact SUV that is large enough to fit a fair amount of cargo, but small enough to zip around corners without a worry.

Chevy Volt

The current Volt is not completely electric-powered, but it can run on electricity if you keep the range below 53 miles, making it an intriguing option—it does not pen you in. If you would like to take a longer trip, there is a gas backup, or you can simply use the electric charge to nip around the city. When it first hit the market in 2010, the Volt was widely acclaimed for its substantial, all-electric range, size, and performance. The Volt is a five-door hatchback that can comfortably sit five while fitting a full load of groceries in the back. Of the three cars mentioned so far, it is the fastest; it goes from zero to 60 mph in approximately eight seconds. The handling is great, and the interior is sharp and modern. Moreover, later this year, Chevy will unveil a fully electric version of the Volt, which will have a range of over 200 miles and start at an affordable $35,000.

Tesla Model S

You cannot talk about electric cars without mentioning the Model S. When it was introduced in 2012, it redefined the entire auto industry. The Model S’s cost is roughly equivalent to the combined total of the other three cars on this list, yet it is still an incredible deal. It received perfect ratings from critics around the world and was named Car and Driver‘s “Car of the Century.” The five-door sports car looks like a Maserati sent from the future to save our planet, with a modern and luxurious interior punctuated by a huge touchscreen in the console. The range per charge is between 208 and 270 miles—by far the most on this, or any other, list. The Tesla goes from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds, and its handling competes with the best luxury cars on the planet. It also features downloadable upgrades, such as an auto-drive function that takes over much of the handling, accelerating, and decelerating.