Best Electric Vehicle of 2022

By Editors

February 21, 2022

What’s eligible: Any model-year 2022 battery-electric vehicle regardless of when it was introduced or last updated.

Criteria: In addition to overall excellence, we pay extra attention to the aspects with which many EVs stumble, such as ride quality and charging speed.

Winner: 2022 Tesla Model Y’s inaugural Best Electric Vehicle award comes at a time when the availability of mass-market EVs is closer than ever to a tipping point. General adoption is still distant because the challenges that limit accessibility — such as affordability, truly fast public charging, education about range and more — haven’t been solved, but new EVs are popping up left and right, including several late additions that weren’t available for this year’s voting (Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Lucid Air and Rivian R1T among them). Dozens more models are waiting in the wings.

Of those available, we choose the Tesla Model Y as our Best Electric Vehicle of 2022. The Model Y excels at being a consumer-friendly EV in addition to being a roomy SUV with towing for up to 3,500 pounds. It’s one of the most effective at easing range anxiety through a surplus of range — an EPA-rated 326 miles for the Long Range All-Wheel Drive version — plus actionable information about efficiency to inform drivers how to maximize remaining range. Tesla’s network of Supercharger DC fast chargers is also larger and has been more reliable — and more reliably fast — than others in our experience.

When charging, the Model Y’s efficiency translates to more miles of range per hour at a given power versus many EVs, and the Model Y can finely throttle charging to work with a variety of home electrical circuits. It comes standard with a 120- and 240-volt mobile charger for respectable charging speeds, and Tesla throws in a J1772 adapter to pair its proprietary connector with non-Tesla chargers.

Driving the Model Y is perhaps more polarizing: It lacks a conventional instrument panel and relies on a 15-inch touchscreen mid-dashboard for everything, including the speedometer. And its ride firmness is more akin to a sports car’s, but so are its dynamics — it’s entertaining to drive, making the firm ride at least worth it. Quicker acceleration can even be unlocked with the push of a button (and $2,000 cost), as the Model Y can change significantly through over-the-air updates.

We’ve praised some newer EVs for matching what Tesla has been doing for years plus selling in all 50 states, a requirement we dismissed for this new EV award. Even though some states don’t allow direct-to-consumer sales, it’s not stopping Tesla buyers, and we suspect it won’t stop similar EV brands, which might be eligible for this award in coming years. Tesla sold about as many Model Ys as Subaru Foresters in the first nine months of 2021 — 130,000 vehicles — ushering EV adoption faster than any other model. Most newcomer EVs have the technical capacity for over-the-air updates and plenty that demands immediate revision, but we’ve yet to see anything close to Tesla’s track record of using the capability to improve and evolve the products. Truth be told, they’re all just playing catch-up to Tesla. That’s just one more reason the Model Y is’s Best Electric Vehicle of 2022.

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2022 Tesla Model Y Long Range
44,676 mi.
2022 Tesla Model Y Long Range
37,000 mi.

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ford mustang mach e 2022 12 blue exterior front scaled jpg 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E | photo by Christian Lantry

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E: Nominee

The Ford Mustang Mach-E uses inspiration from one of the most iconic nameplates in automotive history to imbue a sense of excitement into the EV, even if it’s mostly skin deep apart from new GT versions. Being a five-seat, four-door SUV with ample occupant and cargo room strikes at the heart of the booming EV SUV market, and it’s available in multiple price, range and power configurations. 

The Mach-E’s maximum EPA-estimated 305-mile range is impressive, though the lowest standard range of 211 miles is on the lower side compared to current EVs. GT versions with 480 horsepower and all-wheel drive can accelerate the Mach-E to 60 mph in as low as 3.5 seconds, while non-GTs span 4.8 to 6.1 seconds, according to Ford. All versions suffer from bizarre ride quality, however, where they seesaw down the road. 

On the inside, Ford’s large 15.5-inch touchscreen is the command center that houses most controls and works relatively well, and unlike the Tesla Model Y, there’s an instrument cluster ahead of the driver that shows the speedometer and other vitals. The Mach-E’s interior styling is simple, and the quality is good enough to make it feel appropriate throughout a price range that spans $45,000 to $66,000 including destination fee. 

Ford expects 80% of Mach-Es to be equipped with its BlueCruise system that allows drivers to go hands-free on specific stretches of  highways when the car and driver meet all criteria — a big distinction versus Tesla’s Autopilot that’s technically hands-on.

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2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E Select
15,943 mi.
$28,967 $971 price drop
2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E Select
34,747 mi.

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volvo xc40 recharge twin 2022 05 exterior profile suv white scaled jpg 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin | photo by Christian Lantry

2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin: Nominee

When the original gas-only Volvo XC40 debuted for the 2019 model year, it was an instant favorite and a nominee for our Best of 2019 award thanks to its space efficiency, spunkiness and thoughtful features like an available integrated trash can in the center storage console. The substitution of an overly powerful, twin-motor electric powertrain has only strengthened our attachment to the little Volvo SUV.  

The XC40 Recharge Twin is an unassumingly quick subcompact SUV that accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, according to Volvo, thanks to 402 hp from a 78-kWh battery and two motors, one in the front and one in the rear for all-wheel drive. EPA-rated range isn’t the strongest at 223 miles, and it isn’t very efficient, either (85 mpg-equivalent versus a Model Y’s 125 mpg-e, meaning it’ll consume more battery juice to travel the same distance and take longer to restore miles when charging), but the XC40 does one thing many other EVs don’t: It rides well. The Mach-E and Model Y both have quirks about their ride quality, tuned toward the firm side, while the XC40’s ride quality is inoffensive and comfortable. 

The XC40 is the only nominee that wasn’t designed to solely be an EV, having a gas-only version, and the transformation from gas to EV has preserved much of the XC40 we adored from the start. Overall cargo volume is unchanged, and there’s even a touch more with a front trunk where the engine used to live.

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2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric Ultimate
39,587 mi.

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