After driving 25 electric vehicles, these are my 7 favorites

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T is one of the coolest electric vehicles I've driven, period.Tim Levin/Insider
  • I've tested 25 electric cars from Tesla, Mercedes, Hyundai, Ford, and more.

  • Seven vehicles stand out as my current favorites.

  • Some of my favorite EVs come from Porsche, Pininfarina, and Rivian.

When someone finds out that I test electric cars for a living, their next question most often is: "So what's been your favorite?"

Picking an absolute favorite is tough, since I've had so many memorable experiences with so many interesting vehicles. But looking back at hours sampling more than two-dozen battery-powered rides, I've narrowed it down to a handful.

These aren't necessarily the objective best picks on the market, they're just the ones that stand out to me, according to my personal tastes.

Pininfarina Battista

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.TangentVector

Driving a $2.2 million supercar left an impression? Shocking, I know.

The Battista is the very first model from Pininfarina, a new automaker that spun out of the renowned Italian design house of the same name. And Pininfarina has landed on the map with a masterpiece.

The Battista has four motors (most electric cars have one or two) and cranks out a certifiably bonkers 1,900 horsepower. Pininfarina achieved a 0-60-mph time of 1.79 seconds, which it says makes the Battista the quickest production car in the world.

The Pininfarina Battista.
The Pininfarina Battista.Tim Levin/Insider

It's difficult to describe how nuts this feels in practice, but I'll try. When you switch the Battista into its most aggressive "Furiosa" mode and floor it, your surroundings instantly turn into a blurry mess as you relentlessly pick up speed. It's only once you start slowing down that your brain starts to process what the heck just happened.

Never heard of the Battista? That's understandable. Pininfarina only plans to make 150 of them, and you weren't on the list.

Rivian R1T

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T.Tim Levin/Insider

California startup Rivian is working hard to be the next Tesla, and its incredibly impressive first model tells me it has a shot.

Rivian caters to an outdoorsy clientele — kind of like an electric version of Jeep or Land Rover — so it gave the R1T pickup truck tremendous off-roading prowess. An advanced four-wheel-drive system, adjustable-height suspension, and tons of power and torque mean the R1T can scramble, crawl, or climb over practically anything you throw at it.

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T.Tim Levin/Insider

Plus, Rivian took the opportunity to develop something totally novel and ran with it. The R1T has a unique Gear Tunnel, a cargo area that runs horizontally behind the rear seats and is accessed from either side of the truck. It has a generously sized frunk. It has a built-in flashlight and bluetooth speaker, plus a minimalist interior and a large, tech-packed touchscreen.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.Tim Levin/Insider

Here's something more attainable than a seven-figure supercar or a $90,000 pickup.

The Ioniq 5 stole my heart with its squat stance and cyberpunk looks. Hard angles and crisp edges are coming back to car design, and I for one am here for it.

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.Tim Levin/Insider

On top of looking straight out of a 1980s sci-fi movie, the Ioniq 5 features a clean interior, more than 300 miles of range in some trims, and a starting price of just over $40,000. Sure, that's not cheap, but remember that the average electric car sells for north of $50,000 these days.

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S

The 2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S.
The 2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S.Tim Levin/Insider

This is a $200,000 Porsche station wagon with 750 horsepower and a 0-60-mph time of 2.7 seconds. Need I say more?


The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.
The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.Tim Levin/Insider

I didn't expect to like the BMW iX nearly as much as I did. I mean, it isn't exactly a looker in the traditional sense.

But in person it's striking and has a certain drama to it — even with the beaver teeth up front.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.
The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.Tim Levin/Insider

It's when you climb inside the iX that the $87,000 SUV really shows its stuff. The nicely optioned, $96,000 test car I drove had an interior full of supple leather, swanky gold accents, and a sunroof that tints at the press of a button. A supremely quiet cabin insulates you from the noisy streets, while massaging seats melt the stress away.

And the iX can be a rocketship when you ask it to. Stomp the throttle and all of its 516 horsepower comes to life.

Tesla Model Y

The Tesla Model Y electric SUV.
The Tesla Model Y.Tim Levin/Insider

Last year, I got the opportunity to drive Tesla's hugely popular Model Y and see what all the hype is about.

I loved its spacious interior, vast amounts of cargo space, sprawling glass roof, and minimalist aesthetic. Plus, even though I didn't drive the sportier Performance model, that sucker was quick. Charging was a delight, thanks to Tesla's remarkably convenient and easy-to-use Supercharger network. All I did was pull up to a stall and plug in. It was a refreshing change from the often-frustrating process of charging other cars on other networks.

The Tesla Model Y.
The Tesla Model Y.Tim Levin/Insider

While the big touchscreen that controls practically all vehicle functions might not be for everyone, I think I could get used to it. I didn't love having to glance away from the road to adjust the A/C but I had fun messing around with the Tesla's games, web browser, and surveillance system.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.Tim Levin/Insider

Money can't buy you happiness. But it can definitely buy you comfort in the form of a Mercedes-Benz EQS.

The top-of-the-line EQS 580 model I drove cost $141,000 and delivered a buttery-smooth ride, dazzling 56-inch screen, and breathakingly luxurious interior. A healthy 340 miles of range means you can spend practically all day in the EQS — and you'll be tempted to.

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