Electric Cars, Trucks and SUVs With the Best Range in 2022

Electric Cars, Trucks and SUVs With the Best Range in 2022

You don’t have to spend one hundred grand to purchase an electric vehicle with great range in 2022. EVs aren’t cheap, but with fuel savings taken into account, the electric lifestyle starts to sound a lot more appealing. There’s a saying in electric mobility: range is king. That’s especially true for frequent road-trippers and those who live in one of America’s remaining charging deserts. These are the electric vehicles with the most range in 2022. 

Note: We’ve decided to place an emphasis on affordable electric vehicles with the most range. Affordability is a moving target in 2022’s crazy auto market, but in the realm of EVs, we’ve defined ‘affordable’ as EVs under $65,000. If you’re in the market for luxury, we’ve got those covered too.

Electric Cars With the Best Range

Tesla Model 3 Long Range (Dual Motor)

2022 Tesla Model 3

Range: 358 miles

Price: $57,190 with destination

Max charging speed: 250 kW (20-80% in 20 minutes, adding 214 miles of range)

0-60 mph (fun factor):

Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the 2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range here

Polestar 2 Front-Wheel Drive

Polestar 2 range

Range: 270 miles

Price: $49,800 with destination

Max charging speed: 250 kW (20-80% in 20 minutes, adding 214 miles of range)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 6.8 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the Polestar 2 here

Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive

Range: 272 miles

Price: $48,190 with destination

Max charging speed: 150 kW (20-80% in 20 minutes, adding 163 miles of range)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 5.8 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the 2022 Tesla Model 3 here

Chevrolet Bolt

2022 Chevrolet Bolt range

Range: 259 miles

Price: $26,595 with destination (most affordable EV available today)

Max charging speed: 55 kW (adding 100 miles of range in 30 minutes, or 200 miles of range in 75 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 6.8 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the Chevrolet Bolt here

Here’s our list of the cheapest electric cars available today

Electric Crossovers/SUVs With the Best Range

Tesla Model Y Long Range (Dual Motor)

2022 Tesla Model Y range

Range: 330 miles

Price: $64,190 with destination

Max charging speed: 250 kW (adding 100 miles of range in 30 minutes, or 200 miles of range in 75 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 4.8 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here

See our full review of the Tesla Model Y here

Kia EV6 Rear-wheel drive

2022 Kia EV6 range

Range: 310 miles

Price: $42,155 with destination

Max charging speed: 235 kW (15-80% in 20 minutes, adding 217 miles of range in 18 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 7.3 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the Kia EV6 here

Hyundai IONIQ 5 Rear-wheel drive

Hyundai IONIQ 5 range

Range: 303 miles

Price: $45,295 with destination

Max charging speed: 235 kW (15-80% in 20 minutes, adding 197 miles of range in 18 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 7.5 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the Hyundai IONIQ 5 here.

Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 RWD

mustang mach-e range
Shrimp in an EV? Yes, of course.

Range: 314 miles

Price: $53,550 with destination

Max charging speed: 150 kW (10-80% in 45 minutes, adding 220 miles of range)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 6.1 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the Ford Mustang Mach-E here.

Cadillac Lyriq Rear-wheel drive

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

Range: 312 miles

Price: $64,185 with destination

Max charging speed: 190 kW (adding 195 miles of range in 30 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 6.4 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here

See our full review of the Cadillac Lyriq here.

See the latest EV availability and wait times for EVERY model

Electric Trucks With the Best Range

There are now three electric pickup trucks on American roads, but buying one is easier said than done. Everyone wants one, and wait lists extend months and in some cases, years. We’ve decided to include electric trucks that are not yet available for purchase, so long as specs have been released and reservations or orders can be placed today.

Ford F-150 Lightning XLT Extended Range 

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat

Range: 320 miles

Price: $72,474

Max charging speed: 130 kW (15-80% in 40 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): estimated 4.5 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the F-150 Lightning here.

Chevrolet Silverado EV

2024 Silverado EV RST

Range: Estimated 400 miles

Price: $42,000 – $100,000+

Max charging speed: 350 kW (adding 100 miles of range in 10 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): N/A

Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here

See our full review of the Silverado EV here.

Rivian R1T

Rivian R1T electric truck

Range: 314 miles

Price: $80,000 – $100,000+

Max charging speed: 220 kW (10-80% in 40 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 3.0 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

Learn more about Rivian’s R1T and R1S full-size SUV.

Luxury Electric Vehicles With the Best Range

Lucid Air Grand Touring

Lucid Air

Range: 516 miles

Price: $139,000

Max charging speed: 300 kW (adding 300 miles of range in 20 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 2.6 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the Lucid Air here.

Tesla Model S Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive

Model S range

Range: 405 miles

Price: $101,990

Max charging speed: 250 kW (adding 200 miles of range in 15 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 3.1 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: No, credits were exhausted. Learn about EV incentives here

Mercedes EQS 450+

Mercedes EQS 450+ range

Range: 350 miles

Price: $139,000

Max charging speed: 200 kW (adding 200 miles of range in 20 minutes)

0-60 mph (fun factor): 5.5 seconds

Federal EV tax credit qualification: Yes, learn more about EV incentives here.

See our full review of the Mercedes EQS here.

What does the future hold? Not necessarily more range, surprisingly. Many auto analysts expect range for relatively affordable EVs to settle in around the 250-350 mile range. Why? Battery shortages loom on the horizon. Raw materials are in high demand, and there are only so many places on Earth to get lithium, cobalt and other materials.

Should you buy an EV now or wait? If you can find what you want for MSRP or very close to it, it just might be the right time to buy or lease. All signs point towards higher EV prices for 2023 and 2024 model years.

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The Rise of Direct-to-Consumer Auto Sales

The Rise of Direct-to-Consumer Auto Sales

Just a few months ago, Ford shook up the automotive industry and ignited rumors that brought anxiety for Ford dealers. Ford’s announcement to separate all-electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) sales was seen as a nod to Tesla, and a threat to the dealership model. Direct-to-consumer sales are in the works for the maker of the top-selling vehicle in America, and others are warming up to the idea. Who’s next? 

Months later, other automakers have been cornered into taking a stance with regards to the future of their franchise dealership relationship. Volkswagen’s surprise revival of the Scout brand is the latest headline to force this conversation to the forefront. Mercedes, BMW and MINI are considering similar moves. What does it all mean for the consumer? Are car dealerships going away, or is the auto industry going through an inevitable transition?

Is the Golden Age of Dealerships Coming to an End?

In 2022, there are nearly 18,000 car dealerships in the United States. Despite all of the talk from automakers over the last several months, this figure has risen by 0.6% since last year. Take into account that dealer consolidations are also changing the game, 2022 is shaping up to be a turning point for dealerships.

Volkswagen Surprises Us With the Scout Revival

I don’t think anyone saw this coming. In early May, Volkswagen announced that it intends to revive the legendary Scout brand as an all-electric line of pickup trucks and SUVs. Volkswagen was already a leading force in the electrification of the industry, and has seen success with the ID.4 crossover in America. The revived VW Scout brand isn’t going to be a niche product with low sales volume. Scout will aim for 250,000 annual sales in America, with the first vehicles arriving off production lines in just four year’s time.

VW Scout truck concept
VW offered this sketch of a Scout truck concept

While overlanding enthusiasts were serving up plenty of skepticism for VW’s Scout ambitions, Volkswagen dealers were having a bit of a freak-out. Automotive News journalist Larry Vellequette said that the move was “enough to roil hundreds of U.S. dealers of the automaker’s eponymous brand over the last few weeks like nothing since the German automaker’s costly diesel emissions scandal.” Such a bold claim isn’t made lightly considering the long-lasting impacts of the 2015 dieselgate scandal. 

Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh told Automotive News what he was able to share publicly. 

“Everything that I know has been reported and you have reported it,” Keogh said. “First and foremost, Scout is and always was a unique and distinctly American brand — big-time Americana — so it won’t be operated through the Volkswagen brand. In fact, it won’t be operated through Volkswagen Group of America. It will be operated independently.”

Dealers React to Volkswagen’s Scout Announcement

National Automobile Dealer Association CEO Mike Stanton reached out to Keogh in a letter. The letter urged VW of America to “quickly and clearly communicate Scout’s distribution plan to your dealers who have made significant investments to support VW’s business model and transformation to electrification.”

Stanton warned that “the longer your dealers go without information and answers to their questions, the more that speculation will fill the void.” 

2022 Volkswagen ID.4
2022 Volkswagen ID.4

Concerns are amplified at the state level, too. North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association President Robert Glaser told Automotive News that “despite repeated assurances throughout the years by Volkswagen that its dealers are ‘partners’ in advancing and promoting VW products, this announcement produced instant dismay and concern among all VW dealers.”

Clearly, if Volkswagen wasn’t considering a direct-to-consumer sales model for at least some of their brands, they would have reassured their dealers swiftly. Now, all dealers can do is speculate and hope for the best. 

Mercedes-Benz Slashes Dealer Numbers – Will It Happen Here?

One might approach comparisons between the U.S. and European automotive industries with reluctancy, but we’ve seen the connection time and time again. Take Mercedes-Benz for example. When Mercedes announced it would begin enabling level 3 autonomous driving under certain conditions in Germany, most dismissed it as a European experiment. Not even Tesla had pulled that off. Just months later, Mercedes-Benz shared their goal of bringing level 3 autonomy to American roads, where it will complement the dazzling new EQS electric luxury sedan.

Now, Mercedes has announced their intention to downsize their dealership network in Europe, and to a lesser extent elsewhere, for now. In the automaker’s homeland of Germany, Mercedes says that 15 to 20 percent of its dealers will be effectively let go. Globally, they plan to cut 10 percent of their dealerships. Right now, Mercedes says that there are no plans for ‘dealer consolidation’ in America.

Why is Mercedes-Benz cutting dealers from the brand? One of their fiercest and most recent competitors has risen to fame by adopting direct-to-consumer sales, and they want a bigger piece of the DTC pie. Tesla has managed to achieve 14% EV market share in Europe in just a decade, already having surpassed Mercedes when it comes to electric vehicles sales.

Mercedes-Benz EQS interior
The Mercedes-Benz EQS features a wrap-around screen and 350 miles of range.

Consumers are REALLY tired of haggling with salespeople at dealerships. Tesla has shown that there are alternatives. Therefore, Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a direct-to-consumer “agency” sales model. They believe 80 percent of European sales will be direct-to-consumer by 2025. 

In the dealer agency model, automakers invoice customers directly, and dealers receive a fixed fee for every vehicle sold.

BMW and MINI Pursue “Agency” Sales Model

Ford’s bold Model e plan doesn’t cut dealers outright. Instead, Ford Model e re-envisions the role of dealers as delivery centers for online sales. It sounds like BMW Group is a fan of Ford’s plan. 

BMW Group executive Pieter Nota confirmed that both BMW and MINI are looking hard at pursuing an agency model in which authorized dealers are transitioned into a delivery and customer experience role. Nota told Automotive News that talks are underway.

“We are currently talking with our European dealers about a move to a genuine agency model,” Nota told Automotive News Europe.

Back in March, Germany’s Autohaus magazine reported that BMW plans to end MINI’s authorized dealer system in Europe in 2024 before doing the same for BMW in 2026. 

When Will Direct-to-Consumer Sales Come to America?

Ford’s Model e plans aside, dealers continue to have a strong grip on auto sales in America. Tesla is the face of DTC sales in the U.S. for the time being. However, the tides are turning. It’s only a matter of time before European automakers bring their “agency” sales models to the U.S. Direct-to-consumer sales equal higher profits for automakers, and they’re not going to pass up the opportunity for some extra cash, especially as the costs of electrifying their lineups are approaching one trillion dollars. In other words, it’s not “if”, but “when”. 

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These 5 Electric Vehicles are Overpriced!

These 5 Electric Vehicles are Overpriced!

ev charging station

At a time when the average transaction price for a new vehicle is inching closer to $50,000, getting your money’s worth matters more than ever. Electric vehicles are popular, but they’re expensive. Most importantly, not all EVs are equal in terms of range, charging speed, and overall value for the money. These are the worst deals for a new electric car in 2022, plus some better alternatives on the market today.

Toyota bZ4X

Toyota bZ4X

Long the authority when it comes to hybrid powertrains, the world waited with great anticipation for the first all-electric Toyota. The automaker that brought us the legendary Prius collaborated with Subaru to engineer the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, and its sibling the Subaru Solterra (more on that below). The result is puzzling. At a time when Hyundai, General Motors and of course Tesla are bringing cars to market with fast-charging times under 30 minutes, Toyota jumps into the game with an electric crossover that takes a whole hour to charge under optimal conditions.

Okay, so it charges slowly. What about the Toyota bZ4X’s range? The front-wheel drive bZ4X is rated for 242 miles with the Limited trim, and 252 miles on the XLE. Upgrade to dual-motor all-wheel drive, and range suffers. The AWD Toyota bZ4X is EPA-rated for 222 miles on the Limited, and 228 miles with lower trims. 

Pricing starts at $43,215 before incentives, and tops out at $49,995 for the bZ4X Limited all-wheel drive. 

Here’s a summary of what the 2023 Toyota bZ4X offers:

  • Up to 200 miles of range added in one hour 
  • Peak 150 kilowatt (FWD) or 150 kilowatt (FWD) charging
  • 222 to 252 miles of range, depending on trim and motor configuration
  • Two different battery suppliers, depending on the trim selected
  • bZ4X pricing: $43,215 – $49,995
  • The bZ4X does qualify for the $7,500 EV federal tax credit

Subaru Solterra

Subaru Solterra 2023

I get why Subaru drivers love their cars. I’m a fan of the outdoorsy, all-terrain capable vehicles at an attainable price. Now that Subaru’s first electric vehicle has arrived, I’m heartbroken. It’s not a compelling EV, especially compared to the competition as a 2023 model. 

Toyota’s new electric platform paired with all-wheel drive and the Subaru badge will set you back at least $46,220, and the Solterra Touring’s MSRP is a lofty $53,220. Range isn’t anything to brag about. In fact, it just might cause range anxiety from day one. 

2023 Subaru Solterra

  • Price: $46,220 – $53,220
  • Range: 222 – 228 miles
  • Add up to 180 miles of range in one hour (peak 100 kilowatt charging)
  • 8.3 inches of ground clearance (best in class)
  • X-MODE electric traction control settings

Perhaps if you don’t travel too far off the beaten path, the 2023 Subaru Solterra could be right for you. But that defeats the purpose of having a Subaru, doesn’t it?

Here’s our full review of the Subaru Solterra.

Volvo XC40 Recharge

Volvo XC-40 Recharge

When it comes down to the specs, looks and driving experience, the 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge is not a bad car. Many owners love its zippy performance and Scandinavian looks. What’s not to like? The price paired with the range. The XC40 Recharge is not an affordable EV. With a starting price of $51,700 and most trim options ending up around $60,000, this Volvo’s price approaches that of its competitor: the Tesla Model Y.

Here’s what to expect from the 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge:

  • 223 miles of range
  • Up to 156 miles of range added in 37 minutes
  • Google operating system for infotainment
  • 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds
  • Qualifies for the federal EV tax credit

Jaguar I-PACE

Jaguar I-Pace EV

The I-PACE was one of the first electric vehicles to earn mainstream popularity in North America. When it arrived in 2018, range and charging capabilities were on-par with the best. What’s the problem then? Jaguar has not invested in powertrain upgrades for the I-PACE, and it has consequently fallen out of favor among EV buyers. 

The 2022 Jaguar I-PACE starts at an MSRP of $71,200, plus destination and fees. What do you get for such a lofty price, other than the Jaguar brand?

  • 234 miles of range
  • Add 187 miles of range (0 to 80%) in 45 minutes at a DC fast charger
  • 0 – 60 time of 4.5 seconds
  • Qualifies for the federal EV tax credit

Lucid Air

Lucid Air

Seasoned electric vehicle enthusiasts may be surprised to see the Lucid Air on this list of overpriced EVs, but hear me out. Although the newly-released 2022 Lucid Air starts at $78,900, you’d be hard pressed to find one in 2022 for under $150,000. Lucid’s design is sharp and sleek, and it’s certainly worthy of a luxury price tag. But if you want all the bells and whistles seen in Lucid’s commercials, brace yourself for sticker shock. The fully-loaded Lucid Air Dream Edition costs $169,900. 

Within the electric luxury sedan segment, the Lucid Air makes the Tesla Model S look like a bargain. Although the base ‘Air Pure’ starts at $77,400, the Air Pure won’t be available until late 2022 at the earliest. If you’re looking for luxury, a glass roof, and insane performance, the Tesla Model S offers that and more at $99,990. Even with the federal EV tax credit factored in, the Lucid Air Dream Edition costs over $50,000 more, and stepping down to the Lucid Air Grand Touring at $139,900 will still cost 30% more than the Tesla.

At least you get some impressive specs with the Lucid Air, but the competition offers more value and a longer track record of build quality and electric powertrain performance. Still, the Lucid Air is the range king of all electric cars for now. 

  • Price (for early 2022 availability): $139,900 – $169,900
  • Range: 406 to 520 miles on a charge
  • The fastest charging: adds up to 300 miles of range in 20 minutes
  • Luxury, but at significant cost

Here’s our full review of the Lucid Air.

Alternatives to Consider

At YAA, we’re all about solutions. If you’re on the market for one of these overpriced electric cars, here are some more compelling EVs to take for a test drive. 

Electric Crossovers

2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

The 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5

Why? For less than $50,000, this retro-styled EV sports a roomy cabin, decent range, and ultra-fast charging powered by the new e-GMP platform’s 800-Volt engineering.

Price: $44,875 – $56,200

Range: 256 to 303 miles

Charge time: Adds 180 – 200 miles of range in 18 minutes (230 kW charge speeds)

Availability: Available now. Check YAA Car Dealer Reviews to find the best dealers to work with.

Does it qualify for the federal EV tax credit? Yes!

Learn more with our in-depth review of the IONIQ 5.

2022 Kia EV6

Kia EV6

Why? If you love the Hyundai IONIQ 5’s specs and pricing, but aren’t a fan of the looks, chances are the Kia EV6 will be right up your alley. This sporty electric crossover is also powered by the new e-GMP platform’s 800-Volt architecture for the fastest charging available.

Price: $40,900 – $55,900

Range: 274 to 310 miles

Charge time: Adds 190 – 210 miles of range in 18 minutes (230 kW charge speeds)

Availability: Available now. Check YAA Car Dealer Reviews to find the best dealers to work with.

Does it qualify for the federal EV tax credit? Yes!

Learn more with our in-depth review of the EV6.

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Why? You’d be hard-pressed to find a dissatisfied Mustang Mach-E owner. This EV is on a much more sport-oriented suspension, with a family-friendly modern interior. 

Price: $43,895 – $61,995

Range: 224 to 314 miles

Charge time: Charging improvement incoming via over-the-air update, but for now, the Mustang Mach-E adds 59 miles of range in ten minutes, and charging from 10%-80% takes about 45 minutes.

Availability: Available now. Check YAA Car Dealer Reviews to find the best dealers to work with.

Does it qualify for the federal EV tax credit? Yes!

Learn more with our in-depth review of the Mustang Mach-E.

2022 Tesla Model Y

2022 Tesla Model Y

Why? This is still the best electric crossover on the market. Great efficiency, range and charging speeds paired with Tesla’s superior over-the-air update capabilities makes this EV the EV sales leader. If only it still qualified for the federal tax credit!

Price: $62,990 – $82,990

Range: 303 – 330 miles

Charge time: Add 200 miles of range in 15 minutes at over 1,200 Tesla Supercharger locations in North America.

Availability: Available now via Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales, or pre-owned on YAA Car Search.

Does it qualify for the federal EV tax credit? No, not unless the tax credit is revised by congress.

Learn more with our in-depth review of the Model Y.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen ID.4

Why? If you can find one at MSRP, the ID.4 is a solid choice for those opting for a more leisurely, less sporty EV. However, it has lost much of its appeal ever since the Hyundai and Kia electric crossovers hit the market with much faster charging.

Price: $41,230 – $52,500

Range: 249 – 260 miles

Charge time: Add up to 190 miles of range in 40 minutes

Availability: Available now. Check YAA Car Dealer Reviews to find the best dealers to work with.

Does it qualify for the federal EV tax credit? Yes!

Learn more with our in-depth review of the ID.4.

Electric Luxury Sedans

2022 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Why? Tesla’s first mass-produced model has matured into the gold standard among luxury EVs. It’s pricey, but sky-high resale value and frequent OTA updates make this Tesla a smart choice for those in the market for something larger than the more popular Model 3. 

Price: $99,990 – $156,990

Range: 348 – 405 miles

Charge time: Add up to 200 miles of range in 15 minutes

Availability: Available now via Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales, or pre-owned on YAA Car Search.

Does it qualify for the federal EV tax credit? No, not unless the tax credit is revised by congress.

Learn more about the Model S.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

Mercedes EQS EV

Why? The first dedicated electric vehicle from Mercedes to make it to North America is something to behold. It doesn’t have the Tesla Supercharger network, but the interior is luxury on another level. 

Price: $102,310 – $108,510

Range: 350 miles

Charge time: Add up to 200 miles of range in 20 minutes

Availability: Available now. Check YAA Car Dealer Reviews to find the best dealers to work with.

Does it qualify for the federal EV tax credit? Yes!

Learn more with our in-depth review of the EQS.

Do you agree with this analysis, or did we miss the mark? Please, let us know in the comments below, or join us at the YAA Community to talk cars, deals and more. Our YAA auto experts are ready to take the headache out of your car buying experience. 

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Electric Vehicle Price Increases: War in Ukraine to Send Battery Prices Skyrocketing 

Electric Vehicle Price Increases: War in Ukraine to Send Battery Prices Skyrocketing 

tesla battery cost increases

The manufacturing of electric vehicles is a global process, with raw materials from every corner of the globe playing a vital role in battery chemistry. New forecasts from automotive energy analysts predict massive increases in electric vehicle production costs due to the entanglement of EV supply chains in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The latest supply chain worries are on top of the ongoing chip shortage that threatens to stretch through 2022.

Costly raw materials affect EV makers

In 2021, fully-electric and plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles soared to 9% of global new vehicle market share. In Europe, EVs now make up 19% of all passenger vehicle sales. Even in the United States, electric car market share is approaching 5%. Although EV sales continue to be subdued by supply shortages and lack of inventory, most automakers remain on a path towards 100% electrified sales. However, getting there is easier said than done without the raw materials needed to make gigawatt-hours of batteries. There are dozens of EVs on sale in 2022, but finding one on a dealer lot is no easy task. 

A new report by S&P Global Mobility highlights the unforeseen costs piling onto EV battery production because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the resulting international sanctions. Building an electric car is about to get costlier, and buying one will get more expensive.

Tesla Model Y prices up 26% since 2020

2022 Tesla Model Y price increases
2022 Tesla Model Y

The analysts at S&P Global Mobility estimate that the best-selling Tesla Model Y could see input costs for battery raw materials surge by $8,000 per vehicle this year. Tesla recently increased Model Y prices for the tenth time in as many months to a base price of $62,990. Just a year ago, the same model listed for $49,990.

Mercedes EV prices likely to increase

Mercedes EQS price increase
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

The same report forecasts that production costs for the popular Mercedes-Benz EQS could skyrocket by $11,000 year-over-year. The EQS luxury sedan already starts at an MSRP of $103,360, and climbs to $126,360 for the highest trim. With production costs eating into Mercedes’ margins, MSRPs are likely to climb higher any day now.

Nickel prices up tenfold, EV cost parity delayed

For years, EV advocates (and Elon Musk) have touted the importance of electric cars reaching cost parity with combustion-powered vehicles. It’s widely believed that when electric cars cost the same as an equivalent ICE car, the masses will rapidly transition to electric mobility. 

The latest supply chain disruptions have analysts delaying the arrival of EV cost parity. In the months leading up to the war in Ukraine, raw materials needed for battery production were already becoming more costly. Cleantechnica reported back in November that lithium carbonate prices surged by 313%, cobalt hydroxide was up nearly 82%, and nickel sulfate rose by 34% over the course of 2021.

S&P Global Mobility said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is inflating raw material prices even further. Russia is the world’s third-largest supplier of nickel. German supplier BASF said it will not sign new agreements with Russian nickel suppliers because of the invasion. The analysts suspect that other manufacturers will take similar actions.

How much will electric car prices increase in 2022?

The latest data and expert analyses point towards a 5-10% increase in prices for most EV models in 2022. Tesla has already seen a 26% increase in prices since 2022, including steep price hikes in early 2022. 

There are rumors that Hyundai may soon be raising MSRPs for the popular IONIQ 5, and Ford increased prices for the Mustang Mach-E by $1,000-$3,000 in February. When is the most affordable time to buy an electric car? If you’re set on buying an EV in 2022, make a purchase as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it looks like inventory and pricing are only going to get worse for the foreseeable future.

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Steering Wheel Optional: In Historic Decision, US Permits Vehicles Without Driver Controls

Steering Wheel Optional: In Historic Decision, US Permits Vehicles Without Driver Controls

Cruise Origin automated vehicle

On March 10, 2022, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced safety standards for vehicles without human controls. The historic announcement effectively eliminates the requirement for human controls in future vehicles designed to be fully autonomous. In a few year’s time, cars without steering wheels may enter production.

“As the driver changes from a person to a machine in vehicles equipped with automated driving systems, the need to keep the humans safe remains the same and must be integrated from the beginning,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Deputy Administrator. “With this rule, we ensure that manufacturers put safety first.”

Before the NHTSA rule update, occupant protection standards were written for common, traditional vehicles. You know, the ones with steering wheels. The rule updates the standards to clarify what is required of manufacturers when applying the standards to vehicles without traditional manual controls.

In essence, the rule change permits vehicles to operate without driver controls, as long as automakers continue to provide the same high levels of occupant protection as current passenger vehicles.

GM’s Cruise Origin Spurs Regulatory Updates

GM Cruise Origin car without steering wheel

The NHTSA’s rule change comes in response to a petition from General Motors’ Cruise division to update the requirements for future self-driving vehicles. The new regulations eliminate the need for manual driving controls (a steering wheel and pedals) in fully-autonomous vehicles. This particular rule pertains to crash safety standards. No steering wheel, no problem.

In February, GM’s petition sought to make the case for NHTSA action.

“This petition both demonstrates how the Origin achieves safety objectives of existing standards, and helps enable future AV regulations. NHTSA has made clear in public testimony and regulatory actions, that in order to consider the development of AV standards, they first need more information from real world AV operations. We believe this petition can help enable that outcome: learnings from the Origin, which is designed to improve overall road safety, can help inform the creation of new, updated regulations and standards.”

GM’s Cruise recently unveiled the Cruise Origin, a purpose-built autonomous pod designed for urban mobility. The Cruise Origin and other autonomous vehicles in development needed the NHTSA to update the rules before embarking on the final stages of development. In fact, most automakers are working on autonomous driving technologies.

When Will Autonomous Driving Come to America?

At least one automaker has refrained from bringing its level 3 autonomy to the United States because of outdated regulations. In 2021, Mercedes-Benz became the first automaker to get regulatory approval for level 3 autonomous driving on European public roads. For now, Mercedes Drive Pilot is available on 8,197 miles of German highways at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. What makes Mercedes Drive Pilot so special is that it is the first approved consumer-ready system to permit the driver to take their attention away from the road while the vehicle is in motion. 

Mercedes-Benz cited the murky regulatory environment in America as reason for the delayed rollout of Mercedes Drive Pilot in the US. Now, Mercedes says it intends to bring level 3 Drive Pilot to American roads later in 2022. The S-Class and all-electric Mercedes EQS are the first models to gain Mercedes Drive Pilot in the US.

BMW also hopes to launch Level 3 features on the 7 Series sedan this year.

See every automaker’s plan for autonomous driving here.

Will Tesla Make Cars Without Steering Wheels?

Tesla autonomous driving

Elon Musk was an early proponent of building cars without driver controls. The updated US regulations will open the pathway for Tesla’s without steering wheels. However engineering autonomy has proven to be a greater challenge than anticipated. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk reflected on the complexity of autonomous driving in a recent interview. “I thought the self-driving problem would be hard, but it’s harder than I thought. I thought it would be very hard, but it was even harder than that.”

That isn’t to say that Tesla is giving up. Tesla remains a leader in automation. The controversially-named ‘Full Self-Driving’ feature is currently available to beta testers with high safety scores. However, criticism abounds from customers who are upset over years of delays for a feature they paid $6,000 to $12,000 for.

Tesla’s vertical integration is one of its greatest strengths. Tesla controls the hardware and software in its cars that will one day support autonomous driving. Little by little, they are making steps in that direction. In 2021, Tesla even eliminated the gear selector in the refreshed Tesla Model S. Apparently, the car should ‘know’ which direction it needs to go. Tesla’s engineers think that today’s Teslas are capable of figuring that out. There are gear selector controls on the touch screen in case the car guesses wrong.

YAA’s Take

Still, the 2022 update to NHTSA regulations paves the way for Tesla, GM, Mercedes and other automakers to make their autonomous dreams a reality. If only they can figure out how to get it to work. I don’t expect to see a single production car without a steering wheel until closer to 2030. Commercial ride-sharing ventures like GM’s Cruise could, however, bring vehicles without driver controls to American roads within a few years.

Here Is Every Automaker’s Plan for Autonomous Vehicles

What would it take for you to feel safe buying a vehicle without a steering wheel? Wouldn’t that take the fun out of driving? Perhaps folks like me will be in search of aftermarket steering wheel mods in a decade’s time.

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