29 different electric car models are currently for sale in America, and another 15 models have released product specs and are anticipating a launch in the next two years.
On the surface, these 44 electric cars have different purposes for different people with different lifestyles and different budgets.
But when you peel back the layers, these vehicles all have more in common than you’d think.
The most striking similarity, and perhaps an obvious one to some, is that all of America’s EVs have prices and ranges that fit neatly on a graph like the one below.
With few exceptions, predicting the price of an EV is not hard if you know the EPA range. Starting prices are roughly $250 per mile of range whether you’re buying a VW E-Golf, a Ford Mustang Mach-E, a Rivian Truck, or even the upcoming Tesla Roadster.
In the world of gas cars, car buyers spend money on car features, styles, and seating arrangements, while gas tank size is fairly constant within vehicle classes.
In the world of EVs, car buyers spend money on vehicle range, and their budget determines how far they can travel on a charge. This relationship holds true whether they’re buying a sports car, a pickup truck, or an SUV.
Of course this $250 per mile metric is only a rule of thumb. It will likely become less significant as EV range continues to improve, and even today there are clear exceptions on both sides.
On the expensive side, Porsche’s Taycan line-up comes in at $415 per mile, $604 per mile, and $740 per mile for the Taycan 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S respectively. While $740 per mile is almost triple the price of an average EV, many believe that Porsche cars can go significantly further than their stated EPA ranges.
On the inexpensive side, some electric vehicles cost as little as $140 per mile of range, owing to improvements in battery efficiency and cost. To give you some context on how impressive $140 per mile of range is, there are actually two electric skateboards (Bajaboard's S2 and Bioboards' Plutonium) that cost more than $140 per mile of range!
Considering that a skateboard isn’t much more than a wood plank and four wheels, it’s incredible that some cars can go head-to-head with skateboards on this metric.
Among the standout cars, Tesla’s Long Range Model 3 costs $146 per mile of range, Hyundai’s Kona Electric costs $144, Chevrolet’s Bolt EV costs $141, and the Tri-Motor Tesla Cybertruck comes in at a price of $140 per mile of range.
At face value, all of these cars are very close in cost per mile of range.
But Tesla’s Cybertruck is also the biggest vehicle of the bunch by far, and it’s far more versatile than any other vehicle on the list.
It’s the only one with air suspension, the only one meant to handle off-road environments, it’s got the largest storage area of all the vehicles, and it still comes in at a lower cost per mile of range. And it’s also decked out with Tesla’s flatscreen displays, extra-strong glass, and standard Autopilot features.
And somehow Tesla still plans to make profit margins of ~25% on each one sold (which is well above the auto industry average).
Here’s another great example of just how inexpensive the Tri-Motor Cybertruck is for the amount of range it will have.
The closest comparable for the range of Tesla’s Cybertruck is the Lucid Air Grand Touring edition. It has an estimated range of 517 miles and a starting price of $139,000.
That’s in line with the $250 per mile average in the EV industry ($269 to be exact), but it’s almost double the cost per mile of the Tri-Motor Cybertruck ($140). The Lucid Air also doesn't have many of the features listed above like Autopilot and the durability and storage of a steel truck.
The Cybertruck gets a lot of attention for its unique design, but I’d argue that the cost per mile improvements that Tesla is making are far more exciting. 500 miles of range for $69,900 is a hell of a deal compared to any other EV on the planet. It also marks the first time a no-compromise truck will be accessible enough for a large swath of truck and SUV owners to buy.
And even though the vehicle is still over one year away from launch, Tesla has a good track record of matching and often exceeding their range estimates when the final product goes live.