Electric cars

I drove 15 different electric cars. These are my 13 favorite features, from the F-150’s frunk to Rivian’s camp kitchen.

Slowly but surely car manufacturers are going electric. More buyers than ever are considering switching from fossil fuels.

The Ford F-150 Lightning.
Tim Levin / Insider

What’s great for early adopters is that automakers are using cutting-edge electric models as a testing ground for new and exciting designs and capabilities.

I’ve driven over a dozen electric cars from Ford, Tesla, Porsche and others and experienced many great features, but a handful stand out.

California upstart Rivian is looking to become the Tesla of rugged pickups and SUVs.

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP]    Rivian R1T

The Rivian R1T.
Tim Levin / Insider

Its vehicles are packed with cool features, but the coolest part of the R1T truck has to be its Gear Tunnel.

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP]    Rivian R1T

The Rivian R1T.
Tim Levin / Insider

This is a one-of-a-kind storage space that connects the rear seats and the bed of the R1T.

The Gear Tunnel opens on both sides. Both doors house extra goodies like a first aid kit.

The 2022 Rivian R1T.

The 2022 Rivian R1T.
Tim Levin / Insider

Simply point the seven-seater SUV towards a deep stream, a steep hill or a mass of rocks, and hit the accelerator. Its four powerful motors, adjustable air suspension and advanced all-wheel-drive system take care of the rest.

The Rivian R1S electric SUV.

The Rivian R1S.
Tim Levin / Insider

Tesla discards nearly all conventional buttons and gauges in favor of a clean, streamlined look.

The Tesla Model Y.

The Tesla Model Y.
Tim Levin / Insider

And tech geeks will appreciate the large, vivid touchscreen that controls basic vehicle settings and receives software updates.

The Tesla Model Y electric SUV.

The Tesla Model Y.
Tim Levin / Insider

Fun built-in features like a racing game (which uses the actual steering wheel), drawing pad and Netflix ensure you’ll never be bored while charging.

Kia’s spaceship-like EV6 has a trick up its sleeve in the form of two-way charging capability.

The smart feature is to use an adapter that plugs into the charging port.

The 2022 Kia EV6.

The 2022 Kia EV6.
Tim Levin / Insider

But the best thing about driving the Ioniq 5 is how good it makes you feel.

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Tim Levin / Insider

Its retro-futuristic styling – with origami-like angles and lights made up of dozens of tiny pixels – sets it apart from ordinary blob-shaped SUVs.

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Tim Levin / Insider

It can charge at a peak rate of 270 kilowatts, faster than most electric cars, meaning 5% to 80% can happen in just 22.5 minutes.

The 2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S.

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

This is a game-changer for long journeys with multiple charging stops.

The 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo.

The 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo.
Tim Levin / Insider

The idea of ​​going without regular buttons may put off some buyers. But the sports sedan’s Google-powered infotainment system isn’t clunky like some other vehicle touchscreens.

The 2022 Polestar 2.

The 2022 Polestar 2.
Tim Levin / Insider

Instead, the main display and digital dashboard are remarkably intuitive, simple and pretty to look at. The hyper-realistic vehicle graphics are a nice touch.

The 2022 Polestar 2.

The 2022 Polestar 2.
Tim Levin / Insider

The $96,000 iX I drove wrapped me in generous amounts of soft leather.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive60.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive60.
Tim Levin / Insider

It had a massaging driver’s seat, a thin, floating screen, and plenty of gold trim.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.
Tim Levin / Insider

The Ford F-150 Lightning’s biggest superpower is its sense of normalcy. Ford took the F-150 and pumped it with electric power without sacrificing the familiarity of America’s favorite truck.

The Ford F-150 Lightning.

The Ford F-150 Lightning.
Tim Levin / Insider

But the Lightning brings big advantages. It has outlets everywhere that can supply large amounts of electricity for power tools and tailgating accessories.

[EMBARGO 5/11/22 6 AM DNP]    The F-150 Lightning Lariat.

The F-150 Lightning Lariat.
Ford

With the right adapter, it can even charge other electric vehicles.

Ford F-150 Lightning vehicle-to-vehicle charging.

The Ford F-150 Lightning loading an E-Transit van.
Ford

It also offers power outlets and a large, wide opening to make charging even easier.

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.
Tim Levin / Insider

Similarly, one of the most practical features of the Ford Mustang Mach-E is its frunk.

It’s made of hard plastic and has a drainage hole, making it the perfect place to store muddy shoes and wet gear. Many electric SUVs run without frunk, giving the Mach-E a leg up.

Mustang Mach-E

Mustang Mach-E frunk.
Ford