Ask anyone to name an electric car, and they'll probably say "Tesla." It's true that Tesla is the currently the king of the electric car market, both in performance and popularity. However, its vehicles aren't really for everyone.
The Model S full-size sedan starts at $69,900 and the Model X SUV starts at $80,000. Both lines have versions that cost north of $100,000. At those prices, most people are going to opt for a cheaper non-electric car instead.
Now, there are less expensive electric cars on the market, such as the Nissan Leaf starting at $29,000. However, those don't have the performance of the more expensive Tesla, or the range. The Leaf, for example gets at most 107 miles on a charge while the Tesla Model S runs 208 to 270 miles, depending on the version and how you drive it.
That range figure is important because 200 miles turns out to be the point where "range anxiety" stops. In other words, if the car can go more than 200 miles on a charge, you spend a lot less time worrying about running out of juice while you're out and about.
Unfortunately, to get good range you need more batteries, which are expensive. So, making a car with good range at a low price has been tough. However, we might finally have that option.
GM thinks it might have the answer in the new Chevy Bolt, which it just unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. It's a five-door compact that is expected to have a range of 200 miles but cost less than $30,000 (after the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars).
Not only is it going to be efficient for the price, it packs in a bunch of goodies. It will have safety features like blind-spot detect, parallel parking assistance and the ability to stay in a lane. Plus, it has rearview cameras that feed images to the rearview mirror.
It sports a 10.2-inch infotainment screen, 4G cellular and smart Bluetooth pairing with smartphones. Plus, it can tell who is driving it based on the key and adjusts its settings to match. It should be available later this year.
Of course, it better hurry because Tesla is unveiling the Model 3 in March, and it should go on sale in 2017. The Model 3 is also aiming for a 200+ mile range with a $35,000 price tag. If both the Bolt and Model 3 can deliver on their promises, electric cars might finally go mainstream.
Thinking of buying an electric car? Here are five things you need to know first.
The Chevy Bolt wasn't the only major announcement at CES. Watch this Komando Report for the latest news on smart appliances coming to your home soon.