Electric Minivans, SUVs, and Family-Friendly Vehicles
If you’re in the market for a new car, you know that sedans, coupes, roadsters, and crossover SUVs with all-electric powertrains have been widely available for years. But what about electric minivans?
Drivers with multiple children, carpoolers, and small business owners alike are eager to know when all-electric vans and electric versions of their favorite multi-passenger vehicles will make their debut at dealerships nationwide. After all, many of the electric cars currently available aren’t large enough to suit this group’s needs.
Among the gradual roll out of different styles of electric vehicles in the past decade, only pickup truck drivers have had to wait as long as minivan fans for their favorite vehicles to become available with an all-electric motor. The wait is nearly over, however. Several automakers are slated to debut all-electric minivans and multi-passenger SUVs in 2022 and beyond.
Read on to see when new electric minivans are scheduled to hit the market, and to learn about other family-friendly all-electric vehicles that are currently on the market.
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Which Automakers Will Have an Electric Minivan?
As of the 2021 model year, there are no all-electric minivans available in the United States. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid minivan, is the only PHEV minivan available.
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has a starting MSRP of $40,620 and offers 82 MPGe, making it the most fuel efficient multi-passenger vehicle currently available in the United States.
Listed below are a few reasons why automakers have yet to bring electric minivans to market:
- Curb weight: Multi-passenger vehicles weigh more than sedans and SUVs. Given their increased curb weight, automakers have struggled to create a battery large enough to power an all-electric minivan for long enough to suit most drivers’ needs.
- Performance and range: Automotive engineers have similarly taken some time to develop a battery pack that gives electric minivans the necessary performance capability to meet the transportation needs of drivers, particularly ample highway acceleration, as well as the required range they need to travel long distances without a charge.
- Demand: Minivans have fallen out of favor with American drivers during the last decade. Large SUVs, crossovers, and large pickup trucks have replaced them as the quintessential family vehicles. It remains to be seen whether the forthcoming array of electric minivans will be able to reverse this trend.
Best Electric Vehicles for Families
Just because electric minivans aren’t yet available in U.S. markets doesn’t mean you can’t find an all-electric vehicle suited to your family driving needs.
There are plenty of relatively affordable multi-passenger EVs that are chock full of the contemporary navigation, communication, and entertainment features that today’s drivers are looking for in a new car.
The following is a list of all-electric vehicles that can comfortably sit five passengers.
Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Starting MSRP: $33,000
MPGe: City 125, Highway 104, Combined 115
The Chevrolet Bolt EUV, or “Electric Utility Vehicle,” is an all-electric hatchback that features the brand’s robust suite of safety features, including forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning. The Bolt EUV offers three inches more rear-seat legroom than its counterpart, the Bolt EV.
The Bolt EUV pairs impressive performance with passenger and cargo room for families, and has a 0-60 MPH time of 7 seconds.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Starting MSRP: $37,390
MPGe: 132 City, 108 Highway, 120 Combined
The Hyundai Kona Electric features a best-in-class 258-mile range, ideal for families who frequently take long road trips. The vehicle can safely fit five passengers, although its compact size has led critics to question the available leg room for adult passengers in the back seat.
Travelers will also enjoy the Hyundai Kona Electric’s hidden floor storage compartments, which are a nice addition to the vehicle’s ample rear storage.
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Kia Niro EV
MPGe: City 123, Highway 102, Combined 112
The Kia Niro EV is an all-electric compact crossover praised by critics for its spacious interior and array of standard safety features, like driver attention monitoring. While the vehicle can comfortably sit five passengers, critics have frowned on the car’s basic interior design, which pales in comparison to rivals.
Another drawback for the Kia Niro EV is that it’s not available with an all-wheel drive powertrain, something drivers who have to annually navigate winter conditions may consider a non-starter.
MPGe: City 104, Highway 89, Combined 97
The Volkswagen ID.4 is an all-electric crossover that’s been praised by critics for its impressive suite of technology features, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ambient interior lighting with thirty color options, and an ample 10-inch touch screen navigation system.
One thing that’s particularly attractive to road-tripping families is the fact that Volkswagen provides new ID.4 owners with free fast recharging for their first three years of ownership through a private, nationwide charging network.
Tesla Model X
MPGe: City 109, Highway 101, Combined 105
With a seating capacity of seven when properly outfitted, the Tesla Model X is the roomiest all-electric vehicle currently on the market. In addition to its ample passenger room and abundant cargo space, critics have praised the car’s top safety scores and standard all-wheel drive capability.
Luxury features, like a panoramic roof and “Falcon Wing” doors, help Tesla stand apart from its competitors, as does an extra-large 17-inch infotainment touch screen.
Forthcoming Electric Minivans
The 2022 and 2023 model years are expected to feature a variety of all-electric minivan debuts. And while many details about these forthcoming electric minivans are not yet known — notably pricing, horsepower, charging specifications, and EPA MPGe ratings — minivan drivers have a lot to be excited about.
Some information is already available about two particularly compelling electric minivans slated to make their debut in 2022 and 2023.
Expected Debut: Late 2022
Also known by the moniker “Lifestyle Vehicle,” the Canoo Van is expected to debut in the United States in early 2022. Versatility is the name of the game for the Canoo Van, which is expected to be targeted for outdoor enthusiasts, businesses, and families alike.
The Canoo Van has a dome-like shape that allows for seating for up to seven passengers, including a rear “lounge” seating setup reminiscent of a limousine and an impressive amount of cargo room when some or all of the seats are removed.
Volkswagen ID Buzz
Expected Debut: 2023
One look at the Volkswagen ID Buzz and you know it’s not your grandfather’s VW van. The ID Buzz was designed as a tribute to the iconic Volkswagen Microbus, complete with an available palette of bright exterior paint schemes and seven passenger seating capacity.
Unlike it’s rather stuffy predecessor, however, the ID Buzz is set to feature a panoramic glass roof and wide windows throughout, as well as an array of interior seating configurations to make it customizable for any road trip.
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What to Consider Before Starting Your EV Road Trip
While the wait for a true electric minivan will continue for the next year or two, there remains a wide variety of all-electric SUV and crossover options for drivers with families eager to take advantage of the reduced fuel costs and environmental benefits of EVs.
Before you purchase your EV, make sure you read up on state and federal tax incentive programs that can help reduce the initial cost of your EV. If the current lineup of all-electric vehicles is a bit out of your price range, you can also explore a variety of budget-friendly EV options so your next vehicle can help take a big bite out of your fuel budget.