Electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) owners get fuel efficiency and a low-carbon footprint in one vehicle. The best electric SUV is a zero-emissions vehicle that provides fast charging, higher-than-average mileage, horsepower and a generous driving range on one charge. Limited choices for all-electric SUVs mean consumers often consider hybrids that use both electricity and fossil fuel. Hybrid SUVs plug in to recharge but switch to regular fuel when the battery has no power.
Plug-in hybrids dominate the electric SUV market. An early entry in the all-electric, zero-emissions SUV market ended production in 2003, with a few hundred remaining on the road in the United States in 2011. Zero-emissions electric SUV production in China and the United Kingdom has the potential to give drivers worldwide a carbon-neutral SUV option. News stories and press releases fuel hint at the possibility of a new, all-electric SUV manufactured in the U.S.
The mileage estimates for hybrid electric vehicles are an average of the miles per gallon when using fuel and miles per kilowatt when running on the batteries. A mpg rating of 32 mpg (13.6 kilometers per liter) for electric and hybrids is an above-average rating. The worse rating for hybrids is 17 mpg (7.23 kpl), typical for a luxury SUV hybrid.
The driving range for a fully charged electric vehicle determines whether one can use it mainly for commuting, neighborhood errands and carpooling or for something more. On long highway trips where charging options might be limited, the range is far below comparable to gas and diesel SUVs. An electric SUV also has a shorter driving range than a smaller, lighter electric vehicle. Available zero-emissions electric SUVs have a driving range that varies from 100 miles to 200 miles (169 kilometers to 322 kilometers) between charges.
Charging time for electric and hybrid SUVs depends on the size and type of batteries installed. The majority of SUVs require several hours to recharge a drained battery. The fastest charging time is 10 minutes for a crossover SUV.
The appeal of green driving diminishes when one has an SUV with no pep. Quick acceleration is a constant need for city and highway driving. Zero-emissions electric SUVs go from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0 to 27 meters per second) in a matter of 7 seconds at the high end with V-6 engines. Smaller, four-cylinder engines can manage that acceleration in from 8 to 10 seconds.
Maximum speeds top out at 130 mph (210 kph) for a luxury hybrid SUV. Top speed for a zero-emissions SUV is 85 mph (137 kph). The average maximum speed hovers around 100 mph (161 kph) for the majority of hybrid SUVs.