Electric vehicles (EVs) are going mainstream in Iowa, with more models available than ever before. As both longtime auto manufacturers and new players like Tesla jockey for position in this growing market, distinct leaders have emerged as the EVs of choice for Hawkeye State drivers. Keep reading as I countdown the top 8 electric vehicles in Iowa based on registration data, surveys, and industry sales reports.
#1 – The Tesla Model 3 Dominates Iowa EV Sales
According to 2021 registration statistics from the Iowa Department of Transportation, the undisputed leader among electric vehicles in Iowa is the Tesla Model 3 with 1,624 units registered statewide. This gives the Model 3 a commanding lead with over 3 times as many registrations as its nearest competitor.
It‘s easy to see why the Model 3 resonates with Iowans. It starts at a relatively affordable $46,000, compared to Tesla‘s earlier luxury-priced models. Supercharging capability enables long-distance travel, while AWD dual motor options provide peace of mind in Iowa‘s snowy winters. Over-the-air software updates add capabilities over time. No wonder the Model 3 accounts for over 17% of all EVs registered in the state!
Nationwide, popularity is surging as well. Tesla delivered 936,000 Model 3s globally in 2021, and the growth continues. Recent upgrades like more range, new interiors, and AWD standardization make the Model 3 more capable than ever. Given Iowans have already embraced this EV in huge numbers, the Model 3 looks positioned to extend its lead in the coming years.
#2 – The Chevy Bolt Offers Affordable Electric Driving
The Chevrolet Bolt EV ranks second in Iowa registrations with 1,569 according to 2021 DOT data. Available as both a hatchback and slightly larger EUV model, the Bolt combines practicality and value. This formula drove sales up 26% nationwide last year, making it the best-selling non-Tesla EV.
Prices start around $31,500 – thousands below the average new car price – giving the Bolt budget-friendly appeal. Its cool styling and lively acceleration also distinguish Chevy‘s EV. The Bolt offers up to a 259 mile range between charges, enabling legitimate long-distance use.
For 2023, Chevy upgraded the Bolt‘s range, charging speed, and tech features while cutting the base price by $5,500. This combination of goodness suggests the Bolt EV will continue winning over Iowans seeking affordable electric transportation.
#3 – The Tesla Model Y Crosses Over
Tesla strikes again with its Model Y crossover SUV, registered 1,094 times in Iowa thus far. Sharing about 75% of its components with the popular Model 3 sedan, the Model Y launched in 2020 as Tesla‘s first compact utility vehicle.
This versatile EV seats up to 7 passengers, compared to the Model 3‘s 5, giving it more flexibility for families. Cargo space is far larger as well at 66 cubic feet. Despite the size, acceleration and tech match the Model 3, with Performance versions reaching 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Pricing only sees a slight premium over the Model 3, starting around $65,000. Combined with cutting-edge features and Tesla‘s proven reputation, the Model Y‘s all-around goodness explains its rapid rise into 3rd for Iowa EV popularity.
#4 – The Nissan Leaf Keeps Chugging Along
Despite newer competition, the pioneering Nissan Leaf holds strong in 4th place with 357 Iowa registrations. Nationally, Leaf sales increased by 63% last year, showing Leaf remains relevant among mainstream electric options.
Offered in standard and extended range versions, MSRPs start around just $27,800 – thousands below average new car pricing. That positions the Leaf as one of America‘s most affordable EVs, though its shorter ranges and slower charging do require some compromise.
Still, the Leaf delivers solid electric mobility for around town use. Efficiency upgrades, modernized tech features, and Nissan‘s reliability reputation help the stalwart Leaf maintain its foothold among Iowa drivers. Total global sales exceed over 500,000 units since its 2010 debut.
#5 – The Ford Mustang Mach-E Blends Performance and Practicality
The Mustang Mach-E is Ford‘s first entry into the red-hot electric crossover market, and with 288 registrations it claims 5th place. With an SUV body style infused with Mustang styling and performance, Ford targeted Tesla head-on with the Mach-E.
Five trim levels range from mainstream to exotic, sporting names like GT and GT Performance Edition. These match distinct performance profiles, with over 300 HP available on top end models enabling 0-60 MPH acceleration under 4 seconds. Opening the taps reveals the Mach-E‘s muscular side.
Yet it also delivers practicality, with seating for up to 5 and 29 cubic feet of cargo room. Advanced tech like hands-free highway driving and phone-as-key elevate the Mach-E as well. With production ramping up, this compelling new EV looks to make major gains across Iowa.
#6 – The Hyundai Kona Electric Excels at Affordability
Hyundai‘s Kona Electric subcompact crossover takes 6th place with 148 Iowa registrations. This quirky, zippy EV combines serious range – up to 258 miles – with a price tag thousands below the average new car. Talk about value appeal.
Starting around $34,000 before incentives, compact EVs like the Kona Electric provide big EV advantages without the sticker shock. Hyundai also backs the battery with an industry-leading 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty for added peace of mind.
For road trips, the Kona can utilize DC fast charging to add over 200 miles of range in under an hour. Its small footprint makes parking and city driving a breeze as well. The Kona Electric hits a sweet spot between size, price and capability.
#7 – The Audi e-tron Caters to Upscale Buyers
With 94 Iowa registrations, the Audi e-tron lands 7th and leads European luxury EV contenders. Late to enter the high-end electric marketplace, the e-tron combines Audi‘s superb refinement with progressive electric vehicle technology.
Inside, passengers are treated to Audi‘s top-notchinterfaces and luxury materials. The potent electric drivetrain delivers all-wheel drive traction, while adaptive air suspension provides ultra-smooth cruising. DC fast charging can restore 80% of the 222-mile range in about 30 minutes.
Pricing aligns with other luxury offerings, starting around $77,000 before incentives. For buyers desiring out-of-this-world features and German engineering in an EV, the Audi e-tron delivers. No wonder it outsold all other luxury electric SUVs combined in 2021!
#8 – The Jaguar I-Pace Favors Performance
Rounding out Iowa‘s top EVs with 79 registrations is the Jaguar I-Pace. As Jaguar‘s first all-electric vehicle introduced in 2018, the I-Pace showcases the brand‘s signature athletic driving experience.
Delivering 394 horsepower from its dual motors, this electric cat can sprint to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds – faster than some exotic supercars. That‘s paired with optional adaptive air suspension for a smooth, quiet ride. Plus, it looks fantastic, with a radically sloped SUV body that turns heads.
Downsides include lower range of 234 miles between charges, and cramped rear seating due to the tapering roof. But for buyers prioritizing driver engagement over practicality, the sporty I-Pace satisfies.
EV Adoption Trends in Iowa
Electric vehicles still represent a fraction of Iowa‘s roughly 4 million registered automobiles, but growth is accelerating. Statewide EV registrations climbed from over 7,600 in 2020 to nearly 9,400 in 2021 – over 20% growth in just one year.
Surging gas prices along with growing eco-consciousness amongst consumers are fueling interest in EVs both nationally and in Iowa. Government incentives also help drive adoption. Iowa offers an up to $7,500 state tax credit for EV purchases, along with license and registration fee waivers.
Iowa‘s charging infrastructure is expanding as well. There are currently over 330 public charging locations statewide, enabling long-distance electric travel. Most charging takes place at home, which over 75% of American EV owners report having access to. More workplace and retail charging can further boost public adoption.
If current trends hold, industry experts forecast electric vehicles could comprise over 10% of all vehicle sales in Iowa within 5 years. More models from an expanding range of brands give consumers unprecedented choice in finding their perfect EV match.
Choosing the Right EV in Iowa
While the top 8 EVs in Iowa reveal favorites, identifying the optimal electric vehicle depends on your individual needs. Important factors include:
- Budget – Purchase price, available tax credits, maintenance and charging costs
- Daily driving distance – Models with 100+ miles of range easily accommodate most commutes
- Passenger and cargo capacity – Smaller EVs work for 1-2 passengers; SUVs are better for families
- Home charging access – Install a 240V outlet for faster overnight charging
- Tech features – Compare infotainment systems, mobile integration, assisted driving capability
- Performance – Acceleration, handling and braking vary greatly between models
I always recommend test driving your top EV picks. Getting behind the wheel reveals strengths and weaknesses not obvious from specs alone. Prioritize the features that matter most to your driving habits.
While Teslas dominate among Iowa EV enthusiasts thus far, increased competition gives buyers more options than ever. Whether you seek luxury, performance, utility or value, there‘s now an electric model ready to satisfy. I‘m excited to see EV adoption continue rising across our state!
Let me know if you have any other questions about making the switch to electric. I‘m always happy to chat more about EVs and help explain the available options and incentives. Drive electric, Iowa!