Both the LEAF and the Volt, the first and still best-selling modern EVs have made significant efficiency gains since their introduction in 2011. And the next generation Volt is expected to continue that promising trend. The orange dot in the upper right-hand corner, the 2014 BMW i3, is also worth calling out, as it represents the most efficient series production car ever, with an EPA-rated 124 MPGe.
The i3 showcases the gains that can result from German engineers taking advantage of the simplicity of an electric drive platform. In the 1990s, Amory Lovins and the Hypercar team at Rocky Mountain Institute built a prototype electric vehicle from carbon fiber panels. They called this “lightweighting.” (According to Lovins, only 0.3 percent of a standard car’s fuel energy actually ends up moving the driver.) In many ways, the i3 is a real world hypercar.