Apple and Tesla may be making headlines for their advancements in electric vehicle development, but these five hybrid and electric car models from traditional automakers deserve recognition for their drivers’ superb eco- and safety-consciousness.
When it comes to the future of automobiles, electric cars are at the forefront of the conversation. Advancements in electric vehicle technology are rapidly changing how we think about the future of car ownership, with new companies emerging onto the auto landscape, such as Apple (in December of 2020, Apple announced that its highly-anticipated electric car is set for release in 2024). ‘Green’ vehicle technology is impressive not only for its sheer innovative implications, but also for its encouragement of a more sustainable, greener future of driving.
Currently, hybrid and electric vehicle owners make up a small portion of America’s driving population. According to the Pew Research Center, electric vehicles have accounted for about two percent of the U.S. new-car market over the past three years. From varying regional incentives for hybrid and electric vehicle ownership to the phaseout of federal tax credits for many popular EV models over the past few years, the market for hybrid and electric cars has seen its ups and downs. The hybrid and electric vehicle community is small yet mighty, and those who do opt to drive a hybrid or electric vehicle are reassured in knowing that their driving choice contributes to a cleaner atmosphere and greener future.
Hybrid cars and electric vehicles are more fuel-efficient and therefore less polluting; carbon emissions per mile driven are usually much lower than those of non-hybrid or electric vehicles. Their drivers typically prioritize reducing their carbon emissions, with the added benefit of saving money on gas. Likewise, certain hybrid and EV drivers prioritize their safety and others’ by heeding traffic laws more often than most. To see which EVs have the best drivers, the research team at Insurify crunched the numbers to identify the five hybrid and electric car models with the highest rates of clean driving records.
- National averages. Across the hybrid and electric vehicle models surveyed, the average share of drivers with a clean record is 80.16 percent. For all car models, not limited to hybrid and electric, the average rate of drivers reporting a clean record is 80.05 percent. According to data from Cox Automotive, the average cost of an electric vehicle in 2021 is $55,600.
- No significant difference in driving behavior between traditional drivers and hybrid and electric vehicle drivers. An analysis of variance test reveals no significant difference between average infraction rates for hybrid & EV drivers and traditional drivers. This statistically-substantiated finding indicates that hybrid and EV drivers do not commit driving infractions any more or less frequently than traditional drivers. While hybrid and EV drivers may have different priorities when choosing their vehicles at the get-go, as a group they’re not less likely to violate traffic laws than other drivers.
- EV hotspots. The U.S. city with the highest relative proportion of residents driving hybrid or electric vehicles is Fremont, California: 9.64 percent of Fremont drivers reported driving a hybrid or electric vehicle as of 2021. On the state level, California has the highest share of hybrid and electric car drivers in the nation, at 3.15 percent.
The data scientists at Insurify, a site to compare auto insurance rates, referred to their database of over 4 million car insurance applications to identify the EV models with the best drivers. When applying for car insurance, applicants disclose their vehicle’s make, model, and fuel type, in addition to any prior violations on their driving record. Insurify’s data scientists compared the number of drivers with at least one violation on their record, from speeding and failure to yield incidents, to street racing and DUIs, to the total number of drivers for each electric and electric/hybrid car models in the database. The five models with the lowest infraction rates, or the highest proportion of clean driving records, were selected as being the EV models with the best drivers.
Vehicle base price and mileage estimates were derived from the manufacturer’s website. The listed body type reflects the hybrid models of that particular vehicle’s most recent generation.
What are the best EV cars?
In 2021, the EV car model with the best drivers is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Highlander Hybrid drivers are 8% more likely to have a clean driving record than the average driver.
5 Hybrid & Electric Vehicles with the Best Drivers, 2021
5. Ford Escape
- Share of drivers with a clean record: 83.41%
- MSRP: $28,030
- MPG: 44 city/37 highway
With an infraction rate that’s 17 percent lower than the national average, Ford Escape Hybrid drivers are the fifth-best behaved EV drivers in the nation. Not only does the Escape have drivers that are exceptionally adept at rule-following on the roads, but it’s also one of the more affordable hybrid vehicles on the market. Impressively, the Ford Escape sells for a comparable price to similar non-hybrid vehicles. This compact SUV attracts drivers that are both courteous and eco-conscious.
4. Honda CR-V
- Share of drivers with a clean record: 84.80%
- MSRP: $25,350
- MPG: 40 city/35 highway
Drivers of the hybrid Honda CR-V have the fourth-highest rate of clean driving records among hybrid and electric car drivers nationwide. Honda CR-V Hybrid drivers are cited for driving infractions 24 percent less often than the average driver. This crossover SUV is also one of the IIHS’s 2021 Top Safety Picks, making the CR-V Hybrid not only an environmentally conscious pick, but a practical choice at an affordable price point. With standard features including safety and driver-assistive technologies, Apple CarPlay integration, and all-wheel drive, the CR-V hybrid driving experience is nothing short of excellent, as is its drivers’ behavior on the roads.
3. Toyota Camry
- Share of drivers with a clean record: 84.86%
- MSRP: $27,270
- MPG: 51 city/53 highway
Ranking third is the Toyota Camry, whose drivers are cited for illegal driving infractions 24 percent less often than the typical driver. The Camry hybrid has no shortage of recognition across measures of safety, affordability, and durability: not only is it an IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick like the Honda CR-V, but the Camry hybrid also nabbed a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Cars for the Money rankings in 2020 and earned five stars for safety in 2020 from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The driving range on the Toyota Camry hybrid is one of the best on the market, averaging an EPA-estimated 816 city miles and 848 highway miles per tank.
2. Chevrolet Malibu
- Share of drivers with a clean record: 85.44%
- MSRP: $28,220
- MPG: 49 city/43 highway
Chevy Malibu hybrid drivers have a traffic citation rate 27 percent lower than the national average, landing them in second place among all ‘green’ vehicle drivers. The Malibu is a popular sedan nationwide, and its hybrid model is regarded highly by industry experts and consumers alike. In fact, the Chevy Malibu came in third in U.S. News & World Report’s best hybrid & electric car rankings in 2019 for its fuel efficiency, roomy interior, user-friendly interior tech, and overall practicality.
1. Toyota Highlander
- Share of drivers with clean record: 86.24%
- MSRP: $40,335
- MPG: 35 city/35 highway
The Toyota Highlander is the best-behaved hybrid vehicle on the roads in America. Highlander drivers are cited for violating traffic laws 31 percent less frequently than the average driver. An IIHS 2021 Top Safety Pick and a top-ranked hybrid by U.S. News & World Report, the Highlander attracts some of the best drivers. This midsize SUV is highly regarded on many fronts, making it a top-notch model for the environmentally and safety-conscious driver.
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