Interesting EV features, from the F-150’s frunk to Rivian’s camping kitchen

Slowly but surely, car companies are going electric. More buyers than ever are considering the switch from fossil fuels.

The Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Ford F-150 Lightning.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

What’s great for early adopters is that automakers are using cutting-edge electric models as a testing ground for new and interesting designs and capabilities.

 

I’ve driven more than a dozen electric cars from Ford, Tesla, Porsche, and others and experienced plenty of cool features, but a handful stand out.

 

California upstart Rivian is looking to become the Tesla of rugged pickup trucks and SUVs.

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

Its vehicles are jam-packed with interesting features, but the coolest part of the

R1T truck has to be its Gear Tunnel.

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

It’s a bonus, one-of-a-kind storage area running between R1T’s back seats and bed.

 

The Gear Tunnel opens from both sides. Both doors house extra goodies like a first aid kit.

The 2022 Rivian R1T.
The 2022 Rivian R1T.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

Simply point the seven-seat SUV at a deep creek, steep incline, or mass of boulders, and step on the accelerator. Its four powerful motors, adjustable air suspension, and advanced all-wheel-drive system handle the rest.

The Rivian R1S electric SUV.
The Rivian R1S.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

Tesla rejects almost all conventional buttons and gauges in favor of a sleek and uncluttered look.

The Tesla Model Y.
The Tesla Model Y.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

And tech geeks will get a kick out of the big, snappy touchscreen that controls basic vehicle settings and receives software updates.

The Tesla Model Y electric SUV.
The Tesla Model Y.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

Fun built-in features like a racing game (which uses the actual steering wheel), drawing pad, and Netflix ensure you’ll never be bored while charging up.

 

Kia’s spaceship-like

EV6 has a trick up its sleeve in the form of bidirectional charging capability.

 

The clever feature involves using an adapter that plugs into the charge port.

The 2022 Kia EV6.
The 2022 Kia EV6.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

But the best thing about driving the Ioniq 5 is just how cool it makes you feel.

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

Its retrofuturistic styling — complete with origami-like angles and lights comprised of dozens of little pixels — makes it stand out from regular blob-shaped SUVs.

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

It can charge at a peak rate of 270 kilowatts, faster than most electric cars, meaning 5% to 80% can happen in just 22.5 minutes.

The 2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S.
The 2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

That’s a game-changer for long road trips with multiple charging stops.

The 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo.
The 2021 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

The thought of going without regular buttons may repel some buyers. But the sporty sedan’s Google-powered infotainment system isn’t clunky like some other vehicle touchscreens.

The 2022 Polestar 2.
The 2022 Polestar 2.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

Instead, both the main display and digital instrument panel are remarkably intuitive, simple, and pretty to look at. Hyper-realistic graphics of the vehicle are a nice touch.

The 2022 Polestar 2.
The 2022 Polestar 2.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

The $96,000

iX I drove cocooned me in generous amounts of supple leather.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive60.
The 2022 BMW iX xDrive60.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

It had a massaging driver’s seat, a slim, floating screen, and plenty of gold trim.

The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.
The 2022 BMW iX xDrive50.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

The Ford F-150 Lightning’s biggest superpower is how normal it feels. Ford took the F-150 and injected it with electric power without sacrificing the familiarity of America’s favorite truck.

The Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Ford F-150 Lightning.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

But the Lightning brings some big advantages. It has outlets throughout that can provide serious amounts of electricity for power tools and tailgating accessories.

[EMBARGO 5/11/22 6 AM DNP] The F-150 Lightning Lariat.
The F-150 Lightning Lariat.
Ford

 

With the right adapter, it can even charge other electric vehicles.

Ford F-150 Lightning vehicle-to-vehicle charging.
The Ford F-150 Lightning charging an E-Transit van.
Ford

 

It also offers power outlets and a big, wide opening to make loading things even easier.

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.
Tim Levin/Insider

 

Likewise, one of the Ford Mustang Mach-E’s handiest features is its frunk.

 

It’s made of hard plastic and has a drain hole, making it the perfect spot to stow muddy shoes and wet gear. Lots of electric SUVs go without a frunk, giving the Mach-E a leg up.

Mustang Mach-E frunk
The Mustang Mach-E’s frunk.
Ford

 

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