A few years ago, electric cars were the weird and wonderful preserve of early adopters. Often quirky, usually compromised and difficult to own thanks to a limited charging infrastructure.
But the standardisation of charging networks and the increased availability of plug-in points have made the electric car a viable reality for those who don’t need to venture too far, especially with the UK government’s £5,000 plug-in car grant as an incentive.
Here are the 10 cars that we think will always be together in electric dreams…
The Twizy is actually classified as a quadricycle rather than a car, and its ‘open-to-the-elements’ construction means its only really suitable as a fair weather companion. That limits its appeal as your only car, but for urban commuting its 100km (62-mile) range and tiny footprint make it an ideal option for the summer months. It’s affordable, too, with prices starting at less than £7,000 plus battery hire, from £45 a month
Ford Focus Electric
The electric version of the Focus brings EV power to the mainstream market, but at a price. It’ll set you back over £30,000, but on the plus side it looks and drives just like a standard Focus hatchback – and that’s no bad thing. It has fast-charging capability and a claimed range of up to 140 miles. Charge it overnight and it’ll be suitable for most commutes.
Kia Soul EV
The Soul EV benefits from Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty, proving that the Korean brand has faith in its electric drivetrain. The boxy breadvan styling won’t be to everyone’s tastes but it’s a practical and useful companion, while its 130-mile+ range is enough for most daily requirements. It also has fast charge capability should you need to venture further afield.
Tesla Model S
The Model S is the car that put Tesla firmly on the map, and three years since its launch it still remains one of the most desirable EVs that money can buy. Scintillating performance is backed up by a battery-only range of between 250 and 400 miles depending on battery specification, while the futuristic interior will keep any gadget fan entertained for days. The downside? Even the cheapest variant costs north of £60k, and that’s with the government grant.
The i3 is an aspirational choice of EV, and positions BMW as the premium choice for urban drivers. There are plug-in hybrid versions of the i3, but it’s the all-electric version we’re looking at here, and it’s a great choice. It’s innovative and stylish and great to drive, with a pure electric range of 125 miles making it perfect for most city commuters.
The Zoe may have an unusual name, but it’s one of the most convincing electric cars yet, not least because it’s sensibly priced. You’ll be on the road for well under £20k, providing you don’t mind a £50 a month levy for hire of the battery – but on PCP or finance schemes this makes the Zoe comparable to many compact hatchbacks. It’s a little smaller than the Ford Focus Electric or VW e-Golf, but only by a small amount, and it’s much cheaper.
Tesla Model X
Until recently, the Tesla Model X was the most desirable electric car on the market, but not anymore. Now, that accolade goes to the American firm’s Model X SUV, which brings high performance, long-range electric motoring to an entirely new market. The biggest drawback to the Model X is the waiting list – place your order now and you’ll be waiting until 2019 to get behind the wheel. There’s also the small matter of the £75k asking price, and you won’t get a discount…
With a 185-mile range and a prestige image, the e-Golf is one of the most desirable and usable electric cars on the market right now. It drives as well as any fossil-fuelled Golf (and that means it’s very good indeed) and benefits from premium build quality and conventional styling. The 36kWh battery pack delivers the equivalent of 130bhp, giving it comparable performance to a 1.6-litre petrol model.
The Ioniq Electric is Hyundai’s answer to the Nissan LEAF, and it does the job very well, with an all-electric range of 174 miles, fast-charging capability and a more spacious and practical interior than most of its rivals. It’s almost as good as the Volkswagen e-Golf to drive, but has better passenger space and is significantly cheaper, so unless you want the VW’s prestige, it’s a great choice.
Nissan was bold enough to launch the original LEAF back in 2011 and, as a result, is seen as a pioneer of pure electric motoring. That original LEAF, with its 155-mile range, trails behind the latest generation of EVs, but there’s an all-new model in the showrooms and it’s brilliant. It has far more conventional styling, is terrific to drive and has a class-competitive 177-mile range. Its real trump card, though, is its value for money. Prices start at £21,990 after the government grant, putting it right on a par with similar sized petrol and diesel cars. It’s a born winner.