Make no mistake, the world of motoring is changing rapidly, with a greater focus on electromobility and zero tailpipe emissions.
With the UK set to ban the sale of petrol and diesel-only vehicles in 2040, and other countries expected to follow suit, we’re seeing a massive rise in the popularity of alternatively-fuelled vehicles. The most practical options at present are plug-in hybrids, which have a limited electric range that suits most commuters, but are still reliant on petrol or diesel to cover more miles.
However, there are now some pretty good alternatives that need no fossil fuel whatsoever. Here, then, are out 10 favourite fossil-free efficient AFV cars.
Toyota Mirai – Emission-free range: 342 miles
The dramatic-looking Mirai is the first coupe of its kind to come with a full fuel cell-backed electric powertrain. It can be filled up from empty in around three minutes – similar to most conventional cars – and has a range of 342 miles. It’s an incredible piece of technology, with equally futuristic looks.
Honda Clarity FCV – Emission-free range: 385 miles
If you’re happy to wait just a few more months, then Honda is about to enter the fuel cell fray with its Clarity FCV – a conventional five-door hatch with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. The Clarity is already on sale in the USA and has a range of 385 miles, and can be refuelled in less than three minutes. It’s the closest a fuel cell car has come yet to being conventional.
Nissan LEAF – Emission-free range: 235 miles
With an all-electric range of up to 235 miles, the new generation of Nissan LEAF is the most usable pure electric passenger car yet, as it’s also a practical family motor. The new model also looks a lot more conventional than its predecessor, like a scaled-up Micra. It’s surprisingly quick and agile to drive, too. The original LEAF made electric cars acceptable, but the new model takes that a step further.
Renault Zoe – Emission-free range: 250 miles
The Zoe’s claim to fame is that no other all-electric car can match it for outright range, with up to 250 miles attainable on a single charge. That makes it capable of a full week’s worth of use for most drivers, as well as giving it the capability to be used on longer journeys where other EVs may falter. However, it’s not as practical as some, and quite cramped inside.
Volkswagen e-Golf – Emission-free range: 186 miles
The e-Golf lags behind the Nissan LEAF in terms of its battery range, but it’s based on one of the best small hatchbacks on the market – with the quality, style and solidity that Golf owners have come to love over the years. Plus, it’s great to drive, with instant torque and agile handling. 186 miles is better than most EVs can offer for range, too, making it a tempting proposition.
Hyundai IONIQ Electric – Emission-free range: 174 miles
Hyundai launched its pure electric IONIQ last year, in turn creating one of the best value EVs on the market. The range of 174 miles limits it from doing particularly long journeys, though it can be fast-charged to 70% capacity in 30 minutes. It also puts a family-sized EV into the sub £25k price category, where it’s bound to attract a few followers.
BMW i3 – Emission-free range: 125 miles
The urban-centric i3 is one of the coolest kids on the EV block, with unique styling and a fresh, youthful cabin that distinguishes it from more conventional BMWs. It’s neither cheap nor blessed with a particularly long range, but as a commuter car it has style, comfort and efficiency in spades. Plus, if you need to venture further afield, there’s a range-extender model available with a back-up petrol engine.
Kia Soul EV – Emission-free range: 132 miles
The electric-only version of the Kia Soul is more spacious than most urban electric cars, making it ideal for city-bound family drivers. Its range won’t set the world on fire, but it’s pleasant to drive and well put together, as well as offering decent value for money and an unbeatable seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Volkswagen e-Up! – Emission-free range: 95 miles
The e-Up! may sound like a Yorkshire greeting, but in reality it’s the only true all-electric city car on the market right now. That makes it ideal for inner city commuting, while it’s also a popular option with hire-by-the-hour car clubs. The standard Up! is an excellent city car, and the electric iteration is equally decent to drive around packed urban streets, while also being a doddle to park – often for free.
Nissan e-NV200 Combi – Emission-free range: 106 miles
At present, the e-NV200 Combi is the only all-electric option available to those who need a multi-person vehicle. With seven seats and a 106-mile electric range, it’s a useful and practical vehicle, and the only pure plug-in model for those with large families - perfect for the school run.