Some 60,000 electric cars were sold in the UK last year, according to the industry and government-backed Go UItra Low campaign, and the EV market grew 19%, meaning there are now some 200,000 plug-in electric cars on our roads.
It's a great time to consider buying a 100% electric car because there are some superb new models hitting UK showrooms. Some are expensive, but affordable options are steadily rising too. And if you want cover for your new EV, get an Electric Car Insurance quote from Admiral.
We've listed 11 of the best by range. All figures quoted are from manufacturers' own websites and use the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which is meant to give motorists a more realistic idea of economy (except the Tesla Model S which still uses the older NEDC system).
Our choice ranges from the cheap and cheerful to the luxurious and all prices quoted include the £3,500 Government Plug-in Grant (PiGG) if relevant.
Of course, there are issues with electric car ownership. Depending on where you live, home charging may not be possible. There's also range anxiety if you have to travel longer distances, and the network of fast chargers is still too small.
But if you want to go green and cut your emissions to zero, there's no better way than to invest in an electric vehicle. Other electric cars we haven’t listed include the Kia Soul EV, Tesla Model X, Volkswagen e-up! and Renault Twizy.
When it was launched in 2012, the Tesla Model S was a genuine game-changer – and it’s still leading the charge.
Depending on which version you opt for, it’s capable of up to 393 miles, with a 0-60mph time of as little as 2.5 seconds. However, that range claim is not based on the new real-world economy test (WLTP) test, so we suspect the actual figure is closer to 300 miles.
With a radical design and the ability to receive over-the-air software updates that can add new features, functionality and self-driving technology, it's a class act. The Tesla Model S 100D costs from £89,650.
Jaguar became the first mainstream manufacturer to challenge Tesla in the premium sector when it launched the distinctive and impressive I-Pace in 2018.
Not only does it look great, it’s spacious, great to drive, has a 0-60mph time of just 4.5 seconds and an impressive range of up to 292 miles. Add to that its SUV practicality and four-wheel drive off-road capability and it's a compelling proposition.
The Jaguar I-Pace starts at £64,495.
On sale from 1 April and competitively priced from £32,995 (including the Government Plug-in Grant) the e-Niro has an impressive driving range of 282 miles.
We've had an early road test in South Korea and it's a genuine game-changer. Apart from being good to drive, spacious, well-equipped and packed with safety features, it has the flexibility of a crossover.
Add Kia's generous seven-year warranty and reputation for dependability, and the new Kia e-Niro is a genuinely eco-friendly daily driver.
Based on the boldly-styled Hyundai Kona compact SUV, the electric version comes with two sizes of battery, giving it a range of between 180-279 miles.
Priced from £27,250 (39 KWh battery) to £35,145 (64 KWh), CarBuyer reckons it's "a car transformed by the switch to electric power, making it a great choice for affordable family motoring". The Guardian's review concluded: "That it’s decent – if unexciting – to drive, well built and with the reassurance of a five-year warranty to boot merely make it more compelling."
The Kona Electric was named Affordable Electric Car of the Year at the Auto Express Awards 2018.
The long-awaited Audi e-tron goes on sale in 2019. The German brand’s first ever fully electric production model has all the advantages of an SUV, plus Audi's excellent build quality and brisk performance (it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds and tops out at 124mph).
Looking just like a regular car, it's a premium choice with an impressive driving range and superb refinement. The Audi e-tron is priced from £67,990.
Still one of the coolest electric cars on the market, the i3 is fun to drive with premium badge appeal. Launched in 2014 and refreshed in late 2018, it now sports a more powerful battery (badged 120Ah) and is capable of a 0-62mph of as little as 6.9 seconds.
Priced from £30,945, Top Gear magazine reckons: "The i3 remains the best premium small EV out there. Just be prepared to pay proper money." CarBuyer adds: "The BMW i3 is great fun and nippy around town, but it's very expensive to buy and those striking looks won't suit everyone."
The cute Renault Zoe hatchback is the best-selling 100% electric car in Europe and it’s been on sale in the UK since 2013. Similar in size to a Renault Clio supermini, the Zoe was upgraded for 2018 so it now has a bigger R110 (80kWh) electric motor, Android Auto compatibility and new optional ‘Aconite’ purple metallic paint.
With light handling, it's easy to drive and practical, making it ideally suited to urban areas. You can either buy the car and lease the battery, or buy both, and it qualifies for a £3,500 Plug in Car Grant (PiCG). Either way, it's great value for around £20,000.
Available in electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, the Ioniq is a practical family hatchback that drives well and boasts futuristic looks.
Affordable, attractive, economical and easy to drive, it's also well equipped, safe and spacious. Priced from £26,745, The Hyundai Ioniq Electric should be on every EV shortlist.
The pioneering Nissan Leaf is the world’s most popular electric vehicle. Built in Britain, the latest version has a powerful new 40kWh battery and looks far more conventional than its predecessor.
It's also practical, pleasant to drive and a full charging takes around 7.5 hours using a 7kWh home charger, or as little as 60 minutes to get to 80% using a rapid charger. The Nissan Leaf range starts at £26,190.
The biggest compliment you can pay the e-Golf is that it's much like driving a regular petrol or diesel Golf, except that it's quiet and emits zero emissions.
There's everything you expect in a Golf, from the comfort and safety features to the latest in infotainment, and it's capable of brisk performance with a 0-62mph time of 9.6 seconds.
Parkers summed it up: "As an introduction to EV driving, it doesn't get much better than this." The e-Golf range starts at £29,740.
Last, but not least, the 100% electric version of Smart’s dinky little ForTwo, which is perfect for zipping around town and parking in the smallest of spaces – all emissions free. It doesn't have a huge range, but it's a nippy little two-seater that's great fun.
Priced from £17,695, you can fully charge it at home using any domestic power socket in around six hours – or significantly less using a purpose-built wallbox (3.5 hours). If you want four seats, then go for the slightly more expensive smart EQ forfour.
12 Apr 2018
02 Jul 2018
12 Apr 2018