Lifestyle Guides

Best 100% electric cars on the market

It's a great time to buy an electric car because the choice is better than ever and there are some exciting new models on the horizon

Renault Zoe charging

But, of course, the main reasons motorists are switching to electric vehicles (EVs) is because they’re cheaper to run and better for the environment.

From late 2020 it will also become much easier to spot zero emissions vehicles on UK roads when so-called green number plates are introduced.

A green "flash" will be added to the left-hand side of EV number plates, unlocking a series of incentives for drivers and increasing awareness of cleaner vehicles.

Below we've listed some of the best electric cars on the market and ordered them 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 us a more realistic idea of economy. 

EVs are more expensive to purchase than conventional cars, but manufacturers are rising to meet the challenge and offering more affordable options. Our choice ranges from the cheap and cheerful to the luxurious. 

Other significant EVs coming soon include the Mazda MX-30, Citroen e-C4, Fiat 500 Electric, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Peugeot e-2008, Seat el-Born and the Tesla Model Y.

Tesla Model S - 379 miles

Tesla Model S

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 379 miles with a 0-60mph time of as little as 2.3 seconds. 

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 and a relaxing cruiser.

Tesla Model 3 - 348 miles

Tesla Model 3

Tesla's new BMW 3 Series-sized saloon has been one of 2020’s global sales successes, despite the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The most affordable model in the Tesla range so far, there are three grades available in the UK – Standard Range Plus, Long Range and the flagship Performance, with claimed ranges of 254, 348 and 329 miles respectively. 
Swift, smooth and agile, the Performance version can hit 60mph in just 3.2 seconds!

Tesla Model X - 314 miles

Tesla Model X

Tesla epic all-electric SUV can seat up to seven people and features cool falcon-wing rear doors. Much like the Model S, it's a big smoothie. 

An ideal cruiser, its straight-line speed is impressive (the fastest version can hit 60mph in a blistering 2.6 seconds), but remember, it's at the more expensive end of the market.

Jaguar I-Pace - 292 miles

Jaguar I-Pace

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. 

Polestar 2 - 292 miles

Polestar 2

This distinctive five-door hatchback is from Volvo's all-electric sister brand, Polestar. Taking on the Tesla Model 3, it oozes kerb appeal outside and Scandi chic inside. 

Blending practicality with performance and cutting-edge technology, it's whisper-quiet and there's stacks of instant torque. In fact, Polestar 2's 78kWh battery pack and two electric motors result in a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds. A class act.

Kia e-Niro - 282 miles

Kia e-Niro

The Kia e-Niro is quite simply one of the most affordable long-range electric vehicles on the market. 

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 e-Niro is an impressive eco-friendly daily driver.

Kia Soul EV - 280 miles

Kia Soul EV

New for 2020, the all-new third generation Kia Soul is electric-only (no petrol, diesel or hybrid variants) and is powered by a 64kWh battery resulting in a genuinely impressive range for a car in this price range. 

Its looks may still split opinion, but it’s safe, spacious, well-equipped and practical – and blessed with Kia’s seven-year warranty.

Porsche Taycan - 279 miles

Porsche Taycan

The stunning Tesla-rivalling Porsche Taycan is a game changing EV. A planet-friendly combination of superb driving dynamics, luxury, surprising practicality and excellent build quality, it's also savagely fast with a 0-62mph time of just 2.8 seconds. 

It’s at the expensive end of the market, but then the Taycan is no ordinary five-door hatchback.

Hyundai Kona Electric - 278 miles

Hyundai Kona Electric

Based on the boldly styled Hyundai Kona compact SUV, the electric version comes with two sizes of battery (39 and 64 KWh), giving it a range of between 189-278 miles. 

Keenly priced, it was named Affordable Electric Car of the Year at the Auto Express Awards 2018. What Car?'s verdict was that it's "impressively well equipped, but falters a bit when it comes to interior quality, ride comfort and space".

Volkswagen ID.3 - 260 miles

Volkswagen ID.3

The first model from Volkswagen’s new ID electric car sub-brand, the ID.3 effectively replaces the earlier e-Golf. 
Slightly shorter, yet wider and taller than the new Golf, it has a futuristic look and offers plenty of space inside and a generous boot capacity. 

Volkswagen reckons the ID.3's range is "sufficient to travel from London to Manchester, with 50 miles to spare", while its 0-62 mph time is a brisk 7.3 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz EQC - 259 miles

Mercedes-Benz EQC

The first serious electric car from mighty Mercedes-Benz is a big, luxurious 4x4 (slightly longer than a GLC). 
Smooth, safe, refined and comfortable, thanks to its front and rear electric motors, it can sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds. Rivals include the Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace. 

Audi e-tron - 249 miles

Audi e-tron

Audi'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). 

Looking just like a regular 4x4, it's a premium choice with superb refinement and plenty of space inside. Car Magazine concluded: "As you’d expect, the e-Tron’s engineering is polished, what you might not expect is how well it handles given its vast size and weight."

Renault Zoe - 245 miles

Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe hatchback is the best-selling pure electric car in Europe and has had the cute supermini end of the market to itself for years. However, it’s now facing tough competition from the likes of Honda e, Mini Electric, Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e. 

The good news is the latest Zoe is better than ever and is hanging in there with its winning combination of space, equipment, driver engagement and personality.

Nissan Leaf - 239 miles

Nissan LEAF e

The pioneering Nissan Leaf is the world’s most popular electric vehicle. Built in Britain, the top-of-the range version now has a 62kWh battery and looks far more conventional than its predecessor. 

It's also practical, pleasant to drive and a full charge takes around 7.5 hours using a 7kWh home charger, or as little as 60 minutes to get to 80% using a 50KW rapid charger. 

Peugeot e-208 - 217 miles

Peugeot e-208

The 2020 European Car of the Year is one of the best-looking superminis on the market. Looking just like its diesel- and petrol-powered siblings, the Peugeot e-208 drives well and it boasts a classy interior. Naturally it's nippy too, with a 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds. 

Auto Express concluded: “The Peugeot e-208 is a cute and comprehensively high-tech small electric car that feels fun and youthful in a way that few rivals do."

Vauxhall Corsa-e - 209 miles

Vauxhall Corsa-e

The fifth generation of Vauxhall's best-selling supermini is the first under the ownership of France's PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen and DS). This means the Corsa now shares some DNA with the all-new Peugeot 208 – the 2020 European Car of the Year. 

Attractive, easy to drive and competitively priced, it's a sensible zero emissions supermini choice.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric - 193 miles

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

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. The battery can be recharged to 80% in as little as 57 minutes and it can sprint to 62mph in 9.9 seconds.

BMW i3 - 188 miles

BMW i3

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 time of just 6.9 seconds. BMW reckons the i3 "can get you from London to Brighton, and back again, on just one charge". 

Top Gear magazine says: "The i3 remains the best premium small EV out there. Just be prepared to pay proper money." 

MG ZS EV - 163 miles

MG ZS EV

MG's entrant in the electric car stakes offers remarkable value for money. This SUV has a fairly modest range, but it more than makes up for it when you consider that it's an EV with enough space for five, yet it's in the same price bracket as a petrol-powered family hatchback. 

It's also well equipped and simple to drive, while charging the battery to 80% can take as little as 40 minutes.

Seat Mii Electric - 161 miles

SEAT Mii Electric

The little Seat Mii city has undergone a green transformation for 2020 – and is now only available with a battery and electric motor. 

Much like its VW Group cousins, the Volkswagen e-up! and Skoda CITIGOe iV, it's affordable and hasn't lost any of the entertaining driving characteristics that made it so popular when it had a petrol engine. 

The Mii is also surprisingly spacious inside, so should definitely be on your shortlist if you're looking for a car to whizz around town.

MINI Electric - 145 miles

MINI Electric

If you want an electric car, but prefer a more conventional look, then the all-new MINI Electric might be right up your street. 

That's not to say that the first fully electric vehicle from MINI is dull, because it's based on the popular and funky three-door MINI Hatch and it's still just as agile on the road. It's nippy too with a 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds but seeming much swifter.

Honda e - 125 miles

Honda e

Easily the cutest new car of 2020, the retro-styled Honda e is packed with tech and features a remarkably clever interior design, maximising space and storage. 

Most of all, it's easy and fun to drive, so if you're looking for an affordable, eco-friendly urban runabout, this should be at the top of your shortlist. 

The Honda e is a real game-changer and we urge you to take one for a test drive to find out for yourself why it’s so special. Small car, big personality.

smart EQ fortwo coupe - 70 miles

smart electric drive fortwo

The 100% electric version of Smart’s dinky little ForTwo is perfect for zipping around town and parking in the smallest of spaces. 

It doesn't have a huge range, but it's a nippy little two-seater that's great fun. You can fully charge it at home using any domestic power socket in around six hours – 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.

I'm an experienced journalist, digital editor and copywriter, now specialising in motoring. I’m editor of Automotive Blog and have worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online for household names including the BBC, GMTV, ITV and MSN. I’ve produced digital content in the financial sector for Lloyds Bank, Nationwide and the Money Advice Service. I'm married with two children and live near Bath in Somerset.

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