Could this be the year when you make the leap from fossil fuels to plug-in motoring? The options for doing so are getting better all the time…
The new year has only just begun, but we can confidently predict that it will see a greater take-up of electric cars than ever before. That’s because government incentives continue to encourage buyers towards them – and penalties for running what are seen as more polluting vehicles are getting increasingly punitive.
It’s also because electric vehicles are getting better and better all the time. Yes, range anxiety is still a concern – EVs don’t typically get as far on a full charge as a petrol or diesel car will on a full tank, and ‘refuelling’ takes a great deal longer. But as the technology develops, this concern is gradually easing.
If you can live with their range restrictions, anyway, the best EVs offer all the benefits of a traditional car – with the added attraction of costing pennies to run. Here’s our selection of the best models currently on the market – plus a couple more which are set to shake things up in the near future.
1: Kia Soul EV
Its interior feels cheaper than you’ve a right to expect from a £29,995 car. But the Soul EV is smooth and quiet – and with plenty of get-up-and-go, it’s actually better to drive than its petrol brethren.
2: Nissan Leaf
The Leaf brought electric motoring to the masses, and from £26,180 it’s still one of the more affordable EVs. You’ll pay more than that for higher-spec models, though – which include one with a higher-capacity battery allowing a longer range between charge-ups.
3: Renault Zoe
Like a plug-in Clio, the Zoe is a good-quality supermini by any standards. It has decent four-seat accommodation and a generous boot, and around town its electric drivetrain makes it very nippy indeed. Being priced from just £18,495 puts it well within reach, too.
4: BMW i3
Starting at £32,330, the i3 is pricier than some of the smaller EVs here. But you get what you pay for – its light overall weight and super-low centre of gravity make it a leader in terms of dynamics, and you can get it with the option of a petrol powered generator to keep the batteries juiced for longer.
5: Volkswagen e-Golf
The e-Golf is first and foremost a Golf like and other, which gets it off to a good start. At £31,680 it’s not a cheap Golf, at least not until you factor in its tiny running costs.
6: Tesla Model S
Stylish and modern both inside and out, the Model S is a totally credible executive car – which just happens to be all-electric. It’s also a highly practical seven-seater with astonishing performance and a much better range that most EVs – all of which makes a £61,935 base price look entirely reasonable.
If these six don’t spark you up, a couple more EVs worth waiting for are the Hyundai Ioniq and another Tesla, the Model 3. The Ioniq claims a range of up to 155 miles, while Tesla’s first mass-market model will up that to around 250 – making it a strong-looking contender in the junior exec class.