The seven best electric cars to buy now

27th November 2018
Goodwood Road & Racing

Take-up of pure electric cars has been slow, but it is growing, and it is the immediate future, even if some argue that hydrogen is still the ultimate answer. Next year a flurry of plug-in hybrid and pure electric cars come to market from the vast majority of manufacturers (a few, like Mazda, don’t introduce their hybrid systems for a couple more years). The new arrivals will have better battery capacity, meaning a longer range (the Hyundai Kona EV does 300 miles in real-world conditions, which puts it on a par with some petrol models), as well as cheaper costs and better residuals. 


The running costs for an EV are far lower than that of a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) car, working out at 2-3p per mile as opposed to 14-20p per mile for ICE cars. And the charging infrastructure is broadening as Chargemaster, now owned by BP, build more public charging points and introduce high-powered 150kW ones for cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace. Most charging, anyway, is destination charging, done either at home or work, and the average daily commute in the UK is seven miles, bringing EV ownership within the practical and financial parameters of most consumers.

Here’s our pick of the current crop. You’ll notice no Tesla: that’s because the Model 3 is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch, with its lower price, lighter weight, smaller size and lower running costs, but it’ll be a while before it’s on UK shores in right-hand-drive, so watch this space.

(Note all prices inc the now smaller Govt grant for pure electric cars, which has gone from £4,500 to £3,500). 


Hyundai Kona Electric

From: £30,495

This small crossover has a very long waiting list, and here’s why: it does 300 miles between charges. That’s the face of acceptable EV ownership, right there. It comes in some vibrant funky colours and is more rapid off the line than the BMW i3 range extender.


Nissan Leaf

From: £22,990

The second generation has a choice of more powerful batteries (40kWh or 60kWh) and a range that has improved by 40 per cent. That means at least 150 miles between charges in real-world conditions. Although looks are subject, we think this second version is a far better prospect on the eye. The inside is less of a hairshirt, too.


Jaguar I-Pace

From £59,995

Finally, proof that a premium sporting brand can make a decent pure electric car. It looks great outside and in, blurring that crucial line between futuristic and mainstream-desirable. It’s fast, quiet and comfy, with enough Jaguar sportiness to feel you aren’t driving a technology experiment. Just need the public 150kW chargers installed now, if you aren’t a destination-only charger. Hurry up, Chargemaster.


Hyundai Ioniq

From: £26,745

Clever, this: the Ioniq is the first car available in hybrid, plug-in hybrid or EV versions. The Electric version has a range of 130-150 miles, with the radio, heater and lights on – windscreen wipers too, come to that. It’s not startlingly brilliant, but it’s not woeful either. Plug it into your domestic mains overnight and Bob’s your uncle. Lots of space inside and Apple CarPlay.


Volkswagen e-Golf

From: £29,730

About 130 miles in real-world driving, which puts it on a par with the Hyundai. Unlike many other electric cars, this one looks just like its pater, the fossil-fuelled Golf, and thank goodness for that. Just a cheeky show of electric blue and some badging to tell you otherwise. A wallbox at home will charge it for you in four hours.


Audi e-tron

From: £67,505

Forget the A3 e-tron, a nice hybrid, and join the queue for this, THE e-tron, Audi’s first pure electric car. It’s an SUV, of course, sitting between the Q5 and Q7 in size, and is priced in line with the I-Pace and Mercedes’ forthcoming EQ electric sub range. Just under 250 miles of range are promised which is less than the I-Pace; homologation means more distance might be squeezed out by the engineers. Best of all: it’s the first car to use cameras projecting their images onto the door panels, instead of wing mirrors. For that alone, it’s got to be worth the price.

  • Best of

  • Hyundai

  • Kona

  • Nissan

  • Leaf

  • Jaguar

  • I-Pace

  • Ioniq

  • Volkswagen

  • e-golf

  • Audi

  • e-tron

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