There is already an extensive range of electric cars to choose from, ranging from compact city runabouts and family workhorses to smart executive models and luxurious SUVs. In conjunction with Next Green Car, we provide a round-up our Top 10 best pure-EVs currently available to buy or lease in the UK.
Not only is the LEAF the best-selling pure-EV in the UK, the model has led the way throughout the EV revolution and is the first EV to make it to a second-generation model. The Mark II, now with a 40 kWh battery, offers a realistic 170 mile range (official 235 miles) and has more than enough battery capacity to compete with mainstream rivals. Plenty of equipment, good levels of space, improved styling and a new one-pedal driving mode mean that the LEAF remains a popular choice, and Nissan has done an excellent job of upgrading the original version with improved tech and looks to match. Rapid charges at 50 kW.
The ZOE is a popular model in the plug-in community, the supermini offering a long real-world range. The current model uses a 41 kWh battery pack to give between 180 and 200 miles real range (230 to 250 miles official), depending on the motor selected. The Q90 motor version has a slightly smaller range, but can rapid charge at up to 43 kW, whereas the more powerful R110 option has longer range, but doesn't offer rapid charging capability. Fun to drive and practical for a small car, ideal for city and commuter use, the ZOE is very affordable and one of the few models to offer a battery leasing option. Rapid charges at 43 kW [Q90 motor option only].
A stylish and surprisingly practical supermini, the i3 has been recently updated to feature a 42 kW battery, good for a real range of 180 miles (223 miles official). There's also an i3s model, with a sportier stance and tweaked styling for a sharper drive. Until recently, a range-extender (REX) option complemented the line-up, an on-board generator adding 70-100 miles to the drivable range; some of which can be purchased in the nearly-new market. The futuristic styling isn't to everyone's tastes, particularly the novel rear doors, but it's great to drive, one of the most sustainably built cars in the world and the i3 drives like the premium product you would expect from BMW. Rapid charges at 50 kW.
We are cheating here by considering three cars as one, but the entire Smart range is now available in pure-electric form. Using the same battery and motor across the forfour, fortwo cabrio, and fortwo coupe line-up, a range of almost 80 miles (100 miles official) is shared across the board. While not large compared to other EVs, the range is more than adequate for use as an urban runaround. Driving is easy with instant pick-up, zero-tailpipe emissions and a very compact turning circle. While not a model to take on a long trip, the Smart EQ range is ideal for city use and, due to its size, a joy to park! Fast charges at up to 22 kW (option).
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
While the Ioniq Electric is Hyundai's first mass-market EV, it's one of the best available. There's been a clear focus on efficiency, with the Hyundai beating the previous generation LEAF's range with around 140 mile range on real roads (174 miles official). It's relatively stylish, practical and easy to drive, with plenty for the driver to do to maximise energy use and extend the driving range. This includes selectable brake energy regeneration (which tops up the battery when braking and is found on most other models, though rarely selectable) which gives drivers lots of control, with different modes available to boost performance or limit it according to requirements. Rapid charges at 100 kW.
The electric version looks very like a conventional Golf inside and out, but that's no bad thing. As one of the leading cars in its class, Volkswagen has successfully created the pure-electric e-Golf with a useful range of more than 140 miles (180 miles official). Unlike some lower end EVs, the e-Golf is comfortable both in city traffic and at motorway speeds. While the current version is being beaten on range by the latest mass-market EVs, the e-Golf is a quality car as you would expect from Volkswagen, which is now committed to electrifying most of their range. Rapid charges at 50 kW.
Tesla Model S
Most established premium EV to date, the Model S is one of the best EVs on the road and loved by 'techies' around the world. Expect the executive hatchback to cover up to 300 miles on a single charge (393 miles official), with performance guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a cabin that's minimalist in everything barring the 17-inch central touchscreen. The battery pack and software options are regularly improved, the latter using over-the-air upgrades. Also, it is now only available new with all-wheel drive. However, the Model S has also now has strong competitors in the form of the Jaguar I-Pace and also from the lower-priced Tesla Model 3, which will launch in the UK in 2019. Rapid charges at 120 kW.
Hyundai Kona Electric
The very new Kona Electric is Hyundai's well-deserved second listing. Available with two different battery sizes, the crossover looks set to be popular no matter which is picked. The 39 kWh version will match a Nissan LEAF's range (170 miles real), with crossover styling and a similar price. However, it’s the 64 kW model that is the real game-changer, with more than 275 miles of real range (300 miles official), despite only costing a few thousand more than the smaller-battery variant. Where the Kona wins hands-down is on value as the Hyundai offers the same range as a Jaguar or Tesla, but at significantly less than half the cost. Rapid charges at 100 kW.
Jaguar's I-Pace is the first real challenge to Tesla from a mainstream manufacturer, and this is only good news for buyers. The I-Pace costs less than the Model X, though the Tesla is larger, but the I-Pace comes close to matching its range, with a figure of around 300 miles quoted, and 275 miles achievable. It also feels like a more premium product than the Tesla, is great to drive and is plenty quick enough for most drivers. Comfortable in both town and on the motorway, the I-Pace should compete comfortably with rivals due from the likes of Audi and Mercedes. Rapid charges at 100 kW.
Tesla Model X
The Model X offers a huge amount of car for your (albeit large amount of) money. Featuring a range close to the Model S at around 300 miles (official or real-world depending on version), the Model X is capable of transporting a family of at least five plus kit with ease. Offered in five, six, or seven-seat configurations, the Model X boasts the same performance thrills as the Model S, but in a taller and more spacious package. And then there are the rear gull-wing doors... beautifully engineered to open and fold simultaneously and intelligent enough to avoid any obstacles, the likes of which will most likely never be seen again (due to high development costs). Rapid charges at 120 kW.