Are you ready to give up petrol and diesel?
Electric cars are no longer just a vision of what’s to come. They’ve truly taken off, and are more appealing than ever.
Improvements in technology, stricter emissions standards and affordable pricing drives this growing demand.
More charging stations are popping up, electric vehicles (EVs) sport bigger batteries, and fast charging is now the norm.
Every car from this list is also eligible for a government grant which can save you up to £4,500 depending on the model.
Here are the best electric cars currently for sale:
5. Renault ZOE
Battery capacity: 22kWh
Range: up to 149 miles
The ZOE is based on the Renault Clio, but it’s slightly larger and the interior is more futuristic. Like the Clio, it’s a great small car for everyday driving.
It’s exceptionally popular in France and is slowly gaining ground in the UK too.
As standard, the entry level ZOE sports cruise control, climate control and voice-activated sat nav. Go up the range and you’ll get parking sensors, automatic headlights and keyless entry.
The main caveat of the French electric car is that you’ll have to rent the battery from Renault. Price depends on your monthly mileage with plans starting at £70 a month.
Renault claims that an average full charge costs only £1.50, so running costs will make up for the price of the battery.
It’s an affordable electric car which many drivers would appreciate. With a little planning, range won’t be an issue.
Also, when buying new, Renault will offer you a free wall-box charger which fully charges the ZOE in less than four hours.
Search for a used Renault ZOE
4. BMW i3
As all BMW owners know, you don’t go with this brand if saving money is your top priority. You buy a BMW for the quality, the style, and desirability. And the i3 ticks all these boxes.
The i3 is BMW’s first real attempt to enter the electric car market. The unconventional i3 lacks a B-pillar which makes getting in and out very easy.
If you experience “range anxiety”, the integrated sat nav will highlight the area you can travel within before you need to charge it up. Rapid charge is also available.
You can get 80% full in just 15 minutes on the free motorway services network.
Although more expensive than other city cars, it compares well with other electric rivals – it’s almost half the price of a Tesla Model S.
Search for a used BMW i3
3. Volkswagen e-Golf
Unlike other electric cars, the Golf doesn’t carry any whacky design cues. It’s just a Golf which happens to run on electricity – it’s the Golf you’re used to seeing and driving. The interior also mirrors this.
It’s a great everyday car, whether you drive around town, do the school run or commute to work. You can charge it up to 80% in 30 minutes, which is on par with Tesla’s cars, except you don’t get Tesla’s range.
You can squeeze a few extra miles by switching to the ECO+ driving mode, but you’ll lose a lot of engine power.
It’s priced and positioned to compete with BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf, but it looks and drives differently.
2. Nissan Leaf
The Leaf fits in nicely in the family EV segment, as there isn’t much competition.
However, this isn’t really the reason why you should consider it. It’s cheaper than other electric cars and is priced similarly to the Qashqai. It’s also very cheap to run. For example, a 200-mile trip could cost you around £6.
Inside, it offers enough room for five and the boot is 370 litres. Euro NCAP also awarded it a 5-star safety rating.
As of June 2016, Nissan has sold nearly 15,000 Leaf models. This makes it one of the most popular electric cars in the UK. For context, there have been nearly 3,000 Tesla Model S and over 4,000 BMW i3 registrations to date.
The name Leaf also stands for ‘leading environmentally-friendly affordable family’ car. It’s clear what Nissan’s vision for this model is.
Search for a used Nissan Leaf
1. Tesla Model S
As you’ve probably noticed, some of the electric cars out there are overdoing the ‘futuristic’ look. The Model S is exactly the opposite. It looks modern, but still resembles other cars of its class.
It sports Tesla’s famous Autopilot, which allows for autonomous steering, lane change and parking. It’s also one of the safest cars – with a 5-star safety rating and numerous safety features.
The Model S is also capable of accelerating from 0 to 60mph in 2.5 seconds – something that every driver would find thrilling. Tesla’s Superchargers dotted around the UK will get you 80% charged in just 30 minutes.
The Tesla Model S currently has the longest range of all electric cars on the market.
All that comes at a price. But if you want something more wallet-pleasing, you should wait for the launch of the budget Model 3 – set for next year.
Disclaimer: Battery capacity and range claims are official figures quoted by the manufacturers.