A recent Government-backed forecast estimated that electric vehicles will make up more than half of annual car sales from 2027. It’s fairly easy to imagine that being the case – our charging infrastructure is expanding every day, battery technology is improving and becoming less expensive, and consumers are becoming ever-more aware of how fragile our environment is.
In order for new behaviour to become the norm, however, people have to be given a good reason to adopt it. Until fairly recently, the biggest reason to change to an electric car is the knowledge that you’re contributing to cleaner city air. In fact, the idea of running an electric car for purely environmental reasons had so much cachet that many early adopters did so for the prestige alone.
By contrast, many of today’s electric cars have a very different appeal, selling on style and image, and with some able to boast truly electrifying acceleration. The fastest electric car blends supercar speeds with zero emissions: it sounds like the stuff of science fiction, yet it’s here today. Some of the best small electric cars are just as enjoyable to travel in as a premium petrol or diesel car, while the cheapest electric car is only a little more costly than its conventionally fuelled equivalent.
There’s still a certain inertia that holds people back from making the change to electric, and it comes down to the way many of us live our lives. Right now we expect to jump in our cars and drive until the fuel runs out, at which point it’s a simple case of popping to the nearest filling station and brimming the tank. Running an electric car requires a little more planning.
There are several practicalities that anybody considering one of the electric cars for sale today will need to examine. You’ll need somewhere to park overnight or during your working day where the car can be charged, and you’ll have to plan your daily driving to fit into whatever maximum range your car has between charges. Of course, technology is improving apace, and electric vehicle ranges are fast increasing.
Ecotricity is among the many companies involved in expanding Britain’s charging infrastructure and has put in place what it describes as an ‘Electric highway’ of charging points between London and Edinburgh. These are capable of restoring an electric car’s battery pack to around an 80% charge in 20 minutes. Installations like these are bound to make life easier for drivers of electric cars, and make EV ownership an even more appealing prospect.
Read on for our guide to the ten best electric cars for sale in the UK today.
Renault ZOE hatchback
The Renault ZOE is one of the least expensive EVs on the market, though there is a monthly charge for battery rental. It’s a small hatchback, a little larger than the Renault Clio on which it’s based, and makes a very practical car for life around town, with a big boot of 338 litres. It’s extremely easy to drive because – like most electric cars – there’s no changing gear to worry about so progress is generally smooth. It’s almost completely silent in operation apart from a noisy regenerative braking system which also makes stopping a little jerky. A maximum range of 100 miles is a little on the short side compared to rivals, but Renault does provide a home charger which can fill the battery faster than an average domestic socket.
Hyundai Ioniq hatchback
We were impressed by the all-electric version of Hyundai’s hybrid Ioniq hatchback when we drove it. It’s pretty nippy, managing 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds thanks to its 118bhp electric motor. The boot is able to handle 350 litres of luggage, expanding to 1,410 litres if you fold down the rear seatback– a practical feature for anyone with large items to lug. Many buyers may be attracted by the Ioniq’s very conventional styling; not everybody wants to look like they’re driving a car from a science-fiction movie.
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