Best ELECTRIC cars...
1. Porche Taycan
...The Taycan will be able to fill that brief without the Panamera’s internally combusted element. It’s a five-door hatchback, marginally smaller than a Panamera, built on a new platform, with a raft of lithium ion batteries beneath the floor. They total 93.4kWh, good enough for a WLTP range of up to 280 miles in the Turbo (which has an exceptional drag coefficient of 0.22) or 256 miles in the Turbo S (Cd 0.25).
There are two motors – one front, one aft – powering all four wheels. The rear motor has a two-speed transmission, although it drives around mostly in second gear, with the low ratio reserved for the sportier of its drive modes at lower speeds. The Turbo S gets active rear steer, carbon-ceramic brakes, a different inverter to allow the overboost and bigger wheels as standard, but generally the differences over the Turbo are limited.
All Taycans will come with a close-to 800V electrical system, twice the norm for EVs. Porsche says that by doubling the voltage, it can halve the current running through its cables (Ohm’s law, I think), allowing them to be thinner and their turning radii therefore smaller, so Porsche can thread them where it wants and save 40kg over a 400V system.
2. Jaguar I-Pace
...The first luxury electric car from a mainstream manufacturer to directly challenge Tesla at the high end, the I-Pace delivers on its brief with standout handling dynamics, first-rate interior quality and a striking design that’s slightly more SUV than saloon. It sets the standard for ride and handling among its all-electric peers, delivers strong performance from its twin 197bhp motors, and feels like what a premium-branded electric car should: an unshackled, clean-sheet design.
The rarity of 100kW public chargers around the UK road network dents its potential as a long-range tourer somewhat, as does the car’s slightly below-par showing on real-world range (220 miles is a result worth celebrating) - although at least the former will improve quickly over time as infrastructure grows.
3. Tesla Model Y
...Tesla boss Elon Musk claims the recently announced Model Y crossover SUV has even greater sales potential than the Model 3 saloon, and should be twice as popular when it launches in North America in 2020. It will share the Model 3’s platform and much of its component set but will be the first Tesla built at the company’s Gigafactory 1 site in Nevada, USA. A European delivery schedule has yes to be announced.
The Model Y will be manufactured in the company's Fremont factory in California, not its Gigafactory facility in Reno, Nevada as originally predicted. From 2021, Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory will also start production for the Chinese market. Production will be gradual, according to Musk, with capacity increased from mid-2020 and an eventual combined target of 500,000 Model 3 and Model Y built per year.
4. BMW iX3
...This will be an electrified version of BMW’s X3 SUV, and so a direct rival for the Audi E-tron, Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace, due in the UK market in 2020. It’s set to share a platform with the current X3, and to have “more than 70kWh” of on-board battery capacity, according to BMW.
The iX3 will arrive as part of the updated third-generation X3 range and be the first car to use all-new zero-emissions underpinnings that are being developed for use in all of BMW’s future EVs.
Prior to the release of two preview images that show the car's flat-faced wheel design and front grille opening, spy photographers caught an i3X development car testing in Scandinavia, where the range of its battery pack was being evaluated in conditions that regularly dip below -10deg C.
5. Audi E-tron Quattro
...Audi has distilled the various qualities for which its revered brand is known and given all of them a new future-proofed home in its first series-production electric car: the E-tron Quattro SUV.
Sized to fit in between the firm’s existing Q5 and Q7 models but offering interior space to rival the latter, the E-tron is powered by a separate electric motor per axle and develops 402bhp and 487lb ft of torque in ‘boost’ driving mode. A Jaguar I-Pace is smaller, lighter, torquier and faster – but interestingly the E-tron beats its close British rival on overall battery capacity, offering 95kWh of storage, which is good for a claimed WLTP combined range of 249 miles
6. Mercedes-Benz EQC
...An outright triumph in our electric SUV group test in September heralded the arrival of a new all-electric champion for people looking to combine practicality with performance, and luxury with sustainability in their next big car purchase – while also securing a car that can easily be used on a daily basis on UK roads. The Mercedes EQC 400 brushed aside challenges from Jaguar, Audi and Tesla on route to its big moment, overcoming all by virtue of its technology-laden and upmarket interior, its impressive blend of comfort and driver appeal, and its first-rate infotainment and navigation systems.
Sharing its platform with the related GLC, the EQC has twin electric motors, torque-vectoring four-wheel drive, and combined peak ouputs of 402bhp and 564lb ft. WLTP-verified battery range is 259 miles officially, with our tests suggesting that at between 80- and 90-per cent of that is reproducible in mixed real-world driving.
7. KIA E-Niro
...It’s nothing new for EVs to have 100% of torque available from 0rpm, but our preconceived notion having read the spec sheet of 0-62mph in only 7.5 seconds had set us up for disappointment in the face of Teslas with Ludicrous Mode and the like. Although the thrust on offer might not throw this Kia through the sound barrier, it’s still instantly gratifying and genuinely feels quick.
The steering helps here too, because its light weighting (in normal mode at least) coupled with the batteries’ location low in the platform for a favourable centre of gravity gives this 1.8-tonne SUV an agility that belies its mass. Dynamically it’s accomplished in a way that a Nissan Leafsimply is not.
8. Nissan Leaf
...The world's first mass-market electric car is back in v2.0 as a better-than-ever family electric car. Priced from around £28k, the latest Nissan Leaf uses carryover mechanicals but sprinkled with a whole lot of better battery tech and a fresh wardrobe to bring it in line with the latest Nissan family look found in models such as the Qashqai. Nissan quotes a real-world range of up to 239 miles if you opt for the E+ version, giving the Leaf true everyday practicality creds. The interior is a bit of a let-down, but this is a very viable electric hatchback for families. We put a Leaf through a 10-month long-term test and, in the first 395 miles, we used electricity costing just £13.70 – revealing the true cost savings available with an EV.
9. MG ZS EV
...If the high cost of the posher electric cars puts you off, worry not – prices are starting to tumble. Case in point: MG has just launched its first all-electric car, the ZS EV, and the first 1000 customers benefited from an introductory price of £21,495. Now that offer has expired, the price – inclusive of the government grant – is a still-reasonable (comparatively speaking) £25,495. This is no sluggish, short-range affair with limited practicality, either; the ZS EV can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.5sec, cover 163 miles on a single charge and accommodate the needs of most families thanks to its vast boot and large cabin.
MG enthusiasts who have seen this article’s headline in Google’s search results will likely be more than a little excited at the prospect of an all-new MG ZS. After all, the 2001 ZS180 hot-hatchback was one of the British manufacturer’s better efforts of the 21st century.
10. Hyundai Kona Electric
....The Kona is arguably one of the most versatile and accessible EVs on sale in 2020. It's affordably priced, for starters, and two distinct versions are offered – a 134bhp model with a 39kWh battery, or a 204bhp version with a higher-capacity 64kWh battery. In base form, the Kona can travel up to 180 miles on a single charge and sprint from 0-62mph in a perfectly sensible 9.7sec. Go for the more expensive model, though, and the range leaps to 279 miles while the 0-62mph time drops to 7.6sec. It's not a fun car to drive but it is very practical, with that crossover bodystyle swallowing bodies and bags with nonchalant ease. It costs a whisker under £30,000 to buy one in the UK (after the government subsidy).
Launched in 2018 and greeted by rave reviews from the press, the Hyundai Kona Electric has enjoyed something of a roller coaster life so far. After going on sale in the UK and picking up a host of awards, it promptly sold out, leaving frustrated owners with the prospect of joining a waiting list – just to register an interest. Now that Hyundai has picked up its battery supplies, the Kona is once again on sale, now with minimal waiting times.