In 2017, an electric car now represents a viable from of transport for a lot of people. If you live in the city and have a short commute – or take occasional short trips, an electric car could be perfect for you. In fact, thanks to ongoing leaps in battery technology, range is much less of an issue than it used to be, and cars like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S have proven EVs can work at pretty much any price point.
The best electric cars in the UK today combine increased range with super-low running costs and innovative tech such as preconditioning apps – so you can heat the car up on cold days while it’s charging – and they’re getting more and more popular.
There are more electric car chargers in the UK, and when you throw in government subsidies, 2017 is a great time to get an electric car. Here, we’ve put together a list of the best EVs you can buy in the UK below, and we’ll also explain why we’ve chosen each car, too.
Nissan Leaf (starts at £21,290 after government grant)
Nissan Leaf (2016) review: The UK’s favourite EV has a great price and even better range
We’ve started off the list with the Nissan Leaf, and for good reason. The lead most popular electric vehicle in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. Although it looks like a large Nissan Micra from the outside, the Leaf is a revolutionary vehicle – and it keeps getting better. The third-generation 24kWh Leaf starts at reasonable £21,290, and the new £24,990 30kWh model extends the range from 124 to 155 miles. If that’s not cheap enough, Nissan even lets you lease the car’s batteries to bring the 24kWh version down to a reasonable £16,290.
Tesla Model X (starts at £71,900 after government grant)
Tesla Model X review (hands-on): Falcon Wing doors and a stylish interior but still no UK price
With all the hype around the more affordable Model 3, it’s very easy to forget all about the Tesla Model X – but you really shouldn’t. Simply put, the Model X could be the ultimate electric car, and combines sports-car-like performance with all the storage and practicality of a real, full-sized SUV. It’s hard to look past those amazing falcon-wing doors, but the rest of the Model X features incredible design too. Whether it’s the extended windscreen or car’s Autopilot mode, the Tesla Model X could be the best electric SUV – until the i-Pace that is, anyway.
BMW i3 (starts at £25,680 after government grant)
One of the most sophisticated cars on the market today, the BMW i3 gives you everything you’d want from an electric car in a small, compact package. It’s a rear-wheel drive like a traditional BMW, but that’s where the similarities end. Under the hood, you won’t find much, because the i3 is actually powered by a 168hp electric motor in the car’s boot. If you’re interested in buying a new BMW i3, we’d actually suggest holding off for now. BMW will be releasing a new model with significantly better range.
Tesla Model S (starts at £53,400 after government grant)
Tesla Model S (2016) review: Still the ultimate electric car
The Tesla Model S is the ultimate electric car, and with the introduction of the P60D, it’s just got even more affordable. We reviewed a Tesla Model S and found it combined the perfect blend of innovation, style and ludicrous performance. When you throw in the ridiculous 17in touchscreen and all that comes with it, Tesla Autopilot and a 0-60mph of 2.6 seconds, the Tesla Model S might be the ultimate car – never mind electric one. Read our review here.
Renault Zoe (starts at £13,945 after government grant)
The Renault ZOE has been updated, and we’ll include our verdict on the new car soon. In the meantime, you can read our thoughts on the previous car.
Renault is known for producing compact, efficient cars, and the Renault Zoe shows can repeat the formula in an electric setting. Like the Nissan Leaf, the Renault isn’t the most luxurious motor, but it does offer a cabin that’s comfortable for long periods of time.
And you could potentially spend a while in the Zoe: its range extends to around 100 miles of mixed driving conditions – more than enough for most inner city drives – and that’s when the car is in Eco mode.
Put the car into normal mode, and its 80hp engine offers surprisingly good acceleration. Thanks to 220Nm of torque, the Zoe will shoot to 30mph in just under four seconds. While it takes a lot longer to get to 60mph, its acceleration is more than enough for urban drives.