Once a novel but costly option, electric cars have become cheaper and more accessible to UK drivers. But which electric car should you buy?
When electric cars first started to hit the UK’s roads in larger numbers – around 10 years ago – they were interesting, but expensive. Aside from the obvious ‘green’ environmental benefits of plug-in vehicles, the over-riding message was more along the lines of: ‘pay a premium now for the car, but you’ll get the money back, in fuel savings, the more you use it’.
For many UK drivers, that was simply not enough of a draw to get them into an electric vehicle (EV). Finding the extra cash to buy a type of car that had not yet ‘proved itself’ did not appeal.
And that reluctance was stoked up by ‘range anxiety’ – the fact that the charging infrastructure (the number of public chargers available for users on British roads) was not considered up to the job.
The latter criticism still hangs around in the air but, as we move into 2024, there’s no doubt the infrastructure is improving, and hundreds of thousands of EVs are now on the UK’s roads. With that, the cost of owning one has come down dramatically, and buying an electric car has become more appealing.
Every month, thousands of drivers are switching from petrol (or diesel) to battery power either in the form of a full electric car or a hybrid (part electric, part fuel). There are nearly a million full electric cars on the UK’s roads now, with a further half a million hybrids.
Drivers are taking advantage of lower fuel costs, reduced VED (car tax) demands, plus they’re resting comfortably, knowing they’re doing their bit for the planet in terms of air quality and the environment.
What’s the best EV for you?
So, if you are now thinking about joining the electric revolution, what’s the best EV for you to purchase with your hard earned cash?
Size matters, of course, and there are options available for single people, couples, large families and adventurous types. Do you want sensible motoring or a bit of sport in your life? Size or style? Comfort or versatility?
Price is a big consideration too when buying an electric car, and again there is a wide range of models available from most manufacturers, spanning a broad cost spectrum – from under £30,000 to more than £100,000.
So what electric cars are available to buy now?
Perfect as a small town run-around for drivers who don’t regularly venture far from home, small EVs are also ideal for single drivers or couples who don’t have family to carry around. There are plenty to choose from and despite their small size, they’re big on style, comfortable and many come with lots of options.
Examples: Fiat 500e, Vauxhall Corsa-e, MINI Electric
Moving up to a larger chassis not only gives car occupants a bit more space and a greater luggage area, but the design often means there’s room for a larger battery and therefore improved range. These are small enough though, to be nimble and quick around busy towns and cities where there’s narrow streets and tight parking.
Examples: MG4 EV, BYD Dolphin, VW ID.3
With even greater size often comes the added bonus of luxury and higher performance – but that all has to be paid for. We’re moving into the realms of £50,000-plus motoring at this point. But you will get greater versatility, space, luxury, technology and long-legged range of up to 400 miles.
Examples: BMW i7, Mercedes EQS, Jaguar I-Pace
Technology has advanced rapidly in this area of EV motoring and the world’s most revered sports manufacturers have joined the fray to produce some stunning machinery of their own. Awesome power delivery, putting grunt directly to the road without going through a clunky gearbox, creates eye-wateringly good cars with impressive speed and handling.
Examples: Porsche Taycan, Maserati Granturismo Folgore, Audi RS E-tron GT
There has been criticism of big 4x4 vehicles in the past that they’re ‘gas-guzzlers’ which have no place on public roads. When the going gets tough and driving conditions deteriorate, they are well worth having, but thousands never venture further off-road than a driveway. However, electric versions of 4WD cars don’t attract the same condemnation of unnecessary fuel usage or exhaust emissions.
Examples: Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, Skoda Enyaq IV
As we move towards the planned 2035 switch-over to electric cars completely, there will be choices to be made in terms of which EV to buy. Technology will improve, charging stations will increase and pricing will come down. Which way will you go when the electric highway finally beckons?