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Electric cars are growing in popularity. The best electric cars are fun to drive, extremely quiet, have no harmful emissions and are cheap to run. As technology improves, the distance electric cars can go between charges is increasing, as is the number of places where you can charge an electric car, making them more practical for many people. So if you’re considering an electric car, our team of experts have rounded-up the best models below. Read on to hear what they had to say.
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The best electric cars are... simply good cars that just happen to be powered by a bunch of batteries and an electric motor. So they are practical, have comfortable interiors and good levels of equipment. Electric cars are great fun to drive thanks to their immediate acceleration and the cars here have decent a decent range too.
With the Kia e-Niro you get a stylish, well-equipped electric car that has a decent boot, an impressive 280-mile range and peace of mind too – thanks to Kia's seven-year warranty.
If you are after an electric SUV with an impressive turn of speed and one of the poshest interiors of any electric car, the Audi e-tron is for you. Tech fans will appreciate the impressive infotainment system and the optional rear facing cameras that replace traditional door mirrors.
Elegant and stylish, with a roomy interior and lots of high-tech features, the Mercedes EQC is an upmarket electric car yet still cheaper to buy than the Audi e-tron.
An impressive range, competitive pricing and a decent list of standard kit are the reasons the Hyundai Kona EV gets on this list. You get a nice, high driving position and a fun driving experience too.
You may have heard of range anxiety - the fear of being stranded in an electric car if its batteries run out of power. Pick one of these electric cars with a long range to allay those fears.
The stylish Jaguar I-Pace tops this list thanks to its official range of nearly 300 miles. It’s just a shame it takes a long time to get to full charge.
With an official range of over 280 miles, the Kia e-Niro nearly tops this list of electric cars by range. Practical and spacious, it’s the all-rounder of electric cars.
The Hyundai Kona Electric is quick and has a long range, just a few miles fewer than the e-Niro. Its boot is smaller than the standard Kona but it's still practical enough to be a usable family car.
The Nissan Leaf won our Innovation Award at 2018’s carwow Car of the Year Awards. If that’s not enough it has a 235-mile range which is decent for an electric car and it’s also practical and affordable.
The Renault Zoe has an official range of 250 miles pretty good for an electric car and another one of the reasons it why it won our Eco Award at the 2018 carwow Car of the Year awards. If you want to drive 250 miles in one go, however, the Zoe isn’t the most comfortable.
Electric SUVs combine the best of all words - great fun to drive, practical interiors and are emissions free. Bookmark this page and come back regularly as more electric SUVs come on sale.
The Hyundai Kona Electric is quick and has a long range. Its boot is smaller than the standard Kona but it's still practical enough to be a usable family car.
There's not much to choose between the Kia e-Niro and the Hyundai Kona EV. The e-Niro is slightly bigger, has a slightly longer range and is a bit more expensive (also it's not officially on sale until April 2019).
Consider the Jaguar I-pace if you’re after an electric SUV that’s packed with futuristic features, just be prepared for a high price tag.
Thinking of buying an electric car but not sure whether you can combine practical family transport with emissions-free driving? Worry no more, the cars below are spacious, practical and easy to drive, making them the best electric cars for families.
The Kia e-Niro is a family-friendly SUV that’s roomy, has a long list of standard kit, a big boot and a range of around 280 miles. All this is more than enough to put it at the top of our best electric cars for families.
Even though it shares its electric car tech with the e-Niro, the Hyundai Kona Electric isn’t quite as spacious as the Kia, however the trade-off is that it's a little cheaper and so grabs second place on this list.
The VW Golf has set the standard for the small family car for decades, and the e-Golf delivers everything you'd expect of a car with this name badge, but with electric power that's good for a 125-mile range in the real world.
Well equipped and spacious, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric ticks most of the boxes you want an electric family car. It may not look the most stylish but it's easy to drive and has a range of around 150 miles.
It may be the most expensive electric car on this list but it’s one of the best. And which family wouldn’t like a car that can make fart noises when Auntie Agnes sits in the front seat? It’s practical too, with a boot space both at the rear and the front of the car.
Small electric cars are brilliant for zipping around towns and cities thanks to the combination of zero emissions and their great acceleration away from traffic lights and coming out of junctions. These are our best small electric cars.
The Renault Zoe is one of the cheapest routes to electric-car ownership and also one of the best electric cars period – which is why it won our Eco Award at the 2018 carwow Car of the Year Awards. It is a fantastic small electric car with stylish looks, a competitive price and low running costs.
The Nissan ‘Leaf’s’ clever e-Pedal means you can accelerate and brake just by using the accelerator pedal – a brilliant innovation that scooped it our Innovation Award at 2018’s carwow Car of the Year Awards. The Leaf costs buttons to run, is easy to drive and surprisingly nippy. Shame that its infotainment system is outdated and the interior quality is inconsistent.
If you’re looking for an upmarket small electric car that’s easy to drive and has a super stylish interior take a look at the BMW i3. Other electric cars are more comfortable, however.
The emissions, nippiness and low running costs of a small electric car, combined with all the familiarity and reassurance of a Golf - what’s not to like? It is more expensive than the Leaf, though.
Mainstream electric cars have been on sale for a number of years now, which means there are a great deal of used electric cars for sale now. These are the carwow best five used electric cars.
Spacious, practical and packed with traditional Volkswagen build quality ensures the VW e-Golf is at the top of our used electric car list. With a real-world range of around 125 miles it’s ideal for zipping around town.
The Renault Zoe has been on sale since 2013 and is ideal for scooting around town. If you lease the batteries you don't be concerned about battery performance - Renault promises to replace your battery if it isn't able to hold on to 75% of its capacity.
More than 400,000 Nissan Leaf electric cars have been sold worldwide so finding a used one for sale shouldn't be too difficult. The latest model is smart looking, spacious enough and has a decent range but you’ll find loads of the first generation Leaf for sale too.
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric comes with a five year warranty as standard, which is passed on to subsequent owners a used version could come with that extra peace of mind. It’s also spacious and well equipped and has a range of around 150 miles.
How much it costs to charge an electric car depends on the type of electric car you drive, the batteries it has and where you buy the electricity from.
You can charge your car at home, at a public charging point or at fast-charging points at motorway service stations and each entail slightly different costs. Generally , charging at home is the cheapest but you will probably need to install a charging point.
For more details read our blog: How much does it cost to charge an electric car
Since 2011, the Government has provided a discount for buyers of low-emission vehicles, to help stimulate the market for electric and plug-in hybrid cars.
This Plug-in Car Grant of up £4500 was provided for a range of electric vehicles that emitted less than 50g/km of CO2 and could travel at least 70 miles in electric power alone. The government called the vehicles that qualified for this discount Category 1 cars.
A grant of up to £2500 off the price of a new car was available on range of hybrid cars. The Government classified these cars as Category 2 and Category 3 cars.
However, on 11 October 2018, the Government announced changes to the Plug In Car Grant scheme. From 9 November 2018 the grant for Category 1 cars is being cut to £3500, while the grant for Category 2 and 3 cars is being scrapped completely.
Category 1 cars
Cars that have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can travel at least 112km (70 miles) without any CO2 emissions at all:
BMW i3 and i3s
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Hyundai Kona Electric
Kia Soul EV
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
Smart EQ fortwo
Smart EQ forfour
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model X
Category 2 cars
These vehicles have CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and can travel at least 16km (10 miles) without any CO2 emissions at all:
Audi A3 e-tron
Hyundai IONIQ PHEV
Kia Niro PHEV
Kia Optima PHEV
Mercedes-Benz C350 e (with 17 inch rear wheels)
Mercedes-Benz E350 e SE
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (except Commercial)
Toyota Prius Plug-in
Volkswagen Golf GTE
Volkswagen Passat GTE
Volvo S90 Twin Engine
Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine
Volvo V60 D6 Twin Engine
Volvo V90 Twin Engine
Volvo XC60 Twin Engine
Category 3 cars
These vehicles have CO2 emissions of 50 to 75g/km and can travel at least 32km (20 miles) without any CO2 emissions at all:
Mercedes-Benz E350 e AMG Line
MINI Countryman PHEV
How far an electric car can go on a single charge varies depending on the car you drive, how you drive it and the conditions in which you drive it – much like a petrol or diesel car, in fact.
Most modern electric cars can go well over 100 miles between charges, with the many of the latest cars having a 'range' of around 250 miles.
For more details read our blog: How far can an electric car go