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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.
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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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 Nissan Leaf makes a great small electric car – it 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 Shame that its infotainment system is outdated and the interior quality is inconsistent.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.
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 Konda 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.
Boxy-yet-eye-catching, the Kia Soul is an electric SUV that's well equipped and cheap to run, even if the battery pack takes up some interior space.
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.
The Renault Zoe has an official range of 250 miles - meaning you won’t have to charge up frequently if you zip around town. If you want to drive 250 miles in one go, however, the Zoe isn’t the most comfortable.
With a range of 235 miles, the Leaf looks to be in the electric car sweet spot of being practical, affordable and with a decent range.
Public fast-charging points are often the quickest way to top up your electric car’s batteries if you find yourself running low. You’ll most commonly find them installed in motorway service stations and public car parks.
These chargers are usually rated at 50kWh – this means they can supply a battery with 50kW of energy every hour. As a result, you can charge most electric cars from almost empty to approximately 80% charged in about half an hour.
Some manufacturers recommend you don’t use these rapid chargers too often. Overuse can damage the batteries, eventually reducing the car’s range and shortening the lifespan of the batteries. Fast charging points can be quite expensive to use, too, so you’ll probably be better off using a slower but cheaper public charging point for regular top-ups.
You’ll also be able to charge your car at other, less speedy public charging points. These usually come in 7kWh and 22kWh varieties. Using a 7 kWh charger you’ll be able to boost your car’s range by approximately 30 miles for every hour of charging, while the more powerful 22kWh chargers can add around 80 miles of range in the same period.
You can get wall chargers installed in your home or garage, too. These usually come in 7kWh and 3.7kWh outputs. The former will be just as fast as a 7kWh public charger but the slower 3.7kWh system will only be able to add around 15 miles of range every hour. You’ll still be able to charge your car from empty to 100% charged overnight, however.
These wall chargers range in price from less than £300 to more than £1,000, but the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme means you can apply for a Government grant to cover 75% of the purchase and installation cost. This grant is capped at £500.
If you don’t have a wall charger fitted your other option is to charge your car using a conventional three-pin socket. Unfortunately, these are rated at just 3kWh so fully charging your car will take significantly longer as a result. Unless you do very short journeys, it’s best to consider this a backup rather than a regular means of charging your electric car.
The Government Plug-in Car Grant can help you save as much as £4,500 on a selection of new electric cars. To be eligible, a new car must be capable of travelling at least 70 miles in between charges. They also have to come with a warranty covering their batteries for at least three years, or 60,000 miles.
It depends on the type of electric car you drive, the batteries it has and where you buy the electricity from.
Take a look at your home electricity bill. You will see a price per kilowatt hour (kWh). The average price these days for your home electricity is around 13p per kWh.
You then need to look at how much electricity your car's batteries can store. Take, for example, the Nissan Leaf - its batteries have a 40kWh capacity.
To work out how much it costs to charge an electric car, you multiply the price per kilowatt hour by the capacity - in the Leaf's example that would be 13p x 40kWh = £5.20.
Charging your car at public charging stations is usually done either by paying a monthly subscription or paying for the time you use to charge your car.
Just like conventional fuel, charging your car at motorway service stations can be more expensive, so check before you travel.