If you’re completely sold or slightly tempted by the prospect of an electric car, but unsure which way to go, you’re not alone. EVs represent a break from decades of petrol and diesel reliance, but manufacturers are doing all they can to make switching as easy as possible. The number of options in the electric car market has gone up faster than a rapid charger’s kilowatts, meaning cinch – the home of faff free car buying online no matter the fuel source – can now provide you with a selection of star options. So without further ado, in no particular order, here are 11 of the best electric cars you can buy online right now.
Jaguar’s first electric car hit the ground running about as fast as is possible. This British-designed EV is great looking, filled with top-level interior tech and, true to the company’s form, it handles brilliantly. In fact, it might just be the best handling electric car out there. With a range of variants, there’s something for everyone – including families, because this EV is also a low-riding SUV.
Range and charge times vary depending on the exact I-PACE spec of each car, but Jaguar quotes up to 292 miles and a 45-minute 10-80% charge when connected to a public rapid charger. With a domestic charge point, you’re looking at a 10-hour charge to fill the battery, meaning most households could get away with just one or two overnight charges to handle weekly motoring duties. Best of all, because this is a bespoke electric model (no petrol or diesel versions exist), the I-PACE feels as authentic an EV as it is.
No prizes for guessing that Tesla’s longstanding electric car contender was going to be in this list, because despite now being a little long in the tooth – it was launched in 2012 – the Model S remains highly competitive. Thanks to Tesla’s enormous pool of data, Long Range variants have the software to make the most of their batteries, enabling as many as 388 miles between charges. That’s enough to take you from Brighton to Newcastle and have enough in the battery for getting lost in the city.
Along with its class-leading range, the Model S’s party piece is face-stretching acceleration, with top-rank models, including the all-wheel drive P100D, capable of sub-three-second 0-62mph times. Ludicrous. Of course, experimenting with off-the-line power will compromise range, but plenty of Model S owners enjoy their car’s supercar-aping straight-line performance as they do its usability and functionality. Tesla’s supercharger network is also extensive, with rapid 10-80% charge times taking about 40 minutes.
From one of the original mainstream electric cars to one of the newest, MG’s E-SZ offers buyers on a budget a chance to step onto the EV ladder proper. This value-focused SUV targets families and those simply wanting a practical electric car alike, with a range of about 135 miles from its 45kWh battery. Despite this urban-focused model’s lower pricing, it comes with all of the electric car essentials, including an up-to-date infotainment system and spacious boot.
As with all electric cars, charge times vary depending on the grade of E-ZS you go for, but MG quotes about 40 minutes for a 0-80% charge on a public fast charger, or 6.5 hours for a 7kW domestic wallbox. That means you could easily charge this MG overnight in the week, ensuring you’re never short of charge while on the move. Happy days.
Hyundai’s Kona Electric offers much the same as MG’s E-ZS, but in a slightly higher-specification, more premium package. That means you get up to 300 miles of range – or 189 miles in the entry-level car – and zippy 204hp performance, in a handsome, nicely styled body. Hyundai’s EV comes with a 40-min 10-80% charge time on a 150kW rapid charger. And it gets Hyundai’s seven-year (or 100,000-mile) manufacturer warranty, making electric car ownership super headache free. Just like cinchCare, which is offered on all EVs and hybrids, as well as our petrol and diesel cars.
As for the Kona Electric, you also get an interior with part leather seats, responsive infotainment technology and a digital instrument cluster. If there’s a car that illustrates Hyundai’s push to become more premium, it’s this. That said, buyers wanting to maximise their selection should not rule out the e-Niro from sister brand Kia, because it uses the same basic setup as the Kona Electric in a slightly sportier-looking option, albeit one with a five-year warranty.
Quite possibly the most popular car on cinch’s British Motor Show stand in August, the Polestar 2 is an EV newcomer that’s very quickly made its electric mark. With a boxy, futuristic design, this spacious, high-tech four-door mixes Swedish functionality with elegance and class. It’s quick, comfortable and easy to operate, with 78kWh of battery powering either one or two motors. Naturally, the dual motor car is the higher-rank version, but the single motor version provides great value for money.
In its natural habitat, the city, the Polestar 2 can eke out 348 miles to one charge, with mixed driving (including motorway stints) bringing the claimed range to 292 miles. With a 120kW rapid charger, battery charging takes just 32 minutes to go from 10-80%. Just enough time for you to soak up those handsome panels while you’re enjoying a quick lunchbreak.
Naturally, the toughest rival the Polestar 2 must face is Tesla’s highly popular Model 3. In several months over the past couple of years, it’s been Britain’s best-selling electric car – and for good reason. Not only does the Model 3 offer much of the fun and functionality that’s made the bigger Model S famous, it ups the attainability of a car from, let’s face it, a marque that many think is the coolest car brand out there. Far from a show-off, though, the Model 3 comes in with some genuine technical prowess.
Like, for example, this smaller Tesla’s bigger-than-rivals range of 353 miles in Long Range form. Or, no less, its impressive off-the-line launch statistics, including a three-second 0-62mph time in top dual motor versions. The Model 3 might be more compact than its sibling, but it comes in with the big punches all right.
A ‘best electric cars’ list would not be complete without an Audi e-tron, because this is the brand’s most advanced SUV yet and a car that’s already shaking up a storm. The e-tron mixes typical Audi design and characteristics into an all-electric base, meaning those not wanting to steer too far off-piste can enjoy tailpipe-free motoring without feeling like they’ve stepped into a space ship. Although Audi’s Virtual Cockpit interior does certainly still feel pretty futuristic, with its all-digital dash and straight-lined details.
High-rank models have 408hp and can do 252 miles between charges, with a 20-80% top-up taking 30 mins on a 150kW fast charger. An empty–to–full charge on a 22kW plug (common at work locations and in public car parks) takes nine hours, while a home charger 7kW plug takes 14 hours. Again, most weekly demands are likely to be served with one or two overnight charges per week, making life pretty straightforward.
Renault’s supermini-sized electric car has bagloads of French pizzazz and the technical capabilities to match. Compact, stylish and capable, it’s ideal for urbanite looking to a potentially more eco-friendly, characterful transport. Despite its dinky size, Renault can squeeze a 100kW battery into the Zoe’s purpose-built base, enabling 245 miles of range and punchy city performance, if that’s your thing. Renault is a sister brand to Nissan, meaning the technology pool for EVs is vast, and that shows in the Zoe. It punches well above its weight.
At a 50kW plug, the Zoe will go from 0-80% battery in as little as 45 mins, while a 22kW charger will take the battery from empty to full in 2.3 hours. That’s very competitive. With a 7kW home charger, 0-100% takes seven hours, representing another overnight charge, ensuring even this little hatch can cater to weekly workloads with only one- or two-night top ups. Talk about being both stylish and talented.
On the subject of fashion, one of Britain’s trendiest cars, the Mini, can now be had in all-electric form. With the same funky looks as the regular car, plus a few EV additions, the Mini Electric is a sure-fire way to feel fashionable while cutting your CO2 output. Since this is an electric car based on a model that’s normally petrol, the available batteries are a little smaller than rivals, enabling 150 miles per charge. But urban dwellers rarely do more than 20 miles a day, so it’s arguably more than enough for the job.
With a 150kW rapid charger, the Mini Electric can go from 20-80% battery in 30 minutes, barely enough time to grab a quick bite at the services. When plugged into a 7kW home charger, the empty-to-full time is five hours, somewhat negating the requirement for more regular charging compared to rivals., few of which can claim to be as fashionable as this Mini.
Much of the motoring world was shocked when Smart turned its full attention to the building of electric cars, but now, it’s hard to imagine a car so suited to city life using anything but battery power. The EQ Forfour (EQ linking the EV model to parent company Mercedes’s electric cars), as its name suggests, mixes 60kW battery power with space for four passengers, in a package that – even in stretched four-door form – is one of the easiest cars to park on (or at) the market.
Official mileage for the little ForFour is 89 miles, meaning this is very much a city-driver-focused offering, but that’s always been the Smart ethos. And anyway, having a small battery means charge times are tiny, with a 0-100% zap taking only one hour on a 22kW plug. Even a conventional three-pin domestic plug (the standard wall plug of British homes) can power the Smart from 0-100% in eight hours, reducing the need for a higher-power EV charging box to be installed in your home.
BMW’s smallest EV, the i3, has been with us for eight years now, but – like the aforementioned Model S – this remains a genuinely strong electric car offering. Like the Mini (which the i3 has actually lent some technology to), this is a highly characterful car, with an all-at-once quirky, stylish and distinctive interior. It feels interesting even after all these years, and thanks to updates and upgrades, it’s got enough technical strength to remain genuinely competitive. BWM claims 190 miles of range, which is good going for a city car.
Charge times are strong, too, with a 40-minute session at the plug required for a 20-80% top-up when the supply is 150kW. A 7kW home plug enables a six-hour 0-100% charge time, while a 22kW plug takes four hours for an empty-to-full charge. BMW also offers the i3 with a petrol-powered range extender, meaning cars equipped with this ‘REX’ tech can keep going even if you find yourself out of charge while on the move. Handy – and a pretty strong USP.