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Best electric cars 2019

You may have noticed good-old-fashioned petrol and diesel cars haven’t had the best publicity lately. With the rise of hybrid and electric cars, we can expect to see the internal combustion engine phased out over the next few decades, and eventually, electric cars will take over.

But, there’s no need to wait for the future, as you can buy electric cars right now. They’re still relatively niche, aimed largely at those that live in a city or suburbs and don’t need to do long car journeys. They can also be expensive and will likely have a smaller range than petrol or diesel cars. However, they do have the advantage of emitting no pollutants, and they also cost far less to charge than you’d pay to fill up a fuel tank. There's also the bonus of no tailpipe emissions, and ranges are constantly being improved.

With more and more electric cars available to the public, we’ve rounded up our favourites.
  • Renault Zoe – the (relatively) cheap electric car
  • Tesla Model S – the long-range electric car
  • BMW i3 – the aspirational electric car
  • Volkswagen e-Golf – the understated electric car
  • Hyundai Kona Electric – the SUV electric car
Renault Zoe – the (relatively) cheap electric car
Electric cars cost very little to run, but the trouble is that many of them are expensive to buy. Not so the Zoe, which is yours for little more than the price of a decently-specced Clio. Despite this, the Zoe is still a very smart-looking little thing. The blue accents on the outside are complemented by a hi-tech interior, and as the car was designed from the ground up as an electric car, the batteries don’t limit the car’s practicality too much. It’s good to drive, and has a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, too.
Renault Zoe electric car
Tesla Model S – the long-range electric car
The Model S is becoming a common sight on British roads, thanks largely to the fact it has a much more usable range than other electric cars. A single charge can get you almost 400 miles, which makes it far more realistic for those that do more than pootle around town. It also boasts serious performance and some clever interior technology thanks to a huge 17-inch touch-screen up front. Downsides? Well, the interior quality isn’t amazing, and it’s very pricey, but that’s not been enough to put people off so far.

You might also consider Tesla's electric SUV, the Model X, or if you're super keen on the idea of premium electric SUVs and want something other than a Tesla, the Jaguar I-Pace.
Tesla Model S electric car
BMW i3 – the aspirational electric car
No offence to any of the early electric car pioneers in the modern age, but it took the arrival of the i3 to make electric cars genuinely aspirational. But its list of attributes goes way beyond the BMW badge. There’s also the way it drives. The sporty BMW gene is alive and well in the i3, and it’s a genuinely quick little car, as well as being amazingly manoeuvrable. Admittedly, all this doesn’t come cheap, but with the i3, there’s no denying the feeling that you get a premium product for your money.
BMW i3 electric car
Volkswagen e-Golf – the understated electric car
Lots of electric cars shout their credentials by looking like nothing else on the road, but Volkswagen’s electric Golf looks like, well, a Golf. Only the blue headlights and different front grille mark it out as special, which for lots of people is exactly what they’re after. It boasts all the attributes of the regular Golf – a refined a comfortable drive and a classy cabin – but without any of those pesky exhaust pollutants.
Volkswagen e-Golf electric car
Hyundai Kona electric – the SUV electric car
The Hyundai Kona Electric mixes the appeal and practicality of a small SUV with the choice of two battery sizes to suit both budget and desired driving range. There is a choice of two different batteries in the Kona Electric, each producing different power outputs and driving ranges. The lesser is the 39kWh model with 136 horsepower, which is similar to the sort of performance a 1.2-litre petrol engine would offer. With this battery, Hyundai claims the Kona Electric has a driving range of up to 193 miles on a full charge. For those who want to cover greater distances, there is a more powerful 64kWh battery that delivers up to 300 miles of range. Its smooth and refined driving experience and lower running costs give it plenty of appeal.
Hyundai Kona electric car
Learn more about electric and hybrid cars
Electric cars FAQs
What if my electric car runs out of power?
It’s a common fear with electric cars. People worry they’ll be stranded by the side of the road until someone manages to get some electricity to you. It’s called ‘range anxiety’, and you’re not the first person to face it.

All electric cars show you how much distance you can cover with your current battery life, so you can plan your journey accordingly, and avoid running out of power.

If you are running a bit low and hadn’t noticed, most electric cars will show you the location of your nearest charge point on the sat nav. Some electric cars also have a ‘low power’ or ‘eco’ mode that will help to preserve energy if you’re cutting it fine on your way to a charging point.

And if, by some chance you do still run out of charge, you’ll either need to be towed to the nearest charging point, or some companies now have mobile charging units to get you some power at the roadside.
How much is electric car tax?
Fully electric vehicles are exempt from paying road tax. If you drive, or are considering a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), you’ll pay reduced road tax.

Just keep in mind, if the vehicle has a list price of £40,000 or above, you’ll have to pay an additional premium for the first five years. Learn more about car tax bands.
Do electric cars need servicing?
Electric cars need servicing, but as they tend to have fewer moving parts than petrol or diesel vehicles, they’re often cheaper and easier to service and run.

One key difference is the battery will need an occasional health check, just to make sure it’s working properly. Most electric car batteries are covered by a longer warranty of around eight years. Related: top tips on charging your electric car.