It doesn't matter if you need a sporty car, a city hatchback or a load-lugger with room for all the family — electric cars are already here in all shapes and sizes. Charles Rangeley-Wilson picks his favourites.
First, the bad news. If you need a vehicle that can drive from London to Scotland in one go, you’re going to have to wait a while for electric vehicle technology to catch up with you.
Tesla quotes a 350-mile range for its X SUV, while Jaguar and Audi claiming about 250 miles for the I-Pace and E-tron; in reality, they’ll cover 200 miles if you go steady. That’s still impressive given where we were only a few years ago, but it isn’t the same as running a diesel that takes five minutes to refill and will do 500 miles between times. Battery capacity, charging speed and a sheer lack of charging points (particularly in areas such as Scotland and the West Country) mean that, for many of us, petrol or diesel will continue to be a necessity.
But while we’re not quite at the tipping point, we’re very close — particularly for the 75% of our journeys which take place close to home. There are electric cars out there which look gorgeous, drive beautifully and make real sense as something to do the daily commute in, to take children to and from school, to shop with. Just be warned: if you’re heading far from home, you’ll need to plan your forays with military precision.
Best for… Sportiness: Jaguar I-PACE
That tipping point I spoke about? It comes with a snarling cat on the grille. Jaguar takes the EV fight to Tesla with looks to die for, oomph, space and drivability.
From £63,925 — www.jaguar.co.uk/i-pace
Best for… space: Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X is the standard-setting electric SUV, with the fastest recharge time and best infrastructure. Tesla batteries are made in factories powered by renewables.
From £83,700 – www.tesla.com/modelx
Best for… Families: Audi e-tron
Reassuringly the same as any other Audi, only with an eerily silent means of propulsion. The one to get if you’re not yet ready for the Starship Enterprise.
From £70,805 — www.audi.co.uk/e-tron
Best for… Practicality: VW e-Golf
It’s a Golf, Jim, but not as we know it: all the usual Golf attributes of build quality, practicality and style, only with an electric motor and now a more than tolerable range.
From £33,840 — www.volkswagen.co.uk/e-Golf
Best for… City life: BMW i3
Snazzy, carbonfibre construction, a spacious interior and BMW’s legendary handling make the i3 a nigh-on perfect EV city car.
From £34,445 — bmw.co.uk/i3
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