In recent years the range, performance - and to a degree, cost - of electric cars has improved to the point where they could be genuinely appealing replacements for our combustion-engine runabouts. Here are our top 10 EVs for 2021...
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£59,845 – £73,400
With the e-tron, Audi isn't selling you something new and futuristic - it’s simply a reliable, well-built SUV that happens to be electric. Fans of Audi's petrol cars will recognise and understand the e-tron; making the leap from combustion to electron that much easier. The top-of-the range model, the e-tron 55, boasts a range of 252 miles. It also features five seats and a 605-litre boot.
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£15,970 – £36,420
The British-built Mini Electric offers all the cheekiness and character of the petrol-based Minis, but is imbued with forward-looking eco-tech. Indeed, the electric motor boasts 182bhp - the same as the 2.0 litre Cooper S. However, it is 145kg heavier due to that battery pack. That said, the battery technology is fairly compact, ensuring drivers and passengers get enough legroom. Range will be a little short for some tastes, averaging between 124-144 miles.
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Est £27,000 – £36,000
This Golf-sized family hatchback will form the backbone of the ID range, and will take on the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3. The ID.3 is a statement of intent for VW - which has been slow on the uptake of EV tech, notwithstanding the decent e-Up!. The ID.3 offers excellent range - 341 miles with the 78kWh battery model. That's comparable to the range of a petrol-powered Golf driving in a city environment.
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The Model S appeared way back in 2012 - so it's starting to show its age in EV-land. That said, it's still a respectable car, with a 75 or 100kWh battery pack, driving all four wheels and mated to a single-speed gearbox. It's also far from sluggish - the P100D is able to go from 0-62mph in just 2.5 seconds. Range is also good, although lower than the quoted distances. The 75D should permit 200 miles of range. A used 2018 Model S 75D will cost you around £40,000, but don't forget you won’t pay VED or congestion charges.
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The updated 2018 version of the i3 is much the same as before, but with a few fetching style tweaks. The 94Ah (33kWh) motor produces 170hp, can do 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, and delivers a top speed of 93mph. While the stated 186-mile range is a little optimistic in real-world conditions, it is nevertheless sufficient for most of us. For a bit more power you could upgrade to the i3S - but you'll lose a bit of range. The i3 is arguably the best small premium EV you can buy.
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£17,240 – £40,895
The South Korean-built Hyundai Kona Electric made a splash back in 2018, because it matched the range of many premium EVs, like the Tesla Model S, Model X, Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron - all of which would set you back more than 70K. But at a little over £30,000, the Kona Electric showed you could enjoy 200+ miles of range without the hefty price tag. competition in the affordable EV segment has hotted-up - but you'll struggle to find a better value EV with this kind of range.
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The Polestar 2 comes from the Volvo family - but it's built in China, not Sweden. The 78kW EV starts at £46,900, with the Tesla Model 3 firmly in its sights. Indeed, copying Tesla's successful approach with its Model 3, Polestar is planning a version with a smaller battery, which should bring the price down to around £30,000 - giving it mass-market appeal. Range is a very decent 292 miles, although that's about 60 short of the Model 3 Long Range.
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£26,000 - £28,000
Honda's first pure-electric car was the EV Plus in 1997, but the Japanese car giant only sold about 350 of those. Skip forward 24 years and EV tech is in a very different place - as embodied by the remarkable Honda e. Its range is a little modest (137 miles), but it is crammed with tech, including wing-mirror and rear-view cameras, rapid 100kW DC charging in half an hour, and a suite of crash-avoidance technology. It's a little pricey given this range, but Honda will hope it's retro styling and abundance of tech will set it apart from the Peugeot e-208, Mini Electric and Renault Zoe.
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£83,367 – £138,826
This stunning electric sports car boasts a range of 280 miles (if you’re a very careful driver) and can be charged from 5 to 80 per cent in 22.5 minutes. While the acceleration and range don’t beat the range-topping Model S P100D, the Taycan is as much like a 911 as an electric car - which makes it rather special.
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This is what Musk and his Tesla team have been building towards - an affordable, mass-market EV that is a pleasure to drive, harnessing the tech and money from previous high-end models. The Standard Range Plus mode delivers up to 278 miles of range, while the Long Range valiant gives you up to 360 miles. And for those who think EVs lack pace, the Performance version can beat the Lamborghini Huracán up to the national speed limit!