► The best electric cars of 2022
► Our guide to the UK's top EVs
► Electric car buying advice and more
An every increasing number of UK car buyers are making the switch to electric cars, a point exceedingly well made by the Tesla Model 3 being Britain's second-best selling new car in 2021. With the cost of EVs ever tumbling and the charging network ever improving, even the government's meaner electric car grants won't stop this trend. Besides, with pure petrol and diesel cars being banned from 2030, electric cars will be your only option anyway.
Electric cars: further reading
In this guide, we reveal our picks for Britain's best electric cars and explain why you should consider plugging in now more than ever before. And don't forget the UK government will also subsidise sub-£32,000 EVs by £1500 with its Plug In Car Grant, reducing the price premium that battery cars carry.
The best EVs to buy in the UK
Like any fossil-fuel powered car, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) come in all shapes and sizes, and which EV is best for you will depend on a variety of factors – such as your average daily mileage, the type of driving you do and access to private or public charging points. There's no point having an electric car if it can't accommodate your usage, or if the infrastructure isn't there to support it, after all.
Want to know which is the best pure electric car for you to consider? We've handily split them into different categories, so browse through our guide below defined by vehicle type. However this list takes body type out of the equation, simply listing our 10 favourite electric cars.
10. Fiat 500 Electric
Don't think that Fiat simply rammed a load of batteries up the backside of the aging 500, the 500 Electric is a brand new car from the ground up. It's marginally larger than the combustion-engined 500 that still lumbers on in Hybrid guise, although the rear seats are still cramped and the boot rather small. Still, that's the price you pay for the compact dimensions. Two battery sizes are offered with 115 miles of WLTP range in the smaller-celled Action and 199 in every other version. Crucially, it's far better to drive than the 500 Hybrid with decent handling and punchy performance.
Read our Fiat 500 Electric review
9. Kia EV6
Kia's flagship EV6 is available in single-motor two-wheel drive or twin-motor four-wheel drive flavours. All regular models are capable of 300 miles plus according to WLTP testing, while those happy to sacrifice some range for performance might be interested in the hot 577bhp EV6 GT. Even lesser models handle well, with good performance and a comfortable ride, too. It's similar in size to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 on which it's based, meaning plentiful space for passengers to lounge front and rear. There's a capacious boot, too, making it a perfectly practical choice for families.
Read our Kia EV6 review
8. BMW iX
Get past the Marmite looks and the BMW iX is a truly compelling luxury SUV. You won't find a sluggish iX in the range, and the 50i is capable of 380 miles on a single charge in official tests. In our experience, over 300 should be possible in the real world, although not if you take advantage of the 516bhp on offer. That's enough to launch this 2.5 tonne SUV from 0-62mph in 4.6sec, while adaptive air suspension provides a pillowy ride when you're being sensible, and shockingly agile handling when you're in a rush. Inside the spacious interior is a blend of high-tech electronic glitz and plenty of leather and luxury, making this a pricey but highly recommendable electric SUV.
Read our full BMW iX review
7. Mercedes EQS
As you'd expect from the name, the Mercedes EQS is the electric equivalent of the S-Class. Unlike some EQ badged cars (think EQA, B, C and V) that share a platform with their internal combustion equivalent, the EQS has a bespoke electric platform to best package a giant battery for a near 500 mile range and to maxmise interior space. Performance and range impress, as does the seriously comfortable ride. This giant hatchback has plenty of room for people and doubles up as a surprisingly effective load lugger, too. Just be careful of all the flashy trims, digital displays and supple leather that make this a seriously opulent tech-fest of an interior.
Read our Mercedes EQS review
6. Skoda Enyaq
The Enyaq's sub-£35,000 starting price seems fair for the iV 60 model and bodes well for the upcoming lower-powered models. It's comfortable, well-sorted, and does a great job of appealing to as many drivers as possible. Friendlier and more luxurious than a Kia e-Niro and looks better inside and out than a Volkswagen ID.4 – which is very, very good for the Skoda Enyaq iV, and worrying for Volkswagen.
Read our Skoda Enyaq review here
5. Polestar 2
The Polestar 2 is a cracking addition to the shopping list for mid-sized EV buyers. Hailing from Sweden's Volvo, Polestar is a relatively new start-up that carries across the Scandi chic design values and quality from its sister brand, but wrapped up in a more progressive, modern vibe. This car ushers in Google's first Android OS so there are very few buttons (sound familiar, Tesla?) and everything is operated from a touchscreen or by the Hey Google voice assistant. Sensible front-wheel drive models get a choice of two battery sizes with the potent twin-motor coming with the higher-capacity pack only. It's good to drive with the optional Performance pack, too, looks slick and is very well built.
Polestar 2 review
View Polestar 2 lease deals
4. Renault Megane E-Tech Electric
We've only driven a pre-production version of the reinvented electric Megane so far, but the VW ID.3 should be worried. Available with either 129bhp and a 186 mile range or 215bhp and a more useful 292 mile range, this front-wheel drive hatchback has gained plenty of SUV attitude in its transformation. It's good to drive and has plenty of room inside, so if the price is as competitive as promised, it's well worth shortlisting.
Read our Renault Megane E-Tech Electric review
3. Tesla Model 3
The Model 3 has cemented itself as the UK's most popular electric car and for good reason. It might be the least expensive Tesla available but, even in entry-level form, few are likely to be disappointed – as even the base model packs a claimed 305-mile range and the ability to sprint from 0-60mph in just 5.8sec. It even comes with the Autopilot drive assistance system, which takes the edge off long trips and adds to the space-age feel. The Long Range dual-motor version with all-wheel drive and increased range is available; it can cover a claimed 374 miles and serves up a sports car-rivalling 0-60mph time of 4.2sec. The top of the range Performance drops that time to 3.1sec with range tumbling to 340 miles.
Read our full Tesla Model 3 review
View Tesla Model 3 lease deals
2. Hyundai Ioniq 5
Hyundai has really stepped things up with the Ioniq 5, producing an excedingly well-rounded electric car that's dripping in retro-inspired yet futuristic design touches. We'd skip past the entry-level 58kWh battery on account of its 238 mile range and instead plump for the 72.6kWh pack with twin-motor four-wheel drive. Range jumps to 285 miles and the 5.2 second 0-62mph time is significantly quicker than either single motor model. In this spec it's fun to drive once you get used to a bit of body roll, something that's easy to accept given the comfortable ride.
Read our Hyundai Ioniq 5 review
1. Porsche Taycan
The Porsche Taycan is an incredible technical achievement. It does the things we all enjoy about driving – accelerating, braking, going around corners - with supreme alacrity, and features a massive well of capability largely untapped by normal driving. Porsche offers cheaper, rear-wheel drive variants to sit alongside the toppy Turbo, Turbo S and 4S models. Today, Taycan prices start at £72,850.
Read our Porsche Taycan review
View Porsche Taycan lease deals
Electric cars: more buying advice
If you intend to use an electric car for longer journeys, make sure your local trunk roads and motorways have the infrastructure to support charging en route or consider an alternative, such as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). These mix battery tech and petrol or diesel power to provide a get-out-of-jail-free card for when pure electric range simply isn’t enough.
If you want to know more about the best hybrids on the market, check out our separate explainer here.
The reality is that most electric car owners will rarely have to charge up in public; if you have off-street parking and the ability to charge at home, the latest EVs will manage most of your day-to-day driving needs just by charging your battery pack domestically overnight.
One EV brand in China – Nio – is even pioneering battery-swap stations, where a robot will replace your car's depleted battery for a fully charged one while in just five minutes.
Pure electric cars will also save you money every single year because they're exempt from road tax – for now, at least. Don't miss our handy guide to how VED car tax favours EVs here - and there's lots of advice on company car tax in our explainer here.
Electric car prices
EVs might cost more to buy in cash than their petrol or diesel counterparts today, but the gap is narrowing. Vauxhall, Peugeot, and Mini all have models that can run on petrol or electric and comparative prices are pretty similar.
Leasing prices are even more eye-opening. Costs vary wildly depending on the car, but broadly speaking cheap electric cars are the same amount to lease as cheap petrol cars. Renault Zoes and Renault Clios are both in the market for around £200 per month with the same terms.
The latest research by analysts at Deloitte suggests that cash price parity with internal combustion cars is likely to happen soon too. 'In the UK, the cost of petrol and diesel vehicle ownership will converge with electric over the next five years,' predicts Michael Woodward, UK automotive partner at Deloitte.
'Supported by existing government subsidies and technology advances, this tipping point could be reached as early as 2022. From this point, cost will no longer be a barrier to purchase, and owning an EV will become a realistic, viable option for new buyers.'
Some predictions say that 2022 is too early, but the trend is unequivocal: EVs are becoming cheaper and as prices lower, their appeal rises. Here's our list of the cheapest electric cars you can buy.
Further electric reading
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