If you want to make the switch from fossil fuels to electric power for your set of wheels, but you’re worried about range anxiety, then you ought to check out these electric cars – on sale right now – for the best possible range and ownership experience.
Tesla Model 3: 538km range
Mentioning electric cars without mentioning the tech-savvy disruptor that shook up the automotive industry is impossible. You may or may not like the way Elon Musk goes about and/or runs his business, or the way fans of this brand are incapable of listening to any criticism whatsoever of the products, but Tesla’s vehicles lead the way for range. The Model X is an SUV with fancy doors and as a 90D can do up to 489km on a single charge; the Model S is a high-performance executive car and the standard-bearer for Tesla, with a 610km range on the 100D variant, but it’s expensive to buy and, as the oldest Tesla vehicle still in production, it’s starting to show its age now. Therefore, the best choice is the most affordable one: the Tesla Model 3 Long-Range. It’ll go up to 538km on a single charge and it’s about the size of a BMW 3 Series, making it a practical, useable electric car.
Kia e-Niro: 455km range
Underneath, the Kia e-Niro is the same as the Hyundai Kona Electric – so why have we gone with the Kia? Well, because – according to official figures published by both manufacturers – the Kona Electric will do 449km while the e-Niro goes 6km further at 455km, and of course Kia’s warranty offers seven years of cover compared to Hyundai’s five. However, the truth is these two 64kWh EVs are superb everyday family machines that emit no CO2 whatsoever, so you can’t really go wrong with either. Hyundai also offers the Ioniq Electric hatchback if you don’t like SUVs.
Nissan Leaf 62kWh: 385km range
Once again, we could’ve listed either the Nissan Leaf or the Renault Zoe here. However, this time (and contrary to our Hyundai/Kia decision above) we’ve gone with the car of the two that claims a slightly shorter range. While the Zoe R135 Z.E.50 is said to be capable of going up to 386km (and the less powerful R110 goes 395km), the Leaf is the EV that popularised affordable electric motoring – so it gets the nod. The Nissan is in its second generation now, and with this 62kWh model it also gets a powerful 150kW (217hp) electric motor; so it’s kind of a performance car, a zero-emissions warm hatchback, as much as it’s a daily-useable EV. That it also looks better now than it ever has before is why we think it’s such a great car.
Peugeot e-208: 340km range
This one is a brand-new entry and it’s a little corker, if you’re after real style and a quality interior. Part of the latest 208 supermini line-up, the e-208 looks a little different to its conventional stablemates on the outside (thanks to a different grille, dichroic Lion emblems and discreet ‘e’ badges here and there) and it has a cabin that is class-leading for any B-segment hatchback, no matter what is under the bonnet propelling it along. The e-208 has a 50kWh battery and, due to the clever way it is packaged, it loses nothing on practicality compared to other 208s; it has the same 311-litre boot, for example. The ride can be a bit firm, though, and the whole car is both weighty and quite expensive, but as it can also do 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds, this is a really impressive all-round package.
BMW i3 94Ah: 314km range
The premium choice. And the one that, arguably, of all this lot looks the most futuristic – despite the fact it launched way back in 2013. BMW has worked on the i3’s battery capacity in the interim and the 94 Ampere hour (hence 94Ah) ‘long-range’ model arrived in 2017. It has a 29kWh (net) battery pack, which isn’t huge in the current (pardon the pun) scheme of things, but the i3’s carbon-fibre construction keeps weight down so you can go up to 314km on a single charge. Throw in a 170hp power output and sprightly handling, and this is a great fun, striking-looking EV to own. You can, in fact, option up a Range Extender (Rex) model with a tiny 650cc engine, to increase the i3 94Ah’s range to 444km. However, as you’ve then got a minimal CO2 footprint from the Rex engine, the BMW thus equipped is no longer, technically, a pure EV.