The moment has come for electric cars. Lockdown is easing and, due to that, we’re seeing a rapid acceleration in demand for new cars – along with a determination in many a keen owner’s mind that this is a time to take a new view on life and concentrate on what really matters.
For a great number of us, that means making a well-informed and far-sighted decision about our next car. Do we stick with the same, safe, internal-combustion choices or embrace the future with an EV? We know it’s coming, so why not do it now?
Autocar believes it’s okay to think such things. Even before Covid-19, this was always going to be a major year for EV sales. The biggest European car makers must this year begin reducing their fleet-average CO2 emissions to 95g/km, and there’s no better way of offsetting the petrol cars that most of the market will still want by selling a decent number of zero-emissions ones. One reason EVs were so hard to buy last year is that firms were using 2019 to clear their less fuel-efficient stock, knowing 2020 would be the year of the EV push. Now, suddenly, they want to sell you battery cars.
There are other prime reasons for considering the change. The supply of enticing EVs has grown from a dozen to 40-plus in short order, and there’s now a viable second-hand EV market, reassuring for those considering the change. Company car economics have moved decisively in the favour of EVs, too. Road tax is eliminated, parking costs are low, fuelling costs are slashed and London’s congestion charge and ULEZ fees don’t apply.
What used to be a speculative topic has become a serious option. Now read on as we rate every EV on sale and answer the questions surrounding them.
Note: Prices include the government grant if the car costs less than £50,000 and thus is eligible.
Runners and riders
Audi E-Tron: The Audi E-tron range has already expanded to include an entry-level 50 model that sneaks below £60,000 and a Sportback variant with a superbly effective – and believe it or not – drift-enhancing torque-vectoring rear axle, but the midpoint 55 in the standard body remains the most compelling.
Its 250 miles of range is a touch disappointing, but the E-tron is outstanding for refinement and usability, while its performance is strong enough to fulfil its premium-luxury brief and its 150kW charging capability outguns what Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz offer. The E-tron is brilliantly unremarkable, which is what many want from their first EV.