A potential watershed moment for EVs, the upcoming Mini could become the very first electric hot hatchback. It is set to arrive with a powertrain influenced by the one found in the BMW i3, and will be built on an adapted version of the platform currently being used by the Mini hatchback.
Near-instant torque and a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds mean it should earn its Cooper branding in other markets. Here in the UK it will be sold as the Mini Electric. Range has been WLTP-tested to be between 120 and 140 miles, which may be lower than its immediate rivals, but handling is promised to be a lot closer to the original 60’s-era Mini - which sounds like a recipe for success to us.
After being on sale for six years, only the 208 GTi has managed to truly impressed us, so rumours that its replacement will appear in pure-electric form should be guaranteed to get hot hatchback fans excited. The standard 208 got its first electric version, courtesy of the CMP platform which allows for multiple powertrains, when the e-208 arrived in dealerships in March.
It doesn't get a bespoke design, instead sharing its looks with the petrol and diesel versions, but delivers 138bhp from its electric motor for a promised 8.1sec sprint to 62mph. Range is 211 miles under the WLTP protocol.
It has taken far longer to arrive than the Volkswagen e-Up with which it shares a platform, but Seat’s electric city car finally went on sale in early 2020. With prices starting from £19,800 including government grant, it is one of the UK's most affordable EVs. A 36.8kWh battery pack promises a WLTP-certified range of 162 miles - 79 miles more than the first-generation VW e-Up.
The Smart brand went electric only when the revamped ForTwo city car arrived, complete with EQ branding. It retains the same 80bhp electric powertrain and 17.6kWh battery as the outgoing ForTwo Electric Drive, so will only offer a range of less than 100 miles.
The coupé version was quickly followed by the Fortwo Cabrio, still the smallest convertible on sale in the UK, and the five-door Forfour.
This British-engineered compact EV is purpose-built for city driving, with a three-seat layout and McLaren F1-style central driving position. A modest powertrain will be capable of 75mph, but should achieve close to 180 miles of range between charges, thanks to an ultralight 600kg kerb weight. At £15,000, it will be one of the more affordable EVs when it arrives.
The original e-Up was starting to look a little long in the tooth, with its 118 miles of range far off the pace of newer electric city cars and superminis, so a revised version makes a lot of sense. Revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, the second-generation e-Up arrives with a more powerful 81bhp electric motor and a bigger 32.3kWh battery that promises 161 miles of range on the WLTP protocol.