The 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.
During the launch of the Taycan, Porsche’s chairman of the executive board, Oliver Blume, said: ‘This day is the start of a new era. The Taycan links our heritage to the future.’
The more affordable and long-awaited Model 3 has finally arrived in the UK. 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 254-mile range and the ability to sprint from 0-60mph in just 5.3sec. It even comes with the Autopilot drive assistance system, which takes the edge off long trips and adds to the space-age feel. A dual-motor version with all-wheel drive and increased range is available as well; it can cover a claimed 329 miles and serves up a supercar-rivalling 0-60mph time of 3.2sec.
If the high cost of many a more capable electric car has put you off, worry not – prices are starting to tumble. Case in point: MG has just launched its first all-electric car, the ZS EV, and the first thousand customers will benefit from an introductory price of £21,495. Even once that offer has expired, the price – inclusive of the government grant – is a still-reasonable, comparatively speaking, £24,995. This is no sluggish, short-range affair with limited practicality, either; the ZS EV can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.5sec, cover 163 miles on a single charge and accommodate the needs of most families thanks to its vast boot and large cabin.
The first full series-production electric car from Audi is a triumph: you get the usual Ingolstadt quality and driving manners, all wrapped up in a very practical SUV bodystyle that’s akin to a Q5 crossover. Performance is rapid, range decent and it just all feels so normal. One neat touch we really liked: a charging port on each of the front wings, allowing you to charge this I-Pace rival from either side. A range of 248 miles is claimed and, despite weighing in at 2490kg, the e-Tron is no slouch: it can accelerate from 0-62mph in as little as 5.7sec.
The EQC is the first car in Mercedes’ new EV-only ‘EQ’ range and, while not exactly innovative, it’s an unquestionably capable SUV. It has a range of 259 miles, features twin motors for all-wheel drive, can sprint from 0-62mph in 5.1sec and is loaded with technology; it also offers seating for five and a large boot – as you’d hope, considering its size and hefty 2425kg kerb weight. The EQC’s a finely polished and thought-through affair, too, which makes it easier and less stressful to live with. Consequently, it might be ideal for buyers who are a little worried about making the switch from a straightforward petrol or diesel car.
Jaguar’s first all-electric car, dubbed the I-Pace, is a tremendously slick affair – and one that’s a tempting alternative to established rivals such as the Tesla Model X. It was unveiled at the 2018 Geneva motor show and, when we drove the production version, it was immediately clear that this cutting-edge car still steers, stops and goes like a Jaguar should – and there’s space aplenty, too, thanks to efficient packaging. Twin motors serve up a mighty 395bhp and 513lb ft, as well as all-wheel drive, and the I-Pace is claimed capable of 0-62mph in 4.8sec. Refrain from deploying that punch, though, and you could eke 298 miles out of the Jaguar’s battery.
The world’s first mass-market electric car is back in v2.0 as a better-than-ever family electric car. Priced from around £28k, the latest Nissan Leaf uses carryover mechanicals but sprinkled with a whole lot of better battery tech and a fresh wardrobe to bring it in line with the latest Nissan family look found in models such as the Qashqai. Nissan quotes a real-world range of up to 239 miles if you opt for the E+ version, giving the Leaf true everyday practicality creds. The interior is a bit of a let-down, but this is a very viable electric hatchback for families. We put a Leaf through a ten-month test and, in the first 395 miles, we used electricity costing just £13.70 – revealing the true cost savings available with an EV.
The Kona is arguably one of the most versatile and accessible EVs on sale. It’s affordably priced, for starters, and two distinct versions are offered – a 134bhp model with a 39kWh battery, or a 204bhp version with a higher-capacity 64kWh battery. In base form, the Kona can travel up to 180 miles on a single charge and sprint from 0-62mph in a perfectly sensible 9.7sec. Go for the more expensive model, though, and the range leaps to 279 miles while the 0-62mph time drops to 7.6sec. It’s not a fun car to drive but it is very practical, with that crossover bodystyle swallowing bodies and bags with nonchalant ease. Expect to pay around £30,000 to buy one in the UK (after the government subsidy).
Hyundai offers its sensible Ioniq family car in a variety of powertrains – including a pure electric version, which costs £29,050 after the government grant. If you’re still nervous about going full EV, you can alternatively pick a hybrid or plug-in hybrid version, providing a tad more reassurance on longer journeys. All Ioniqs have decent cabin space for families of four or five, as well as a decent boot, and their refined and relaxed nature makes them ideal for daily use.
Need space for seven? A swanky Tesla badge? And all the modernity and clever-clogs tech the brand has become famous for? Step this way: the Model X is half crossover, half MPV, but all Tesla electric car. Famous for its cleverly hinged gullwing rear doors that open even in the tightest of car park spaces, the interior is roomy for five and the rearmost third-row seats are fine for kids on short journeys. It is pricey though, costing from £74k in the UK for an entry-level Model X.
The Model X’s more sensible saloon sibling, the Tesla Model S, is the landmark electric car that set the cat among the pigeons. It’s well established now and brought a dash of executive style to the EV marketplace years before the Europeans finally caught up. It has a very long range, exceeding 300 miles in many trim levels, and performance is – quite literally – ludicrous; go for the top model, opt for the ‘Ludicrous’ upgrade and you’ll have a car capable of 0-60mph in a blistering 2.4sec. These are practical saloon cars, that said, with plenty of space for five and a fully flat floor for rear-seat passengers. All Teslas benefit from the brand’s Supercharger network for rapid recharging, too, which makes them far easier to recharge than many rivals – as the alternatives often have to rely on independent, and frequently unreliable, charging networks.
Everything you like about the VW Golf, just in a cleaner, silent electric package. You also get all the usual Volkswagen attributes – first-rate build quality, clever connectivity and generous packaging – but with a quiet powertrain that will prove far less costly to maintain and operate than a conventional diesel or petrol car. For many, this could be the ideal stepping stone electric car, as it mixes conventional looks with cutting-edge technology.
The electric Niro is a great example of the new breed of electric cars arriving in 2019: it’s a right-sized package and ticks lots of boxes. It’s an SUV shape, which the market is demanding, while its range is a claimed 282 miles – giving it the legs that motorists are demanding. Its UK price has also been confirmed at £33k after the government grant – putting it in the sweet spot of accessibility for more motorists. You even get a seven-year warranty, which should allay any concerns about long-term reliability.