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19 February 2021

Top Five Electric Cars

Written by Published in Eco Travel

The multitude of environmental problems with the standard petrol/diesel car are well-known, from air pollution to climate change. But for those ready to make the transition to carbon-neutral, where do we start in demystifying the rapidly-expanding market of electric cars?

Whilst electric vehicles (EV) still represent a small proportion of vehicle sales, the increasing diversity within the EV market means that the electric car is no longer reserved only for one type of driver. Sure, opting for an electric car may primarily be motivated by concern over rising transport emissions, but the current aspiring EV owner now has far more scrupulous and individualised preferences than merely being ‘green’. 

We take a look at the top five electric cars of the future, those setting the precedent in style, technicality and sustainability credentials, demonstrating that the diversity of the modern-day car-driver is is now truly reflected in the EV market.


The budget-conscious

Generally, the outright cost of an electric car certainly hits hard compared to petrol/diesel cars. However, the Total Ownership Costs (TOC) of a car provides a more accurate picture, recognising expenses incurred through day-to-day running of the car including tax, insurance, repairs and fuel. Owing to developments in electric car design and manufacturing, alongside governmental tax deductions (which do vary considerably), the cost-effective running of an EV now generally outshines its petrol-powered counterparts.

Hyundai Kona

At the lower-budget end with a list price of £30,150, the Hyundai Kona Electric SE is a budget-conscious option, not only because of its comparatively reasonable listed price, but because of its highly efficient fuel economy, helping you get to your destination without breaking the budget on fuel. It also stands out as one of the most reasonably priced EV with an impressive estimated 300 mile range.

Don’t get us wrong, it isn’t the absolute cheapest on the market — the Smart EQ ForTwo sits at an unrivalled £17,550 —  the Hyundai Kona is a good choice for those looking for one of the most reliable, lower-budget EVs on the market.
 
 

The beautiful

Let’s not deny the more aesthetically-conscious driver a chance to cut their emissions. The Mercedes Benz EQC is nothing short of exquisite. A 4x4 electric vehicle with the same finesse and glamour of the iconic german manufacturer, the EQC is streamline in both appearance and driver experience. 

Mercedes

With curvier contouring than the traditional Mercedes SUVs, the EQC’s elegance is evident in the sweeping black-panel grill that sweeps into the headlights, completed with a striking LED wraparound band at both ends of the car and privacy windows. Accessing a vast array of features through a single touch of the high-definition navigation screen, voice control or even hand gestures, makes the user experience individualised, seamless and slick.

Despite initial suspicion, the EQC is anything but ‘all style, no substance’. With a highly innovative driver assistant system, the ECQ’s safety features include automatic multi beam headlights, without needing to lift a finger. Additionally, select one of ‘several driving modes’ to modify the functioning of the car to suit the nature of any journey, including ‘eco’ mode for optimum energy efficiency. But at a whopping £65,720, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

Mercedes Benz EQC


The high-tech

We’re talking ‘high-tech’ in every sense of the word: cutting edge EV technology combined with a mind-blowing infotainment, driving experience. The Audi RS E-tron GT does just that. Capable of reaching 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds, this all-wheel-drive GT also exhibits one of the most advanced electric performance platforms — the J1, originally developed by Porsche — meaning it can operate at an impressive 800 volts, thanks to the J1’s energy management and cooling facilities, and can charge up to 80% in 20 minutes. 

audi

The interior of the £110,950 car exhibits a whole new tech-powered driving and passenger experience, complete with a customisable ambient lighting system, state-of-the-art 3D sound system, latest generation E-tron navigation system, 18-way adjustable Front Sports Seat Pro with massage capabilities, embedded within Nappa leather upholstery — also offered using leather-free recycled materials, we might add.

Audi RS E-tron GT


The endurer

Sceptics of the electric car are quick to cite the inconvenience of waiting for long hours at a charging point, or even finding one in the first place. The Tesla S Long Range offers an unrivalled and reassuring 412 miles range to ensure you get from A to B, no problem. The Tesla S makes those long journeys even more enjoyable with a 17 inch cinematic display, multi-device bluetooth and wireless or USB-c charging for every passenger albeit for a steep £79,980. The car’s clean and streamline interior is maximised with innovative storage space; its front and rear storage alongside flat-folding seats make it a great option for cyclists in particular.

Tesla S

With the longest range of any EV currently on sale, the Tesla S Long Range also boasts an impressive acceleration of 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds, and low drag coefficient. Of course, the hybrid is an option that provides the sceptics with a non-electric backup solution, but for those wanting to make the switch to 100% electric, the Tesla S Long Range is an obvious go-to.

Tesla S Long Range


The all-rounder

Self-proclaimed ‘people’s car’, it is perhaps not surprising the Volkswagen’s first stand-alone electric car, the ID. 3 Life takes this spot. It ticks all the boxes of practicality with a respectable 263 mile range and impressive efficiency of 15.5kWh/62 mile.

VW The option of various battery sizes, in-built sat navigation and substantial boot space makes the ID. 3 a reliable family car, and its range make it suitable for city, rural and long distance driving. Whilst it doesn’t contain all the bells and whistles of the Tesla or Audi models, for a £32,300 EV, what the ID. 3 sacrifices in flashiness, it makes up for in its practicality on which VW pride themselves. What’s more, net carbon-neutral manufacturing of the model itself makes the ID. 3 a worthwhile investment for those wanting to reduce their travel impact from the get-go.

VW ID. 3 Life


EV & the future

It is worth noting that there are a number of additional considerations and variables to take into account when opting for an EV, from varying charging methods, tax deductions and charging speeds which depend on numerous factors, and which vary between, and even within, models of the same car. To provide further information on fuel economy, this website allows comparison and explanation of different car’s fuel economies, which are slightly more complex than the standard petrol/diesel car. Always check with manufacturer for additional details.

Whether out of curiosity or genuine consideration, there is lots to keep an eye on as the EV market continues to expand. If you are in budget for an electric car, our top 5 electric cars demonstrate that — contrary to early assumptions — opting for electric does not mean compromising functionality, style or individuality, and it certainly does not mean restricting your options. 


About the author 
 
author photo copyHarriet Matthews is a first-class honours arts graduate from the University of Leeds, with a passion for the ways in which sustainability intersects with arts, culture, media and sociology. She currently works at a forest school in Brighton and enjoys working with young children to encourage their understanding and embodied experience of the natural world.
 
 
 

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