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The top five electric vehicles in the United Kingdom

Whether it's to lower your environmental impact or reduce fuel costs, electric vehicles are gradually becoming a mainstream consideration.

Electric vehicles are big talk at the moment; especially because of fossil fuel costs rising and climate change being a hot topic (no pun intended).

Results have recently been published from a collaborative study backed by the UN that states with 95% certainty that humans are the cause of irreversible climate change.

Whether the decision to go electric is to lower one’s environmental impact (debatable), or reduce expenditure on car fuel, electric vehicles are gradually becoming a mainstream consideration.

If we compare this to five years ago, most car buyers would have laughed at the thought of driving an electric car. For the majority of buyers, electric vehicles are still not yet the ideal choice, and the industry is struggling to make headway, but there appears to be little doubt that electric vehicles will play an increasing role in our motoring future.

This article lists five of the top electric vehicles currently available in the UK, although the market continues to change rapidly as more manufacturers jump on the electric bandwagon.

This should give you a better overview as to how the market is looking in terms of price and diversity. The results in this post are ranked on a combination of price, power output, range and emissions. We all know electric vehicles are here; but do we really know what’s on offer?

Nissan Leaf

No doubt the Nissan Leaf is the car that you’ve heard of when people are discussing electric vehicles. It is a flagship model for Nissan and has gained serious awareness in the UK market. Being a UK built vehicle we have a fond attachment to this vehicle.  It is well known for its simple functionality and user-friendliness.

Key stats:
* Price – £20,990*
* Max power output – 80 kW
* Range 100 – 138 miles
* Emissions – 0g/km

It carries a lot of good features such as parking sensors and multiple drive modes to conserve battery power. The good thing about the Leaf is that it offers great value for money. It gives the performance that people want to see at a reasonable price and doesn’t have the odd looks that some electric vehicles hold.

Chevrolet Volt / Vauxhall Ampera

The Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt are twin electric vehicles

These two vehicles are exactly the same but rebadged for different manufacturers. This car is a plug-in hybrid; these cars get most of their power from the electric motor (when possible) and rely on the combustion engine as a secondary source of power. You can think of it as the half-way point between a fully electric vehicle and a hybrid.

Key stats:
* Price – £28,750* for Ampera and £30,255* for Volt
* Max power output – 111 kW
* Range – 38 miles (electric only) / 380 miles (with petrol engine)
* Emissions – 27g/km

The official stats attached to this vehicle are pretty impressive with a maximum of 235.4 mpg and a range of 25-50 miles purely on the electric engine without support. Like the Leaf, the Volt/Ampera twins have a great outward appearance and are “sexy” electric vehicles. The core specifications are the most powerful out of all the vehicles listed here; but then again this is reflected in the higher price tag.

Renault Twizy

This little car is almost something of a novelty in the marketplace for electric vehicles. However, it cannot be overlooked when conducting a comparison such as this. Small, cute and cheap it ticks all the boxes for someone who is looking to save money and only take short journeys. Technically it is classed as a quadricycle, which is an EU classification of micro car.

Key stats:
* Price – £6,895*
* Max power output – 4 kW
* Range – 60 miles
* Emissions – 0g/km

At a price of only £6,895 it is the lowest priced electric car on the market. There’s not too much to say about the Twizy other than it does its job, it’s nimble and is apparently great fun to drive. If you want to use it to go to your Nan’s every weekend it should be fine; but if you want a serious vehicle look elsewhere.

Renault Zoe

Renault ZOE electric vehicle

Again quite a stylish small model suited to city car usage; this car deserves a mention to show that Renault can compete with the serious electric vehicles as well. The Zoe is a reliable car that runs smoothly and without too many complications.

Key stats:
* Price – £13,995*
* Max power output – 65 kW
* Range – 130 miles
* Emissions – 0g/km

The range is significantly less than its hybrid counterparts with a single charge lasting you between 62-130 miles depending on the source you look at. So like the more gimmicky Twizy it can be quite limited in its range and isn’t built for long range journeys. Prices start at £13,995* for the Zoe in the UK. We see this as a more affordable version of the smart fortwo, offering similar specifications for a lower price.

Smart Fortwo electric drive

smart fortwo electric drive 2013

This car is worthy of a mention as it hits the key points that a lot of buyers in the electric car market are looking for. However, the high price tag puts it lower down the rankings compared to competitors who offer more for less.

Key stats:
* Price – £15,395*
* Max power output – 71 kW
* Range – 84 miles
* Emissions – 0g/km
One thing that is nice about this car is that you can tell from the off that it is produced by Smart. The company has not changed its much-loved design principles for this model, and so Smart lovers can be environmentally cleaner too. Like its petrol and diesel brothers, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is a nippy little city car that can park virtually anywhere.

* prices all include the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant, which covers 25% of an electric vehicles cost up to a maximum of £5,000.

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