Electric cars have gone from a peculiar novelty to an everyday part of Britain’s motoring landscape in a few short years.
The arrival of the Nissan Leaf in 2011 was a landmark moment for electric vehicles when it became the world’s first mass-produced battery-powered car.
Before that, electric cars were essentially a laughing stock, reserved for uber-hippies with more money than sense. Mile range was pitiful, performance was poor and refinement was barely given half a thought.
Compare a Mitsubishi i-MiEV or Renault Fluence to any EV on sale today and the progress made in half a decade is staggering. Here are five examples why you should believe that…
Vauxhall Adam, Seat Leon, Nissan Cedric: it’s always feels a little awkward when carmakers use human names for their models, and Renault was almost sued by a French woman called Zoe Renault over the potential for mocking jibes.
The car itself is no joke though; this five-door supermini provides possibly the best argument for using an electric car as your daily driver. It feels a lot nippier than its 13.5 second 0-62mph time would suggest and its nimble handling makes it a superb choice for inner-city dashes.
Initially, the Zoe’s potential range topped out at 130 miles, but the introduction of a new battery pack for the refreshed model in 2017 will push range to 248 miles.
You already know that Nissan’s electric hatchback was a game-changer that made everyone sit up and start to take EVs seriously.
Even years after its arrival, there’s still nothing quite like the ground-breaking Leaf on UK roads. From its unmistakable design and silhouette to the unique hiss of its electric motors, the Leaf is instantly recognisable and impossible to ignore.
BMW’s move into the electric car market in 2013 was another landmark moment for EVs, proving that not even the German premium carmakers could afford to abstain.
If you removed the famous propellor badge and covered up the kidney-shaped grille vents, it’d be tough to identify this as a BMW. However, just like the Leaf, the i3 is immediately identifiable with its futuristic design.
Tesla Model S
Without doubt the most spectacular electric vehicle around right now, the Tesla Model S also made headlines recently for becoming the quickest production car in the world.
In P100d form, this 7 Series-sized saloon can hit 62mph in 2.5 seconds when flicked into the aptly-named ‘Ludicrious’ mode.
Combine this with the ability to cover up to 366 miles, the capacity to seat seven and one of the most high-tech interiors this side of the starship Enterprise, and even the most hardened EV cynic can be won over.
Hyundai Ioniq EV
Before 2016, every car to come from South Korea-based Hyundai was either petrol or diesel-fuelled. However, that’s been put right with the Ioniq, which has just gone on sale as a hybrid (a la Prius) or a pure EV.
It may not be as innovative as some of the other names on this list but the Ioniq’s more mature feel and brilliant 174-mile range make it an interesting choice.
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