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…

Renault Zoe

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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.

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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.

Nissan Leaf

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You already know that Nissan’s electric hatchback was a game-changer that made everyone sit up and start to take EVs seriously.

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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 i3

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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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