Written by AMT Team
28 October, 2019
Pressure is mounting for UK motorists to ditch their fossil-fuelled cars and go all-electric. But with more electric cars on the market today than ever before, it can be difficult deciding which is right for you. The number of electric car sales in the UK remains relatively small compared to diesel or petrol cars , but the market is rapidly growing as focus shifts to reducing emissions. The UK Government has pledged that by 2030 at least, half of all new cars sold will be electric or hybrid, with the aim of eliminating sales of fossil-fuelled cars completely by 2040.
Both all-electric cars and hybrid models have seen a substantial rise in popularity compared to five years ago, while diesel cars have become less popular due to their higher carbon footprint.
As alternative fuelled cars are rising in popularity, the electric car charging infrastructure in the UK is improving, making electric and hybrid models a more viable option for more drivers. More chargers are being installed in workplaces, supermarkets and charging stations with faster charging times than before – making the switch from fossil fuels to electric as seamless as possible. And if you don’t think a full-electric car is for you, there are plenty of hybrid models to choose from too.
If you are looking to switch to electric but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of flagship models from some of the top manufacturers on the market, to help make your decision a little easier.
A flagship car is the car-model which sits at the top of a manufacturer’s range, or the model that they consider to be the most prestigious. Almost all of the new technologies introduced by a brand are debuted in the flagship model, making them some of the most progressive and desirable next generation cars on the market. More manufacturers are including electric or hybrid versions of their flagship petrol or diesel cars to cater to environmentally-conscious drivers, while others have created standalone electric models that have become flagship cars in their own right.
As the first full series production car from Audi, the e-Tron is one of the best models on the electric car market. It combines conventional Audi SUV elements like the generous size and sophisticated technology, but utilises an electric motor on each axle to provide 402bhp via a 95kWh battery. It claims a range of 248 miles and comes packed with kit, including LED headlights, adaptive air suspension and side cameras in place of mirrors. The e-Tron is also covered by a three-year 60,000-mile warranty, and the car battery is covered for eight years, or 100,000 miles.
The BMW i3 is the simplest electric car in the manufacturer’s range, mixing innovative F1-spec carbon fibre construction with futuristic styling to create the perfect city car. The latest iteration offers up to 160 miles and produces 168bhp – enough to take you to 62mph in just 7.3 seconds. It pairs a 130-kW electric motor which runs on lithium-ion batteries. An 80% charge from a 7KW Type 2 wallbox takes less than five hours, and the i3 can also use a CCS connector to give an 80% charge in about 42 minutes. Although BMW recently announced that they would not be renewing the i3, a new i1 electric hybrid is set to join the range as early as 2021.
Hyundai’s current top of the range electric car is the Kona, which utilises a 64kWh battery for a claimed 279-mile range. The small SUV packs 201bhp and has a driver-focused interior which showcases an adjustable steering wheel and lumbar support on even the entry-level model. There’s also a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system equipped with Bluetooth, DAB radio and sat nav. The Kona takes around 75 minutes to achieve a 0-80% charge with a rapid charger, while a regular 7kW charging point takes around 9.5 hours with a Type 2 cable.
Jaguar’s first premium all-electric SUV won 2019 World Car of the Year Award, so it’s no surprise that it’s the manufacturers’, most prestigious, flagship electric car. It has four-wheel drive provided by two electric motors, which result in 395bhp to take the car from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds. A 90kWh car battery gives an official range of 298 miles on a single charge, which takes ten hours to achieve from flat via a standard wall box. Using a 50kW public charger reduces that time to 85 minutes, while a rapid 100kW charger knock cuts that down to 40 minutes.
Mercedes’ first mainstream electric car is an electrified version of the GLC, so many drivers will be familiar with its design. It utilises an 80kWh car battery and twin electric motors to achieve a range of 231 to 259 miles (depending on the wheels) which propels the car to 62mph in just 5.1 seconds. A full 100% charge takes roughly 11 hours from a regular 7kW charging point, but can be charged faster at public charging points. The fastest 100kW CCS chargers deliver a 10-80% top up in as little as 40 minutes.
The Leaf was Nissan’s top of the range electric car in 2011 and has maintained a steady position at the top of the market ever since. The 40kWh version has a 0-60mph time of around eight seconds, and there’s also a 62kWh version called the e+Tekna. Once you lift off the accelerator, you’ll feel the regenerative brakes harvesting energy to replenish the battery, prolonging its use. The Leaf achieves around 168 miles of range and takes eight hours to charge on a 7kW wallbox, but with a rapid charger it can reach 80% in 40-60 minutes.
Tesla’s flagship Model S was ‘built from the ground up as an EV’, with a floor-mounted car battery for added protection. All versions have four-wheel drive and offer three power outputs. The 100D version has a maximum range of 393 miles, while the P100D has 381 miles. Even the entry-level 75D has a higher range than most other EVs, with 304 miles between charges. It takes 30 hours to charge from flat via a domestic socket, but investing in one of Tesla’s superchargers provides an 80% charge in just 30 minutes.
The VW e-Up has an official 0-62mph time of 12.4 seconds, while five regenerative braking modes work to recharge the battery when the car slows down. The range is 83 miles in optimum conditions, and Volkswagen offers a lengthy eight year warranty on the car battery. A full charge takes around nine hours from a domestic plug, but drivers can top it up to 80% in just 30 minutes with a rapid charger. It utilises a 32.3kWh lithium battery and is powered by an 81bhp electric motor which sits at the front of the car.
Aside from to fulfil the government’s plans to reduce emissions, other benefits of going electric include a quiet drive, lower running costs and reduced road tax. Many drivers are put off because electric cars are generally more expensive to buy outright, but running costs are considerably lower compared to petrol and diesel alternatives, as there are many free car-charging points located across the UK.
Although drivers do have to factor in charging and possible range when selecting an all-electric model, rapid improvements in technology means that there’s less and less difference between conventional and alternative fuelled car – especially when it comes to driving experience.
When selecting your ideal electric car, you should look for one that has a battery with substantial capacity and that maintains its power over time. Generally, an EVs battery range will drop to around 80% of its maximum range after five years of use, but most EV manufacturers will provide a separate warranty for the battery. All electric cars come with a ‘range-remaining’ display which shows a distance based on your driving style, so you’ll always know when you need to recharge.
For most drivers, the deciding factor on when to buy an electric car is how they intend to use it. If you primarily use your car for short city commutes and can easily charge your car at both ends of the journey, the lower running costs and tax associated with an EV can be appealing. For those who cover longer distances or regularly drive on motorways, a hybrid or conventionally-fuelled model may be best.
Although there’s no denying that owning an electric car requires more planning and consideration than a conventional petrol or diesel model, the environmental and financial benefits of going electric are clear.
At AMT, we’re committed to providing a quality service that’s bespoke to you. If you are looking for a new electric vehicle or want to know more about hybrid models, contact our dedicated team today to discuss your requirements on 0113 387 4241.