In Depth

Best electric cars on sale in 2019: Porsche Taycan, Audi E-tron and more

From hatchbacks to luxury sports coupes, these are the best EVs on the market today

The electric car market has grown massively over the past 12 months. New arrivals, such as the Tesla Model 3 and Porsche Taycan, have proven to be big hits among fans and EV newcomers.  

More premium models are expected to launch at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show, running from 22 November to 2 December, before a host of new models hit the market in 2020. 

Here are the best electric cars currently on sale 2019:

Porsche Taycan

One of the most anticipated cars of the year, the Porsche Taycan [pictured top], was unveiled to the world in production guise in September. The company’s first EV looks to inject a sense of sportiness into the electric market - and it certainly looks to have lived up to the hype. 

According to Autocar, the Taycan “might just be more enjoyable to drive than any other current four-door Porsche”. That’s thanks to a nicely weighted steering, “terrifically tight” body control and grip limits that are “all but unreachable on the road.”

It’s quick, too. “The way in which it delivers its power and torque is borderline undetectable”, says Evo, as the EV gathers pace “with no real effort or input required from the driver.”

While the Taycan isn’t powered by the company’s signature flat-six engine, Top Gear argues that the firm’s electric car is “a proper Porsche” at heart. “Truly, this is great news for anyone that loves fast cars.”

The Taycan is one sale now, with prices starting at £83,367 for the entry-level 4S model. Deliveries, however, won’t get underway until early next year.

Mini Electric
Mini Electric

Mini

It’s been over ten years in the making, but Mini’s first mass-production electric car is finally available to order in the UK. 

The Mini Electric is based on the company’s three-door Cooper S and is equipped with a 32.6kWh battery pack that offers a range of about 124 miles under the real-world WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) measuring system, says Evo

The battery is connected to the same synchronous electric motor found in the BMW i3 and matches the futuristic city car’s 181bhp power output and 199lb-ft of torque, the magazine notes. 

“MINI is onto something with the Electric”, says Auto Express. “It feels like the first ‘affordable’ EV designed to take advantage of the benefits an electric powertrain brings - a focus on performance, agility and entertainment.”

And the appeal “only grows” when the “sensible” £24,300 price tag is taken into consideration, the magazine adds. 

Buyers can order the Mini Electric now, with deliveries expected to get underway in October, according to The Sunday Times.

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Volkswagen e-Golf
Volkswagen e-Golf

The VW Golf is one of the best-selling cars in the UK and across the rest of Europe, so it’s no wonder the company released an EV version to capitalise on the hatchback’s success. 

From the outside, the e-Golf looks almost indistinguishable from the other combustion-engined models in the range. The only key differences are the more rounded front bumper, a blocked-off grille and - of course - the omission of an exhaust pipe at the back. 

Things become a little different under the car’s familiar skin, though. The e-Golf is powered by a 114bhp electric motor that’s connected to a 24.2kWh lithium-ion battery, notes Top Gear. The electric system provides “a fabulous slug of torque” when drivers put their foot down, which gives the hatchback “a proper kick away from the lights.”

It’s 125-mile range, meanwhile, is “reasonably competitive for the class” and should be more than enough for those nipping around city streets, says WhatCar?. It’s also the “one of the most refined electric cars on sale”, as road and wind noise are “well hushed” even at higher speeds.

The e-Golf is available for £33,785. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that VW plans to launch a Golf-seized EV next year called the ID. 3, which is based on a new electric-only platform. The e-Golf, meanwhile, is essentially a regular hatchback that has been adapted for an electric powertrain.

Kia e-Niro
Kia e-Niro

Along with sister car the Hyundai Kona EV, the Kia e-Niro is one of the best options for customers on a tight budget who want to join the world of electric driving. 

What makes the e-Niro particularly impressive is its “253-mile real-world range”, which is more than a match for far pricier models such as the Jaguar I-Pace, WhatCar? reports. The performance of the Kia’s electric motor and battery system match those of its rivals as well, so there are no issues with darting through cities or accelerating up to motorway speeds. 

The electric SUV is a vehicle that drivers will want to spend time in, too. The reviews site hails the SUV’s “spacious” cabin, which is packed with “oodles of equipment” and a “decent infotainment system”, making the Kia e-Niro a “very fine car” to own. 

Auto Express agrees, describing the e-Niro as a model that offers “the performance, range and charge times to make electric motoring viable to all but the highest-mileage drivers”.

Prices start at £32,995, including the Government’s £3,500 plug-in car grant.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Tesla

The Model 3 has been on sale in the US for well over a year, but Tesla’s budget EV is finally on sale in the UK.

But before you place your order, the critics have been behind the wheel of the electric car to see how it fares on Britain’s notoriously bumpy roads. 

Thankfully, the Model 3 is “indisputably a fascinating, very capable car” that’s “made for” UK roads, says Autocar. The vehicle “grips extremely well” on twisty bends and the steering wheel “stays rock-steady in your hands”, making the car feel “brilliantly stable” at all times. 

Auto Express is also full of praise for the Model 3. The magazine says the budget EV “drives brilliantly, looks great, seems to be built just as well as other cars at the price and is full of the most advanced tech.”

It’s “ridiculously” fast in Performance spec, too, says WhatCar?. Though the ride is “firmer than some of its rivals”, it’s never to the point of being uncomfortable.

Prices start at £38,900, which includes the Government’s £3,500 electric car grant. 

Audi E-tron
Audi E-tron

Audi

With the Audi E-tron now finally available to order, critics have been getting behind the wheel to deliver their verdicts on the German carmaker’s first mass-production EV.

Evo notes that the E-tron’s conservative styling “diverges from the current electric car trend”, which may appeal to buyers wanting the benefits of battery power without the typically bold designs of many other EVs. 

“It’s a similar story inside,” the magazine says. The cabin is “very similar to the latest A7”, with a touchscreen display in the centre console and a digital dashboard behind the steering wheel. “It’s beautifully finished and reasonably practical too,” Evo adds.

Although the styling and cabin mimics a conventional combustion-engined car, the E-tron is still packed with hi-tech features.

Engadget reports that the regeneration braking system, which kicks in when drivers lift off the accelerator, charges the battery at an impressively quick rate. Drivers can also adjust how much energy the car regenerates: the more energy recovered, the harder the brakes are applied when lifting off the accelerator.

Drivers should get around 249 miles of power from a single charge, while topping up the battery to 80% takes just 30 minutes when connected to a fast charger, says Auto Express

The E-tron “excels as a high-quality family SUV” and is “quieter, more comfortable and better to drive than Tesla’s Model X”, the magazine concludes.

Prices start at £71,490.

Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai Kona

Drivers who are on the hunt for an electric SUV but can’t afford the premium price tags of the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X are in luck. Hyundai’s Kona EV, now available to order in the UK, offers impressive battery range and practicality for nearly half the cost, with a price tag of between £25,000 and £34,000. 

The entry-level model features a 39kWh battery that is capable of powering the car for up to 194 miles on a single charge, under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) measuring system, says Autocar. Buyers who opt for the range-topping 64kWh model will see that figure rise to 300 miles. 

Each battery option takes around nine hours and 35 minutes to charge using a standard power socket, reports the Daily Express. That time drops to 54 minutes for 100kW public chargers, although these are not yet available in the UK. 

The new EV’s boot space remains unchanged from the combustion-engined Kona, at 361 litres, and there’s plenty of headroom for occupants in the rear, the newspaper adds.

Renault Zoe

The all-electric Zoe is one of the older models on this list yet remains the best electric car on sale for buyers on a budget. 

Priced at a very reasonable £21,920, the Zoe is a compact city car designed to make EV ownership more affordable. To that aim, drivers can either purchase the car with the battery included or just lease the power pack, depending on their budget.

Renault also provides a lifetime warranty on leased batteries, so buyers can simply return their car to a dealership and get a free replacement if their Zoe’s “range starts to tail off due to battery degradation”, WhatCar? reports.

The Zoe is well equipped for the price, too, with the mid-range Dynamique Nav models featuring keyless entry, climate control and rear parking sensors. 

Buyers can expect a range of between 174 and 186 miles with top-spec Z.E. 40 batteries, although a cheaper 22kWh battery with a range of roughly 130 miles is also available, according to CarBuyer

Although entry-level petrol cars have a slight edge over cheap EVs in terms of cost and range, the Renault Zoe “still offers the best package we’ve yet seen to tempt motorists away from fossil-fuelled cars”, the motoring site concludes.

Tesla Model S 
Tesla Model S

The Model S may have launched all the way back in 2012, but Tesla’s luxurious saloon has received a host of design, interior and performance upgrades over its seven-year history.

The US electric carmaker is kicking off 2019 with a shake-up of its nomenclature, which now follows that of the budget Model 3 saloon. 

Models formerly dubbed the 100D will now be called the “Extended Range”, while faster P100D cars will be badged as “Performance”, says Auto Express.

Meanwhile, models with the optional “Ludicrous” mode, a setting that temporarily boosts the car’s power output to deliver hypercar-rivalling acceleration, will be called the “Model S Performance with Ludicrous Mode”, the magazine says.  

Fundamentally, though, the new versions remain mechanically identical to those that came before them. Therefore, buyers can expect a battery range of 393 miles, recorded by the old New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) system used to measure a vehicle’s range, as well as a nippy 0-60mph time of 4.1 seconds as standard. 

It may carry a hefty starting price tag of £88,800, but WhatCar? says buyers will “save loads” on powering the car, as a full charge costs £6 to £10.

BMW i3s
BMW i3 and i3s

BMW’s i3 electric hatchback got a sportier variant in 2018, the i3s. The model, priced from £36,975, is arguably the first performance electric hatchback on the market, with more aggressive styling and a higher power output than the standard i3, says Car magazine. 

The i3s produces 181bhp and has a range of 174 miles on a single charge under the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) system, the magazine adds. There is also a Range Extender version, with a 647cc two-cylinder petrol engine. 

Jaguar I-Pace
Jaguar I-Pace

The Week

Jaguar’s first entry into the electric car market arrived in 2018, and it was instantly a hit with the critics. 

The £63,495 I-Pace offers 395bhp and a claimed range of 298 miles on a single charge under the new worldwide harmonised light vehicles test procedure (WLTP). That puts it in direct competition with the Tesla Model X, which has had the all-electric SUV market to itself for past two years. 

Electric transport site Electrek says the I-Pace is “an amazing car and embodies everything great about the promise of electric powertrains”. 

The new arrival is a “speed demon sports car”, with a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds, while offering the same off-road capability and practicality as a conventional utility vehicle, the website adds. 

Auto Express agrees, noting that the I-Pace is not just “one of the most exciting cars you can buy” but also marks a significant step forward for Jaguar. 

The I-Pace isn’t perfect though. The ride “could be softer”, and a “more responsive” braking system wouldn’t go amiss, the magazine says. Nevertheless, Jaguar has “nailed” its first attempt at an EV. 

Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf 2018

Nissan kicked off 2018 with an all-new version of its Leaf, which is available to order for £21,990, says Car Buyer

The Japanese car giant has completely reworked the popular EV’s styling, replacing the old car’s curvy exterior with a more angular look inspired by the company’s Micra hatchback. The interior also gets a significant upgrade, and now sports a 7in touchscreen infotainment system, WhatCar? says. 

Along with the design overhaul, Nissan has put a lot of work into improving the new Leaf’s battery performance, adds Auto Express. The new model has an increased range of around 235 miles on one charge under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) measure system - a 50% improvement over the first-generation Leaf. 

There’s also a Nismo version on the horizon, which according to CNet, brings a host of chassis upgrades and electric tweaks to make the EV more driver focused. The Nismo model launches in Japan later this month, but a UK release date has yet to be announced. 

Read all about the new Leaf and its faster Nismo sibling here.

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