Best electric cars 2024
Tax free, green and cheap to run... here are the best electric cars you can buy right now.
In 2023, the British car market hit a milestone with the number of pure electric models on the road topping a million for the first time.
Today, there are now over 60 different electric cars on sale and that number is increasing all the time, with new EVs coming on to the market from almost every manufacturer. From SUVs to luxury cars, small cars to vans, Britain’s motorists have never had a greater choice when it comes to electrifying their choice of wheels.
But it’s not just about how many options there are. Where you were once restricted to cars like the BMW i3 or the pioneering Nissan Leaf, which certainly won’t have appealed to everyone, you now have the choice of more mainstream options – no longer is an EV quirky or different, while the infrastructure is improving all the time.
The downside, of course, is that electric cars are still expensive and before you decide whether or not an EV is right for you, you need to do your sums and offset any savings you make on running costs against the increased purchase price of an electric car.
EVs are more usable than ever before, with battery range becoming increasingly greater as technology advances. Do bear in mind that the quoted range of an electric car is often a little optimistic, though.
For those who need even more in the way of range, plug-in hybrids combine clean and cheap electric power with a petrol or diesel engine that kicks in when the batteries run low – but as electric cars continue to improve, the need for fossil fuels gets less and less.
If you want to go electric, there’s never been a better time to do so. We’ve listed 10 of the best electric cars currently on sale below.
Best electric cars 2024
Best electric car for the image conscious
Our pick: Volvo EX30 Plus Single Motor Extended Range
Read our Volvo reviews
With a waiting list from launch and in huge demand ever since, Volvo’s smallest electric SUV - the Volvo EX30 - has captured car buyers’ imaginations.
Incredibly stylish and sophisticated in the way that only a Scandinavian model can be, its beautifully finished and well equipped. But even better, the Volvo EX30 is also very well-priced, with the two single motor models coming in at under £40k.
The twin motor model is more expensive and notably quicker, but unless you crave the extra performance it probably isn’t worth the extra. The Volvo WX30 single motor model is more than adequate for most, with standard (214 miles) and extended (298 miles) range variants available.
Best electric car for all-round appeal
Our pick: Honda e:Ny1 Elegance
Read our Honda reviews
Featuring innovative safety kit in the form of Honda’s SENSING all-round protection package, a high-tech interior and handsome styling, Honda’s unusually named e:Ny1 is a desirable machine.
Its 62kWh battery pack and 256 mile range are pretty much on a par with the class average for similar-sized EVs, but it’s as a package where the Honda e:Ny1’s stands out. It’s both compact yet spacious, with excellent levels of standard equipment even on the entry-level Elegance model, which gets a 15.1-inch touchscreen.
Higher-spec examples get features such as heated steering wheels and a panoramic roof, yet are still among the more affordable electric SUVs on the market, while there aren’t many cars in this class that are as sharp to look at. Add that to a comfortable, well-finished cabin and projected strong resale values, and as an all-round package the Honda is a tough one to ignore.
Best electric car for a striking design
Our pick: Hyundai Ioniq 5 Ultimate 2WD
Read our full Hyundai Ioniq 5 review
It caused quite a stir with its styling when it arrived in 2022 and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 continues to turn heads, with styling as far removed from the original and rather bland Hyundai Ioniq as you can imagine.
Its retro-modern looks enshroud a forward-thinking, well-engineered technological tour-de-force that’s one of the most impactful and desirable EVs on the market, extending its appeal to lots of new customers who would never before have considered the Korean brand.
There are two versions of the Ioniq 5, a 58kWh model and a 73kWh version. The figures refer to the size of the battery, bigger being better in terms of driving range. The 58kWh model can travel up to 238 miles per charge, while the 73kWh version can drive for almost 300 miles before recharging.
Best electric car for motorway driving
Our pick:BMW i5 eDrive40 M Sport
Read our BMW reviews
The BMW i5 was one of the most hotly anticipated new electric cars ever when it arrived at the end of 2023, bringing the Germany company’s range of i-branded electric models into one of its mainstream core markets - that of the BMW 5 Series.
Just like the traditional executive saloon, it’s fabulous to drive and wonderfully comfortable, with excellent levels of tech and a beautifully finished cabin. There are two main versions – the rear-wheel drive eDrive40 with 340PS and the four-wheel-drive M60 xDrive M Performance with 601PS. The latter is a phenomenal car but carries a six-figure price tag.
The official range of 362 miles is a little less than rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 and Mercedes EQE, but the minimally smaller range is more than offset by the BMW i5’s immaculate driving dynamics.
Best electric car for value for money
Our pick: BYD Dolphin Design
With a list price comparable with most petrol-powered small cars, the BYD Dolphin is the cheapest full-sized electric hatchback currently available and is ideal for those who need a four-seater without the expense of a more premium brand.
The Chinese-manufactured BYD Dolphin looks the part, too. It’s well-balanced in its styling and while there are a few cheaper plastics, the cabin quality is perfectly acceptable. It’s not hugely sophisticated in handling terms, while the entry-level 95PS electric motor is less powerful than in more expensive rivals. But as a usable, day-to-day car that’s inexpensive to own and run, it’s very difficult to ignore.
Move up the range and both trim level and performance improve, while there’s the option of a 60.4kWh motor instead of the standard 44.9kWh one. But it’s the lower end of the BYD Dolphin line-up where the greatest bargains are to be found.
Best electric car for family transport
Our pick: Nissan Ariya 63kWh Advance
Read our Nissan reviews
Family-friendly SUVs are what the Japanese company has always done best and the Nissan Ariya is a perfect case in point – a decent-sized and strikingly handsome machine with great levels of practicality.
Three powertrains are available – an entry-level 63kWh model with a power output of 218PS and a range of up to 250 miles, an 87kWh version with a more powerful 242PS motor and a four-wheel-drive twin-motor 87kWh performance variant called the e-4ORCE. There are also two trim grades: Advance or Evolve.
All models include Nissan’s ProPILOT advanced safety systems, while the Evolve gets a panoramic roof and a Bose sound system, along with a head-up display. When it debuted in 2021, the Nissan Ariya was named European Car of the Year, and it’s easily the company’s most convincing electric model yet.
Best electric family car for understated excellence
Our pick: Kia Niro EV 3
Read our Kia reviews
The new Kia Niro EV picks up where its predecessor, the Kia e-Niro, left off. Easy and relaxing to drive, it's the ideal electric small SUV that's not much bigger than a regular hatchback. As with all modern Kia models, it's well built with a user-friendly interior.
All models come with the same 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster which is pretty sharp and gives plenty of information. Kia has also kept proper buttons for the steering wheel. It also feels more spacious than its sister car, the Hyundai Kona Electric.
The sole electric motor choice is a 204PS motor driving the front wheels. It's mated to a 64.8kWh battery which gives a claimed range of 285 miles.
Best electric car for luxury
Our pick: Jaguar I-Pace EV400 R-Dynamic SE Black
Read our full Jaguar I-Pace review
Jaguar’s first electric car boasts Porsche-beating acceleration, a vast interior and an official range of up to 292 miles, making the Jaguar I-Pace competitive with the likes of the Tesla Model X, Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron. True, it may not be in its first flush of youth, but constant improvements over the years mean the Jaguar I-Pace still feels modern.
Flush-fitting door handles and a high-tech digital interior give the Jaguar I-Pace a futuristic feel, but it also gets the basics right, with a large boot and four-wheel drive.
However, while the 200-plus-mile range sounds impressive, it uses a large 90kWh battery to deliver this, which costs more to fill up than smaller and more economical electric cars.
Best electric SUV for common-sense buyers
Our pick: Hyundai Kona Electric N Line Long Range 2WD
Read our Hyundai reviews
Hyundai generally teams up with its sister company, Kia, to build cars and it has done that with the Hyundai Kona Electric, so it’s no surprise to find that underneath the car's slender headlights are the same batteries and motor that power the Kia Niro EV - and that's a very good thing.
You get a similarly long range of almost 300 miles between charges and the same brisk performance. Pricing is highly competitive, but the Hyundai Kona falls slightly behind the Kia Niro EV because, although there's space for four adults, it has slightly less room in the back and boot.
There's a cheaper standard range version with a smaller 48kWh battery. This has a reduced range of around 230 miles in real-world conditions.
Best electric car for performance and range
Our pick: Tesla Model Y Dual Motor Long Range
Read our Tesla reviews
Tesla dominates the electric car market and its Model 3 seems to be everywhere but the Tesla Model Y is not far behind in terms of sales. Both have plenty in common when it comes to parts, plus you get the same minimalist cabin dominated by a feature-packed touchscreen.
The Model Y also has the same ability to rapid charge at up to 250kW using Tesla's excellent supercharger network and the same electrifying pace.
In some markets the Tesla Model Y is also available as a seven-seater, which gives it a unique selling point over pretty much every rival bar the Mercedes-Benz EQB. However, right-hand-drive versions aren't offered yet.