The best electric cars are every bit as good as their petrol or diesel rivals, with enough range to go the distance. We reveal the best electric cars and whether it’s worth considering a hydrogen car

Best electric cars 1

Electric cars have come of age and the best offer all the functionality and practicality of traditional petrol or diesel cars, while creating zero exhaust emissions and the potential for very low day-to-day running costs. As demand increases, more manufacturers are offering fully electric (rather than hybrid) models, spanning car classes large and small, both mainstream and premium. But not all electric cars are created equal. We know from our extensive owner surveys that some electric cars require extensive trips to your local mechanic – so make sure you read our new and used car reviews before you buy. We’ve also tested a duo of hydrogen fuel-cell cars, another type of zero-emission car that’s yet to go mainstream, but may take off in the future.

The best new electric cars

This table contains the highest scoring, zero-emission electric cars from our tests that you can buy brand new. If you’re looking for the other zero-emission car – hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – we’ve listed them separately below.

To make it as one of our top picks, a car has to impress across the board in our independent tests and surveys, including driving performance, safety, practicality and reliability. If a car doesn’t excel in our rigorous assessments, it won’t feature in our recommendations.

How to buy the best electric car

There are many things to consider before purchasing a car that runs on electricity. Below are our top tips on buying and owning an electric car, including information you need on vehicle tax exemption, getting a plug-in car grant and an at-home charging point grant too.

Read on to find out what electric cars are like to drive and how far they can go before you have to charge the battery.

What is an electric car like to drive?

The lack of pistons and noisy combustion means electric cars can ghost along very quietly at city speeds, and they tend to be very nippy.

The surprising turn of speed from a standstill can take the uninitiated by surprise, so make sure you take it slowly the first few times you drive one.

The lack of noise can seem peculiar at first, as can be the total absence of engine vibration, but these are two big advantages of driving an electric car.

The basics of driving an electric car are the same as any other car. There’s still an accelerator and a brake pedal. But in other ways an electric car can seem strange to a seasoned driver.

Some models, including the Nissan Leaf, can be driven using just one pedal. So when you lift off the accelerator, the car uses heavy regenerative braking to slow down the car significantly (enough to illuminate the brake lights) and feed energy back into the battery. It can take a little getting used to and there’s still a separate brake if you’d prefer to drive conventionally.

Can you get a grant for an electric car?

Government-backed grants are available through OZEV (Office for Zero Emission Vehicles – formerly OLEV/Office for Low Emission Vehicles) towards the cost of selected new electric vehicles. As of 15 December 2021, for cars that cost less than £32,000 you can get a grant that will reduce the price of buying the car by up to 35%, up to a maximum of £1,500.

This is the latest decline in the grant which had been amended on 18 March to reduce costs by £2,500 from cars that cost up to £35,000, and prior to that date, by £3,000 for cars costing £50,000 or less. Currently, wheelchair accessible vehicles still retain the £2,500 grant, on vehicles priced up to £35,000.

The criteria for eligibility for a plug-in car grant has also been tightened in recent years. The car must have official CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km and be able to travel at least 70 miles on electric power alone fall under the scheme, effectively making this a grant just for electric cars and not plug-in hybrids

. Similar grant schemes also operates for low-emission vans, motorcycles, mopeds, taxis and trucks.

Are you exempt from paying road tax on electric cars?

For the time being, electric cars are completely exempt from car tax, in both the first and subsequent years, as they emit zero CO2.  Electric cars costing more than £40,000 are also now exempt from the ‘expensive car supplement’, since an announcement in the 2020 Budget, which sees most cars priced above £40,000 (including options) liable for an additional £335 per year of car tax for years two to six.

How should you charge an electric car?

Don’t even think about using a domestic three-pin socket to charge your car. This is slow. Very slow. We’re talking in excess of 35 hours’ worth of slow, depending on the car. For regular charging at home, if your property allows it, you’ll be best off investing in a dedicated fast charger.

normally takes the form of a wallbox mounted on the outside of your house. The type of charger, connector and wattage you need will depend on your car, budget and what electricity connection you have.

When you’re away from home, you can use a number of different websites or apps to find out where your nearest public charging point is.

These include on-street charging points in city centres, for example, as well as the growing number of high-voltage fast chargers and rapid chargers at strategic service stations on the motorway network.

, charging points are run by a variety of separate networks, so you’ll need work out which ones are compatible with your car, and register with them accordingly.

And bear in mind that some public charging points can be very costly when compared with rates for home charging, with some providers billing based on the duration of the charge, rather than the amount of electricity consumed. See our dedicated electric car charging guide for all you need to know.

The EVHS (domestic wall charger grant)

Grants are also available towards the cost of having a charging point installed at your home, but that will soon end for most homeowners.

The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) grant removes up to 75% (capped at £350) of the cost of a wall charging unit fitted by one of its approved suppliers, provided it’s a smart charger.

If you live in Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust may reimburse you an additional £250, or up to £350 for those in the most remote areas of the nation.

But the EVHS will stopped being offered to most homeowners as of April 2022, and will instead only apply to those living in flats or those renting properties. Further conditions apply, and you’ll need to own (or at least have ordered) a vehicle that’s on the list of OZEV approved models.

Find out more at the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles website, and the Energy Saving Trust site.

Which electric cars have the longest range?

If you’re planning to buy an electric car, check the maximum range of the electric cars in your shortlist, especially if you regularly drive long distances. And don’t forget to factor in your charging time, too, if you need to top up at any time other than overnight.

The maximum driving range available can vary greatly between models. Luxury models with larger batteries offer greater claimed driving ranges, but even entry-level models should offer a driving range of around 150 miles.  However, don’t just look at the official figures.

At  we do our own realistic range tests because, just like fuel tests, the figure manufacturers quote are often quite ambitious.  We’ve found cars that fall more than 30 miles short of their quoted range.

If you don’t want to be caught out, make sure you check out the real, independently tested ranges in our electric car reviews.

Do you get a lot of boot space in your electric car?

Electric cars may be cheap to run but they can suffer on boot space. The huge batteries that keep the cars going need to go somewhere, and often that’s in the boot. The same goes for plug-in hybrids.

Plug-in hybrid models can also have smaller fuel tanks to make more space for batteries, so you may need to fill up more often on longer journeys, particularly if you don’t regularly charge it up.

Car manufacturers vary in the way they measure boot space. We measure the boot of every car we test to work out the usable amount of space, so you can use our figures to compare boot sizes and make sure you buy the car that’s right for your needs.

For more information about our independent lab and road tests, see how we test cars.

What are hydrogen fuel-cell cars?

There’s another kind of zero-emission car on the horizon, too – hydrogen fuel-cell cars (or fuel-cell electric vehicles – FCEVs), such as the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo.

Like electric cars, FCEVs have electric motors, but they are powered by hydrogen. This makes them faster to refuel than battery-powered electric cars.

Filling a car with hydrogen takes about as long as filling a car with petrol.  Hydrogen cars retain the other benefits of electric cars, such as being near-silent, smooth and quick to accelerate. Unlike electric cars, hydrogen powered cars do have an exhaust – but the only thing that comes out of it is water.

Hydrogen refuelling stations are currently extremely limited in the UK and the cars are very expensive, making them far from ideal for most people today, but that may change if the powering method gains traction.

We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because  is independent, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test. Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track, and on real roads – and we really clock up the miles, driving around 500 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs.

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test. To take the guesswork out of choosing your next car.

Kia E-Niro (2019-) review

£29,912Price from

Test scoreShow Context

81%

Key features

  • Compact/Small SUV
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: A standout EV model

The e-Niro ushers in a new era of electric transport, firmly allaying range anxiety fears while offering very low running costs and zero tailpipe emissions. While it may not be cheap as chips, it is more affordable than many electric cars, and makes a very good case for itself as eco-friendly family transport. It’s a deserved Which? Best Buy.

Pros
  • Long range
  • Cheap to run
  • Seven-year warranty
Cons
  • Somewhat pricey
  • Awkward visibility
  • Small boot
  • Takes a while to recharge

Kia Soul EV (2020-) review

£32,445Price from

Test scoreShow Context

81%

Key features

  • Compact/Small SUV
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: Highly convincing all-electric SUV

If range anxiety has been putting you off buying an electric car, the Kia Soul EV could change your view. It can travel a long way on a single charge, has very low running costs and zero tailpipe emissions. It’s not only eco-friendly but also a solidly capable family car – and a Which? Best Buy.

Pros
  • Long range
  • Cheap to run
  • Spacious
  • Seven-year warranty
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Takes a while to recharge
  • Some cheap cabin materials

Polestar 2 (2020-) review

£39,900Price from

Test scoreShow Context

79%

Key features

  • Large
  • Available new
  • Electric

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Which? verdict: Electrifying contender from Volvo’s upmarket brand

The Polestar 2 is an impressive performer. It’s extremely safe and easy to drive, has a simple operating menu, and feels very upmarket inside. It’s not an entirely rosy picture, though, since energy consumption is high and the tested range doesn’t remotely match the claims. Despite these reservations, the Polestar 2 is a Which? Best Buy.

Pros
  • Superb performance
  • Well-equipped
  • High-quality feel
  • Safe
Cons
  • High energy consumption
  • Poorer range than claimed
  • Performance Pack ruins ride comfort

Skoda Enyaq iV (2021-) review

£32,350Price from

Test scoreShow Context

78%

Key features

  • Medium/Large SUV
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: Our top-scoring electric SUV

Skoda’s debut electric SUV comes in as our highest-scoring large battery-powered SUV yet. It doesn’t stray far from the familiar brand recipe of good value, high quality and decent standard specification, but its appeal is further bolstered by a serene driving experience, spacious cabin and a useful driving range. If you want an electric car that’s right for any situation, look no further.

Pros
  • Spacious and practical interior
  • Comfortable and easy to drive
  • Decent standard specification
Cons
  • Model with greatest range not eligible for plug-in car grant
  • Leisurely performance compared with some rivals

Volkswagen ID.4 (2021-) review

£34,596Price from

Test scoreShow Context

74%

Key features

  • Medium/Large SUV
  • Available new
  • Electric

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 verdict: Impressively complete electric SUV

VW has created a truly appealing family car in the ID.4. Over and above its electric vehicle appeal (such as low running costs, ease of driving and zero tailpipe emissions), it offers an impressive range of abilities, including great space inside, strong performance and a very comfortable ride. This capable SUV is a well deserved Which? Best Buy.

Pros
  • Comfortable ride
  • Generous range
  • Well-equipped
  • Safe
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Complex infotainment system
  • Disappointing cabin materials

Volvo XC40 Recharge (2021-) review

£47,966Price from

Test scoreShow Context

74%

Key features

  • Compact/Small SUV
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: Superb all-round zero-emissions SUV

Volvo’s first electric vehicle (EV) is a triumph. It adds a serious turn of performance and the potential for very low running costs to what was already a hugely desirable and practical small SUV. The range isn’t anything to write home about, and the touchscreen-centric media system takes some familiarisation, but overall the XC40 Recharge is a deserved Which? Best Buy.

Pros
  • Outstanding performance
  • Spacious and practical
  • Loaded with safety kit
Cons
  • High energy consumption
  • Media system distracting to operate on the move

Mercedes-Benz EQC (2019-) review

£66,545Price from

Test scoreShow Context

72%

Key features

  • Medium/Large SUV
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: Superbly comfortable electric SUV

The EQC is an excellent zero-emissions debut into the luxury SUV market for Mercedes. It’s very comfortable, loaded with tech and has a reasonable (if not exceptional) driving range. We have some small criticisms relating to its rear passenger space and payload capacity, but it’s not enough to prevent us awarding a Best Buy rating.

Pros
  • Excellent suspension comfort
  • Powerful electric motors
  • High levels of active safety technology.
Cons
  • Very heavy
  • High power consumption
  • Limited rear headroom

Mini Electric (2020-) review

£26,000Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Small
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: Electrifyingly exciting small hatch

With full electric power, the Mini Electric lives up to its Cooper S billing by offering tremendous fun, in terms of both performance and handling. It’s refined to ride in and benefits from a great cabin, too. If you can live with its restricted range and limited carrying capacity, it’s a great choice.

Pros
  • Superb cornering ability
  • Strong performance
  • Pleasant cabin
Cons
  • Limited range
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Tiny boot capacity

Porsche Taycan (2020-) review

£83,635Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Large
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: Superlative electric sports saloon

Porsche has proved that it’s possible to make an electric car that not only goes fast in a straight line but is also truly rewarding to drive in other respects, feeling every bit as sporty as other models in its range. It’s also very comfortable, with great refinement and ride quality, while the excellent cabin can seat four adults (although rear headroom is limited). Overall, this is a superlative electric sports saloon.

Pros
  • Strong acceleration
  • Sharp handling
  • Cossetting ride
  • Superb cabin
  • Respectable range
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Complex touchscreens
  • Limited rear headroom

DS 3 Crossback E-Tense (2020-) review

£30,394Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Compact/Small SUV
  • Available new
  • Electric

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verdict: Stylish and luxuriously appointed EV that’s comfortable, quiet and cost effective to run.

The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is a desirable and efficient compact crossover that has a more premium feel than its rivals. Opulent interiors, sleek styling and advanced safety equipment give it strong showroom appeal. It costs more to buy than the regular DS 3 Crossback, but the E-Tense has a good electric range and, if you can live with the need to charge it regularly, there are some significant running cost savings to be made. The control layout isn’t as easy to use as we’d like and visibility could be better, but the comfortable and quiet DS 3 Crossback still makes it as a Best Buy.

Pros
  • Low running costs
  • Stylish
  • Comfortable
  • And safe
Cons
  • Poor visibility
  • Cramped rear seat spaces
  • Fiddly infotainment controls

Mercedes-Benz B Class Electric Drive (2015-2017) review

£13,669Price from

Test scoreShow Context

70%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Electric

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Which? verdict: Electric power with few compromises

Mercedes’ B-class ED is an electric car with just a few compromises – including a range of less than 100 miles on a single charge. You can tailor it to favour power over range, or vice versa, and it’s fast, comfortable and agile. There’s lots of cabin space and a more than ample-sized boot, too.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Spacious
  • Zero tailpipe emissions
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Extending range over 96 miles damages the batteries

Nissan Leaf (2011-2017) review

£7,095Price from

Test scoreShow Context

69%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Electric

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verdict: Surprisingly practical electric car

The Nissan Leaf is among the most accomplished used electric cars available. Aside from its rather limited range, there is little compromise over a conventional hatchback. If an electric car fits into your life, we’d highly recommend it.

Pros
  • An electric car that doesn’t feel like a compromise
  • Low refuelling costs
Cons
  • Expensive compared with conventional rivals
  • Limited range
  • Long recharging times

Kia Soul EV (2014-2019) review

£11,257Price from

Test scoreShow Context

68%

Key features

  • Compact/Small SUV
  • Used only
  • Electric

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 verdict: A viable EV for the used car market

Aside from the usual electric car compromises of a high purchase price and limited range, the Kia Soul EV is a thoroughly practical and likeable electric compact crossover. Low day-to-day running costs should help ease the financial burden, however, so if your lifestyle and budget can accommodate the electric Soul, then it should certainly be considered.

Pros
  • Zero tailpipe emissions
  • Low day-to-day costs
  • Easy to drive
Cons
  • Limited real-world driving range

Volkswagen e-Golf (2014-2020) review

£13,297Price from

Test scoreShow Context

68%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Electric

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 verdict: Solid EV option

It may be battery powered, but the Volkswagen e-Golf is no golf cart. The greatest compliment we can pay it is that it’s very like a normal VW Golf to drive and use – apart from being near-silent and having a much-reduced range. The electric version sacrifices almost nothing in terms of space either.

Pros
  • Low recharging costs
  • Refined
  • Spacious
  • Safe
Cons
  • Limited range
  • Long recharging times

Ford Focus Electric (2013-2017) review

£7,439Price from

Test scoreShow Context

66%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Electric

Compare
Which? verdict: Efficient but compromised electric car
Performance is strong, with power coming in instantly, but this can make the car feel a little unsettled and it’s less sharp in its responses than a conventional Focus. The batteries which power the electric motor really eat into the boot space, too. While the Focus Electric is extremely cheap to ‘refuel’, it doesn’t keep its value well.
Pros
  • Powerful and smooth electric motor
  • Cheap to refuel
  • Spacious cabin
Cons
  • Limited range
  • Smaller boot than standard Focus
  • Poor value retention