Most Reliable Electric Cars uk

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Dynamically, the MX-30 also stands out – though only when you’re travelling with a bit of pace on an interesting road. With 143bhp and 199lb ft, the electric motor is never going to blow your socks off in a straight line, but the weighting of the MX-30’s steering and the supple manner in which the suspension transfers weight while cornering are genuinely reminiscent of the MX-5 sports car. Around town, however, it can feel a little plain. 

Most (and least) reliable electric cars

Best Electric Cars 2021

Electric cars are still relatively new to the mainstream, so you might be a bit worried about whether their technology can be relied on. Fortunately, the answer generally appears to be ‘yes‘, with owners of most models rating them very highly in our 2021 Reliability Survey.

For the survey, we asked more than 16,000 What Car? readers to let us know if their cars had suffered any faults over the past year, and if so, which areas went wrong.

Electric cars achieved an average score of 92.9%. Here we’ve looked closer at the data to name the most and least dependable electric cars up to five years old.

If an electric car ought to excel anywhere, it’s in the supermini segment – particularly with the recent changes to the government’s £2500 plug-in car grant, which now applies only to cars with a sub-£35,000 list price.

Best Small Electric Cars 2022

Admittedly, a small platform means less space for batteries and so the range of the following cars will never match the potential of larger alternatives. But a small battery also means a lower asking price; and if we’re talking about urban runabouts that do only the occasional longer journey, it’s debatable just how many owners would need more than, say, 180 miles of driving range.

1. Peugeot e-208

The all-electric version of the 208 supermini is one of several PSA Group compact EVs that hit the market in 2020, but it’s the best priced and also the most visually appealing. For its mix of usable range, performance, value, practicality, style, perceived quality and driver appeal, it clearly deserves to figure highly if you’re shopping for your first electric car this year.

Unlike more low-rent-feeling EVs, the car’s materially rich interior distinguishes it just as clearly as the stylish bodywork. Practicality is on a par with the Renault Zoe and better than in a Mini Electric. Refinement beats both of those key rivals too, and performance is fairly strong. Certainly, you get an adequate dose of that electric-motor-enabled ‘zip’.

The car also rides with a suppleness missing from some smaller EVs, which often struggle to contain their body mass on the road, while in its higher-speed body movements it doesn’t feel as heavy as key rivals. The steering is striking for its directness, although body control deteriorates a little bit if you drive more enthusiastically. Even so, it’s the roundedness of the e-208’s driving experience that really impresses.

Save money on new e-208 deals from What Car?

2. Fiat 500 Electric

Fiat’s model range is now slightly confusing, because the old car lives on as the Fiat 500 Hybrid (despite only being a mild hybrid). The one you want, however, is the new electric 500. It might look familiar, but it’s only when you see them side by side that you realise the new electric 500 is completely new.

Fiat has done a marvellous job at retaining the modern-day 500’s cute retro looks, while making it into a car for the modern age. As it was developed as a purely electric car from the outset, it has a fairly sizeable (for a small car) 42kWh battery and a theoretical WLTP-lab-test range of 199miles, even if that translates into more like 140 miles in real-world use. There is a cheaper ‘Fiat 500 Action’ model with a 24kWh pack, but the savings aren’t great enough for that version to be recommendable.

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Volkswagen ID 3

How far does a car with the force of Volkswagen behind it move the needle on EV ownership?Read our reviewArticle continues below advertisementBack to top 

The electric Fiat drives substantially better than any other 500. 117bhp makes it surprisingly zippy and, while the steering is quite light, plenty of grip and an absence of body roll make it more fun to drive than a city car has any right to be. While it’s not exactly at home on the motorway, it copes remarkably well.

The interior is also a massive improvement over previous 500s. It’s still quite plasticky, but it looks great, the seats are comfortable and the infotainment is logical and responsive. It’s not great for tall drivers, though, and it goes without saying that you shouldn’t plan on carrying adults in the rear very often.

Prices start at just over £20,000, which is a lot of money for a small city car, but very decent value for a fashionable and thoroughly usable EV.

Save money on new Fiat 500 deals from What Car? 

3. Vauxhall Corsa-e

Vauxhall’s sibling to the Peugeot e-208 doesn’t quite have the style or claimed WLTP range of its French relation, doesn’t have the imaginatively configured interior and isn’t priced quite as keenly.

But don’t let that fool you into believing this Vauxhall isn’t worth a test drive. It might be a little plainer than the Peugeot but it still looks handsome enough. The car’s driving experience combines genuine 180-mile everyday battery range with keen and competent handling and a comfortable ride, while 100kW DC rapid charging compatibility as standard should also be a selling point. Vauxhall also has purchase incentives for a free home charger installation and access to a special home energy tariff.

Vauxhall’s large UK dealer network will likely make this car one of the UK’s better-selling EVs, ready to convert people who haven’t considered electric motoring thus far. It’s certainly good enough to leave the right kind of impression.

Save money on new Corsa-e deals from What Car?

4. Mini Electric

Based exclusively on the three-door Mini bodyshell, the Mini Electric adopts the powertrain from the BMW i3S, giving it a very healthy 181bhp and 199lb ft of torque. Performance is notably stronger than many of the cars you might compare it with in this list, while handling is grippy, darty and agile in the enduring dynamic traditions of the Mini brand. We like it a lot.

Range is the catch. Mini claims 144 miles, but in reality, depending on how and where you drive it, you’re more likely to get between 100 and 120 miles. And that’s in a car with a pretty small boot, whose back seats are tricky to access and of little use for anyone but younger kids in any case.

This is still one of the more enjoyable small EVs, but the short range is no longer good enough to be at the top of this list.

Save money on new Mini Electric deals from What Car?

5. BMW i3S

If the i3 can’t quite claim to have brought the concept of EV ownership to the mass market (step forward the Nissan Leaf, introduced in 2010), then it can at least claim to have shown that such cars could be interesting and genuinely characterful.

Since 2013, BMW’s motorshow-esque city car has gained in range, power and interior technology, even if along the way the plug-in range-extender that offered owners a safety net has been ditched, so now the model is pure-electric only. Official range is 188 miles, which is a little disappointing in 2022, particularly for the price. 

What we love about the i3 is, springy body control aside, its sense of refinement, easy-going drivability, nicely weighted controls and interior ambience. With that carbonfibre-reinforced plastic architecture and standout design, it also somehow manages to still feel avant-garde and exciting.

Save money on new i3 deals from What Car?

6. Honda E

Honda has taken a left-field approach with its first all-electric car, the Honda E supermini – which is unusually compact for an electric car, and innovative in several ways. Article continues below advertisementBack to top 

A rear-mounted motor promises packaging efficiency (although the car itself fails a little to follow through with it) while all-independent suspension heralds the ride and handling sophistication of a bigger car (which the car does a deal better to actually supply).

The E is available in 134bhp and 152bhp forms, but neither has quite the battery capacity of rivals: 35.5kWh ‘gross’ is all you get here, which makes for a claimed WLTP range of 137 miles maximum (with the car rolling on 16in wheels). In testing, we struggled to get much more than 100 from our 17in-equipped test car.

To drive, the E feels plush, composed and easy to operate, with medium-paced steering but a tight turning circle, and moderate but responsive performance. It doesn’t excite and doesn’t offer the last word in background body control, but it would make a relaxing zero-emissions city car and its alternative styling is exceptionally endearing.

Save money on new Honda E deals from What Car?

7. Mazda MX-30

Mazda has never been afraid to do things its own way, even when the rest of the industry appears to be doing something different.

The MX-30 is therefore not quite what you’d expect, but it’s an appealing proposition all the same. Toy-car looks are wrapped around an unusually small battery pack – just 35.5kWh, giving an official range of 124 miles – because Mazda believes owners simply won’t need any more, and increasing the size of the battery would mean unnecessary cost.

The car is reasonably spacious within, has an SUV-lite body that is very much on trend, and is trimmed in interesting materials that give the cabin a singularly cosy and likeable atmosphere.

Dynamically, the MX-30 also stands out – though only when you’re travelling with a bit of pace on an interesting road. With 143bhp and 199lb ft, the electric motor is never going to blow your socks off in a straight line, but the weighting of the MX-30’s steering and the supple manner in which the suspension transfers weight while cornering are genuinely reminiscent of the MX-5 sports car. Around town, however, it can feel a little plain. 

Charging at up to 50kW is possible, and if the limited range works for you, there is plenty to like about the unusual Mazda MX-30. It could be an effective second car.

Save money on new MX-30 deals from What Car?

8. Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe was never the most exciting EV, but the current generation was a significant step up compared to the original. With its 52kWh battery, it can cover up to 239 miles of lab-test range on a charge, and that’s rather embarrassing for some of the more expensive options on this list. Even if it’s more like 190 miles in the real world, that’s still very strong going. It can be charged at 50kW, which is no longer anything to write home about, but it’s better than the AC-charge-only provision of earlier versions.

Prices start from well under £30,000, but ideally you want to upgrade to an R135 model in Iconic trim for some extra power and equipment. That’s still strong value for money against its competitors, though, especially now that you no longer need to lease the battery from Renault.

It’s broadly pleasing to drive: very nippy, fairly quiet, and with a good ride around town. At higher speeds it can feel slightly unsettled and there’s a somewhat leaden feel to the controls. The interior and infotainment are substantially improved from the last generation.

However, crash test results published by safety body EuroNCAP at the end of 2021awarded the latest version of the Zoe a zero-star rating, being critical in particular of its offset frontal and side impact protection. At one stage, the Zoe lead Europe’s embryonic EV market; now, however, Renault’s replacement for it – the much-anticipated new 5 – probably can’t come quickly enough.

Save money on new Zoe deals from What Car?

9. Volkswagen e-Up

The Volkswagen e-Up is the last surviving of the trio it formed with the Skoda’s Citigo-e iV and Seat’s electric Mii. We’ve always preferred the Volkswagen for its slightly more playful demeanour and the fact that, well, it was here first. Article continues below advertisementBack to top 

Volkswagen’s smallest electric car predates the new ID range and was updated in 2020 with an enlarged battery that now gives 159 WLTP miles. There’s also been a cut to the asking price, which is now only just above £21,000 (including the £2500 government grant) and makes the e-Up look good value compared with the recent rash of £30,000-plus small EVs. The latest model benefits from a camera-based lane-keeping system, too, and the light-hearted, airy interior remains.

As is often the case with small EVs, this Volkswagen is best suited to second-car duties and running shorter errands. It’ll carry four with relative ease, and 155lb ft of torque makes it reasonably quick. As ever with Volkswagen, the controls are also intuitive and breezily easy to use.

Save money on new e-Up! deals from What Car?

10. Smart EQ Fortwo

Mercedes’ old fashion brand Smart has now become an electric mobility brand rather than a conventional car-seller, and has a much cut-down model range than once it had – but you can still buy a diminutive Fortwo EV. You’ll need to be confident that all of electric motoring will be done in the city, though: as well as being a strict two-seater with a small boot, the car only has an 80-mile WLTP range, which turns into more like 65 miles if you venture out of town.

For a car costing more than £20,000 even after your UK government PiCG money off, a usable range like that is a bit of a joke. The car’s styling and interior are at least characterful and different, and its performance is punchy enough to zip away from most traffic up to about 50mph; but the car’s ride can be pitchy and unsettled, and its slow-steering handling curiously cumbersome.

► The best electric cars of 2022
► Our guide to the UK’s top EVs
► Electric car buying advice and more 

An every increasing number of UK car buyers are making the switch to electric cars, a point exceedingly well made by the Tesla Model 3 being Britain’s second-best selling new car in 2021. With the cost of EVs ever tumbling and the charging network ever improving, even the government’s meaner electric car grants won’t stop this trend. Besides, with pure petrol and diesel cars being banned from 2030, electric cars will be your only option anyway.

Electric cars: further reading

In this guide, we reveal our picks for Britain’s best electric cars and explain why you should consider plugging in now more than ever before. And don’t forget the UK government will also subsidise sub-£32,000 EVs by £1500 with its Plug In Car Grant, reducing the price premium that battery cars carry.

The best EVs to buy in the UK

Like any fossil-fuel powered car, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) come in all shapes and sizes, and which EV is best for you will depend on a variety of factors – such as your average daily mileage, the type of driving you do and access to private or public charging points. There’s no point having an electric car if it can’t accommodate your usage, or if the infrastructure isn’t there to support it, after all. 

Want to know which is the best pure electric car for you to consider? We’ve handily split them into different categories, so browse through our guide below defined by vehicle type. However this list takes body type out of the equation, simply listing our 10 favourite electric cars.

10. Fiat 500 Electric

  • From £23,835

Don’t think that Fiat simply rammed a load of batteries up the backside of the aging 500, the 500 Electric is a brand new car from the ground up. It’s marginally larger than the combustion-engined 500 that still lumbers on in Hybrid guise, although the rear seats are still cramped and the boot rather small. Still, that’s the price you pay for the compact dimensions. Two battery sizes are offered with 115 miles of WLTP range in the smaller-celled Action and 199 in every other version. Crucially, it’s far better to drive than the 500 Hybrid with decent handling and punchy performance.

Read our Fiat 500 Electric review

9. Kia EV6

  • From £40,945

Kia’s flagship EV6 is available in single-motor two-wheel drive or twin-motor four-wheel drive flavours. All regular models are capable of 300 miles plus according to WLTP testing, while those happy to sacrifice some range for performance might be interested in the hot 577bhp EV6 GT. Even lesser models handle well, with good performance and a comfortable ride, too. It’s similar in size to the Hyundai Ioniq 5 on which it’s based, meaning plentiful space for passengers to lounge front and rear. There’s a capacious boot, too, making it a perfectly practical choice for families.

Read our Kia EV6 review

8. BMW iX

  • From £69,905

Get past the Marmite looks and the BMW iX is a truly compelling luxury SUV. You won’t find a sluggish iX in the range, and the 50i is capable of 380 miles on a single charge in official tests. In our experience, over 300 should be possible in the real world, although not if you take advantage of the 516bhp on offer. That’s enough to launch this 2.5 tonne SUV from 0-62mph in 4.6sec, while adaptive air suspension provides a pillowy ride when you’re being sensible, and shockingly agile handling when you’re in a rush. Inside the spacious interior is a blend of high-tech electronic glitz and plenty of leather and luxury, making this a pricey but highly recommendable electric SUV.

Read our full BMW iX review

7. Mercedes EQS

  • From £99,995

As you’d expect from the name, the Mercedes EQS is the electric equivalent of the S-Class. Unlike some EQ badged cars (think EQA, B, C and V) that share a platform with their internal combustion equivalent, the EQS has a bespoke electric platform to best package a giant battery for a near 500 mile range and to maxmise interior space. Performance and range impress, as does the seriously comfortable ride. This giant hatchback has plenty of room for people and doubles up as a surprisingly effective load lugger, too. Just be careful of all the flashy trims, digital displays and supple leather that make this a seriously opulent tech-fest of an interior. 

Read our Mercedes EQS review

6. Skoda Enyaq

  • From £34,850

The Enyaq’s sub-£35,000 starting price seems fair for the iV 60 model and bodes well for the upcoming lower-powered models. It’s comfortable, well-sorted, and does a great job of appealing to as many drivers as possible. Friendlier and more luxurious than a Kia e-Niro and looks better inside and out than a Volkswagen ID.4 – which is very, very good for the Skoda Enyaq iV, and worrying for Volkswagen.

Read our Skoda Enyaq review here

5. Polestar 2

  • From £39,900

The Polestar 2 is a cracking addition to the shopping list for mid-sized EV buyers. Hailing from Sweden’s Volvo, Polestar is a relatively new start-up that carries across the Scandi chic design values and quality from its sister brand, but wrapped up in a more progressive, modern vibe. This car ushers in Google’s first Android OS so there are very few buttons (sound familiar, Tesla?) and everything is operated from a touchscreen or by the Hey Google voice assistant. Sensible front-wheel drive models get a choice of two battery sizes with the potent twin-motor coming with the higher-capacity pack only. It’s good to drive with the optional Performance pack, too, looks slick and is very well built. 

Polestar 2 review

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4. Renault Megane E-Tech Electric

  • From £31,000

We’ve only driven a pre-production version of the reinvented electric Megane so far, but the VW ID.3 should be worried. Available with either 129bhp and a 186 mile range or 215bhp and a more useful 292 mile range, this front-wheel drive hatchback has gained plenty of SUV attitude in its transformation. It’s good to drive and has plenty of room inside, so if the price is as competitive as promised, it’s well worth shortlisting.

Read our Renault Megane E-Tech Electric review

3. Tesla Model 3

  • From £40,490

The Model 3 has cemented itself as the UK’s most popular electric car and for good reason. It might be the least expensive Tesla available but, even in entry-level form, few are likely to be disappointed – as even the base model packs a claimed 305-mile range and the ability to sprint from 0-60mph in just 5.8sec. It even comes with the Autopilot drive assistance system, which takes the edge off long trips and adds to the space-age feel. The Long Range dual-motor version with all-wheel drive and increased range is available; it can cover a claimed 374 miles and serves up a sports car-rivalling 0-60mph time of 4.2sec. The top of the range Performance drops that time to 3.1sec with range tumbling to 340 miles.

Read our full Tesla Model 3 review

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2. Hyundai Ioniq 5

  • From £37,420

Hyundai has really stepped things up with the Ioniq 5, producing an excedingly well-rounded electric car that’s dripping in retro-inspired yet futuristic design touches. We’d skip past the entry-level 58kWh battery on account of its 238 mile range and instead plump for the 72.6kWh pack with twin-motor four-wheel drive. Range jumps to 285 miles and the 5.2 second 0-62mph time is significantly quicker than either single motor model. In this spec it’s fun to drive once you get used to a bit of body roll, something that’s easy to accept given the comfortable ride. 

Read our Hyundai Ioniq 5 review

1. Porsche Taycan

  • From £72,850

The Porsche Taycan is an incredible technical achievement. It does the things we all enjoy about driving – accelerating, braking, going around corners – with supreme alacrity, and features a massive well of capability largely untapped by normal driving. Porsche offers cheaper, rear-wheel drive variants to sit alongside the toppy Turbo, Turbo S and 4S models. Today, Taycan prices start at £72,850.

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