Thinking of changing the way you drive? Concerns over diesel pollution and CO2 emissions are causing manufacturers to explore new electric avenues, and the results are already impressive. To help you choose the best electric or hybrid car, we’ve rounded up a shockingly good selection that will help you lead the charge in 2019.
The ZOE is one of the cheapest fully electric cars on the market – with the current 2018 model capable of 186 miles on a single charge. While that’s impressive enough, the next generation ZOE is in the works with a real-world range of up to 250 miles, thanks to a larger battery and a bespoke EV platform similar to the Nissan Leaf. But you don’t have to wait to enjoy the ZOE’s zippy urban style. As you lease the battery (for around £89 a month depending on how many miles you drive per year) you can upgrade it as technology advances. And as well as delivering a neat little Clio-style hatchback that’s practical and spacious, Renault will very kindly provide you with a home charging station for free.
This award-winning behemoth takes plug-in hybrid technology and runs off with it down a dirt track, adding four-wheel drive, adaptive cruise control and fancy LEDs. While it’s outlandish enough to deal with rural driving and 463 litres of luggage, it’s positively angelic when it comes to fuel efficiency. Technology has been slightly tweaked for 2019; the electric engine is now capable of 30 miles on its own and when the larger 2.4-litre petrol engine kicks in, it delivers a heavenly 141mpg. It’s got a new Sport mode, too. Worried about charging? While you might think a car of this size and strength would require massive amounts of electricity, it charges to 80% on a public charger in just 25 minutes, or in five hours on a standard UK socket.
Already named What Car? Car of the Year 2019 in the hybrid category, the new Ioniq is also available as a plug-in (PHEV) and a full EV. What makes this roomy hatchback award winning is its smooth acceleration and transition between electric and petrol engines (in the hybrid and plug-in versions), coupled with its easy handling, which is perfect for squeezing into city parking spaces. It’s packed with kit, too, including a rear-view camera, parking sensors and climate control as standard. Go for the hybrid and CO2 emissions will be down to 84g/km, while the plug-in is able to do 31 electric miles on a single charge – a very clean option if you travel regular short distances. Meanwhile, the EV version has a respectable range of 130 miles.
The Kia Niro hybrid came out in 2016, and rapidly became a favourite with early adopters of electric driving. Its SUV styling, fuel efficiency and all-round practicality won it admirers, and the plug-in version, with a battery range of 36 miles, also offered an easy way to cut down on everyday fossil fuel consumption. But 2019 is the year of the new e-Niro, which could jolt even the most traditional driver into considering an EV. As well as heated leather seats and a raft of technology, it’s a real live wire to drive, and with a range of 282 miles, you’re not going to need to charge it more than once a week unless you’ve got a mega commute. Even then, it can be fast-charged to 80% in 54 minutes.
If you’re a fan of crossovers, you’ll definitely want to try the 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric, which is the first ever all-electric compact SUV available in Europe. Consider this the first chapter of an electrifying new story from Hyundai, which has promised 18 more EVs by 2025. The Kona Electric has got everything you’d want from a family SUV; the big alloys, the chunky good looks, the latest safety and infotainment tech and lots of personalisation options. Choose the top-of-the-range powertrain and you’ll get a range of 300 miles and reach 0–62mph in just 7.6 seconds. Who needs diesel, anyway?
Want to know more about buying and owning an EV? Check out our ultimate guide.