The original Leaf has consumers that are incredibly loyal and happy. I enjoyed the low running costs, home charging comfort, quiet, and basic practicality. And they liked it was just a car-five seats, a good boot, easy to drive, affordable to buy at the top and bottom. People who owned electric cars practically never return to combustion.
But there were drawbacks to that first Leaf. It was sluggish and lacking in range in an environment where Tesla got the headlines if not the market leadership (though it got better with the 30kWh battery upgrade). It just looked strange. And as all cars have better connectivity just driver assistance, there too the Leaf required updates.
The engine is similar to before. But more important is a modern inverter–the heavy-duty electronic device that supplies and controls the energy that goes around the vehicle. So now the motor can produce a lot more power, 150bhp, and the time 0-62 falls to 7.9sec.
The battery is the same physical size as it has always been, but new chemistry and management means it has a 40kWh capability. Nissan tested it in the new, more practical global test system, WLTP, and it got a range of 168 miles. It gets 235 miles on the current if debunked EU loop.
9.Tesla Model X
The One with the doors to the Falcon. It is still hard to believe that they aren’t from a concept car, but here they are, able to open in 11 inches of space, with sensors to prevent knocks against pillars or squeezing kids, the signature feature of the Model X.
We are special and have something in common with the rest of Tesla’s biggest vehicle. Because to pigeon hole is not an easy one. It is 4WD and can handle up to seven people, but it is hardly a traditional SUV. Do you picture a heading off over a muddy field? Pretty much. And then it looks like that. It is more hatchback than standard family car. Hardly a pretty hatch either.
The Tesla Model X range recently seems to have settled to both pricing and versions following fluctuations. The advent of opposition, such as the Mercedes EQC and Audi e-tron, seems to have stabilized Tesla, resulting in the Model X finding its feet in the market.
There are currently two versions available, £ 82,700 for the Long Range and £ 96,900 for the Performance. Both are very powerful, 553bhp in the entry-level version, 785bhp in the Ludicrous-enabled Version. Despite both weighing just 2.500 kg shy, neither is sluggish, the Long Range can hit 60 mph in 4.4secs, while the Performance sees off the sprint benchmark in 2.7secs.
8. Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Let’s kick off with an imaginatively titled pure EV, Ioniq Electric. In the pictures, instead of a grille, silver bumper trim and copper-colored cabin flashes instead of blue in the hybrid versions, it is the one with the smooth grey nosecone. Y’know, because copper = electrical wires.
The car drives its front wheels with an integrated 118bhp, 194 lb ft engine that draws energy from a 28kWh polymer lithium-ion battery tucked under the rear seats. It means 0-62 mph in 10.2 seconds, in Eco and Normal mode. The maximum range claimed is 174 miles-competing with the updated Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.
Prod the Drive Mode button twice, and you’ll enter Sport mode, jazzing up the virtual instruments and tiping a Red Bull into the battery pack. Maximum torque kicks up to 217 lb ft, and 0-62 mph time drops to 9.9 seconds for the Ioniq. Current Velocity? From 103 mph. Don’t worry Elon, here’s not much like a Slightly Silly mode, let alone a Ludicrous one.
Though when I came in the car reported a full charge, the estimated range was just 129 miles. Hmmm, hmmm. This was with the air-con working on a fairly hot day. After 47 miles (hardly its comfort zone) of sweaty fast A-road and motorway operation, the machine promised 83 miles was left. So this, at least, seems accurate.
7. Renault Zoe
Tiny EVs are about to get big. Until now Renault’s had the market all to itself for such vehicles, but with the sweet Honda e, long-awaited Mini Electric and Peugeot e-208/Corsa-e about to arrive in dealers, life is about to get much more complicated for the best-selling electric car in Europe.
The new Zoe doesn’t rewrite the formula entirely. It looks much the same as before, mostly because it is still the same car underneath-the one introduced in 2012 and updated with more powerful engines and bigger batteries afterwards.
The larger battery and optional, more powerful’ R135 ‘ motor are expected to have the same effect. The former-a 52kWh pack replacing the 41kWh battery of the old car-gives up to a third more range for a claimed 245 miles between charges (that’s more, in some cases substantially more than any of its rivals). The latter reduces the 0-62 mph time to less than 10 seconds, and cuts by more than two seconds the time taken for the Zoe to accelerate from 50 to 75 mph. Those two things can not happen at the same time like with all EVs.
Charging is easier, too, now that the Zoe supports up to 50kW DC charging via a CCS port concealed behind the Renault badge. The £ 750 alternative (boo. Why isn’t it normal, Renault?) means that half an hour is enough to add up to 90 miles of range on such a charger. It takes an hour to add 78 miles to a normal 22kW roadside charger.
6. BMW i3
The ‘ 2018 ‘ re-fresh of BMW’s small EV ‘ I ‘ car doesn’t mess too much with the recipe, and after just four years on sale, there’s not much to be needed-the i3 still manages to look forward-thinking and fashionable even in the middle of life.
But the latest one is ever-so-slightly better at appearances. And it’s really just a tweak: a new stripe on the silver roof line, separate bumper tweaks in front and aft, and a few more tucks. The motive source remains the same, a synchronous electric motor with one single gear drawing from a 94Ah (33kWh) high-voltage lithium-ion battery. That means 170hp and 184 lb ft peak torque, 0-62 mph at 7.3 and a 93 mph top speed. The official lab range of the NEDC is 186-miles, less in the real world, and if you punish the results, but adequate.