We define an electric car as one that has a pure electric range of at least 70 miles with official CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km. These cars qualify for the government’s maximum plug-in car grant of £4500.
The vast majority of such cars are pure electric models, which means the only power source is an electric motor driven by batteries. The Renault Zoe is a good example of this, matching low running costs with funky styling and a tempting purchase price.
At the other end of the scale, Tesla’s ground-up EV philosophy – and the American brand’s own network of super-fast chargers – make the Model S a tempting choice. It has seating for up to seven, an accomplished cabin and enough real-world range to make inter-city travel a real possibility.
Most plug-in petrol hybrid cars, such as the VW Golf GTE, Audi A3 e-tron and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, can only manage much shorter distances between charges, so can’t really be classed as proper electric cars. However, they do have the advantage of not leaving you stranded at the side of the road when the batteries go flat so are definitely worth considering.