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More than 1.5 million UK households could go electric without compromise

Millions of buyers are in the perfect position to buy an electric car, research by What Car? has found...

One by one, the barriers to electric car ownership are being removed, as charging infrastructure improves, costs come down and the cars themselves become as luxurious as conventional models.
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What Car? team
9 Jul 2019 06:00

Electric car ownership is the right choice for at least 1.5 million UK households today, according to new research by What Car?. That’s the number of multi-car homes in the UK with a sweet-spot combination of off-street parking for home-charging and at least one vehicle that never does more than 100 miles in a single journey.

What Car? approached 2310 current electric vehicle owners and a further 23,500 non-EV owners to understand how they used their cars on an everyday basis.

The research found that 17% of multi-car households have at least one vehicle that never makes a journey of more than 100 miles. Overlaying these numbers with the percentage that have a driveway for home-charging (88%), What Car? calculated that 1.56m households – of the 27m in the UK – could convert to a pure electric vehicle without any compromises today. This figure is set to increase as charging infrastructure and electric vehicle range increases in future years.

Kia e-Niro

To further support the arguments for purchasing an electric car, a surprising two-thirds of households that already have one, as well as a traditional petrol or diesel vehicle, say they now use the EV as their main vehicle.

2019 has been labelled the year of the electric vehicle, with no fewer than 19 different pure battery powered cars hitting the showrooms. The latest is the Oxford-built all-electric Mini Electric, which launches this week. It is being revealed just months after What Car? awarded its coveted Car of the Year accolade to the all-electric Kia e-Niro – the first time that an electric car has won the award.

Electric car range varies according to battery size, but What Car?’s Real Range testing has measured 18 EVs with ranges from 57 miles to 259 miles. All but three of the 15 cars tested have a Real Range in excess of 100 miles.

Prices for new EVs with a range exceeding 100 miles start from around £18,000 when purchased with a separate battery lease, or £24,500 with the battery included. Most electric vehicles are leased, with typical monthly payments around £300, depending on the size of your deposit, according to What Car? Target Price Finance data. 

Electric car charging point

Sales of new electric cars hit a total of 9489 for 2019 at the end of May – up more 60% year-on-year but still less than 1% of the total market – bringing the total number of electric cars on UK roads to around 70,000. New models are being launched with increasing frequency, which suggests that exponential growth will continue, although What Car?’s research also highlighted that the majority of motorists’ perception of electric car ownership still lags a long way behind the reality.

What Car? surveyed 25,000 visitors to its website from 14-28 June. The research was conducted independently by What Car? and supported by Mini.

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The best and worst electric cars

Are you one of the millions of people who are in the perfect position to buy an electric car? If our latest research has got you thinking about going green, then you'll want to know which are the best electric cars you can buy, and which aren't worth your time at all. Fortunately, below and over the next few pages, we've decided just that. This is our run-down of the best (and worst) electric cars.

10. Hyundai Ioniq

 Volkswagen e-Golf

The Ioniq is really three cars in one – it's available as a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and as a fully electric car. The latter we're including here has a range of 174 miles, and enough torque to make acceleration feel brisk around town. The interior is smart, too, and our recommended Premium models get sat-nav and heated front seats as standard.

Read our full Hyundai Ioniq review or see our latest Ioniq deals


9. Tesla Model X

On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream all-rounder, combining the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do feel a little low-rent.

Read our full Tesla Model X review or see our latest Model X deals


8. Volkswagen e-Golf

Unlike purpose-built electric cars such as the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf, the e-Golf is based on a conventional hatchback. However, this is no bad thing, because it means it has all the good points of the regular regular Golf, along with greatly reduced running costs. It's just a shame its Real Range is so limited.

Read our full Volkswagen e-Golf review or see our latest Golf deals


Next: more of our favourite electric vehicles >

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