It’s no surprise that electric cars are on the rise. Alongside the obvious environmental benefits of running a zero-emission vehicle, EVs are also cheaper to run, keeping your money where it belongs - in your pocket. With the UK government also announcing their ‘Road to Zero’ strategy which will see all new cars and vans zero emission by 2040, there’s never been a better time to make the transition from a traditional combustion engine to an electric one.
If you’re ready to go green with your next lease car, chances are you’ll have a few questions about which electric car is best for you? To help make choosing your new electric vehicle easier, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has put together a list of the top 10 electric cars to lease in 2019 based on their range, practicality, use of technology and style.
The electric vehicles featured in this article:
As the market leading electric vehicle, the Tesla Model S Long Range AWD Auto Saloon is top of our list, holding the title for the longest range of any car on the road - a whopping 370-mile range from one single charge. The Model S offers a charge up to 130 miles in just 15 minutes at any Tesla Supercharger location – of which there are 290 in the UK. Taking your Tesla abroad also won’t be an issue as there’re more than 14,000 Superchargers throughout the world.
World class technology doesn’t just stop with the electric battery, it’s present throughout this electric, all-wheel drive car – from the rear, side and forward-facing cameras to the advanced safety systems and sound dynamics. Not only does the Model S have autopilot capabilities designed to make motorway driving safer than but its medical grade HEPA air filtration system removes 99.97% of particulate exhaust pollution from cabin air for a truly refreshing drive. The cabin can comfortably seat up to five adults and the glass roof ensures a spacious driving experience, so even the tallest adults will be content in the Model S.
Offering the same technology behind the Model S but for a cheaper price, the Tesla Model 3 is a game charger in the EV market. Designed with dual motors, the Model 3 will ensure you’ll always get to where you need to be, the second motor kicking in when required to ensure your journey is as smooth and hassle free as possible. The all-wheel drive automatically controls traction and torque, so you can drive in all-weather conditions. The Model 3 can also recharge 170-miles in just 30-minutes at any Supercharger location.
Safety is at the heart of the Model 3, which is why it’s built from aluminium and steel and has a low centre of gravity for unrivalled strength, so much so that Tesla reports that in a roof-crush test, the Model 3 “resisted four times its own mass, even with an all-glass roof: that’s the same weight as two full-grown African elephants.”
The final Tesla to feature on our list is the Model X, an SUV sport utility vehicle with a 315-mile range from one single charge. This EV is fast - and we mean really fast – shooting from 0-60-MPH in just 2.7-seconds. It’s just as quick to charge, taking around 40-minutes to reach 80% at a Rapid Charger.
With more storage room of any sport utility vehicle in its class, the Model X doesn’t just look great but its practical too. The seating can be folded completely flat, so whether you’re a sport junkie with loads of equipment, are always on the road travelling for work or need all the space you can get for the kids bikes and sports equipment, loading space won’t ever be an issue. The Model X’s showstopping falcon wings also allow for unmatched easy access. Impressively, the Model X is the first SUV to receive a 5* US NCAP safety rating – scoring low on occupant injury and rollover risk.
A list of the best electric cars on the market wouldn’t be complete without the Nissan LEAF, after all it was Europe’s top-selling electric vehicle in 2018. The Nissan Leaf E+ impressive 239-mile range is assisted by the different driving modes Nissan has developed to help preserve your electric range, as well as their innovative e-pedal, designed to be an all-in-one pedal, allowing you to accelerate, brake and come to a complete stop.
Driving the LEAF is a complete joy thanks to its smooth handling and floor-mounted battery pack with its low centre of gravity. To make charging that little bit easier, all LEAFs come with the cable you need to plug your car into your closest domestic socket, so you can top up overnight or while you’re at work. There’s an abundance of safety technology – from intelligent emergency braking and cruise control to lane intervention and blind spot warning. To make manoeuvring in and out of parking spaces stress free, the LEAF has a rear-view camera. If technology is important to you, you’ll be pleased to know the LEAF has Nissan Intelligent Mobility and an 8-inch multi-touch display infotainment system.
Did you know the Mercedes EQC uses 99 components made from renewable materials? Impressive, right? Reaching a full charge in 11-hours and 25-minutes from a 7-kW Homecharge unit, this 4x4 EV is designed for busy family life with its electric front seats and plenty of stowage space – including door pockets, a lidded cubby and underfloor storage. While the boot is shallow, the back seats fold completely flat, so your loading space isn’t completely limited. To make manoeuvring even more effortless, a reversing camera, as well as front and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard. In the case of an emergency, the advanced driver assistance systems automatically kick in – reacting to the situation to help you avoid any danger.
The EQC introduces the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, controlled by voice activation or the easy-to-use touch screen. Advanced technology doesn’t just stop there, there’s keyless-go – an access and driving authorisation system – that communicates with the vehicle with a two-meter range. Similarly, you can check all of your car’s important information via your smartphone or smartwatch for maximum convenience.
There are many things that make the Audi E-Tron impressive, none more so than its two electric motors for even more power. You can’t tell the difference when alternating between the regenerative and regular friction braking systems, ensuring an uncommonly impeccably smooth drive for an electric car. When it comes to charging the electric battery, it’s made even simpler thanks to charging points on both sides of the car.
With its automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning system, plus expertise design and quality that’s synonymous with Audi, it’s no surprise the E-Tron received a 5* NCAP rating. Front visibility is good but the rear pillars can get in the way, this is rectified by the E-Tron featuring parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard. The front seats are electrically adjustable – including a four-way lumbar support – and there’s plenty of leg and head room, so much so that tall adults will be comfortable in the back. There’re satisfactory storage spaces, and while the boot space isn’t the best, there’s underfloor storage and a second smaller boot at the front of the car.
The triple award-winning Jaguar I-Pace has to be on our list, garnering titles such as ‘World Car of the Year’, ‘World Car Design of the Year’ and ‘World Green Car’ at the 2019 World Car Awards. This four-wheel drive vehicle has two electric motors ensuring an enjoyably fast ride. Luxurious elements can also be found inside the cabin of the I-Pace, including twin-needle stitching and acoustic laminated glass.
Tall adults will find the I-Pace very comfortable thanks to the abundance of head and leg room in the front and back. Storage is practical throughout, the back seats fold entirely flat and the boot is a good size, complete with underfloor storage. To help overcome the restricted rear visibility, the I-Pace has a 360-degree camera and cross traffic alert fitted as standard. Other technology in the car includes a 10” Touch Pro Duo infotainment system that makes it super simple to control all the cars technologies, such as the sat-nav, phone and stereo functions. There’s also a remote app that’s compatible with most Apple and Android smartphones, allowing you to keep up-to-date with the cars available range, charging status, charge rate and plug state.
Urban driving just got a lot greener, thanks to the BMW i3. Not only does this city car produce zero-CO2 emissions, but it’s also up to 85% recyclable. In fact, 27 used plastic bottles go into every car to form parts of the seats and doors.
The i3’s size and nippiness make it ideal for narrow roads and stop-start traffic in busy cities. However, when it comes to motorway driving, the i3 also performs extremely well because of its 168-BHP. The battery will take five-hours to reach 80% charge from a 7-kW type 2 wallbox, 42-minutes from a CCS connector or BMW offer a fast charging unit. To ensure every journey is stress free, the BMW Professional infotainment system offers guidance on charging point locations and will warn you if a selected destination is beyond your current range.
To help with rear visibility limitations and general parking ease, there’re rear parking sensors as standard. The front cabin is spacious – providing a satisfactory amount of leg and head room – but the rear is squished. However, the back seats have Isofix child seat fittings and there’re handy storage compartments throughout, so the i3 is a perfect family car. Standard equipment includes climate control and heated front seats.
A 186-mile driving range and running costs as little as three-pence per mile are just some of the reasons why the Renault Zoe is on our list. Taking just three-hours to charge from a 22-kW public charger and 9.5-hours from a home wallbox, the Renault Zoe boasts everything you could possibly need from a family car. Its 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 10.0-inch digital instrument display show the current speed, driving efficiency and battery performance. To help your engine go that little bit further, you can also put the car into eco-mode, the system limits the dynamic performance and air conditioning to maximise Zoe’s driving range.
Inside, the Zoe’s front view is unobstructed and while the rear pillars can get in the way there’s rear parking sensors to help overcome this. With a 5* Euro NCAP safety rating, it makes sense the Zoe has plenty of helpful systems to keep you and your loved ones out of harms away, from automatic emergency braking to lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. Plus, the head and chest front airbags ensure you’re effectively protected from impacts and the submarining effect.
On the outside, the e-Golf looks almost identical to the standard Golf, its subtle LED headlights, C-shaped running lights and signature blue flash across the front grille the only indicators that this is an EV. Yet, inside, the e-Golf boasts plenty of technology to make this EV stand out from the crowd. Just like all other electric cars in this list, the Volkswagen e-Golf is exceptionally quiet, but this particular vehicle designed to ensure road and wind noise are kept to a minimum. There’s also a lot of design details to enhance the electric range, such as the 16-inch, ‘Tileve’ aerodynamic alloys that reduce drag.
Charging the VW will take 13-hours from a three-pin plug, or four-hours from a home charging point and amazing it will only cost you £5 from empty to full. You can pick between five driving modes depending on your journey with the e-Golf also performing well on all terrain.
Inside, the e-Golf has a standard Golf interior, including an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen system, the only difference is the additional graphics displaying the state of charge and battery range. There’s enough head and leg room in the front to keep the driver and passengers comfortable and the front seats are fully adjustable, offering lumbar support. To keep the cabin tidy and your possessions safe there are good sized storage facilities, and the back is big enough for three children or two adults.