Every electric car in production you should know about

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Electric cars have been around since the birth of the very first automobile, but other than a time of popularity between the late 19th and early 20th century, their existence has made little impact to the dominance of gasoline-powered cars. Today, things are changing. Elon Musk and Tesla might be the figureheads of the renewed electric car movement, but they are certainly not the only ones manufacturing quality, ground-breaking cars.

For the first time ever, almost all major car manufacturers are working on not just hybrids, but fully electric, zero emissions, plug-in cars. The range of concept cars and production cars is constantly growing, and is frankly exhausting, so in order to give you a basic introduction, we’ve put together a list of the plug-in electric cars that are either on sale now, or set to be very soon that you should know about.

BMW i3

BMW i3

What is it? The first all-new, all-electric supermini from BMW is the car to propel the technology into the mainstream. Stylish, smart, affordable and desirable, the i3 is a game changer.

Is it available in the UK? From November 2013. Pre-ordering available now.

Range: Up to 124 miles in EcoPro+ mode.

Top Speed: A limited 93mph; 0-60 in 7.5 seconds

Charging time: Eight hours through a domestic power socket to charge fully, and a claimed 30 minutes to 80% charge from a 50kW (125 Amps) point – only a few of these currently exist in the UK.

Price: £30,000 (£25,000 after government grant*)

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

What is it? Not just one of the best electric cars on the market; one of the best cars available full stop. Efficient, excellent to drive, built with solidity and exactness; the Tesla is the car of the future, right now.

Is it available in the UK? Left hand drive models are available now; right hand drives arrive mid-2014.

Range: Up to 300 miles.

Top Speed: 130mph; 0-60 in 4.2 seconds.

Charging time: Tesla claims 1 hour delivers 65 miles of range through a high-amperage 240-volt outlet. From a regular 32-amp (7 kW) UK street charging point however, reaching full charge takes about 15 hours.

Price: £50,000 – £83,000

Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive

SLS AMG Electric Drive

What is it? The most powerful AMG in the Mercedes fleet, which in turn makes it the most powerful electric production car in existence.

Is it available in the UK? Technically no, but Mercedes will import one for you as a special order. Its £300,000 price tag limits who might be able to do this, though.

Range: Up to 155 miles.

Top Speed: Limited at 155mph; 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds.

Charging time: 3 hours through a 22kW station, or up to 20 hours from a domestic one.

Price: £300,000

Peugeot iOn

Peugeot iOn

What is it? The Peugeot badge engineering version of the I-MIEV and C-Zero; all compact electric city cars.

Available Now? Yes.

Range: Up to 93 miles.

Top Speed: 81mph; 0-60 in 15.9 seconds

Charging time: Full charge from a household socket in seven hours.

Price: £26,216

Renault Fluence Z.E.

Fluence ZE

What is it? An all-electric version of the relatively staid Renault saloon, the Fluence. Capable, if a little dull.

Is it available in the UK? Yes.

Range: Up to 115 miles.

Top Speed: 84mph; 0-60 in 13.7 seconds.

Charging time: 10 hours from a regular household socket.

Price: £22,845 (£17,845 after government grant). Batteries are leased from £77 a month.

Renault Zoe

Renault ZOE

What is it? An all-new electric supermini. Quiet, stylish and good to drive, the Renault Zoe is one of the best priced and performing EVs available.

Is it available in the UK? Yes, from selected Z.E. dealers.

Range: Up to 130 miles.

Top Speed: 84mph; 0-60 in 11.6 seconds.

Charging time: The Zoe comes with a charger which can charge the car fully from a household socket in 4 hours. At 50kW charging points 80% charge can be achieved in 30 minutes.

Price: £18,995 (£13,995 after government grant). Batteries are leased from £70 a month.

Renault Twizy

Renault Twizy

What is it? A quirky and unique two seat city vehicle. Part car, part scooter, part play-thing. Definitely not something to take onto the motorway.

Is it available in the UK? Yes.

Range: An optimistic 62 miles is claimed. 40 to 50 is more realistic.

Top Speed: 50mph

Charging time: 3.5 hours from a household socket.

Price: £6,895. Batteries are leased from £48 a month.

Nissan Leaf (2013 model)

nissan leaf

What is it? Leading Environmentally friendly Affordable Family car. See what they did there? Clerver, but, the name is entirely accurate. The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best selling electric car.

Is it available in the UK? Yes.

Range: Up to 124 miles.

Top Speed: 100mph; 0-60 in 10.2 seconds.

Charging time: Full charge in 4 hours when using the optional 6.6kW charger through a domestic socket. Older models with just a 3.6kW charged will take double that.

Price: £20,990 (£15,990 after grant) with a battery leased from £70 a month. Or £20,990 (after grant) without battery leasing.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

What is it? The idiosyncratic city car inevitably goes fully electric.

Is it available in the UK? In very limited supply.

Range: Up to 90 miles.

Top Speed: 78mph; 0-60 in 11.5 seconds.

Charging time: From a household socket, 7 hours. Buying a rapid charger reduces this to just 1 hour.

Price: £15,395 (after grant), or around £10,000 with £52 a month battery lease.

Volkswagen e-Up

vw e-Up

What is it? The city car VW Up! ditches its regular engine and goes 100% electric.

Is it available in the UK? Spring 2014.

Range: Up to 99 miles.

Top Speed: 81mph; 0-60 in 12.4 seconds.

Charging time: Full charge in nine hours from a regular domestic socket.

Price: Estimated at £22,500

Volkswagen Golf Blue e-motion

golf blue e-motion

What is it? An electric version of the flagship VW model.

Is it available in the UK? Aimed for a 2014 release.

Range: Up to 118 miles.

Top Speed: 87mph; 0-60 in 10.4 seconds

Charging time: Full charge in nine hours from a regular domestic socket.

Price: As yet unknown.

Ford Focus Electric

ford focus electric

What is it? As the name suggest, it’s an all-electric version of the supremely popular hatchback, the Ford Focus. The Focus Electric has been on the US market for the past two years, but is only now coming to UK shores.

Is it available in the UK? Yes.

Range: Up to 100 miles.

Top Speed: 84mph

Charging time: Full charge from a domestic socket in about 9 hours, while from a 32 Amp socket just 4 hours.

Price: £33,500 (£28,500 after grant)

Toyota I-Road

toyota i-road

What is it? Toyota’s Twizy competitor. With two seats and three wheels it is more enclosed-scooter than car – something reinforced by the way it leans into corners – but features like heating and a radio give it car-like comfort.

Is it available in the UK? No, it exists only in concept form at the moment.

Range: Up to 30 miles.

Top Speed: 28mph; 0-60 in, er, never.

Charging time: Full charge in just three hours from a domestic socket.

Price: For the moment, unknown.

Toyota RAV4 EV

rav4 EV

What is it: An all-electric SUV produced in collaboration between Toyota and Tesla.

Is it available in the UK? Not at the moment. It is currently only being sold in urban areas of California.

Range: Up to 103 miles.

Top Speed: 85mph; 0-60 in 7.0 seconds.

Charging time: Full charge through a 220v socket with an optional charging station takes 5 hours. Through a 110v socket without the charging station, full charge takes 40.

Price: Roughly £31,000

Mitsubishi I-MiEV

I-MiEV

What is it? Badge engineering version of the C-Zero and iOn; all compact electric city cars.

Is it available in the UK? Yes.

Range: Up to 93 miles.

Top Speed: 80mph; 0-60 in 15.9 seconds

Charging time: Full charge from a domestic socket in eight hours.

Price: 28,554

Citroen C-Zero

CitroenC-Zero

What is it? Badge engineering version of the I-MIEV and iOn; all compact electric city cars.

Is it available in the UK? Yes.

Range: Up to 93 miles.

Top Speed: 80mph; 0-60 in 15.9 seconds

Charging time: Full charge from a domestic socket in eight hours.

Price: £26,216 (£21,216 after grant)

Volvo C30 Electric

Volvo C30 Electric

What is it? Volvo‘s sports coupé, the C30, is reborn as a fully electric car.

Is it available in the UK? Not publicly. It is currently on a limited release demo fleet.

Range: Up to 93 miles.

Top Speed: 77mph; 0-60 in 10.7 seconds.

Charging time: From the most powerful sockets it can reach full charge in just 90 minutes. From a regular household socket this takes about 8 hours.

Price: As yet unknown.

Chevrolet Spark

Chevrolet Spark

What is it? GM’s first all-electric car is a modified version of the existing Spark. Like the majority of EVs, it is compact, relatively lightweight and primarily for use in the city.

Is it available in the UK? Released in the US and ‘selected’ European countries sometime in 2014.

Range: Up to 82 miles.

Top Speed: 90mph; 0-60 in 8.5 seconds.

Charging time: With a fast charging system in place (on a 32 Amp socket), 80% is achieved in 20 minutes. With a 240 volt socket a full charge takes 7 hours, and through a regular 110v, 10 hours.

Price: £17,500

Fiat 500e

fiat 500e

What is it? The electrified version of the hugely popular Fiat 500.

Is it available in the UK? No, for the time being the 500e is currently only available in the parts of the US.

Range: Up to 87 miles.

Top Speed: 85mph; 0-60 in 9 seconds.

Charging time: From a normal domestic socket full charge takes less than 24 hours. From a 240v socket full charge takes 4 hours.

Price: £21,520 (before incentives)

* Government Incentives

In a bold move which makes buying and running plug-in electric cars cheaper to buy and run, the government has introduced a number of incentives applicable to all new electric cars.

These include: a 25% grant (maximum £5,000) offered on all new plug-in cars; no road tax (all electric cars fall under the 100g/km CO2 emissions threshold), no London congestion charge, no company car tax and no showroom or luxury vehicle tax.

BUT: Although these are currently in place, due to the UK’s lack of enthusiasm when it comes to buying electric vehicles, the government has said it will slowly reduce, and eventually eradicate, the plans. This means that if you’re seriously thinking of buying an electric vehicle, now is the time to do it.

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