The best known electric cars

The best known electric cars
Martin Brown

Posted by

Martin Brown

April 2020

The Nissan Leaf. Is that the first electric car that instantly springs to your mind?

Yes? No? It’s certainly not mine.

If I think about electric cars I immediately think of the trailblazer Tesla. The Nissan Leaf might be the longest serving electric car in the UK, but Elon Musk’s Model S made the electric car not only acceptable, talked about, desired, but changed the way we think about cars in terms of their technology.

How about the 0-62mph in a blinding 2.4 seconds for the battery-blaster mad-cap model.

Not only the speed, though, but the range: nearly 380 miles on one charge. And then there’s the large central tablet display, the over-the-air firmware updates and the sentinel watch facility (turning the 360 degree cameras into a guardian while your car is parked to record any potential unwanted attention).

The whole car was – and still is – a technological tour de force.

Still, that’s my opinion – and not those of a survey of 700 people that put the Tesla behind the British built Nissan Leaf. The top six were*:

  1. Nissan Leaf (94%)
  2. Tesla Model S (93%)
  3. Jaguar I-Pace (89%)
  4. Tesla Model X (88%)
  5. BMW i3 (86%)
  6. MINI Electric (85%)

*Source: Dennis Publishing

I wonder, though, what the survey will reveal next year when so many new electric cars have been launched onto the market? And more fleets have pivoted towards electric vehicles for their whole life operating costs, and company car drivers for the enticing benefit in kind advantages. I suspect it will be very different.

Already in Europe, Tesla’s grip on the EV market is beginning to loosen as the big car makers start to make an impact. According to EV car analyst Matthias Schmidt, electric cars saw 56% growth year-on-year in Europe Q1 with Tesla now in third place behind the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and the Volkswagen Group.

From the discussions we’ve had with the fleets we manage, any trend towards opting out of the company car is evaporating; and evaporating quickly. Instead, drivers are considering electric vehicles as company cars, lured by the drop from 16% BIK last financial year to 0% BIK this year.

The difficulty with this growing demand, though, is reduced availability of zero emission cars since COVID-19 has put a temporary halt on production. Nevertheless, car makers are gradually beginning to restart production. I thought it notable that Volkswagen decided to start production first at its ID.3 plant, rather than the factory where it makes the Golf.

The ID.3 is the new electric Golf-sized car from Volkswagen. It’s absolutely central to fleets. There is a three model range with batteries that can deliver between 205 miles to nearly 350 miles.

The 1st Edition ID.3 launch model is due to arrive in the UK early summer before the standard range follows along. The 1st Edition, if you recall, was the model that had 30,000 reservations (its limit) even before it was revealed to the public. The model was oversubscribed.

So, by the time the survey comes around this time next year, I would be surprised if we didn’t have some very different models in the list of best-known electric cars.

And I’d expect the VW ID.3 to be right there at the top.


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