Updated: Oct 10, 2022
I was recently asked, what’s the best sensibly priced EV. It occurred to me, what an important question this was, yet it hasn’t been covered on here or even YouTube. That’s going to change though, because in this article, I will see which EV's are best for your requirements, as well as seeing, which is best on the used market, and believe me, that’s not as simple as it might seem, with this surge of buyers making exactly this move.
The obvious place to start, is with what is possibly the most influential car manufacturer of this decade. Tesla. I must point out that I would never buy one with my money, despite the excellent supercharger network and positive looks you get, when you’re ‘saving the planet’. Firstly, when it comes to the environment, they are very inefficient in the using of their raw materials, to the extent that it is reported that they waste 40% of the materials they buy in. The safety of their cars may be very impressive, but at the factory floor, poor safety and discrimination has often been rumoured, not something I’d particularly like to fund. My last gripe about Tesla is a simple one – the styling. Mercedes-Benz pull off the trick of making their cars look good, in a variety of sizes, while keeping the design almost identical. However, when Tesla does this; it doesn’t work quite so well, just take the Tesla Model Y.
Apart from that, the tech on board is smartphone rivalling, it’s unbelievably practical, has a long range, is reasonably priced and holds onto this value and drives well for an electric car. Just to warn you though, Tesla has been considering opening the supercharger network to other electric cars, if they do this, it’s takes away a huge draw for this car. If you do choose to buy a Tesla, I’d go for a Model 3 in long range, and any of the desired options you want too. It’s no wonder this car is not only in my top 3 electric car list, in my buyers guide, but my executive car list too.
Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model Y
VW has made ambitious claims, that by 2030, they would be selling half of EV’s on the road. To meet these claims then, they are going to need to pull out all the stops. The ID4 is priced very well, for an electric SUV, costing from £36,550 (the similar ID5 is a substantial but more though). It’s also very practical and is very relaxing. However, when it meets a corner, it acts more like a boat, as it’s driving dynamics are off par. It also isn’t the quickest car you’ll ever come across. Another issue is the plagued infotainment which is also not the most ergonomically thought-out of things either. If you are considering an ID4, go for a Life Pro performance. This will cost £43,500 and is well worth the extra cash over the cheaper models, as the range is upped form 213 miles, to 322 miles, as well as adding to the slightly lacking punch. The ID3 is the sweet spot though, costing less than the ID4, and holding onto this cash when the time comes to sell. A long range, decent drive and good practicality are all reasons for buying this car. However, like the ID4, the infotainment is an issue. There are more cars to this VW group though, and to quickly summarise the best, the Skoda Enyaq is much like the ID4, just cheaper, and if I’m honest, apart from the badge, is a better
buy than the ID4. The Audi Q4 E-tron may have the face of a squashed dog, but its comfy and has a decent range, as well as not costing the Earth to buy. However, it’s not going to blow your face off, whether that’s round the corners or in a straight line. The Cupra Born is similar to the ID3 in every way, except for a slightly firmer ride. This car is more personal preference. Do you want a VW badge or a Cupra badge.
Cupra Born VW ID3
If you move over to France, you could have Renault Zoe or Peugeot e-208. The issue is, I can’t recommend them, along with other small electric cars such as the Fiat 500 and Vauxhall Corsa-e, as they are expensive for what you get.
Back to Germany then, and BMW. My runner up car of the year was BMW’s IX and although I thought just over £100,000 was good value for the sheer figures and mesmerising interior you got; but I can’t really call it sensibly priced. Luckily, BMW make to other great EV’s for under £65,000. For exactually £10 less than the Tesla Model 3 at £57,480 in my preferred Long Range trim, you could get the i4 in my preferred and sportier M-sport trim, along with the Pro pack. This car is based on the BMW 4 series gran coupe, which won my car of the year. This one though, ditches the great 3l straight six in my preferred M440i trim, in favour of batteries, which propel it from 0-60mph in around 5 seconds. The range is also a strong point, at 347 miles. Inside and out, I’d have it over a Model 3 too. It looks sporty, like all of these new 4 door coupes, despite having the Bugs Bunny’s teeth as grills. Inside, it looks great, I much prefer the long curving screen along the top of the dash, with lots of customisable widgets on board to Tesla’s tablet, although it does have as much tech. Plus, you don’t have to dig deep into the submenus, just to open a glovebox. The second product from BMW is the IX3 SUV. It’s less of a technological masterpiece like the IX or even i4. It’s just an electric X3. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The IX3 drives great, has a great interior and is very practical. The range is good but not exceptional, the same is for performance too.
BMW IX3 BMW i4 BMW i4 interior
In South Korea, you may think that Hyundai were too heavy-handed with their straight-edged rulers. But underneath the futuristic, angular body, is a great package. The range is decent, and the powertrains are great. It’s just not as good as the Kia EV6, which adds another layer of quality, whether it’s the interior, ride, or quietness. Volvo has the XC40 recharge which follows a similar strategy to the iX3, just that goes about doing it not quite so well. The range is adequate, and the drive isn’t particularly special. A disappointment in an expensive car like this.
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Volvo XC40 Recharge
The Mercedes C300e isn't exactually an EV, but I thought that I must include it because its range is staggering. Plug-in hybrids achieve around 20-30 miles these days, which for most commutes, is long enough. But, what if you had 68 miles, well that’s enough to go from the centre of London and go to Brighton and have around another 14 miles to spare. This is the sort of range you’ll get from a 5-year-old EV such as a Nissan Leaf. Even when the engine does kick in with a fully charged battery, it’ll achieve a claimed over 400mpg figure. The car itself has a great interior, lots of tech and a good ride too. Just to point out, at this rate, this car is likely to be my car of the year, specifically in this powertrain.
The final point to mention is, what are the used alternatives. As you’ll know electric cars haven’t been around for long and those that are old are hardly going to take you to the shops and back. There are some outliers though. The VW e-golf and BMW i3 are great value and offer a lot. It’s a shame you aren’t going to get any exceptional range. A better range car would be the previous generation Kia E-niro. The only issue is, its pricier and it’s hardly going to excite you. I always highly recommend used cars, but with EV’s and even PHEV’s I don’t think it’s quite so worthwhile, as the prices remain sky high, and batteries deteriorate far worse than engines too.
Overall then, like always, its all about which car suits you best. I think its between the Tesla Model 3, Kia EV6 and two BMW’s. Also, don’t immediately rule out the Mercedes C300e, as it is a strong rival for the Model 3, despite being a completely different powertrain.