Affordable family transport
2012 Nissan Leaf - £8,344
If you (or your ‘friends’ down the pub) are under the impression Tesla invented the mainstream electric car, then the Nissan Leaf is here to say something about it. While not the first EV on sale, it was the first to make mass production and with over half a million sales so far, it’s comfortably the world’s bestseller. It just so happens to be the shape and size of the Golf, Astra or Focus you might be looking to ditch for the electric life, too. Lots of Leafs sold new also means lots to choose from used; an eight grand budget provides a wealth of options.Advertisement - Page continues below
Transporting a kids’ football team
2021 Peugeot e-Traveller - £37,990
Buying a people carrier of any kind is a bit of a tough ask these days. The literal and metaphorical rise of the SUV has sadly neutered a segment of car that’s long been a bit of a guilty pleasure of ours; a well-engineered MPV is as impressive as a properly sorted sports car, in its own way. The Peugeot Traveller is perhaps a little simplistic in its premise – it’s a van with windows! – but with eight seats and up to 148 miles of range, there’s no cleaner way to move a whole gaggle of children around.
An electric SUV that thinks it’s a petrol car
2019 MG ZS – £20,995
Offering plug-in power as an option on conventional cars has been the making of MG’s second coming as a purveyor of Chinese-designed crossovers rather than rusty, leaky, chrome-bumpered roadsters. The trick’s a good one: win over some older folk who lusted after an MGB in their youth with a cheap, fuss-free EV that’s priced and styled just like the petrol version on the other side of the showroom. No wonder MG’s sales are up every single month.Advertisement - Page continues below
Learning to drive in the electric age
2020 Vauxhall Corsa-e - £21,000
You’re learning to drive, so you want something simple and conventional to operate with no major scares. Which is where the Corsa-e comes in. It takes some well-developed electric powertrain technology from Peugeot and Citroen and clothes it in a more sensible design –
inside and out. If you can fathom an automatic gearbox, you’ll fathom this Corsa immediately. Toggling through its numerous drive modes even sets peak power at different levels, too, to help you progress. Treat yourself to the full 134bhp when you pass your test.
Starting pub conversations
2017 Tesla Model S P100 ‘Ludicrous’ - £73,980
Has any car brand broken into mainstream pop culture as much as Tesla? Beyond Ferrari, we’d argue not. Everyone has a strong and seemingly irrevocable opinion on the Californian electric car start-up, whether they’ve driven one or not. So if you want the final say in any pub argument on Elon’s cars, surely it comes via owning one. And not just any Tesla, but the firm’s first ‘regular’ car, the Model S, in 2.5secs-to-60mph Ludicrous form. There aren’t many Ferraris that’ll do that…
Going on trackdays (or pretending that you do)
2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S - £143,995
While the Taycan launched seemingly as a direct rival to the Tesla Model S, the truth is subtly different. Sure, this top spec Turbo S will hit 60mph in under three seconds and offers more than 700 horsepower. But the actual experience is about so much more. Namely, the same precise, predictable handling responses we know and love in Porsche’s sports cars, with the added novelty of its electronically warbling soundtrack when you want it, and astonishing silence when you don’t. The boot isn’t massive, but you’ll be having too much fun to care. This is the best driver’s EV on the market. At least until the electric Cayman comes along…
Getting some emissions-free sunburn
2019 Smart fortwo Cabrio - £14,995
Is there some irony in flocking to an electric convertible to enjoy a heatwave hastened by global warming? Well, it’s probably better late than never to do your bit. Electric convertibles are a rare beast at the moment – good luck finding an original Tesla Roadster for sale – so your choices are currently limited to cutesy city cars, namely a Fiat 500 or Smart fortwo. It won’t travel a huge distance, nor will it get there particularly quickly. All the better for soaking up as much sun as possible, though.Advertisement - Page continues below
A crossover with some comfy familiarity
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E - £45,995
Most of us have been shuttled around in a Ford at some point in our lives. Whether our parents took us to school in a Sierra, we learned to drive in a Fiesta or we landed a sweet Mondeo as a company car, it’s a name no British resident’s car history is complete without. Quite helpful, then, that Ford’s first mainstream EV knocked it right out the park. Sticking a Mustang badge on an electric SUV riled up a few people – naturally – but the end product is good. Really good. Time for the Blue Oval badge to re-enter your life?
And a crossover that’s landed from another planet
2021 Hyundai Ioniq 5 - £38,995
It doesn’t necessarily look like a crossover, nor does it look all that big. It’s a neat design trick to end them all – the Ioniq 5 is a biggie. Just one that apes the style of an old 1970s hatchback while somehow looking futuristic at the same time. It’s a car of curiously charming paradoxes, then, but crucially it’s a comfy, tech-packed thing to travel around in, which is what most of us seek from a family car these days. This just happens to be one the kids want dropping off right in front of their mates in, rather than hidden meekly around the corner.Advertisement - Page continues below
Cheapness above all else
2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev - £5999
So, you’ve heard electric cars are the new big thing. But you don’t travel far. Nor very quickly. Nor with much concern for how you look. Well, the i-Miev is here to hurdle the very low bar you’ve set for your first EV purchase. We’re being mean, of course; in its day this was a pioneer, and its odd styling and paltry 60-mile real-world range figure simply show the sheer rate of progress since its inception. The fact these were around £30,000 new shows its price now to be a real bargain, too.