Until not that long ago, electric cars had a fairly bad rap. They were associated with the tiny G-Wiz, which Auto Trader described as having the “performance of a sleepy vole and the structural integrity of your slippers”. There were also the perennial problems of short battery life and a limited number of charge points, which ruled out all but the shortest and most carefully planned of journeys.
Fast forward a decade or so, and electric cars now have a new lease of life. Eccentric billionaire and prospective Bond villain, Elon Musk has brought them into the limelight. Think Silicon Valley, space-age tech, and the Tesla Roadster’s enviable performance and sleek sports lines. The perception of electric vehicles has shifted from embarrassing oddities to California cool.
With vast improvements in battery technology, the rollout of charging points across the UK, and the drive to reach net-zero carbon – the direction of travel is firmly away from fossil fuel. For our part, Guild Living is looking to have EVs available to Members through a car share scheme, and charge points at our community parking spaces (find out more about our green transport commitments here).
So, now more than ever, it would seem to be the perfect time to make the switch. But where to start? Below, we take a look at our top-5 compact electric cars for getting around town.
The Zoe is one of the best compact electrics out there. With a starting price of £27,000 (after the £3,000 government plug-in car grant) it shouldn’t break the bank. Its small size makes it the ultimate urban warrior; easy to park and manoeuvre. What is more, with a range of up to 245 miles on a single 50kW rapid-charge (reaching 80% battery in 70mins), it offers performance that betters most of its rivals.
A small yet stylish electric car that is perfect for the town or city. Top Gear says: “It’s the Urban EV [Electric Vehicle] concept that became a legend, the legend that became a prototype and the prototype that became the dinkiest, most desirable car since the Suzuki Jimny. It’s the Honda e, Honda’s first mass-market pure-electric car, and we want one.” What more do we need to say!
As the company that bought us the iconic Golf, VW clearly knows a thing or two about making a great compact city car. The Volkswagen ID.3 is no exception. A brilliant, all-electric family hatchback that is practical, stylish, competitively priced, comfortable, and packed with all the latest tech. The ID.3 offers a glimpse into VW’s – and electric cars’ – future, and is yours from £32,300.
For those wanting a bit more room – maybe for taking the grandkids out for the day, or those weekend trips to the garden centre – the Kia Soul is the perfect balance. Compact enough for city driving, but plenty of space for four adults and a boot capacity of 315 litres. With a quoted range of 280 miles on a single charge, it is perfect for those longer trips too. While its quirky looks may not appeal to everyone, it will certainly stand out!
The iconic Mini has been reincarnated again… this time as an electric car! Combining the New Mini bodyshell with the powertrain from the BMW i3S, this is certainly one for those who appreciate a compact yet speedy set of wheels. Performance is notably better than the others in this list, with grippy and agile handling. However, the compromise is a more limited range, quoted at 144 miles on a single charge. But for trips in and around town, you can’t beat it for ‘fun factor’.
Let us know if there are any models you would also recommend in the comments below.
To find out more about Guild Living’s commitments to green transportation, click here.
Happy eDriving everyone!