It is impossible to ignore the steady climb in the number of people buying electric vehicles (EVs) and the increase in market share so far this year compared to last confirms that.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders EVs accounted for just 1.2% of the market, at the end of August 2019. However, at the end of August 2020 that share had grown to over 5%. Meaning, in only 12 months, more than 40,000 new plug-in EVs have rolled off the forecourt in the last year, which is a 157% rise!
Still it isn’t hard to find those who won’t even consider a switch, citing range, ease of recharging and loss of power as reasons without ever looking at the evidence to the contrary.
But a growing number of EV versions of popular models – that have all the familiar and comforting design, layout and features of their trusted drives – may change a few minds. Here are five popular EV versions of much-loved and best-selling petrol and diesel cars that could win over the diehards.
VW’s first pure electric car will look familiar to Golf drivers because it is the EV re-imagining of one. Launched this September it will signal the company’s serious play to win the hearts and minds of traditional drivers.
It will replace the E-Golf and offer three battery options that produce a range of 249 to 373 miles between charges, increased boot capacity over the most recent Golf and a spacious cockpit that VW compares to the more upmarket Passat.
There is still heavy secrecy about this perceived game-changed for Mercedes, due for launch in early 2021. A concept shown at Frankfurt in 2017 suggested it was going to be a hatchback but glimpses of the car in testing show it is a crossover that combines the heft of a 4X4 with the nimbleness of a smaller vehicle.
Two versions are planned, with standard single-motor front-wheel drive and optional dual-motor four-wheel drive and it is being touted as a rival to VW’s ID3 and the EQE is also said to be on the way, so watch this space!
The re-born and Chinese owned MG is carving out a reputation for EVs, using parent company’s SEIC’s brands as a template. The 5 is being championed as the UK’s first all-electric affordable estate car and is aimed squarely at families.
In addition to bags of storage space, MG says its 5 can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 7.7 seconds, reach a top speed of 115mph and get 276 miles from a single charge. Due in showrooms from November, including an Exclusive version with one-touch windows, radar cruise control, leather-style seats and a panoramic sunroof.
Released this autumn alongside petrol and diesel versions, the latest incarnation of Citroen’s popular Ford Focus and Golf rival is its first EV family hatchback. It features all the same interior bells and whistles, including a re-designed ‘infotainment’ system, as well as six different interior colour schemes said to make the occupants feel like they are in their living rooms.
It will have a range of 217 miles, a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 93mph – all from a five-and-half hour maximum charge. The E-C4 is one of six new electric models Citroen has planned in the coming year.
It seems almost sacrilege to take the embodiment of fun driving and make it electric but it sold 8,500 in the first half of 2020, a 4% increase on 2019.
Packing 182bhp – the same power as a 2.0-litre petrol-powered Cooper S – this Mini can travel up to 93mph and promises a range of between 124-144 miles from a full charge that takes two-and-a-half hours.
While the range seems low, Mini surveyed its users in 2017 and found the average journey they made was 29.7 miles, so it knows its customers.
Celebs driving Electric Cars
There is no doubt that there is a certain portrayal about being behind the wheel of an electric vehicle, especially if you want to parade your green credentials. Performers like Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber, Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus, Paul McCartney, Orlando Bloom and James Corden all back up their support for Eco causes by owning EVs.
The tide has definitely turned on EV ownership and the reasons to resist appear to be evaporating ever more quickly. It seems only a matter of when, not if, we’ll all be going to bed wondering if we left the car plugged in...read more on EV leasing HERE.