Best electric family cars 2020
Our guide to the most practical electric family cars on sale right now
Electric cars are now available in a wide range of bodystyles. From superminis to sports cars, there’s one to suit your lifestyle and taste.
If it’s space you want, and room for the family, there’s plenty of choice already. And you won’t have to spend a fortune either.
From the Tesla Model 3 to more budget offerings from Kia and Hyundai, these are our picks for the best electric family cars on sale now.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Fashionable, affordable and with a long range, the Kona Electric is a great electric-car choice for families that’s fantastic value for money. It’s not quite as spacious as small SUV rivals such as the Renault Captur and SEAT Arona but, unlike some electric cars, it’s not compromised either.
The longest range is only offered by the higher-spec versions, which get a 64kWh battery. This gives a range of 279 miles. Charging to 80% takes 75 minutes from a 50kWh fast charger.
There’s a smaller battery in the less expensive versions that provides a range of 180 miles. With the Government’s electric-car grant, the Kona Electric starts at £27,250. Read our full review.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
The Ioniq Electric has been around since 2016 and has recently been facelifted. As well as a fresh new look, the car got more range, more power and more technology.
Let’s start with the range. Its 38.3kWh battery offers 194 miles of range, 20 more than before. That powers an electric motor, which now produces 134 instead of the 118bhp before, slightly improving the acceleration time from 0-62mph to 9.7 seconds. From a 50kW charger, the Ioniq will charge to 80% capacity in an hour.
Inside, it now features a 10.25-inch touchscreen and Hyundai has also stripped out many of the car’s buttons and replaced them with a touchpad for operating the menus and climate control. Read our full review.
Meet our current favourite electric car. Great value, with mega range and plenty of family-friendly space, the e-Niro ticks a lot of boxes. Kia claims a range of 282 miles, putting the e-Niro up there with some of the longest-range electric cars on sale, but at a much-reduced price of just under £33,000 after the government grant.
Power comes from a 64kWh battery, with the electric motor powering the front wheels. Charging from a typical 7.2kW home wallbox, the e-Niro will top up fully in nine hours.
At a 50kW charger of the type you’d find at a motorway services, the e-Niro can be topped up to 80% in 75 minutes. It shares its powertrain with the equally excellent Hyundai Kona Electric mentioned above. Read our full review.
Kia Soul EV
Funky, high-tech and practical, the Soul EV is a compelling family choice that shares its powertrain with the e-Niro and Kona Electric.
Cheaper than the e-Niro by about £3,000, the Soul is slightly smaller, but still offers more space than a typical hatchback. Its 64kWh battery powers a sprightly 201bhp electric motor, giving it hot-hatch-like performance.
MG ZS EV
MG has been going through a renaissance under Chinese ownership and its ZS EV is one of the cheapest ways to get into an uncompromising electric car. After the government grant, it costs less than £25,000.
For this, you get plenty of space and practicality, as the ZS EV is a compact SUV. If you can overlook its lacklustre driving experience, the ZS EV is a sensible choice.
Its 44.5kWh battery gives a range of 163 miles and, with 50kW charging capability, you can add 100 miles of range in just 30 minutes. Acceleration isn’t breathtaking, but 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds is comparable to a petrol or diesel car of this ilk. Read our full review.
The Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car, thanks to a combination of its well pitched price, practicality and real-world range. There are two models available. The standard car achieves 168 miles from its 40kWh battery, while the longer-range e+ ups that to 239 miles from a 62kWh pack.
With fast charging capability, it’s possible to go from 20-80% charge in just 30 minutes. One of the Leaf’s neatest features is its E-Pedal. When you put it in this mode, you can drive the car using just one pedal: as soon as you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal the car automatically slows.
Prices start at under £25,000 after the Government grant has been applied. Read our full review.
Nissan e-NV200 Combi
You want your electric car big? You got it. The e-NV200 Combi's name might not roll off the tongue, but it’s undoubtedly the most spacious electric car on sale. Like the Tesla Model S and Model X, it offers seating for up to seven, but at a price that’s much more palatable.
With the Government grant, the e-NV200 Combi starts at just over £27,000. But as it’s based on a van, it lacks the refinements you get with the Teslas. Power comes from the Nissan Leaf’s powertrain and the e-NV200 Combi has a 40kWh battery that should see up to 187 miles between charges.
A CHAdeMO fast charger, available on higher-spec versions, can top up the battery to three-quarters full in 50 minutes. Read our full review here.
The new Peugeot e-2008 goes on sale in early 2020 and offers SUV-style practicality with the electric powertrain of the e-208 hatchback. Bigger than the old petrol and diesel 2008, with a larger boot, more interior space and loads of technology, the e-2008 looks set to be a great choice for families who want an electric car.
A 50kWh battery provides power to a 135bhp motor, giving an official range of 193 miles, a bit less than rivals like the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric. With 100kW rapid-charging capability, an 80% top-up takes just 30 minutes.
Prices are yet to be confirmed, but you can read more about the e-2008 here.
Tesla Model 3
The Model 3 brings the Tesla name to the masses. Well, that’s the intention anyway. This is the brand's cheapest car and it starts at just under £40,000. For that, you get one of the most anticipated and sought-after electric cars out there – as well as one of the longest-range models currently available.
The Model 3 Standard Range Plus should see 258 miles between charges, while the more expensive Long Range version adds nearly 100 miles to that. In the middle of the range is the Performance, which offers Porsche pace along with a range of 329 miles.
The Golf is the de facto car choice for many. It’s practical, premium, great to drive and comfortable. And there’s even a purely electric version, called the e-Golf.
While many rivals are purpose-designed as electric cars, Volkswagen stuck to a well-proven recipe here: this looks like a Golf and drives like a Golf. With a 134bhp electric motor and a 35.8kWh battery, the e-Golf should average 144 miles between charges. The only slight issue is price: even with the government grant, it costs over £27,000 – enough to get you into a petrol Golf GTI.
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