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Guide to Electric Cars

2020 will see carmakers scrambling to launch EV models but for now, the choice is still limited. With battery range, a key consideration here are all of your electric choices from the lowest to the highest range* writes Geraldine Herbert

*All range figures are from WLTP tests

Hyundai Ioniq
Overshadowed by the hugely popular Kona, Hyundai’s Ioniq is available as an electric,  petrol-electric hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. On the road it is quick off the line and dashes effortlessly and silently around town.  It is not the most engaging car to drive with quite a bit of bodyroll through corners but it is comfortable, refined and adds that instant torque of an electric vehicle. Inside it is a spacious hatchback with plenty of room for 5. It’s also practical with 455 litres of luggage space and 1,410 litres if you fold down the rear seats. Given its affordable price tag, space inside and decent range the Ioniq is a good overall package. For 2020 an updat­ed Ioniq with an increased driving range of 294km and new technolo­gy will join the range.
Range: 225 km (estimated based on NEDC figures)
Battery Size (kWh): 28
Starting Price: €29,745
Battery Warranty: 8 year or 200,000kms battery warranty ( whichever comes first) on Hyundai Lithium-Ion-Polymer battery.

 

Volkswagen E-Golf
Almost every one of us has owned a Golf at some stage since they started back in 1974 and to many the beauty of the e-Golf is that it looks just like the rest. From the outside, the e-Golf is identical to its non-electric sister and has all the size and practicality of the regular Golf, but it’s powered purely by electricity. For 2017 VW has improved the range from 190kms to 300kms.  The e-Golf is powered by an electric motor that produces 136hp and 290Nm of torque. What this means in the real world is that the e-Golf can achieve a top speed of 150km/h and accelerate from 0-100km/h in 9.6 seconds. Like many other electric cars, the motor regenerates lost energy from braking and recycles it back into the battery for later, whilst the handy Powermeter guides you through the energy performance and acceleration. While VW has managed to retain the key attributes of its popular model and the e-Golf is good to drive its a pricey option and the range is still far from class-leading.
Range: 230 km
Battery Size (kWh): 35.8
Starting Price: €38,025
Battery Warranty: 8-year battery warranty

 

BMW i3
BMW just recently announced that they have no plan for an i3 successor so it’s likely it will continue for the next 12 months only. Outside it’s funky but inside it’s futuristic and has been crafted to use every available space. While it is not the most spacious inside there is plenty of headroom plus the rear-hinged doors and no B-pillar means it’s simple to get in and out of, that said the back seats are still suitable only for children. Two versions are available the entry-level i3 has a 170hp-electric motor while the i3s sports a 181hp one. On the road its fun to drive but the ride is firm and some may describe it as harsh. Part of the appeal of the i3 is that it allows you to bask in green virtue as you get from A to B but its let down by its price, lack of practicality, and falls short on range.
Range: 260 km
Battery Size (kWh): 33
Starting Price:€37,950
Battery Warranty: eight-year, 160,000km warranty

 

Renault Zoe 
The latest version of the Renault ZOE has won many fans with its keen pricing and very usable battery range. On the road, the Zoe feels very much like the latest generation Clio and like all EV’s, full power and torque is available instantly, so as you hit the pedal and it whisks you seamlessly from 0-100km in a leisurely 13.2  seconds it feels so much faster.  The interior is well-thought-out and there is room for 5 at a squeeze and a decent 338 litres of boot space. A new ZOE is on the way and it promises a substantial restyle, a completely revised interior, increased range and more charging options.
Range: 382km
Battery Size (kWh):  41
Starting Price: €25,590
Battery Warranty: The electric powertrain also has a warranty of up to 5 years/200,000 km (first 2 years unlimited mileage).

 

Nissan Leaf
Launched in 2011 Nissan’s Leaf is the car that has turned more of us into EV-drivers than any other car in the world. It began life with bulging headlights and a quirky design but for the second-generation model it has been given a smart look and it is spacious enough inside for four adults to sit comfortably, though rear headroom is a little sparse. The 40kw version has been joined by a new more powerful 62kw LEAF with a longer range of 385km on a single charge. Good to drive and well priced, if you are considering an electric car it worth be spending a day test driving the new Leaf.
Range: 270 km – 385 km (Depending on the model chosen)
Battery Size (kWh):  40
Starting Price: €28,690
Battery Warranty: 8-year/ 160,000km warranty on 40Kwh battery

 

Audi E-Tron
Audi’s E-Tron is the car maker’s first foray into a full-electric production vehicle and comes with a 391km range, a maximum towing capacity of 1,800kg a new generation of the Quattro drive system and an eye-watering price tag. More crossover than 4×4 the E-tron is larger than the Q5, inside there’s room for five and it exudes the level of stylishness and luxury one might expect from the cabin of an Audi. On the road, it’s instantly clear that the appeal of this car is more than simply emission-free motoring but be warned drive it too enthusiastically and the range begins to quickly disappear. If you are looking for an all-season EV that is overwhelmingly indulgent and you crave a bit of exclusivity you might find this new Audi very tempting.
Range: 388 km
Battery Size (kWh):  95
Starting Price: €99,750
Battery Warranty: eight years or 160,000 kms

 

Mercedes EQC
Aimed at the increasingly competitive premium segment Mercedes EQC competes with the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron and Tesla Model X. Electrification is a key part of Mercedes’ future plans and the new SUV is the first of a host of electric vehicles (EVs) coming from the German carmaker over the next few years that will be launched under its EQ sub-brand. As you’d expect from a Mercedes, the interior is luxurious and well put together, with high-quality materials, a modern infotainment system – the pioneering MBUX multimedia system. Based on the current GLC model there is decent space for people, luggage, and more. Powering the new Mercedes EV is an 80kWh lithium-ion battery pack that gives 408hp and 765Nm of sheer pulling power. On the road it is an accomplished cruiser, reassuringly it also comes with permanent all-wheel-drive. The range depends on which model you opt for and starts from 375km. The EQC offers the styling and performance to suit those looking for an environmentally-friendly, fun-to-drive and trendy SUV.
Range: 375 km to 417 km (Depending on the model chosen)
Battery Size (kWh):  80
Starting Price: €79,450
Battery Warranty: 8-years or 160,000km

 

Hyundai Kona
The Kona has been an outstanding success for Hyundai and is the best selling electric car so far this year. Its trendy SUV styling ais surprisingly attractive while inside it’s bright, modern and comfortable and there are a decent 361 litres of space in the boot. But the key to success of the Kona EV is bringing Tesla type range to popular Family SUV segment at a price far lower than anything previously offered. Smooth, stylish, well equipped, and for anyone thinking of taking the plunge, it makes switching to an EV a very easy decision.
Range: 449 km
Battery Size (kWh):  64
Starting Price: €38,130
Battery Warranty: 8 year or 200,000kms battery warranty ( whichever comes first) on Hyundai Lithium-Ion-Polymer battery

 

Kia e-Soul
The funky styling of the Kia Soul is quirky enough to stand apart from rivals but now it is also available as a fully electric car with a very impressive range. Inside the funky body doesn’t compromise interior space and while not quite as radical as the exterior styling might suggest overall everything is well made and there are some really nice touches and details throughout. Overall, the e-Soul is a very likeable car, it’s fun, practical and distinctive. So while upfront costs are high compared to non-Evs it is cheap to run and maintain and with a 450 range, it comes anxiety free.
Range: 452 km
Battery Size (kWh):  64
Starting Price: €35,995
Battery Warranty: The Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery warranty covers a minimum capacity for a period is 84 months or 150,000 km from the date of first registration, whichever comes first. Kia also overs the components of EV vehicles for 84 months/150,000 kilometres, from the date of first registration.

 

Kia e-Niro
Hot on the heels of the Hyundai Kona is the e-Niro from Kia. Sharing the same technology the chunky styling and high ride height will appeal to family buyers and the good news with a 450 range its not a case of style over substance. Inside it is generously equipped for your money and there is plenty of space and satisfyingly roomy both front and back. And while there’s no cunning third row of seats waiting to spring out of the floor fold the rear seats down and you get a very decent 1,425 litres. A plug-in version of the Niro hybrid joined the range this year. The e-Niro offers a range at that crucial threshold to ease driver fears of running out of juice at half the price of the more premium rivals
Range: 455 kms
Battery Size (kWh):  64
Starting Price: €33,495
Battery Warranty: The Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery warranty covers a minimum capacity for a period is 84 months or 150,000 km from the date of first registration, whichever comes first. Kia also overs the components of EV vehicles for 84 months/150,000 kilometres, from the date of first registration.

 

Jaguar I-Pace
Buyers in the market for a premium electric vehicle, until recently had just one option Tesla but Jaguar was the first to challenge that. Built on a bespoke aluminium chassis architecture the I-Pace is like nothing else Jaguar produces, in fact, it’s like nothing else currently on the road. With concept car looks it is brimming with technology found nowhere else and engineered specifically for this car. The interior has got its work cut out living up to the Avante-garde exterior but it is lavishly finished and well equipped. The I-Pace is a five-seater and comes with 656 litres of boot space. A 90kWh battery pack gives the I-Pace a range of 480 km range or enough to get you from Donegal to Cork on one overnight charge The I-Pace is beautiful to drive and stunning to look at but with a price tag to rival Tesla it is not an electric car for the masses.
Range: 470 km
Battery Size (kWh):  84
Starting Price: €81,585
Battery Warranty: Eight-year, 160,000km warranty

 

Tesla Model X
The Model X from Tesla is an all-wheel-drive, all-electric SUV with seating for up to 7 that will just about keep pace with a Ferrari. With “falcon-wing” doors that open upwards and a windshield that sweeps from the front over the driver’s head and down to the rear, this is about as futuristic as family motoring gets.  Inside the clean lines and overall simplicity enhance that almost space-age quality of the Model X but look a little closer and the fittings don’t quite reflect the high price tag. On the road, the Model X feels more like a very fast MPV than a sporty SUV. The ride is harsh and there is quite a bit of road noise.  The steering is numb but accurate and it’s not a car you will yearn to take on a back road. But the intoxicating acceleration and sophisticated technology mean these gripes will be quickly overlooked.
Range: 375 km – 505km  (Depending on the model chosen)
Battery Size (kWh): 75
Starting Price: €94,993
Battery Warranty: 8 years (with the exception of the original 60 kWh battery manufactured before 2015, which is covered for a period of 8 years or 200,000 km, whichever comes first.

 

Tesla Model 3
We haven’t had opportunities to test Tesla’s new smaller saloon, the Model 3 yet but it can now be ordered via their online portal and prices start from €48,900 for the entry-level model and from €60,700 for the Performance. First delivery was due in July but it now seems that it is more likely that it will be the end of the year as it would appear the recent struggles of the company to overcome bottlenecks and ramp up production of the Model 3 remain unresolved. A family-sized saloon the model 3 will compete in the competitive BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C Class and Jaguar XE segment of the market. Available in three specifications and with varying levels of range the Standard Range Plus, Long Range AWD and Model 3 Performance give 415, 560 and 530 km respectively. We look forward to reviewing it very soon.
Range: 449 km – 560 km (Depending on the model chosen)
Battery Size (kWh): 54
Starting Price: €48,900
Battery Warranty:  Standard Range Model – 8 years or 160,000 km, whichever comes first, with a minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period. Long-Range Model  – 8 years or 192,000 km, whichever comes first, with a minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period.

 

Tesla Model S
Until very recently the Model S was unchallenged as the only electric car that could realistically claim to cover 400-plus km range. Smart and uncluttered inside the cabin is a little disappointing and not quite to the standard you might expect given the price tag. On the road the handling is impressive and it is comfortable and refined, it is also very easy to forget about that intoxicating power that can be unleashed at any time.  The top of the range P100D, in “ludicrous mode” will zip from zero to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds, so it will keep up with a Lamborghini Huracan and a McLaren 650S and only the Koenigsegg One and the Bugatti Veyron are faster. It is impossible not to be impressed by the Model S it offers acceleration that guarantees an out of body experience and for some it will be hard to resist.
Range: 450 km – 610 km (Depending on the model chosen)
Battery Size (kWh): 85
Starting Price: €83,887
Battery Warranty: 8 years (with the exception of the original 60 kWh battery manufactured before 2015, which is covered for a period of 8 years or 200,000 km, whichever comes first.

 

Geraldine Herbert

18th September 2019

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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