Best-Selling Electric Cars UK: The Complete Guide

Tesla Model 3

It is a sign of the fast developing maturity of the electric vehicle (EV) sector in the UK, in that, the SMMT published its first full year list of ‘Best Sellers’ Battery-Electric Vehicles for 2021!


Though it comes as no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 continues to reign in pole position as the best-selling electric car in the UK (2021), it is certainly good to note the varied types of electric cars that have made the inaugural Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) full year list of best-selling pure electric cars. A total of 34,783 Tesla Model 3 cars were registered in the UK, just over 18% of the total number of pure electric cars registered in 2021 (190,727).

The all-electric Kia e-Niro and the all-electric Volkswagen ID.3 came in second and third place respectively. Again, this is not surprising. The Kia e-Niro has two strong selling points: affordability and good zero-emission range. The VW ID.3 is not dissimilar, proving to be a very good all-rounder for individuals and families. This is certainly good news for the German automotive manufacturer, given their aspirations for the launch of several electric vehicles (EVs) as part of the Volkswagen ‘electric only’ ID.Family of cars.

We at e-zoomed do expect the Tesla Model 3 (and the Tesla Model Y) to perform well in 2022, however, not with the same level of market share, given the availability of many more fantastic electric cars. To learn about the e-zoomed top 10 picks for the best electric cars for 2022, simply follow this link!


Best Sellers: Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs): Full Year 2021 (SMMT)


ashvin suri e-zoomed founder
You Can Recharge A Pure Electric SUV Between £5 – £10 (Ashvin Suri, Founder e-zoomed)

Apart from the impeccable environmental credentials of electric vehicles, the other fantastic advantage of EVs, is that these eco-friendly vehicles are cheap to run. You can expect to fully recharge an EV battery for between £5 and £15, with a running cost per mile between 3p and 5p. To fill a full tank of a petrol car will set you back over £100! The narrative to switch to pure electric cars is compelling and robust:

  • No noise pollution.
  • No tailpipe pollution (better air quality).
  • Cheaper to recharge than fill.
  • Cheaper to run per mile.
  • Instant torque.
  • Smoother ride.
  • Superior infotainment systems.
  • Enhanced exterior design and much more!

You can lease all the electric cars mentioned below at very competitive prices via e-zoomed!


Model Units Registered Body Type EV Range Price
Tesla Model 3 34,783 unitsSaloon 278 – 360 milesFrom £40,990
Kia e-Niro 12,271 unitsSUV 180 – 282 milesFrom £30,345
Volkswagen ID.3 11,032 unitsHatchback214 – 336 milesFrom £30,870
Nissan Leaf 9,052 unitsHatchback168 – 239 milesFrom £25,995
Audi e-tron 7,396 unitsSUV 194 – 249 milesFrom £62,025
Hyundai Kona 7,199 unitsSUV (Compact Crossover)189 – 300 milesFrom £30,450
Mini 6,615 unitsHatchback140 – 145 milesFrom £26,000
Renault Zoe 5,778 unitsHatchback238 – 245 milesFrom £27,595
Vauxhall Corsa-e5,605 unitsHatchback209 milesFrom £24,140
MG ZS 5,380 unitsSUV 163 milesFrom £28,595

Best-Sellers Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs) 2021 (credit: SMMT)



Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:


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The All-Electric Tesla Model 3


Gallery


The All-Electric Tesla Model 3 (credit:Tesla)


At A Glance
Price:From £40,990
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Saloon
EV Battery Capacity:Available in three battery sizes: 53 kWh, 78 kWh, 82 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):278 – 360 miles
Charging:Up to 250 kW rapid charging standard. On-board charger 11 kW AC (3-Phase)
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:162 mph
0-62 mph:3.1 seconds
Boot Space:425 L

The all-electric Tesla Model 3 is a best-selling electric vehicle globally. Since its unveiling in 2016, the Tesla Model 3 has been making history.  Within a week of opening the booking for the ‘affordable’ Tesla, orders had topped 325,000 units. As of December 2020, more than 800,000 pure electric Model 3 cars have been delivered.

Deliveries to US customers commenced in July 2017. In February 2019, the Model 3 become the best selling plug-in electric car in the US. For the UK market, the Model 3 bookings opened in May 2019, with deliveries commencing in June 2019.  The Tesla Model 3 continues to dominate the UK Best Sellers list of battery-electric vehicles, with pole position in 2021.


PROS CONS
A best-selling electric car Expensive. Cheaper pure electric alternatives available
Fast electric performance Build quality can be improved
Good EV battery range and Supercharger networkLow rankings in 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey

The All-Electric Kia e-Niro SUV


Gallery


The All-Electric Kia e-Niro SUV (credit: Kia)


At A Glance
Price:From £30,345
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:SUV
EV Battery Capacity:Available in two battery sizes: 39 kWh/ 64 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):180 – 282 miles
Charging:100 kW Rapid Charging. On board charger: 7.2 kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:104 mph
0-62 mph:7.5 seconds
Boot Space:451 L

Like the all-new Kia Soul EV SUV, the Kia e-Niro pure electric SUV has been positioned for ‘affordability’ and ‘value’. Of course, as one would expect, there is much in common between the two pure electric compact crossovers SUVs from Kia.

Kia Corporation, launched the all-electric Kia e-Niro in 2018 at the International Electric Vehicle Expo in Korea. The Kia Niro concept was unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. The emission-free e-Niro order book opened in the UK in January 2019, with the initial allocation sold out within three weeks. The EV has also won the prestigious 2019 What Car? Car of the Year award. It is the first ever all-electric SUV to win this accolade. The e-SUV has also won the prestigious WhatCar? Car of the Year 2021 award.

The EV is practical and versatile without compromising on quality and comfort. The rear seats are comfortable for adults, with ample legroom and headroom. The electric vehicle (EV) is available in two battery sizes (39 kWh and 64 kWh) with a zero-emission electric range of up to 282 miles (WLTP). More than appropriate for most family requirements, to include, school runs, family outings, day trips, weekend getaways, grocery shopping and a lot more!


PROS CONS
Affordable electric compact SUV for families and good all-rounderThe exterior stying is not for everyone
Good EV range 39 kWh battery option has limited range
Winner of WhatCar? Car of the Year awardThere is room for improvement for the interior

The All-Electric Volkswagen ID.3 Hatchback


Gallery


The All-Electric Volkswagen ID.3 Available For Lease Via e-zoomed (credit: VW)


At A Glance
Price:From £30,870
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in three battery sizes: 45 kWh/ 58 kWh/ 77 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):214 – 336 miles
Charging:50 kW rapid charging standard. Mid-range models 100 kW and top-end model 125 kW
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:99 mph
0-62 mph:7.3 seconds
Boot Space:385 L

The launch of the Volkswagen ID.3 five-door family hatchback is part of the company’s broader strategy, to offer affordable EVs to the mass-market via the VW ID. family range of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). The 2020 ID.3 was first shown as the concept ID prototype electric car at the Paris Motor Show in 2016. 

The all-new ID.3 five-door hatchback launch model ‘ID.3 1st Edition’ was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The EV model has been positioned as an affordable electric car for ‘everyone’.  The battery-electric vehicle (BEV) ID.3 model is marked as ‘3’, as this will be the third most important chapter for the German automotive company, after the Beetle and Golf models.

The plug-in electric car uses the MEB bespoke electric platform. Manufacturing commenced in November 2019. As another first for Volkswagen, the ID.3 is carbon neutral upon delivery to its customers.

The pure electric ID.3 has received positive reviews from Auto CarAuto Express and What Car?. According to What Car “There are few electric cars that ride any better, unless you spend an awful lot more dosh.”


PROS CONS
A good option for families looking to switch to pure electric drivingWill disappoint those seeking a futuristic styling and design
Design is ‘familiar’ and not futuristic Infotainment system could be improved
Good range and vast options of battery sizesInterior materials feel cheap for some variants at higher price
Plenty of space (boot and interior)Rear view slightly limited

The All-Electric Nissan Leaf


The All-Electric Nissan Leaf (credit: Nissan)


At A Glance
Price:From £25,995
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in two battery sizes: 40 kWh/ 62 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):168 – 239 miles
Charging:On-board charger: 6.6 kW. Port for Rapid Charger CHAdeMO type: 50 kW (60 mins-90 mins 20% to 80%)
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:98 mph
0-62 mph:6.9 seconds
Boot Space:435 L

The Nissan Leaf, is one of the best-selling electric cars globally, with more than 500,000 sold.  The BEV was first introduced in 2010 in Japan & the United States. It was introduced in the UK in 2011. The electric Leaf is now sold in over 59 markets across the globe. In fact, in celebration of the inaugural World EV Day (September 9th 2020), Nissan marked the production of the 500,000th Leaf. Europe remains the largest market for the plug-in electric Leaf, followed by the United States and Japan.   

It has the unique distinction of being the first mass-market electric car in the world.  Since its launch, the ubiquitous EV has won numerous prestigious awards, to include, the 2018 World Green Car at the New York International Auto Show for the second generation Leaf.  The first generation Nissan Leaf won the 2011 World Car of the Year. In 2019, the Nissan Leaf was awarded the ‘Car of the Year’ in the Stuff Gadget Awards.


PROS CONS
A good all-rounder BEVThough design has evolved, still not the best looking EV
Good range Reliability assessment poor in the 2020 What Car? reliability survey
Affordable and practical Headroom for rear seats limited
Ample boot space (435 L) Sluggish infotainment system

The All-Electric Audi e-tron SUV


Gallery


The All-Electric Audi e-tron SUV (credit: Audi)


At A Glance
Price:From £62,025
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:SUV
EV Battery Capacity:Available in two battery sizes: 71 kWh/ 95 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):194 – 249 miles
Charging:120 kW DC Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 11kW AC)
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:124 mph
0-62 mph:6.6 seconds
Boot Space:660 L

The Audi e-tron SUV was unveiled as a concept car in 2015 (quattro concept), at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The e-tron battery-electric vehicle (BEV) is the first mass-market zero-emission pure electric vehicle from the German automotive manufacturer. The EV was delivered in 2019.

The e-tron SUV is a luxurious and spacious EV, perfect for families needing ample interior space and practicality without compromising on comfort! The rear seats are comfortable with excellent legroom and headroom. The electric vehicle (EV) is a smooth drive and well suited for weekend getaways and day trips with the family. The EV has a ‘familiar and conventional’ design, helpful for those consumers keen on ‘familiarity’ when migrating to zero-emission electric driving.

The e-tron SUV is available in two EV battery sizes: 71 kWh and 95 kWh, with WLTP ranges of 194 miles and 249 miles respectively. Though an 11kW on-board charger comes as standard, only the 55 quattro variant is capable of DC charging up to 150 kW. The 50 quattro variant can charge up to only 120 kW.


PROS CONS
Ample interior space for large families and luggageCheaper pure electric SUV are available
Interior quality high and luxurious EV range not as good as some rivals
Familiar and conventional exterior design Electric performance not as good as competitors

The Hyundai Kona Electric SUV


Gallery


The Hyundai New Kona Electric SUV (credit: Hyundai)


At A Glance
Price:From £30,450
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:SUV (Compact Crossover)
EV Battery Capacity:Available in two battery sizes: 39.2 kWh/ 64 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):189 – 300 miles
Charging:100 kW DC Rapid Charging (0-80%: 47 mins). On board charger: 10.5 kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:104 mph
0-62 mph:7.9 seconds
Boot Space:332 L

The pure electric Hyundai Kona Electric EV was launched in South Korea in 2018. The Kona has also been available as an internal combustion engine (ICE) variant since 2017. The vehicle is named after the western district of the island of Hawaii.

The Kona e-SUV is the second pure electric car from the South Korean manufacturer. The first was the all-electric IONIQ EV. The upgraded New Kona Electric SUV EV is a practical and affordable electric vehicle (EV), appropriate for families keen to migrate to zero-emission electric driving, but at prices that are affordable. The SE Connect and Premium trims are priced below £32,000 and therefore eligible for the UK government plug-in car grant (PiCG). The Ultimate trim is not eligible for the PiCG.

The e-SUV is practical and versatile with an excellent zero-emission range. The KONA SUV EV is available in two EV battery sizes (39.2 kWh and 64 kWh), with a WLTP range up to 300 miles for the larger lithium-ion EV battery. The compact crossover electric SUV is more than appropriate for most family requirements, to include, school runs, family outings, weekend trips, grocery shopping and a lot more! The electric vehicle (EV) also has a 10.5 kW AC on-board charger and is capable of DC charging up to 100 kW (0-80%: 47 mins). A perfect step into affordable and fun electric driving.


PROS CONS
An affordable compact family electric SUVNot all variants qualify for PiCG
Good EV range (up to 300 miles)Boot is smaller than rivals
Infotainment system has Apple CarPlay/ android autoInterior quality can be improved

The MINI Electric Hatch


Gallery


The All-Electric MINI Hatch (credit: MINI)


At A Glance
Price:From £26,000
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 32.6 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):140 – 145 miles
Charging:50 kW rapid charging standard (80% charged in 36 minutes). On-board charger 11 kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:93 mph
0-62 mph:7.3 seconds
Boot Space:211 L

The MINI Electric was launched in 2020. BMW used its experience with the all-electric BMW i3 to develop the all-electric MINI. The MINI electric concept car was unveiled in the 2017 Frankfurt IAA. The MINI electric is currently manufactured in the UK (Oxford).

However, MINI first went electric in 2008. The 612 MINI E cars were modified and used between 2009 and 2013 for the BMW Group to assess driver response to electric cars. The MINI E electric cars clocked up more than 16 million kilometres in six countries. The company also manufactures the MINI Countryman PHEV.

The compact EV has been positioned as a zero-emission city electric car. The MINI electric has only one battery size option (32.6 kWh), with a range up to 145 miles (WLTP). The electric hatchback is suitable for city driving and even day trips! The electric car has an 11 kW on board charger and is capable of rapid DC charging up to 50 kW.


PROS CONS
Good looks and exterior styling (iconic)Limited cabin space and unpractical for a family (3-door)
Good electric performance Limited zero-emission range
High quality interior and standard equipmentLimited visibility (rear)

The All-Electric Renault ZOE


Gallery


The All-Electric Renault ZOE (credit: Renault)


At A Glance
Price:From £27,595
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 52 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):238 – 245 miles
Charging:50 kW rapid charging available all variants except Play. On board charger: 11 kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:87 mph
0-62 mph:9.5 seconds
Boot Space:338 L

The all-electric Renault ZOE was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, with deliveries commencing in the French market in December 2012. Since then, the ZOE EV has been a success for the French automotive behemoth, Renault. It has ranked as one of the best-selling top 10 electric cars globally in 2015 and 2016 and also been a top selling EV in Europe for the same years. In 2018, the ZOE won the ‘Best Green Car‘ at the inaugural FirstCar awards. In 2021, WHAT CAR? awarded the pure electric car, the prestigious accolade ‘Car of the Year 2021: small electric car best value’.

According to the company “Despite the sanitary situation, sales of electric vehicles in Europe remain very dynamic with growth rates of around 70 to 80% in the main European markets. EV sales now account for around 5% of the total market. More than 84,000 ZOE have been sold since January 2020, doubling the volume compared to 2019. The two main markets are France with 33,000 units and Germany, where more than 25,000 ZOE were sold. Throughout its evolutions, ZOE has been praised for its versatility and its best-in-class range, making it the most sold electric car in Europe year-to-date in November 2020.”

Renault has made significant improvements to its flagship plug-in electric car model, the ZOE pure electric car.  According to Renault, more than 150,000 ZOE zero-emission EVs have been sold across Europe over the past six years.


PROS CONS
Perfect for city drivingFast charger not standard
Good range Reliability assessment poor in the 2020 What Car? reliability survey
Affordable and practical Headroom and legroom for rear seats limited
A good track record Drivers seat positioned high, but cannot be lowered
High spec safety package Interior materials feel cheap

The All-Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e


Gallery


The All-Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e (credit: Vauxhall)


At A Glance
Price:From £24,140
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 50 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):209 miles
Charging:100 kW rapid charging (charge up to 80% in 30 minutes). Two options of on-board charger (7.4 kW and 11 kW)
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:93 mph
0-60 mph:7.6 seconds
Boot Space:267 L

Vauxhall (Opel) announced the launch of a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) Corsa in December 2018. The all-electric Corsa-e looks very similar to the hugely popular internal combustion engine (ICE) Vauxhall Corsa supermini. But this is where the similarity ends. The Corsa-e is fully electric and has zero tailpipe emissions. It also has a longer wheelbase compared to the petrol variant.

As is in the case with battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), the all-electric Corsa-e is cheap to drive. Depending on charging costs, the 50 kWh EV battery can be fully charged with £5, and the cost per mile can be as low as 3 pence. The Corsa-e electric hatchback is a good entry level EV for those seeking to migrate to zero-emission electric driving. It is practical, and has a good EV range (209 miles WLTP). Moreover, this electric vehicle comes with 100 kW DC charging as standard (public charging), allowing the EV to be charged up to 80% SOC within 30 minutes.


PROS CONS
Good all-rounder For those seeking a more futuristic design, this BEV will disappoint
Familiar design Interior lacks inspiration
Impressive range Infotainment system could be improved
100 kW fast charging as standard Visibility from the car limited at the rear

The All-Electric MG ZS EV SUV


Gallery


The All-Electric MG ZS EV SUV (credit: MG)


At A Glance
Price:From £28,595
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:SUV
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 44.5 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):163 miles
Charging:50 kW Rapid Charging. On board charger: 7 kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:87 mph
0-60 mph:8.2 seconds
Boot Space:470 L

The pure electric MG ZS EV was unveiled in 2016 at the Guangzhou Auto Show. The e-SUV was launched in 2017 in China. The MG ZS EV is a practical and affordable electric vehicle (EV), appropriate for families keen to migrate to zero-emission electric driving, but at prices that are affordable.

The e-SUV is practical and versatile without compromising on comfort. The rear seats are comfortable for adults, with ample legroom and headroom. Also decent boot space. The electric vehicle (EV) has a decent range (over 160 miles WLTP on a full charge), more than appropriate for most family requirements, to include, school runs, family outings, grocery shopping and a lot more! The BEV is available in only one EV battery size (44.5 kWh). The SUV is equipped with a decent infotainment system and other driver aids. A perfect step into electric driving: affordable and practical.


PROS CONS
An affordable compact family electric SUVNot fitted with a heat pump, which increases energy use efficiency
Ample headroom and legroom at the rear DC charging only up to 50 KW
Decent drive Interior quality can be improved

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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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