NEW petrol and diesel cars are to be banned from 2040 under new government plans with drivers forced into hybrids or electric models.
And with a host of toxic taxes on the horizon for diesels including city centre clean air zones and extra parking charges, now could be the time to make the shift.
Of course, most are not without their limitations – most have a real-world range of no more than 100 miles, they’re comparatively pricey to buy and you need easy access to charging facilities.
But live within these restrictions (and more people than will admit it, can…), and an electric car is a very sensible choice.
And by buying now you can take advantage of the £4,500 plug-in car grant from the government to ease the pain on your wallet.
There are a growing number of electric models on the road too, from leading manufacturers like VW, BMW and Nissan.
So with the help of the expert reviewers at Auto Trader we’ve rounded out the top five electric cars to buy now.
Nissan Leaf – the British-built one
More than any other, the Leaf is the car that convinced a sceptical public that an electric car was something to consider; and, even now, it’s a compelling proposition.
Around town – which is the natural habitat of an electric car – the Leaf is smooth, comfortable and near-silent.
Even in the heaviest traffic, the way it drives is supremely relaxing. Above all, apart from the range, there are no sacrifices to make: the Leaf is a decent five-seater, while the boot will take plenty of luggage.
As with any electric car, everyday motoring can cost just pennies, and to cap it all, it even costs less to service than a comparable Pulsar.
Renault Zoe: The (relatively) cheap one
One of the main attractions of electric cars is that they cost so little to run, but the trouble with so many of them is that they cost so much to buy.
Not so the Zoe, which is yours for little more than the price of a decently-specced Clio. The beauty of it is that, despite the fact that you’re not spending a million dollars, the Zoe is still a very smart-looking little thing.
The blue accents on the outside are complemented by a hi-tech interior; and, as the car was designed from the ground up as an electric car, the batteries don’t limit the car’s practicality too much.
It’s good to drive, too, and the icing on the cake is a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
Tesla Model S: The long-range one
As recently as 10 years ago, if you’d told someone an electric car would have even half the attributes of the Tesla Model S, you’d have been laughed at them.
After all, it’s not often that you hear of a car that can hit 60mph from rest in less than six seconds and has a zero-emission range of more than 300 miles.
True, the cabin quality isn’t quite as good as it could be, but the technology on show – with the 17-inch touch-screen tablet display taking the headlines – soon helps you forget that.
The downside is that there’s a pretty hefty price tag attached to all this ability and tech, but with the Model S, you can’t help feeling that this is something of a game-changer; and that was never going to come cheap.
BMW i3: The aspirational one
No offence to any of the early electric car pioneers in the modern age, but it took the arrival of the i3 to make electric cars genuinely aspirational.
But, with the i3, its list of attributes goes way beyond that famous badge on the bonnet. There’s its sense of style – somehow managing to look like nothing else, but still obviously being a BMW, at the same time – but then there’s also the way it drives.
Yes, that sporty BMW gene is alive and well, even in this electric car; and, the i3 is a genuinely quick little car, as well as being amazingly manoeuvrable.
Admittedly, all this doesn’t come cheap, but with the i3, there’s no denying the feeling that you get a premium product for your money.
Volkswagen e-Golf: The understated one
The e-Golf is an electric car for those drivers who are shrinking violets rather than shout-it-loud early adopters.
To the naked eye, it looks like, well, a Golf; and only the most dedicated Golf-ophiles will be able to spot the details that mark this out as a unique model in the Golf range – the blue highlights and closed grille, for example.
As with the way it looks, the attraction of the e-Golf is that it has pretty much all the same attributes as a regular Golf: the refined and comfortable drive; the classy cabin; and the decent practicality.
In other words, this is a Golf with an environmental conscience.
DRIVE AND PREJUDICE
Here’s everything you need to know about the diesel scrappage scheme and ban on new sales
Inside Blac Chyna’s amazing £209,000 white Ferrari Spider 488 that goes 0-60mph in three seconds – but there’s not much room for a buggy
Just 30 of these yacht-inspired Bentley Continental GTs will be made – and they don’t even have a price tag
A LOAD OF SCRAP
Diesel scrappage scheme ‘to be announced in days’ – and it could cost taxpayers £500million
Boost for Britain’s Brexit economy as BMW announces it will build the new electric Mini in UK
The Government are foolish to punish us with more ‘toxic’ taxes, says Sun’s Motoring Correspondent
For more new and used buying advice visit Auto Trader.