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Choosing between petrol and diesel engines has always been quite a simple decision, but with the introduction of electric vehicles (EVs) this choice can be a lot more challenging. These new electric powertrains are always improving, and we’re now entering an evolution in the automotive industry where electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars are becoming widely accessible and affordable.
With this in mind, we’ve created a list of great electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars that offer a comprehensive package of efficiency, practicality and quality. If you’d like to explore the different types of electric powertrains beforehand, we’d recommend clicking the button below so that you are up to date on EVs.
electric & hybrid vehicles
The new Honda e is the perfect choice for every day urban commuting. Its 35.5kWh battery is one of the most compact in its class, meaning it combines an exceptional balance of low weight, fast-charging capability of 80% in 31 minutes, and a range of up to 137 miles.
One standout feature of the Honda e that makes it unique is its full-width digital dashboard, which comprises five integrated high-resolution colour screens to provide effortless usability of the onboard apps and services. This includes an 8.8-inch TFT meter instrument display in front of the driver to present key vehicle information including power and charge status, and safety feature details.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class A 250 e combines a 75kW battery with a 1.33-litre four-cylinder engine to produce an impressive 218 hp, all while offering fantastic fuel efficiency and the possibility to complete daily commutes in all-electric mode. Charging times are fast as well, with the ability to charge the battery from 10-80% in 25 minutes through direct-current.
As with all Mercedes-Benz cars, the A-Class A 250 e maintains a high level of quality and technology throughout, and you even have the possibility to activate your climate control before you enter the vehicle through your smartphone.
If a saloon or estate car is what you’re after, the BMW 3 Series 330e is a great all-rounder. The 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine is complimented by a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery to not only provide all-electric driving capabilities on short commutes, but a combined fuel consumption of over 170mpg and improved driving dynamics as well.
A 40-litre fuel tank ensures the possibility for long-distance travel, and a combined power output of 292 hp means it’s got plenty of instant punch too. Brake-energy recuperation charges the battery on the move, while the car can be completely charged via a BMW I Wallbox in 3.4 hours.
The All New Yaris is an exciting addition to the Toyota line-up, and comes as standard with a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine matched with a self-charging hybrid system. This means the Toyota Yaris is capable of greater fuel economy than petrol and diesel rivals (57.6 to 65.6 mpg) and yet you don’t need to worry about plugging it in as its battery is charged through regenerative braking.
Technology and safety is at the heart of the new Yaris as well, with smartphone integration and Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection available as standard, as well as a reversing camera.
The Audi e-tron offers an all-electric alternative to the traditional SUV. Powered through the choice of either a 71 or 95 kWh battery, the e-tron provides emissions-free driving and an electric range of up to 249 miles with the 95 kWh option. This variant produces an incredible 408 PS, and can be charged in approximately 50 minutes through a 150kW direct-current.
With a boot space of 660 litres, the Audi e-tron is also very practical. You can seat four passengers comfortably and the latest technologies are readily available to make driving a breeze.
A great plug-in hybrid choice in the compact SUV segment is the Volvo XC40 Recharge. The new plug-in hybrid system combines a 129hp 1.5-litre petrol engine, an 82hp electric motor and 10.7kWh rechargeable lithium-ion battery to deliver an all-electric driving range of up to 27 miles, meaning typical commuting journeys can be completed with zero tailpipe emissions and no petrol consumption. Official WLTP data records fuel economy of up to 134.5mpg.
The XC40 Recharge is available in Volvo’s R-Design and Inscription equipment grades, meaning an excellent range of technology and safety features in one of the safest cars in the compact SUV class. An all-electric variant will be available later this year with a 208 mile range and charging time of 40 minutes from 0-80%.
If you’d like a compact SUV, but wouldn’t like the worry of having to plug it in to charge, the Lexus UX Hybrid is an excellent alternative. Combining a self-charging hybrid battery with a 2.0-litre petrol engine means the Lexus UX offers dynamic driving and efficiency at the same time. This efficiency was proven in the results from Lexus road tests, where the average time spent in EV was 52%, with an average fuel mpg of 49.5.
The technology implemented as part of this system seamlessly selects the best power source based on your driving, and the hybrid system cleverly charges the battery while you are driving – meaning no plugging in.
The new ID.3 is Volkswagen’s latest all-electric car, and is the first of a new series of electric cars in their line-up. You can choose between 45 kWh, 58kWh and 77 kWh batteries, which will all complete your daily commute with ease. Charging is also hassle free, as you can charge the medium battery (58 kWh) up to a range of approx. 260 miles in 30 minutes in quick charge mode with direct current.
The new ID.3 brings a reinvigorating design to the Volkswagen line-up as well, with futuristic LED headlights and a sweeping side silhouette. This is paired with an equally futuristic interior, which features a digital driver display and large touch display screen.
Another worthy contender in the plug-in hybrid market is the Range Rover Evoque P300e. It combines a 200hp 1.5-litre petrol engine with a 109hp electric motor to offer an electric range of 41 miles, and a staggering claimed fuel economy of 201.8mpg. Using a wall box, the P300e can be charged in close to 2.75 hours, or as little as 7.5 hours even with a domestic 3-pin plug socket.
The P300e still maintains Land Rover’s signature off-road capabilities as it is powered through all four wheels – the battery powers the rear axle and when low, the engine powers the front axle. It also comes as standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox for a smooth and responsive driving experience.
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