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What you need to know about buying an electric car

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what you need to know about buying an electric car

Welcome to the electric car revolution. 

In case you hadn’t realised, it’s already underway. This challenging year is proving to be a pivotal one in the fundamental shift away from petrol and diesel towards cleaner, greener battery power, from hybrid to fully electric.

Sales figures for the new ‘70’ plate in September – traditionally the biggest month for car sales – are particularly telling, with a surge in pure electric and other electrified cars as sales of petrol and particularly diesel cars have slumped. 

Overall last month, cars with some form of electrification accounted for 31.9 per cent of all vehicles sold, up from just 12.8 per cent a year ago. 

Pure and plug-in hybrids accounted for more than one in ten of total car sales, with the remaining hybrids accounting for one in five sales. 

The electric car revolution has begun, with orders of electrified motors on the rise ahead of the new '70' number plate being released (stock image)

The electric car revolution has begun, with orders of electrified motors on the rise ahead of the new '70' number plate being released (stock image)

The electric car revolution has begun, with orders of electrified motors on the rise ahead of the new ’70’ number plate being released (stock image)

For the year so far to September, sales of pure electric cars accounted for more than one in 20 sales compared to just 1.3 per cent in the same nine-month period last year.

YOUR CURRENT ACCOUNT 

CHARGING AT HOME Charging at home via a wallbox costs between 1p and 7p per mile. A Mini Electric, for example, costs around 4p per mile – or £5.80 for a full charge. This compares to the 8p to 17p per mile it costs to run the most fuel-efficient petrol and diesel cars.

PUBLIC CHARGING POINTS These can be found at almost 11,000 locations in the UK, and tariffs vary greatly – between 4p and 15p per mile. Some offer significantly cheaper prices for members who are likely to use them on a regular basis, with ‘pay-as-you-go’ customers paying significantly more.

A survey by What Car? revealed that pay-as-you-go customers could pay almost ten times more at a public charging point than charging at home. For example, an Audi e-tron costs an eye-watering £45.89 to charge from 10 to 80 per cent at a rapid charging point run by Europe-wide network Ionity, compared to just £4.66 on a domestic charger.

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34917084 8884477 image a 19 1603824635259

Today there are around 300,000 electric cars on UK roads, with more than 50 different electric and plug-in hybrid models currently available in the UK and many more on the way.

A recent study by auditors Deloitte said half of UK motorists would consider buying an electric vehicle, predicting that 42 per cent of new cars sold across Europe will be electric by 2030. And a recent poll of 17,628 motorists by the AA and ITV’s Tonight programme also said nearly half (47 per cent) would switch to electric vehicles.

The drive towards electric cars has accelerated since the government brought forward plans to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and even hybrid and plug-in electric hybrid cars by five years to 2035. That was compounded when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in February that even this challenging deadline could be cut to 2032.

Yet very capable plug-in and self-charging petrol-electric hybrids offer an extremely helpful ‘halfway house’ for consumers to a fully electric future. 

Car-makers say they should therefore be exempt from the ban – pointing out also that a proper car-charging infrastructure needs to be in place first. But ministers insist otherwise. For now.

Another incentive for potential electric car buyers is the government’s Plug-In Car Grant, which gives buyers of all-electric cars costing up to £50,000 a £3,000 discount until 2023. Prices given in this guide take this subsidy into account.

Meanwhile, anti-car cities are already working on plans to ban any cars other than electric, low or zero-emissions vehicles from their roads. London and Bristol are in the vanguard, but others are set to follow suit.

Long gone are the days when the small number of odd and shaky-looking electric cars were seen as a quirky choice for hardcore eco-warriors keen to signal their virtue. We’ve come a long way since that flimsy death-trap-on-wheels, the G-Wiz, built between 2001 and 2012, was condemned by the Department of Transport after shocking photographs of one disintegrating during crash tests were published.

I have observed the journey closely, driving many of the cars currently on the market, and some of those yet to arrive. 

I well remember the sweaty palms moments as I’d ease off the accelerator and coast downhill for as long as possible trying to eek every last volt out of the battery, nervously biting my nails over whether I’d have enough juice to get me home.

Today electric cars are on the cusp of becoming mainstream for everyone. And boy do some of these new electric cars really shift – from nimble family hatchbacks to £2 million supercars. And they don’t have to break the bank either, as Korea’s Kia car-maker has proved with its award-winning e-Niro priced from £29,595 with a 282-mile range.

Will I get to my destination? 

Worrying about running out of juice (known as ‘range anxiety’) has been one of the biggest hurdles for potential electric car buyers. The good news is that ranges are growing as battery technology improves. 

Many models can now exceed 200 miles on a single charge, and the longest-range can reach 300. New ‘Eco’ modes mean the car’s regenerative braking system can recoup some energy and give you a boost en route. 

In the last budget the Government pledged a £500m investment for the installation of rapid charging hubs nationwide.

There’s still the question of how the system will cope if everyone goes electric. There are more than 100,000 home-charging points in the UK, and 30,000 public charging points. 

But there are more than 30 million motorists, so the challenge is huge. If sales of new cars from 2035 must be electric, that’s around 2 million cars a year. 

That would require hundreds of thousands of charging points overall, but the industry says it can deliver.

The faster, bigger or heavier a car, the more energy it needs and the quicker the battery will drain. What Car? magazine tests various models to find out how far they’ll go on a full charge. 

It noted, ‘The nagging concern that the battery will run flat before you get to where you’re going continues to put many people off electric cars.’

Most batteries today are lithium-ion. A new generation of smaller, lighter but more powerful ‘solid-state’ batteries are on the way, but we’re not quite there with them yet.

The boom in models now on the market is being driven by major manufacturers, not small, independent firms. Maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk delivered a seismic shock to the status quo by creating his battery-powered Tesla cars that forced other car-makers to play catch-up. 

Stung by his sheer bravado and conviction that things can be done differently, manufacturers have risen to the challenge.

But Britain’s 30 million motorists need help – a commonsense steer through the electric car maze. And here it is, your guide to what’s on the market, what it will cost, whether it will suit your lifestyle and, most importantly, whether it will get you to your destination. 

Battery technology is improving every day, and more public charging points are being provided.

And here’s one personal prediction from me. As electric cars increasingly replace petrol and diesel, and Treasury coffers see less money coming in from fuel taxes, the Government will move stealthily towards a system of ‘pay-as-you-drive’ road-pricing. You’ll pay for your car use like you pay for your smartphone. 

Why else put so many expensive number-plate reading camera gantries over major roads and ‘smart’ motorways? A ‘Trojan horse’ for road tolls? You have been warned.

In the meantime, use this guide as a helpful introduction to an electric future that is already with us. And here’s to years of happy, zero-emissions, environmentally friendly, quiet but engaging and fun-filled motoring.

Jargon buster 

Do you know your BEV from your PHEV? Or your ICE from your HEV?

Here is a simple glossary of some of the most common bamboozling terms you may hear as an electric car-buying customer…

EV Electric Vehicle.

BEV Battery Electric Vehicle. A fully electric car.

HEV Hybrid Electric Vehicle. A vehicle powered by both electricity and petrol.

PHEV Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. A hybrid you can also charge from the mains.

SELF-CHARGING HYBRID A type of hybrid car that uses braking resistance and deceleration to recharge the battery, which cannot be charged from the mains.

MILD HYBRID The least form of electric boost to a petrol engine. Usually a 48v supplementary motor.

ICE An Internal Combustion Engine, ie a petrol or diesel car. If an ICE blocks an electric charging point, you’ve been ICE’d!

HYDROGEN FUEL CELL A device in which a chemical reaction occurs between hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity. The only thing that comes out of the exhaust pipe is pure water. Cars powered this way may be the real ‘green’ vehicles of the future.

kWh Kilowatt-hour (literally 1,000 watts per hour). If your car does four miles per kWh, then 10kWh of charge will enable you to drive for 40 miles.

The Lotus Evija Hypercar 

 £2 million

Range 250 miles

Charging time 18 mins using a fast charger

Top speed 200mph

0-62mph Under 3 seconds

0-186mph Under 9 seconds

On sale Orders for a limited run of 150 are being taken now, with first deliveries expected mid-2021

Only 150 orders are being accepted by Lotus for their £2million Evija hypercar (pictured)

Only 150 orders are being accepted by Lotus for their £2million Evija hypercar (pictured)

Only 150 orders are being accepted by Lotus for their £2million Evija hypercar (pictured) 

 

Where to go for help

Go Ultra Low This website provides calculators for tax, journey ranges and cost savings. goultralow.com

Zap-Map Contains information on how to charge your vehicle, and is the UK’s largest provider of public charge point information. zap-map.com

OLEV The Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles. gov.uk/government/organisations/office-for-low-emission-vehicles

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders smmt.co.uk

Electrifying TV presenter Ginny Buckley gives electrified car news. electrifying.com

What Car? Consumer magazine and website. whatcar.com

Charging firms bpchargemaster.com, polar-network.com 

How do I charge my car? 

  • Most people will charge their car at home on a wallbox charger installed in their driveway or garage; this is sometimes included when buying a new electric car. Using one will fill your battery to 80 per cent* of capacity in a few hours.
  • A typical home charger costs £400-£600, after deducting a £350 grant.
  • Rapid chargers (taking your battery to 80 per cent full in 45 minutes) in garages, shopping centres and service stations can also be used to top up.
  • Flat-dwellers may be restricted to on-street or local charging. One scheme has converted street lights to street-chargers.
  • The last-resort method of charging is via a simple domestic 3-pin plug and can take 24 hours or more.
  • The first of a £1 billion nationwide network of more than 100 Electric Forecourts opens soon near Braintree in Essex (pictured) using ‘green’ solar power. It will charge 30 electric vehicles at once in just 20 to 30 minutes using ‘superchargers’.

*This figure is often cited because charging to 80 per cent is fairly quick, and slows significantly from 80 to 100 per cent.

The best of both worlds: Hybrids combine the economy and quiet of electric power with the performance of a petrol engine. They could be for you if you’re thinking of dipping a first tentative toe into the electric vehicle market 

Curious about electric cars but don’t feel brave enough to take the plunge with an all-electric vehicle? Then try a petrol-electric hybrid first. 

Car-makers see them as a good introduction to battery-powered vehicles before electric-only cars become the norm, even though they have bizarrely been included in the petrol and diesel car ban from 2035.

There are three main categories, and most manufacturers now have some form of hybrid vehicle in their portfolio. The most common are ‘self-charging’ hybrids which use the engine and braking energy to charge the battery, but which can’t be charged from the mains. 

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVS) are petrol-electric vehicles you can also charge from the mains. A ‘mild hybrid’ provides a small extra boost to a petrol or diesel engine, usually in the form of a 48v battery in addition to the engine. 

Here are some of the most popular hybrids on the market…

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is at the centre of Toyota's totally electrified range of vehicles

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is at the centre of Toyota's totally electrified range of vehicles

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is at the centre of Toyota’s totally electrified range of vehicles

From £19,910 to £24,005

Power 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid

Electric-only range EV mode around 1 mile only

Economy 65.7- 68.9mpg 

CO 2 emissions 92-98g/km

Top speed 109mph 

0-62mph 9.7 seconds 

On sale Now

Toyota’s range is totally electrified, with selfcharging hybrids like this one at its heart and some all-electric cars coming soon. The striking new Yaris promises improved fuel economy, lower emissions, more oomph and bold styling. 

Zippy to drive around town and long-legged on motorways, there are five versions: Icon, Design, Dynamic, Excel and a ‘Launch’ Edition. There are four driving modes: the default ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, a jaunty ‘Power’ and ‘EV’ for short pure electric runs. 

Electric power is in use for around half the time, rising to 80 per cent around town. With a smart sporty interior the five-door Yaris hatchback seats four comfortably and five at a squeeze. 

Toyota also has a Prius PHEV and plans more. It is about to launch a plug-in hybrid RAV4 SUV with first deliveries next spring as well as an electric hydrogen fuel cell Mirai from next year.

Renault Captur E-Tech

A self-charging version of the Renault Captur E-Tech is set to be launched late next year

A self-charging version of the Renault Captur E-Tech is set to be launched late next year

A self-charging version of the Renault Captur E-Tech is set to be launched late next year

From £30,495

Power 1.6 litre petrol engine linked to 2 electric motors

Electric-only range 30 miles

Economy 177.6-188.3mpg

CO 2 emissions 30g/km

Top speed 107mph 

0-62mph 10.1 seconds 

Charging time 3 hours on 7kW wall charger 

On sale Now

Renault’s electric drive is accelerating. Its Captur E-Tech PHEV will be joined by a self-charging version late next year, and this month the French car giant unveiled a concept version of a forthcoming pure electric Megane which will join the existing Megane ETech PHEV (currently priced from £30,685). 

Also in the pipeline for next year is a new Renault Arkana crossover – in full and mild hybrid versions – priced between £30,000 and £40,000.

Land Rover Defender 110 P400e 

The Land Rover Defender, the successor to the Range Rover Velar, is a plug-in hybrid

The Land Rover Defender, the successor to the Range Rover Velar, is a plug-in hybrid

The Land Rover Defender, the successor to the Range Rover Velar, is a plug-in hybrid

From £64,800

Power 2.0 litre petrol engine and 105kW electric motor

Electric-only range 27 miles 

Economy 85.3mpg

CO 2 emissions 74g/km 

Top speed 119mph

0-62mph 5.6 seconds 

Charging time 80 percent in 30 minutes on a fast charger or 2 hours on a wallbox 

On sale Now

Britain’s Land Rover has been busily electrifying its diverse range of 4x4s with hybrids, plug-in hybrids and some mild hybrids to make its large SUVs ‘greener’ in terms of fuel consumption. Among the latest are plug-in hybrid versions of its brand new Land Rover Defender – successor to the iconic original – and its sleek Range Rover Velar.

There are also plug-in hybrid versions of the Range Rover, Range Rover Evoque and Range Rover Sport, as well as the Land Rover Discovery and Discovery Sport. A secret fully electric Range Rover is also in the pipeline, though it has not yet been officially confirmed.

Peugeot 508 Hybrid

The Peugeot 508 Hybrid offers a 'Sport Engineered' version that will allow you to go 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds

The Peugeot 508 Hybrid offers a 'Sport Engineered' version that will allow you to go 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds

The Peugeot 508 Hybrid offers a ‘Sport Engineered’ version that will allow you to go 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds

From £34,930

Power 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine and electric motor 

Electric-only range 39 miles

Economy 166-235mpg 

CO 2 emissions 31g/km

Top speed 155mph (84mph in electric-only mode) 

0-62mph 8.3 seconds

Charging time 2-4 hours depending on the wallbox

On sale Now

Peugeot’s svelte 508 – in both GT and estate mode – has the looks to stand alongside any rival. Now there is a plug-in hybrid version to give it greater economy too. 

And Peugeot has just added a scintillating ‘Sport Engineered’ version – a 360hp hybrid that will whoosh from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

The Mitsubishi Outlander kickstarted the UK's plug-in hybrid revolution in 2014 and became the UK's biggest seller

The Mitsubishi Outlander kickstarted the UK's plug-in hybrid revolution in 2014 and became the UK's biggest seller

The Mitsubishi Outlander kickstarted the UK’s plug-in hybrid revolution in 2014 and became the UK’s biggest seller

From £35,815

Power 2.4 litre petrol engine with electric motor 

Electric-only range 28 miles

Economy 139.7mpg 

CO 2 emissions 46g/km

Top speed 106mph 

0-62mph 10.5 seconds

Charging time 80 per cent in 30 minutes on a fast charger 

On sale Now

This off-roader kick-started the UK drive for plug-in hybrids back in 2014 thanks to the tax advantage it gave to company car drivers. It became the UK’s biggest seller with more than 53,000 sold since launch and 3,000 sold so far this year.

Restyled in 2016 with a new engine, it was tweaked again in 2018 and there are offers available until the end of the year.

Audi Q8 PHEV

The Q8 PHEV is the latest top-of-the-range model from the German car outfit. Starting at £73,860, the price is higher than most other cars on this list

The Q8 PHEV is the latest top-of-the-range model from the German car outfit. Starting at £73,860, the price is higher than most other cars on this list

The Q8 PHEV is the latest top-of-the-range model from the German car outfit. Starting at £73,860, the price is higher than most other cars on this list

From £73,860

Power 3 litre V6 petrol engine with 100kW electric motor

Electric-only range 28 miles 

Economy 100mpg

CO 2 emissions 65g/km 

Top speed 149mph 

0-62mph 5.8 seconds

Charging time 2.5 hours on a wallbox 

On sale Now

Audi’s new range-topping SUV – the Q8 – adds plug-in hybrid electric power to the mix of the big and beefy German 4×4. 

The luxuriously appointed Q8 55 TFSI-e quattro is joined by a more powerful sibling, the Q8 Competition 60 TFSI-e quattro, whose 462hp version knocks 0.4 seconds off the 381hp 55’s 0-62mph sprint.

Citroen C5 Aircross

The Citroen C5 Aircross offers considerable manoeuvrability despite its large size

The Citroen C5 Aircross offers considerable manoeuvrability despite its large size

The Citroen C5 Aircross offers considerable manoeuvrability despite its large size

From £35,370

Power 1.6 litre petrol engine with 80kW electric motor

Electric-only range up to 34 miles 

Economy 157-222mpg

CO 2 emissions 32g/km

Top speed 140mph

0-62mph 8.7 seconds

Charging time 2 hours from a wallbox, 6 hours from a 3-pin plug

On sale Now

Citroen has been piling on the quirky style across the range, and getting ahead in the ‘green’ stakes with a good choice of hybrid options. 

The smooth and roomy C5 Aircross PHEV can reach 84mph on electric power alone, and despite its size it’s easy to manoeuvre.

All-Electric city slickers

Nimble, economical, easy to park – electric cars are perfect for urban driving. Here are some of the best…

Mini Electric

A new British-built Mini rolls off the assembly line at its Oxford factory every 67 seconds and one in eight of these are now electric

A new British-built Mini rolls off the assembly line at its Oxford factory every 67 seconds and one in eight of these are now electric

A new British-built Mini rolls off the assembly line at its Oxford factory every 67 seconds and one in eight of these are now electric

From £24,900

Range 145 miles 

Charging time 80 per cent in 35 minutes on a public fast charger, 3 hours 12 minutes on a domestic 7.4kW wall-box, 12 hours on a 3-pin plug socket 

Top speed 93mph

0-62mph 7.3 seconds 

On sale Now

Electrifying fact 

Pure electric and other electrified cars accounted for 1 in 3 sales in September – as sales of petrol and particularly diesel cars have slumped.

A brand new British-built Mini rolls off the production line at its Oxford factory every 67 seconds – of which one in every eight is an electric version. I watched for myself, then drove one away ahead of the very first showroom deliveries.

It performs superbly on twisty country lanes, and even in lashing rain it held its grip despite fiendishly slippery surfaces. Who says electric cars don’t like water? 

The driving position feels good, and just lifting your foot off the accelerator creates its own braking effect and the resistance created recharges the battery, boosting its nominal range of 145 miles.

There are four driving modes. Sport is perfect for spirited driving, Mid is lively around town, then to save power there are Green and Green+. 

A smart digital dashboard details available range and tips on how to conserve energy. But it’s not cheap. 

The basic Mini Electric starts at £24,900, level 2 trim includes cloth and leather-look upholstery, more body colours, wheel options and technology for £26,900, while the premium level 3 trim adds parking assist, Harmon Kardon speakers, panoramic sun roof and other extras for £30,900.

Citroen AMI

The Citroen AMI is an urban-based vehicle that features backwards-opening doors and can only reach 28mph

The Citroen AMI is an urban-based vehicle that features backwards-opening doors and can only reach 28mph

The Citroen AMI is an urban-based vehicle that features backwards-opening doors and can only reach 28mph

From £5,000

Range 44 miles 

Charging time 3 hours on a domestic plug 

Top speed 28mph

0-62mph Not applicable 

On sale Now

Citroen has launched a back-to-basics urban electric car as a 21st-century version of its classic 2CV. The quirky two-seater runaround has doors that open backwards, and because it’s classified as a ‘quadricycle’ rather than a car it can in theory be driven by 16-year-olds without a driving licence in some European countries.

The AMI is powered by a 5.5kW lithium ion battery and can be charged via a domestic plug. It doesn’t have a boot, but instead uses a small recess by the passenger’s feet plus some space behind the two occupants.

It’s likely to be a popular import when Citroen gets cracking with a right-hand-drive model.

Fiat 500 Electric

The electric version of the successful Fiat 500 hits the market at three times the price of their basic petrol model

The electric version of the successful Fiat 500 hits the market at three times the price of their basic petrol model

The electric version of the successful Fiat 500 hits the market at three times the price of their basic petrol model

From £26,995

Range 199 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 35 minutes on a fast charger

Top speed 93mph

0-62mph 9 seconds

On sale Now (first deliveries early 2021)

Thirteen years after Fiat’s retrostyled ‘Cinquecento’ became a runaway success it’s been reborn as an electric car – but with a price tag nearly three times that of the basic petrol model.

There will be three trim levels, including a top-of-the-range convertible costing from £32,995. Less powerful versions starting from £19,995 can be ordered from December. 

The new range of electric cars are built in Turin, where the original Fiat 500 first appeared 63 years ago.

Smart EQ fortwo and forfour

Smart's fortwo and forfour models are among the smallest vehicles currently on the market

Smart's fortwo and forfour models are among the smallest vehicles currently on the market

Smart’s fortwo and forfour models are among the smallest vehicles currently on the market

From £17,550

Range 72 to 82 miles depending on model

Charging time 80 per cent in 40 minutes on a fast charger, 3.5 hours on a wallbox 

Top speed 81mph 

0-62mph 11.6 seconds 

On sale Now

Powered by a 60kW/82hp electric motor and a 17kWh battery, Smart’s EQ fortwo (two seats) and EQ forfour (four seats) are among the dinkiest cars on the road – they’re nippy around town and a doddle to park.The basic forfour costs £18,035, and the model is also available as a cabriolet.

Charge of the heavy brigade! They’re oh-so popular today, but can beefy SUVs really be powered by electricity alone? Yes they can, as these stylish and economical vehicles prove 

The boom in sports utility vehicles (SUVs) has changed the face of motoring in recent years as families have opted for their flexibility and space over the traditional saloon.

One reason why so many of them are available as electric options is that their size makes them ideal for housing the battery needed to power them. Here are some of the most popular electric SUVs on the market today, or about to join it…

Ford Mustang Mach-e

Weekend magazine picked out a selection of the most popular electric SUVs, including Ford Mustang Mach-e (pictured)

Weekend magazine picked out a selection of the most popular electric SUVs, including Ford Mustang Mach-e (pictured)

Weekend magazine picked out a selection of the most popular electric SUVs, including Ford Mustang Mach-e (pictured)

From £40,270

Range 260 to 370 miles

Charging time 80 per cent, charge in 38 minutes with DC rapid charger

Top speed 111mph

0-62mph 3.7 to 8 seconds

On sale Pre-order now, first deliveries spring/ summer 2021

With a little help from Hollywood actor Idris Elba, who appeared in a promotional video for the Mach-e’s launch show in Los Angeles, Ford has turned its legendary gas-guzzler into a sporty ‘green’ all-electric family SUV – sparking a new era for the car-maker.

The new battery-powered five-seater will come in several versions, with standard or extended range, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The fastest ‘GT’ version, to follow in autumn 2021, promises ‘blistering’ acceleration from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds from its 465hp motor.

It’s the firm’s first all-electric ‘performance’ car. There are three drive modes: ‘Whisper’, ‘Engage’ and the sportiest, ‘Unbridled’.

Jaguar I-PACE

Jaguar I-PACE (pictured) was named both World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year for 2019

Jaguar I-PACE (pictured) was named both World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year for 2019

Jaguar I-PACE (pictured) was named both World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year for 2019

From £65,195

Range Up to 292 miles

Charging time 168 miles of range in an hour on 50kW rapid charger, 12.75 hours for a full charge on a home wallbox

Top speed 124mph 0-60mph 4.5 seconds

On sale Now

As fast, light and nimble as a leaping cat, the roomy I-PACE was named both World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year for 2019. 

No wonder Prince Charles is a regular user. It’s the first in a whole new family of electric and ‘electrified’ Jaguars – including a flagship XJ saloon and a speculated J-PACE SUV..

Mazda MX-30

Mazda MX-30 (pictured) is the first electric vehicle from Mazda and is powered by a 141bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh battery

Mazda MX-30 (pictured) is the first electric vehicle from Mazda and is powered by a 141bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh battery

Mazda MX-30 (pictured) is the first electric vehicle from Mazda and is powered by a 141bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh battery

From £25,545

Range 124 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 36 minutes using rapid charger

Top speed 87mph

0-62mph 9.7 seconds

On sale Pre-order now, deliveries from spring 2021 

Mazda’s first electric vehicle is a five-seater compact SUV with ‘freestyle’ doors, meaning the rear doors open outwards from rear hinges, maximising the space for getting in and out. 

Powered by a 141bhp electric motor and a 35.5kWh battery, it rides on 18in alloy wheels and features a digital instrument dashboard with touchscreen. There’s an extra initial limited UK run of 500 ‘First Edition’ cars priced from £27,495.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X (pictured) which charges in about 30 minutes, features a 17in touchscreen, cabin control and a radar

Tesla Model X (pictured) which charges in about 30 minutes, features a 17in touchscreen, cabin control and a radar

Tesla Model X (pictured) which charges in about 30 minutes, features a 17in touchscreen, cabin control and a radar

From £82,980

Range Up to 348 miles

Charging time About 30 minutes with rapid charger

Top speed 155mph

0-60mph 2.6-4.4 seconds

On sale Now

Tesla’s Model X electric SUV with its distinctive double-hinged ‘Falcon wing’ doors is how every child in the 60s and 70s imagined a 21st-century car would look. Buyers today can choose to have it configured to seat either five, six or seven people. 

The Model X Long Range costs from £82,980, has a range of 348 miles and will accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds. 

The even perkier Model X Performance, costing from £97,980, will do 0-60mph in a rocket-like 2.6 seconds, with range reduced to 340 miles. 

A 17in touchscreen – like a large, dashboardmounted iPad – integrates media, navigation, cabin control and vehicle data, while radar ‘sees’ through heavy rain and fog and even beyond the vehicle ahead.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric (pictured) was listed in the Guinness Book Of Records in January

Hyundai Kona Electric (pictured) was listed in the Guinness Book Of Records in January

Hyundai Kona Electric (pictured) was listed in the Guinness Book Of Records in January

From £30,150

Range 300 miles (on the bigger 64kWh battery)

Charging time 80 per cent in 75 minutes fast-charge (bigger battery) 

Top speed 104mph

0-62mph 7.9 seconds 

On sale Now

This car entered the Guinness Book Of Records in January for reaching the highest altitude ever by a battery-powered car – 5,731m in Tibet’s Sawula Pass. 

The 39kWh version costing from £30,150 has an official range of 180 miles and can be charged to 80 per cent on public fast charger in 57 minutes. 

For your chance to win the more powerful version of the Kona Electric – with an official range of 300 miles – see next page.

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 (pictured) is the first all-electric vehicle from Volvo and has two electric motors

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 (pictured) is the first all-electric vehicle from Volvo and has two electric motors

Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 (pictured) is the first all-electric vehicle from Volvo and has two electric motors 

£59,985

Range Up to 280 miles 

Charging time 80 per cent charge in 40 minutes using 150kW rapid-charger, 100 per cent in 8 hours on 11kW wall-charger Top speed 112mph

0-62mph 4.9 seconds 

On sale Order now for early 2021 delivery

Volvo’s first all-electric car really is a vehicle you drive by the seat of your pants – ignition is activated by pressure sensors in the seat. Its two electric motors develop 408hp, and under the bonnet there’s a 30-litre front boot. There are also two plug-in hybrid versions of the XC40.

Other vehicles in this class include Audi e-tron & Sportback; Peugeot e-2008 SUV; Skoda Enyaq iV; LEXUS UX 300e; Volkswagen ID.4; Kia Soul EV; DS 3 Crossback E-Tense; Mercedes-Benz EQC; MG ZS EV and MG5 EV

FUN FAMILY HATCHBACKS

The choice for couples and families has grown greatly over recent years as manufacturers aim for the more mainstream market – combining enhanced performance with practicality…

BMW i3 

BMW i3 (pictured) was bought by just 180 people at launch, but last years sales topped 4,348

BMW i3 (pictured) was bought by just 180 people at launch, but last years sales topped 4,348

BMW i3 (pictured) was bought by just 180 people at launch, but last years sales topped 4,348 

From £33,575

Electrifying fact

Lower maintenance and charging costs mean mid-sized electric family cars are £132 per month less expensive to run than petrol cars, says a study by LeasePlan.

Range Up to 192 miles 

Charging time Standard cable: 80 per cent in 15 hours. Wallbox fast-charge: 80 per cent in 4.9 hours. Rapid charge DC: 80 per cent in 42 minutes

Top speed Up to 99mph 

0-62mph From 6.9 seconds 

On sale Now

One of the first new electric kids on the block, the BMW i3’s life has been extended as it’s been such a big hit. Just 180 people bought an i3 at launch in 2013, but last year sales topped 4,348. 

The i3’s carbon-fibre body is created using hydro-electricity, the seats are partly made from recycled bottles and door panels and dashboard are manufactured from Deccan hemp and eucalyptus wood. 

The key fob is made from castor oil. Even the factory it’s built in is wind-powered. There are two trim levels, the i3 and i3s. The latter sprints to 62mph in 6.9 seconds with a top speed of 99mph.

Vauxhall Corsa-E Electric 

Vauxhall Corsa-E Electric (pictured) is built in Zaragoza, Spain, despite its British Vauxhall badge

Vauxhall Corsa-E Electric (pictured) is built in Zaragoza, Spain, despite its British Vauxhall badge

Vauxhall Corsa-E Electric (pictured) is built in Zaragoza, Spain, despite its British Vauxhall badge

From £27,665

Range 209 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 30 minutes with optional 11kWh highspeed charger, 100 per cent in 7hrs 30 mins from wall-charger, 80 per cent in 6 hours 

Top speed 93mph (limited)

0-62mph 8.1 seconds 

On sale Now

Vauxhall’s new all-electric Corsa-E puts an electric motor into a familiar British-badged hatchback. 

It is the next step in Vauxhall’s journey to ‘electrification’ – that’s pure electric, plug-in hybrid and selfcharging hybrid – across all of its models by 2024. 

‘The Corsa-E’s punchy performance will appeal to a broad range of drivers who may not have previously considered an electric car,’ says the manufacturer. Despite the British Vauxhall badge, the new electric Corsa is actually builtin Zaragoza, Spain.

Peugeot e-208

Peugeot e-208 (pictured) has been crowned European Car of the Year

Peugeot e-208 (pictured) has been crowned European Car of the Year

Peugeot e-208 (pictured) has been crowned European Car of the Year

From £26,025 to £30,275

Range 217 miles

Charging time 7.5 hours from a dedicated home-charging point, 24 hours from a domestic plug. 80 per cent in 30 minutes from a 100kW rapid charger 

Top speed 93mph

0-62mph 8.1 seconds 

On sale Now

Peugeot’s perky 208 has just been crowned European Car of the Year – and one third of that is down to the electric version. That’s because the French car-maker’s policy is to offer a trinity of power options for each model – petrol, diesel and electric. 

The pure electric e-208 costs from £26,025 in base Active trim up to £30,275 for the rangetopping GT. 

There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and the more engaging Sport. But the more aggressively you drive, the faster you drain the battery. Peugeot is committed to offering an electrified- version of its entire range by 2023.

Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF (pictured) has increased with power and become more hi-tech with the second generation five-seater

Nissan LEAF (pictured) has increased with power and become more hi-tech with the second generation five-seater

Nissan LEAF (pictured) has increased with power and become more hi-tech with the second generation five-seater 

From £26,845

Range 168 miles (e+ 239 miles) 

Charging time 80 per cent in 60 minutes on a fast charger 

Top speed 90mph (e+ 98mph) 0-62mph 7.9 seconds (e+ 6.9 seconds) 

On sale Now

Nissan really has turned over a new leaf with the second generation of its all-electric five-seater.

It will travel 50 per cent further, has 38 per cent more power and is more hi-tech than the original LEAF. 

Press a button in the console and your accelerator doubles as a brake when you take your foot off it. The car will decelerate to a complete stop, and even hold on a hill – it’s a bit like driving a dodgem car without the bumps.

Volkswagen ID.3

Volkswagen ID.3 (pictured) has a hi-tech dashboard and a boot capacity of 385 litres

Volkswagen ID.3 (pictured) has a hi-tech dashboard and a boot capacity of 385 litres

Volkswagen ID.3 (pictured) has a hi-tech dashboard and a boot capacity of 385 litres

From £29,990

Range 336 miles

Charging time 80 per cent in 35 minutes on a fast charger

Top speed 99mph

0-62mph 7.3 seconds

On sale Now

Fun and funky with a hi-tech dashboard and a boot capacity of 385 litres, the ID.3 is the first of the German car giant’s electric ‘ID’ range to hit the road in the wake of the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal. The top-of-the-range Tour, costing £39,290 and with a 77kWh battery, has a range of 336 miles.

Other vehicles in this class include Honda e; Kia e-Niro

 

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Hope for first-time buyers as YBS launches 90% mortgages

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First-time buyers squeezed by the mortgage crunch have been given another ray of hope as Yorkshire Building Society launches home loans for borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit. 

The move from one of Britain’s biggest building societies is better news for borrowers who have seen nine in ten of the mortgages for those with a 10 per cent deposit available in March wiped off the market – leaving just 71 deals from a handful of lenders.

But with a 3.69 per cent two-year fixed rate and 3.79 per cent five-year fixed rate, the YBS deals will cost borrowers considerably more than what’s on offer to those with bigger deposits.

Yorkshire Building Society is one of the few lenders to offer a 90% LTV deal for first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage currently

Yorkshire Building Society is one of the few lenders to offer a 90% LTV deal for first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage currently

Yorkshire Building Society is one of the few lenders to offer a 90% LTV deal for first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage currently

Two-year fixed rates are on offer below 1.3 per cent and five-year fixes below 1.5 per cent for those with buying with 40 per cent deposits. 

The YBS deals are aimed at first-time buyers and existing homeowners with less equirt who want to move house or remortgage.

Banks and building societies slashed high loan-to-value mortgages after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown hit. 

Many blamed the volume of demand for mortgage holidays, combined with staff working at home, but they are also concerned about negative equity if house prices fall and job losses that could see borrowers struggle to pay their mortgage.

Ben Merritt, senior mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society said: ‘We’re committed to supporting borrowers with smaller deposits and are really pleased to offer these mortgages again – there’s certainly been a gap in this part of the market for some months.

‘Thanks to the hard work of our front line colleagues we now feel we’re in a better position to continue supporting existing borrowers who need a payment holiday and launch mortgages for new customers, while maintaining the high standard of service our customers expect.’

Is YBS’s mortgage a good deal?

YBS is offering a 3.69 per cent two-year fixed rate with a £995 product fee for home purchases and remortgages. 

What about the self-employed?

The self-employed do qualify for YBS’ 90 per cent product – even if they’ve been granted support by the government.

Merritt says: ‘Yes, we continue to accept applications from self-employed customers who have taken government support. 

‘We may however, need to request additional documents to confirm the income is sustainable for an applicant’s individual circumstances.’

It also offers a 3.79 per cent five-year fixed rate with a £995 product fee for home purchases and remortgages. 

All its house purchase mortgages come with a free standard valuation, and those looking to remortgage get paid legal fees.

But the rate is not the lowest out there though. 

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, says: ‘These are competitively priced and may well attract borrowers looking to save on the upfront cost of their deal as they come with a free valuation and allow borrowers to add the product fee to the mortgage advance.

‘For first-time buyers there are alternative deals to consider in the market such as Nationwide, of which their two-year fixed is priced at 3.49 per cent and their five-year at 3.54 per cent both with free valuation and £500 cashback incentive.’

The Yorkshire’s intermediary arm, Accord Mortgages, also offers a range of 90 per cent LTV mortgages.

Ben Merritt, of Yorkshire Building Society says the lender can continue supporting existing borrowers and offer new deals

Ben Merritt, of Yorkshire Building Society says the lender can continue supporting existing borrowers and offer new deals

Ben Merritt, of Yorkshire Building Society says the lender can continue supporting existing borrowers and offer new deals

David Hollingworth of L&C Mortgages says: ‘Other lenders like Nationwide, Metro Bank, Platform and Virgin Money are some of the other lenders that currently offer 90 per cent deals and others have dipped in and out with products when possible. Atom Bank has just launched some rates today.’

Borrowers considering a 90 per cent mortgage will pay much more than before the pandemic.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘Sadly, the lack of availability means borrowers have seen high LTV rates rise. 

‘Twelve months ago, 90 per cent two-year fixes were available from less than two per cent but now the equivalent products cost well over three per cent, despite rock-bottom interest rates.’

Those considering waiting for a better deal or more options may have to wait a bit, although things have improved slightly.

Since March 701 of the available 90 per cent LTV products have been axed – leaving just 78 on the market – a slight increase from the 56 available at the beginning of the month. 

Twelve months ago, 90 per cent two-year fixes were available from less than 2 per cent but now the equivalent products cost well over  3 per cent 

But even though more lenders are willing to put their toe in the water, Springall believes that the return of the 90 per cent deals will be a gradual process.

She says: ‘It’s a great sign when you have the likes of YBS coming on and available to everyone but building societies are very different to banks.

‘It will take time for other lenders to follow their lead. That’s why we’ll see certain lenders like Atom Bank offering to just first-time borrowers and buyers and then if this works they will have deals available to those that want to remortage.’

Figures from Moneyfacts highlight the few options borrowers have to choose from if they have smaller deposits, with mortgages above 90% hacked back

Figures from Moneyfacts highlight the few options borrowers have to choose from if they have smaller deposits, with mortgages above 90% hacked back

Figures from Moneyfacts highlight the few options borrowers have to choose from if they have smaller deposits, with mortgages above 90% hacked back

Will the mortgage remain on the market?

This year has seen a few 90 per cent LTV lenders enter the market only for those offers to disappear following hype and an influx of applications.

YBS’s product is likely to be a popular offering given its competitive rate. 

Merritt says there’s no current restriction on the number of applicants the building society is willing to take on.

He explains: ‘We don’t have a set threshold for these products, but we will continue to monitor our service levels to ensure we continue to offer the high levels of service our customers expect.’

YBS says it’s able to offer qualifying customers a mortgage in 15 days, which means that borrowers will be able to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

Merritt says: ‘There are still a number of months to go before the stamp duty holiday deadline. 

‘On average we provide customers with a mortgage offer in less than 15 days, but of course there are a number of factors involved with the wider house buying process that could affect completion timescales, out of our control.’

What type of homes can I buy?

There are some types of properties that Yorkshire Building Society won’t lend on. These include:

· Pre-cast re-enforced concrete properties, designated under the Housing Act 1985, unless they have been repaired by PRC Homes Ltd, a subsidiary of the NHBC.

· Local Authority multi-storey blocks

· Dwellings constructed by timber, i.e., not clad with brick, stone etc, including  log cabin/chalet type of construction

· Single brick (single skin) construction

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Bitcoin price: Why has it fallen 12.5% in a day?

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Bitcoin’s seemingly unstoppable surge towards an all-time high and a $20,000 price tag went into reverse as holders tried to cash in their gains for a profit.

The price of the cryptocurrency plummeted more than 12 per cent over the last 24 hours from a peak of $19,374 a coin on Wednesday to $16,858, according to figures from Coindesk.

Fellow cryptocurrencies like ethereum and ripple have also plunged in price over the last 24 hours, while bitcoin’s fall was its sharpest since the start of September.

Bitcoin plunged by more than 12% in the last 24 hours just as it looked set to hit an all-time high

Bitcoin plunged by more than 12% in the last 24 hours just as it looked set to hit an all-time high

Bitcoin plunged by more than 12% in the last 24 hours just as it looked set to hit an all-time high

It had looked set to break its all-time high of around $19,500, set in December 2017, driven by a series of good news stories, endorsements from institutional investors and continued money printing by central banks. 

The fact the price of the cryptocurrency had risen from just under $8,000 in January to the verge of $20,000 a coin without serious interest from casual investors had led some to argue the boom this time around was here to stay for a while yet.

This is Money has previously reported on the factors driving the cryptocurrency’s rise, including endorsements by the likes of PayPal and JP Morgan, which said it could possibly compete with gold as an alternative store of value. 

However, this positivity has been somewhat dented by the sudden plunge in the bitcoin price, which appeared to be the result of a massive sell-off by high net worth holders of the cryptocurrency.

The sharp drop is yet more proof of the cryptocurrency’s volatility and why This is Money warns casual investors looking to buy into it that they need to do their research and be careful beforehand.

According to bitcoin analysts Glassnode, the number of investors holding at least 1,000 bitcoin reached an all-time high this week, with the concentration of large sums of the cryptocurrency in the hands of a small number of investors giving them a significant influence on the market.

Another analyst, Ki Young Ju, wrote on the social media platform Twitter that these holders of large sums of bitcoin had sold off their holdings, causing the price to fall.

Bitcoin has been on a tear since the end of the summer and is still massively up on where it was at the start of this year

Bitcoin has been on a tear since the end of the summer and is still massively up on where it was at the start of this year

Bitcoin has been on a tear since the end of the summer and is still massively up on where it was at the start of this year 

And one of the most well-known cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase, said traders were being hit by connectivity issues as they tried to make purchases or sell-off their holdings. The San Francisco-based exchange said it had found and fixed the problem.

Responding to the sudden drop, Glen Goodman, the author of the book The Crypto Trader, said: ‘When Bitcoin approached $20,000 in 2017, more people were queueing up to buy it than ever before.

‘Many of those buyers have been holding their investment – in varying degrees of misery – ever since.

‘The pressure now, not least from their long-suffering partners, is to sell and finally break even on their investments.

‘With their fingers hovering over the “sell” button, when the price started retreating slowly down to $19,000 and then $18,500, it led to a flurry of panic sellers grabbing their chance to break even, and those sellers caused the price to crash fast.’

However, he still said the long-term picture for the cryptocurrency was ‘very positive’, despite the possibility of ‘a lot more price volatility in the near future’.

He added: ‘This appears so far to be a healthy correction in a big bull market. In my opinion, only a fall to $10,000 would put that bullish narrative in question.’

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Just FOUR councils applied to use a new hedgehog warning road sign

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A new traffic sign launched by the Department for Transport for councils to display on roads with high populations of hedgehogs, badgers, otters and other small animals has received a prickly response with just one per cent of authorities applying to use it.

The sign, unveiled last year, displays one of the spiky creatures in a red warning triangle and was designed to help preserve dwindling hedgehog numbers and reduce the number of people injured in collisions involving animals.

However, This is Money can exclusively reveal that all four councils who did apply to erect the signs were denied permission because they did not provide enough evidence to the DfT that they have a high concentration of the animals in their areas.

Prickly reaction: Just four councils have applied to the Department for Transport to use a hedgehog warning sign on roads that put the animals and drivers and riders at risk

Prickly reaction: Just four councils have applied to the Department for Transport to use a hedgehog warning sign on roads that put the animals and drivers and riders at risk

Prickly reaction: Just four councils have applied to the Department for Transport to use a hedgehog warning sign on roads that put the animals and drivers and riders at risk

Of the 343 councils that could have requested to display the signs on their roads, only Newcastle City Council, Middlesbrough Council, Surrey County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council applied, according to an Freedom of Information request by the AA.

All four subsequently had their applications denied, the DfT confirmed.

The department clarified that all four had ‘failed to evidence any concentrations of small animals habitually in the road, or provide any accident data’.

Councils and animal conservationists will query how they can feasibly provide evidence of hedgehogs being at risk on their roads. 

‘Rejection of the applications based on failing to provide adequate evidence conjures up all sorts of weird scenarios: council officers counting the bodies or sending off the evidence in jiffy bags,’ said an AA spokesman. 

He added: ‘Common sense suggests that, if cash-strapped councils are prepared to fork out the money for the signs and the manpower to erect them, there is probably the local need for them.’

The signs are to warn of small animals, including hedgehogs, badgers, otters and squirrels. Hedgehogs in particular are now on the Red List of endangered UK species

The signs are to warn of small animals, including hedgehogs, badgers, otters and squirrels. Hedgehogs in particular are now on the Red List of endangered UK species

The signs are to warn of small animals, including hedgehogs, badgers, otters and squirrels. Hedgehogs in particular are now on the Red List of endangered UK species

The decision to deny these authorities will has left the British Hedgehog Preservation Society bristling in frustration.

Hedgehog numbers have plummeted in recent years, halving in volume since 2000.

The animals now find themselves on the Red List of endangered UK species.  

Fay Vass, chief executive at the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, told This is Money: ‘We are disappointed that more authorities aren’t applying for the small mammal signs that feature a hedgehog and that the DfT are rejecting those that do. 

‘We know from interaction with the public that these signs would be very welcome in many areas where hedgehog road casualty counts are high. 

‘In the meantime, we produce a sign that can be purchased for display on private property, but we very much hope that the official signs will soon begin to be erected in the spirit they were intended. 

‘They are important to warn people that small animals might be on the road in that area, not only for the sake of the animal, but to help reduce risk for drivers too.’

The AA asked how councils could feasibly provide evidence that they have roads with high concentrations of small animals

The AA asked how councils could feasibly provide evidence that they have roads with high concentrations of small animals

The AA asked how councils could feasibly provide evidence that they have roads with high concentrations of small animals

The new traffic warning sign was launched in 2019 by former transport secretary Chris Grayling, including a bespoke announcement and plenty of fanfare around the sign. 

It was unveiled as the DfT said hundreds of people are injured every year in collisions involving animals in the road, claiming that 629 people were injured in accidents involving an animal in the road (excluding horses) and 4 people were killed in 2017 alone. 

Mr Grayling called on local authorities and animal welfare groups to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign should be located.  

He said: ‘The new small mammal warning sign should help to reduce the number of people killed and injured, as well as helping our precious small wild mammal population to flourish.’ 

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