Electric vehicle registrations reached a record high in 2015 with 28,188 new ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) arriving on UK roads – more than the past five years’ totals rolled into one. Although there’s now a plug-in vehicle for every occasion – from sportscars to family-oriented SUVs – the three top-selling EVs constitute more than a third of all plug-in sales…
Britain’s best-selling EV The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The figures Sales rose by 118 per cent from 5,364 in 2014 to 11,681 in 2015. Priced from £31,749 – including the plug-in grant of £2,500.
With C02 emissions from just 42g/km, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has the potential to save company car drivers thousands of pounds annually. In addition, the PHEV can travel 32 miles in pure EV mode according to the SMMT. The average daily commute in Britain is 25 miles.
It can comfortably travel at the national speed limit in EV mode and a ‘charge’ button allows the driver to charge the car using the 2.0-litre petrol engine. The official fuel consumption for the PHEV is 156mpg, based on industry standards set by European law.
Using both battery and petrol modes, it has a cruising range of approximately 541 miles, which is on a par with non-hybrid vehicles. In Mitsubishi’s own words, the Outlander PHEV offers “environmentally friendly all-electric operation for everyday use and mainly motor-powered hybrid operation for longer journeys”.
The PHEV can also be remotely controlled through specially designed smartphone or tablet apps that allow the scheduling of charging and the ability to remotely access the climate control. All models in the range are covered by a five-year warranty and the traction battery in the new Outlander PHEV has an eight-year warranty.
Britain’s best-selling pure EV The Nissan Leaf
The figures Sales of the pure electric Nissan Leaf rose 29 per cent from 4,051 in 2014 to 5,236 in 2015. Priced from £21,530 – including the plug-in grant of £4,500.
Nissan was recognised as a pioneer in bringing pure electric vehicles to a mass market when the first Leaf was launched in 2010. Manufacturing from its Sunderland production line, the company is again leading the charge with the new 2016 Leaf that comes with the option of a 30kWh battery, giving drivers up to 155 miles of motoring.
This longer range is anticipated to significantly broaden the Leaf’s appeal to business users. One of the car’s most useful features is its ability to interact with and be controlled remotely by its owner via NissanConnect EV. This smartphone-enabled telematics facility enables owners to check charge status or pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin. In addition, the new NissanConnect EV system features a map showing which charging points are available and which are being used. The Leaf’s advanced lithium-ion battery pack carries a limited warranty of up to eight years or 100,000 miles.
And the engineers behind the Leaf seem to have thought of everything. When the car is moving at low speeds – when its electric motor is at its quietest – the Leaf even emits a sound from a speaker to ensure that pedestrians can hear its approach.
BMW reinforces EV presence The new i3 (94 Ah)
The figures: Sales of the BMW i3 rose in Britain by 59 per cent from 1,393 in 2014 to 2,213 in 2015. Priced from £27,830 including the plug-in grant of £4,500.
With the ability to accelerate from zero to 63mph in just 7.3 seconds, the new BMW i3 (94 Ah) has broad appeal. The vehicle also offers an improved range of up to 195 miles in everyday driving conditions, which is expected to make it particularly attractive to business owners. In essence, the new version comes with an improved battery with a “higher storage density” than was previously available, which allows it to go both faster and further.
Sales of the i3 have grown consistently since the compact electric car was launched three years ago and this new version is expected to consolidate this. The coolant of the air conditioning system is also responsible for cooling the high-voltage battery effectively. An optional heating system can also be used to heat the battery to ensure the optimum operating temperature of 20°C before starting off. The battery has been designed to last for the car’s entire service life and it comes with an eight-year or 100,000 mile warranty.