Last year saw a record number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle registrations, which were up 27 percent year-on-year. In a landmark 12 months for the segment, the total number of plug-in cars passed the 130,000 mark, with Go Ultra Low predicting annual electric car registrations of 60,000 in 2018. Using data sourced from the Department for Transport, we round up the most popular plug-in hybrid and electric cars on UK roads today.
25. Kia Soul EV: 465 cars
With a range of 155 miles and a price tag of £25,995 – after a £4,500 Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) reduction – the Kia Soul EV might not offer the same value for money as a more modern electric car, but it has a seven-year warranty on its side. It’s also well-equipped, with an eight-inch infotainment system, heated front seats and steering wheel, reversing camera and dual-zone climate control. It’s available through selected dealers only.
24. Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: 481 cars
Mercedes-Benz pulled the plug on the B-Class Electric Drive in 2017, with the German company preparing for a new range of EQ electric cars. This was the first mass-produced all-electric Mercedes, which featured a powertrain co-developed by Tesla to provide 124 miles of range, or an additional 18 miles courtesy of a Range Plus upgrade.
23. Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: 785 cars
Until Volvo unveils a plug-in hybrid version of the new V60, you’ll have to pick and choose from the 785 old models. Two versions of the diesel-electric plug-in hybrid were available – a D5 and a more powerful D6 – with a claimed fuel-economy figure of 156.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 49g/km. With prices ranging from £40,000 to £50,000, it was too expensive when new, but used prices start from just £13,000.
22. Mercedes-Benz E350e: 901 cars
The new Mercedes-Benz E350e features a more socially acceptable petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain to deliver up to 134mpg and CO2 emissions of 57g/km. This makes it appealing to fleet buyers, who will be turned on by the lower rate of company car tax. It makes less sense for a private buyer, as it will be a while before the high list price is offset by the fuel savings.
21. Renault Kangoo ZE: 929 cars
The Kangoo ZE offers an NEDC driving range of 170 miles, although Renault points out that a more realistic estimate is 124 miles in the summer, dropping to 75 miles in the winter. Three versions are available: an entry-level van, a larger Maxi van, and a Crew van featuring folding rear seats. Business user prices start from £18,693.47, excluding battery hire.
20. MINI Countryman PHEV: 946 cars
The MINI continues to get bigger and bigger, and the Countryman PHEV has a price tag to match. You’ll pay upwards of £31,895 for this maxi MINI with an environmental conscience, which offers an ability to drive up to 25 miles in all-electric mode. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor deliver a combined output of 224hp, while CO2 emissions are just 49g/km.
19. Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid: 1,074 cars
There are no fewer than six different Panamera E-Hybrid models to choose from, ranging from the £81,141 entry-level version to the ’bahn-storming Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo estate. Even in its ‘basic’ form, the 426hp Panamera 4 E-Hybrid offers a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds and CO2 emissions of just 56g/km.
18. Vauxhall Ampera: 1,269 cars
Remember the Vauxhall Ampera? It was rather good. The former European Car of the Year was there at the start of the green car revolution and featured an electric motor paired with a four-cylinder petrol engine. The range-extender offered up to 50 miles of electric range before the 1.4-litre petrol engine kicked in to deliver a total range of 300 miles. Used prices start from £10,000.
17. BMW 225xe: 1,458 cars
It might look like the standard BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, but the charging flap on the front wing provides the only clue that the 225xe is a plug-in hybrid model. Speeds of up to 78mph and distances of up to 25 miles are achievable in all-electric mode, with CO2 emissions of just 57g/km.
16. Volkswagen Passat GTE: 1,606 cars
With prices starting from just shy of £35,000 after PiCG, the Volkswagen Passat GTE saloon is an expensive car, but the figures are impressive. Up to 31 miles can be driven in electric mode, contributing to an overall range of 660 miles. It’s quick, too, sprinting to 62mph in 7.4 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 140mph.
15. BMW i8: 1,763 cars
Very much the pin-up of the hybrid world, some 1,763 BMW i8s have found a home in the UK. Boasting a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, the i8 will hit 62mph in just 4.4 seconds, yet delivers CO2 emissions of just 42g/km. It feels like the future, but you’ll pay upwards of £112,735 for the privilege.
14. BMW 530e: 1,896 cars
The BMW 530e was a runner-up in the World Green Car category at the recent World Car of the Year awards, with the Nissan Leaf finishing top. It’s the first 5 Series with a plug, and it’s mightily impressive, with CO2 emissions of just 46g/km and an all-electric range of 29 miles. With a price tag not too dissimilar to the 530d, the 530e is likely to appeal to private owners as well as company car drivers.
13. Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid: 2,087 cars
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid appears to have it all: up to 235mpg, CO2 emissions of 28g/km, a charging time as low as two hours, and Toyota’s excellent Safety Sense package. In the real world, you’re likely to see a figure of 70mpg, although up to 39 miles of range is available in pure electric mode.
12. Tesla Model X: 2,114 cars
“The Model X is the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history,” says Tesla. A bold claim, but there’s no doubting its credentials. The largest 100kWh battery provides up to 351 miles of range, while its gull-wing doors open to reveal seating for up to seven adults. Opt for the P100D and the Model X will sprint to 60mph in 2.9 seconds.
11. Audi A3 e-tron: 2,402 cars
We ran an Audi A3 Sportback e-tron as a long-termer back in 2015, and we found it to be a really easy car to live with. We charged the car every night and achieved between 11 and 22 miles of electric range before the A3 reverted to being a regular hybrid. Overall, we managed to achieve 45-50 mpg.
10. Nissan e-NV200: 2,639 cars
The tenth most popular plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle is a van. The Nissan e-NV200 is the largest electric van on the market and uses the running gear from the Leaf to deliver between 124 and 188 miles of range. Quick-charging provides 80 percent of charge in as little as 40 minutes, and prices start from £18,599 plus VAT.
9. Volvo XC90 T8: 3,338 cars
The Volvo XC90 T8 is powered by a 303hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is paired with an 87hp electric motor to provide CO2 emissions of 49g/km and a 0-60mph time of 5.3 seconds. Prices start from £62,570 for the entry-level Momentum trim. Our guess is that the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid will join its larger sibling in a future top 25 round-up.
8. Volkswagen Golf GTE: 5,411 cars
“Due to unprecedented demand, leading to long delivery lead times, Golf GTE is currently closed to ordering.” That’s the greeting you’ll receive if you visit the Volkswagen website in the hope of adding to the 5,411 Golf plug-in hybrid drivers in the UK.
7. Renault Zoe: 5,751 cars
In 2017, the Renault Zoe was Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle for the third year running, with sales up 44 percent over 2016. For 2018, Renault has introduced a new R110 motor, which is 16hp more powerful than the previous version, but provides the same real-world range of 186 miles. The R110 is available to order now, with first deliveries expected in late summer.
6. Tesla Model S: 6,972 cars
The Tesla Model S is arguably the most famous electric car on the planet, while it’s also the sixth most popular electric or plug-in hybrid car in the UK. In 100D guise, the Model S provides up to 393 miles of range, while the flagship P100D sees this drop to 381 miles. On the flip-side, you can accelerate to 60mph in just 2.5 seconds in the P100D.
5. Mercedes-Benz C350e: 8,867 cars
The Mercedes-Benz C350e doesn’t like to shout about its green credentials, but the flap on the rear bumper provides a subtle clue that this is a plug-in version. It offers CO2 emissions of 48g/km, making it ideally suited to the company car drivers of the UK, who we suspect account for the majority of the 8,900 or so cars on the road.
4. BMW i3 (i3 REX): 9,024 (6,437) cars
The BMW i3 is proof that buyers are prepared to pay more for their electric car if the execution is nearly perfect. It’s great to drive, cool to look at, and is blessed with one of the nicest interiors in the world. The i3 has been facelifted for 2018, with BMW introducing a new range-topping i3S model. Prices start from under £30,000 after PiCG.
3. BMW 330e: 9,143 cars
We drove a BMW 330e in 2016. Our verdict: “As a company car, it makes so much sense. There’s a reason why fleet users crave a 320d to cover the miles, and this is nicer to drive and will get fewer scowls as diesel resentment builds. We’re surprised BMW is only expecting to sell just over 1,000 in the UK in the first year.” Two years on and just look at the number of cars on the road.
2. Nissan Leaf: 19,624 cars
Our verdict on the new Nissan Leaf: “The 2018 Nissan Leaf is exactly the car it needed to be. It’s better all round, and crucially, more normal too. A stylish, contemporary car that just happens to be electric. The EV aspect is exceptional, from the brilliant refinement, to the punchy and classy performance, to the extended range. It rides and handles with more European polish, and it’s even pretty good fun.”
1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: 32,048 cars
That’s a staggering number of Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV models on the road. Launched in 2014, the Outlander PHEV was one of the first plug-in hybrid models to gain widespread adoption, helped in no small part by an aggressive pricing policy. At the time of writing, Mitsubishi confirmed that is has shifted 2,695 units in the first four months of 2018, taking the total to 36,800 currently on the road. We’ve used the old figure of 32,048 to be consistent with the other cars featured in the gallery.