Top Selling Electric Cars in the UK

This article looks at the bestselling electric cars in the UK. It is limited to all-electric-vehicles and does not include hybrids. It should also be noted that the information presented herein was collated in April 2015. The trends are not covered and therefore the ratings are expected to change.

For instance  BMW i3, is a good example of growing trend. The car has created ripples across the globe and has only entered the UK market last year. For its first year, it has seen strong sales and the prospective sales are also looking good.  This car has to potential to become the top selling the UK despite coming late to the party.

Battery leasing option which is a monthly payment plan that gives the user protection for all possible battery problems is becoming popular choice among the users. Battery leasing option also includes battery pack replacement after a certain prescribed effective life is reached.

The range values are based on the EPA cycle (Environmental Protection Agency, USA). The prices in the table are exclusive of UK government’s electric car grant. Hence the purchase price could be £5000 lower than the mentioned prices.  Listed below are the top selling cars in the UK (in terms of units sold).




  1. Mitsubishi i-MiEV


Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Price (£) 28,990
Power (Kw) 47
Capacity (Kwh) 16
Range (miles) 62 EPA
Curb Weight (kg) 1080


Mitsubishi i-miev

Mitsubishi i-miev

Mitsubishi  i–MiEV is a five door hatchback that was one of the first family sized highway capable EV in the market. It also has the cheapest running cost. Although it broke into the Japanese market strongly but was unable to replicate its success globally.  One of the factors that have inhibited its sale is the smaller battery pack capacity which in turn has reduced its range. Having a smaller motor also effects the driving particularly on hilly roads but is great for inner city commute. It also has smaller charging times compared to similar cars. Being priced extremely close to the leading EV has not done the i-MiEV any favours in the UK market.

  1. TESLA Model S
Tesla Model S
Price (£) 49,900
Power (Kw) 310
Capacity (Kwh) 60
Range (miles) 208 EPA
Curb Weight (kg) 2108


Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S, the most expensive of the top selling EVs

The Tesla S model is a high-end electric sedan that tries to span the domains of  luxury and functionality in style. The Tesla Model S has not seen as big an impact in the UK as it has in Norway and the Netherlands. However with growing Tesla presence in the UK (office and showrooms), the sales for the S model are bound to see a rise in the near future. With it high price tag, it is not aimed towards the mainstream market so sale volumes will be lower compared to other similar sized EVs. In terms of performance, this far exceeds its rivals not only in range but also in power. The 310 KW motor provides immense torque to the wheels for driving off. It provides the best driving experience compared to other cars in the list.

  1. BMW i3


BMW i3
Price (£) 30,860
Power (Kw) 130
Capacity (Kwh) 18.8
Range (miles) 81 EPA
Curb weight (kg) 1315



BMW i3 concept car exhibited at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany

BMW i3 has been a huge success since its release. It is one of the fastest selling cars in the market. Launched in 2013, it is relatively new in the EV market. Yet by the end of February 2015, over 20,000 units of it had been sold globally. The BMW i3 is a luxury city car that is aimed at modern high seating urban compact crossovers.  It is the currently the smallest car BMW make and has a futuristic outlook, outside and in.

In the UK, it has experienced a warm reception and has won prizes in two categories, namely,  UK Car of the Year 2014 and Best Super-mini of 2014. The UK has become one of the main markets for this vehicle. As electric cars will remain in use for mostly urban commute, it was a shrewd move by BMW to adapt their EV for mainly for urban driving and it has paid off.


  1. Renault Zoe
Renault Zoe
Price (£) 17,333
Power (Kw) 65
Capacity (Kwh) 22
Range (miles) 100 EPA
Curb Weight (kg) 1468


Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe electric car exhibited at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Renault Zoe has one of the lowest prices EV in the market. However, because of its initial mandatory battery leasing option, it did not comfort the buyer with the warmth of equity. There were divided reviews and criticism on this sales model.

Renault has recently relaxed the mandatory clause and the vehicle can now be purchased outright. This option though has  ramped up the initial price but overall works out cheaper. The super mini sized vehicle, has good acceleration from rest but can struggle on inclines and higher speeds. Nonetheless, the car provides eco enthusiast access to a market that would be otherwise the preserve of the privileged.  Needless to point out that the running cost for this vehicle are amongst the lowest. It has provided though competition to VW-up!

  1. Nissan Leaf
Nissan Leaf
Price (£) 26,490
Power (Kw) 80
Capacity (Kwh) 24
Range (miles) 75 EPA
Curb Weight (kg) 1493


Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf photographed in Waldorf, Maryland, USA.

Nissan Leaf is the most established EV around the world and it is no surprise that it has retained that tag in the UK. Even though it was not the first the first family sized in the market, but it still turned out to be a game changer. The key factors to its success were pricing, practicality, economy and range. By being the first family sized car (in mainstream market) to offer 100 miles range capacity,  it had an the edge against Mitsubishi. In pulling –off it is not as nippy as the Zoe, but unlike Zoe at speeds above 40 mph, it accelerates with ease.

Despite being at par in price with Toyota Prius, the Leaf has grown strength to strength in the UK. In terms of the numbers of sales, it leaves all other competitors for dead. With the current and pipeline sales, it is unlikely that the leaf will be knocked off its perch of number 1 in the near future. For vehicles of comparable size (Chevrolet volt and Ford Focus electric), it has the lowest price. The technology inside offers not only data for driving cycle and its analysis but also features like air to air heat exchanger and a solar trickle charger embedded in the trim.

Also worth reading: Lowest price electric vehicles

Electric cars sales at record high: Guardian’s report

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