VOTING is open in the second Sunday Times Motor Awards sponsored by Bridgestone, and over the coming weeks we’ll be introducing you to the shortlisted cars in each category.
Our motoring writers whittled down the long lists of their favourite cars on sale this year to produce the final nominees, but most of the winners will be decided by you. Even better, by voting you could win a seven-night holiday for two in Thailand.
Below are the Best Electric Car of the Year Award contenders with the reasons behind their nomination. When you’ve found your favourite, be sure to click through to vote for it — the winner will be the one that receives the most support from our readers.
Choose from the Audi e-tron, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro, Mercedes-Benz EQC, MINI Electric and Tesla Model 3.
Our panel of experts were looking for cars that not only take the best qualities of electric vehicles — namely their refinement, zero exhaust emissions, low cost per mile and ease of use — but are also fun to drive, practical, fast to charge, desirable to own and can rack up many miles before their batteries need topping up.
The winners of the 2019 Sunday Times Motor Awards, including the coveted Sunday Times Car of the Year and Jeremy Clarkson’s Car of the Year, will be announced at a star-studded event in October.
The e-tron is equal parts estate car, SUV and electric Audi. This is a good thing, because it means it ticks a lot of boxes for drivers. Perhaps the only area holding back Audi’s first electric car is the range: at 249 miles it falls some way behind a Tesla Model S or X, and even more affordable models from the likes of Kia and Hyundai. Where it excels, though, is in space, build quality, technology and luxury.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai has been clever with its electrified Kona. The company offers two versions; one with a 39kWh battery that gives a maximum range of 180 miles and another with a more powerful 64kWh battery that can take drivers as far as 279 miles on a charge. It’s a wise move that broadens the Kona’s appeal and both are far more affordable that the equivalents from Tesla. The only snag? Limited supply from the factory in Korea.
Hyundai’s sister company Kia has its own version of the Kona Electric crossover, and the e-Niro manages to squeeze out an extra three miles per charge from the 64kWh battery, for an impressive driving range of up to 282 miles. Our tests suggest that’s easily achievable, too. It has a more conventional interior layout than the Hyundai, which may suit many buyers, and with a host of gadgets and gizmos, plus space for a growing family, it’s easy to see why this car also has a lengthy waiting list.
The new EQC leads Mercedes’ charge into the electric car market but it won’t have an easy ride. Tesla has set the bar high when it comes to driving range and the 259-mile potential of the EQC can’t match that of a Model X. However, it has a range advantage over the Audi e-tron and similarly top notch levels of build quality, comfort and technology. It also comes with the all-important three-pointed star on the nose.
In some ways, this might just be the modern Mini of which Alec Issigonis, creator of the original model, would have approved. It does away with combustion power and embraces zero-emissions technology, and promises to harness it in a way that brings out the Mini’s fun personality. While the 144 miles range is the worst of all our nominees, it should be plenty for the suburban, town and city driving the MINI Electric will likely spend most of its life doing. There are no compromises in interior space and the high tech interior is the epitome of cool.
Tesla Model 3
Tesla’s mainstream electric car has finally arrived in the UK with right-hand drive. The standard model (about the size of the BMW 3 Series) can travel for 258 miles on a single charge, whereas the more expensive long-range battery pack provides up to 348 miles of motoring — more than enough to show off the latest Tesla to all your friends. Its stand-out features, other than class-leading range and access to a vast super-fast recharging network, include a remarkable amount of interior space, a startlingly minimalist cabin, blistering pace, over-the-air software updates and tongue-in-cheek Easter Eggs (the kids will love Toilet Humour mode).