With the climate crisis increasingly pressing and the British ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles now only a few years away, many drivers are looking to switch to an electric car.
By the end of 2023, one in three new car sales is expected to be fully electric – that’s up from just one in 100 in 2016. As consumer demand rises, the number of affordable electric cars on the market is picking up pace. Increased range (the distance an electric car can travel between charges) and improvements in charging infrastructure are also easing ‘range anxiety,’ which has long been a barrier to people making the switch.
For families, the best electric vehicles (EVs) now offer all the practicality and space of traditional petrol or diesel cars, while creating zero exhaust emissions and the very attractive potential for lower day-to-day running costs. While unfortunately the government has pulled its Plug-in grant, which was worth £1,500 off the cost of an EV, you could still be eligible for help with installing a charger at home if you meet certain criteria.
Here are our top 5 family electric cars for 2023:
Price: £44,495 to £62,645
Max range: 232 to 328 miles
For an EV that’s capable, spacious AND stylish, it’s hard to beat the new Kia EV6. It’s as good to drive as it looks, and is brimming with exciting technology too. It may not have the biggest boot out there, but the flat floor means you’ll have plenty of legroom both front and back. It has a sporty look and feel but is also seriously practical. The all-wheel drive version will give you a slightly reduced range of up to 314 miles.
Kia is rightly proud of the EV6’s impressive maximum charging rate of 350kW (it can add 62 miles of range in just over four minutes) – the only problem is finding a charger in the UK with that much power. It also has a clever feature that enables it to power household items, such as a kettle or microwave, or even charge another EV, from its charge port.
The smaller 58kWh battery option can give up to 232 miles while the 77.4-kWh pack can go up to 328 miles.
Kia has big plans to establish itself as an all-electric car company by 2040, and to become fully carbon-neutral by 2045.
Price: from £42,990 to £57,990
Max range: 305 to 374 miles
It’s no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling electric car around the world. With up to 374 miles available on a single charge, and access to Tesla’s ‘Supercharger’ network (where you can recharge up to 174 miles in 15 minutes), the Model 3 is a very tempting option for families who clock up high yearly mileage or do a lot of long journeys.
Tesla has the advantage of only building all-electric vehicles, and understands how to free up huge amounts of valuable space inside by tucking batteries and motors out of the way. Its flat floor makes it nice and spacious for a family. Add in a low leasing cost and the Model 3 suddenly becomes an affordable and practical route into EV ownership. It comes with the option of all-wheel drive – and you might be interested to know that the Performance version will do 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds.
There’s also some fun tech to tempt you – you can use your smartphone as a key, and the screen doubles as a games console and TV when the car is parked.
The entry-level 65kWh Tesla 3 has a range of up to 305 miles, the mid-range can stretch to 340 miles, and the 75 kWh long range goes up to 374 miles.
Price: from £42,665 to £57,945
Max range: 238 to 315 miles
The Hyundai Ioniq 5 looks sci-fi cool (perhaps a little too much so for some) and has a super spacious interior for the whole family with plenty of roof space for taller passengers. For those who want more grip and performance on difficult road surfaces and don’t mind sacrificing some battery range, there’s an all-wheel drive version.
The flat floor means an adult can comfortably sit in the middle seat at the back and the doors open nice and wide to help you get a child seat in and out. It has a good-sized boot, and there is some extra space under the floor as well as a small compartment under the bonnet. A movable centre console provides cupholders, cubby holes and a wireless phone charger. You might also like the thick padded seats, two massive screens and panoramic glass sunroof.
The Ioniq 5 comes with a 59kWh or 77.4kWh battery sizes offering electric range from 238 to 315 miles.
Price: £25,995 to £32,495
Max range: 218 to 281 miles
At a time when households are facing rising living costs, the MG4 is a more affordable – but still stylish – option for drivers wanting to make the transition to an all-electric car. Priced at well under £30,000 for the basic model, it offers decent space for families (the boot could be bigger) with plenty of headroom for taller passengers, and a maximum 281-mile range that should be enough for most needs. It looks pretty sharp, too.
You’ll get 17-inch alloy wheels and LED head and tail lights as standard, and all versions come with a 10.25-inch infotainment system and seven-inch driver’s display. You’ll only get built-in navigation, however, with the top-of-the-range model.
The MG4 offers up to 218 miles with the 51kWh Standard version and up to 281 miles with the 64kWh Long Range.
Price: £32,200 to £37,140
Max range: 264 to 339 miles
The ID.3 is billed as the electric version of the Golf – ie. it’s VW’s family-sized choice for those with a green conscience. As such, it has great looks and comfort wrapped up in a practical package. It’s so important to the brand that the 3 in its name represents its place as the manufacturer’s third major launch of all time, after the iconic Beetle and the ever-popular VW Golf.
With good passenger and boot space as well as a selection of cubby holes, it scores both on space and storage.
The ID.3 is the first of the new wave of electric VWs – the ID.4 is a new and larger SUV model.
Three battery sizes are on offer; the biggest at 77kWh is included in the top-of-the-range model with up to 339 miles of range, the mid-spec 58kWh with up to 264 miles, and the entry-level 45kWh with up to 170 miles.