Drivetribe Reader's Choice Awards - EVs
It has been a decent year for electric car releases but which one do you, the reader, think is best?
Normally these are kept down to five cars, but 2020 has been a decent harvest for EVs and I wanted to squeeze an odd personal favourite in for good measure. The much-maligned Vauxhall Corsa-E. But we'll get to that in good time.
The Golf of the future, fighting the Golf of now.
When the brains at VW sat down to reinvent the wheel they ended up just giving us a decent wheel. And frankly, I'm ok with that. I'm a big employer of the "if it ain't broke..." mentality, hence why I drive a slow, clunky, body-on-frame, off-roader whose design hasn't advanced since 1978. So when VW rolled out their new EV and it wasn't some Jetsons' style hyper futuristic design, I was quite relieved. VW gave us a car, that just so happens to run on electricity. It is a novel design, yes, but not so "in yer face" "I'm electric" as some of the other competitors in this list. The engineering and tech in the car is just advanced enough to get a nod from avid EV fans, but also commonplace enough to appeal to the average car buyer. Fascia and trim are carried over from the Golf so when you get in one it seems oddly familiar and not the often alien environment electric cars end up providing inside. On the road, it rides well and handles tidily. Don't expect Tesla, neck-snapping acceleration, because you wouldn't from a standard Golf, so why would you here? And that there is the clever point of the ID.3, it's closest rival is a normal Golf. Both are five-door, front-drive, hatchbacks that can seat five people. It'll do 260 miles to a charge (WLTP), which isn't quite the 480 odd you'd get from a full tank in a 2.0 TFSI, but how often do you do 480 miles in one hit? At 70mph you'd have to drive for seven solid hours to empty the tank. No one is doing that, you'd probably stop after three and a half hours for a wee, which is roughly when the ID.3 would need to fill up on electrons. Range isn't an issue here, neither is quality, familiarity, or the pretty reasonable starting price of around £32k, you can't moan. There you have it a small piece on the ID.3 without using such cliches as "moving the goalposts"... cack.
Tesla Model 3
Where's it's face? It has no mouth?
From the people that bought you the Model S, and the Model X, here's the Model S on a hot wash. All the same ropey build quality, barren interior, freakishly dedicated fan club, and snappy acceleration you'd expect from a Tesla but now in a smaller package. A bit more chassis development to bring the fight to the BMW 3 Series, a bit more of an attainable asking price for the common folk, but it doesn't hugely change the game compared to the bar that was set by its larger stablemates. Plus it has that weird face that looks like it is trying to scream but someone has taken away its mouth. Still oddly divisive as an option, but it does everything you need a car to do. It's provided an appealing open door for many to move into the electric car world and we can't kick it for that. But what do you think?
AAAAARGH My goddam eyes!
An unimaginative name, but the convention for naming electric cars seems to just be slapping the letter E or I onto an existing name, maybe with a number or two thrown in for good measure. But the name isn't my issue with the Mini. It is that godawful styling. Why do bits of it have to be the same lurid green my Nintendo DS Lite was about a decade and a half ago. Why does it have wheel trims that look like plug sockets, a blanked off grille that more closely resembles me after eating cashews (nut allergy). I despise its looks more than that of the 5-door Mini. Why couldn't it just look like the fairly passable 3-door Mini but just so happen to have an electric motor and not a little petrol unit?
Cute looks, but will that fly with the regular purchaser?
I'm going to completely undermine everything I said about the VW ID.3 and it's sensible styling by saying that I like the concept drawing style of the Honda e. Years and years ago I remember seeing the Honda Urban EV Concept in a magazine and loving the styling, how fresh and contemporary it looked as well as how cutely retro it was. It was new without looking new. A brilliant blend of two different design languages that have generated a car that is like no other on the market. I love it. But what do you think? All gimmick and no trouser?
Is it an SUV? Is it a fastback? Is it a saloon? I don't really care, I love it!
The sensible Swede of the group? Well, it's a chunky four-door fastback with the silhouette of a small SUV? I don't know how to peg it, but I don't care. I love it. The brilliant Scandinavian styling, sensible features and looks that like the VW advance the idea of car styling in the direction of the future and electric cars, but not so horrendously like the Mini or ostentatiously like the Tesla. Driving the 2 is easy as either a one-pedal or two-pedal car, the handling is pretty tidy, though this is at the expense of the ride being a tad firm on the performance suspension. Oh, and it comes with conventional mirrors. Which is brilliant. Electric/camera-based mirror systems are flawed in their practicality. When you're backing a car into a tight space you often crane your neck or roll it to one side to get a different view in the pane, the camera systems don't offer that. So normal mirrors are a big tick from me. Practicality is what you'd expect from a Swedish slugger like this, with a proper hatchback allowing better access to the boot compared to the small saloon-style boot on the Model 3. All in, a good package but what do you think? Does the sensible styling tickle your pickle?
I have an oddly soft soft spot for these.
And this is the odd one in the group. Or really, it shouldn't be. People like to hate Vauxhall because they are Vauxhall. But you wouldn't turn up your nose at a Peugeot 208-e so let's stop being childish and take a look at Luton's offering in the electric car stakes. It's the most powerful of the F-gen Corsa options on the market at the moment with 136 electron-fuelled ponies and 192 lb.ft of twist under the rather handsome front. Outside and in, the styling is normal. It looks like 'an car', which is a brilliant move to not spook customers who'd like a conventional car that just so happens to be electric. Clever design has been peppered throughout the car. With weight savings all over the place, the car is lighter than the previous generation but is a bit bigger. Although the BEV version is heavier courtesy of the motors, batteries and gubbins, but that's what we're finding at the moment, BEVs are not whippets. Both the Honda and Corsa tip the scales at 1500kgs, the Mini weighs in at about 1400kgs but only benefits from borrowing carbon parts developed by the BMW i8 and i3 models. So let's not shame the Corsa for its weight problems when its competitors aren't exactly dainty. So what's holding you back on the Corsa-e? An outdated prejudice on the badge at the front? Grow up.