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  • Writer's pictureMark Webb

Can anyone topple Tesla?

Elon’s electric cars blazed a trail. Has the rest of the world now caught up?


It took a Silicon Valley freethinker to pack a car with batteries, badge it Tesla and change the world. But the first Tesla went on sale a decade ago. Surely the car-making establishment has since closed the gap?


Company car drivers might want to take note. Electric cars continue to enjoy a huge tax advantage over combustion-engined rivals. Because company car drivers are taxed on a sliding scale linked to carbon dioxide emissions, a zero-emission EV with its 2% BiK rate could save you hundreds of pounds a month…


BMW i5

The maker of Ultimate Driving Machines went electric early with the innovative i3 and i8 – only to retreat in the face of disappointing sales. But in recent years the momentum’s been building. The i4 and iX3 are solid cars and there’s real greatness at the top of the range in the form of the wildly innovative iX and obscenely luxurious i7. The i5 – the new 5-series’ electric twin – delivers much of the i7’s brilliance at a (slightly) lower price point. Characterful, rapid (the 593bhp M60 version runs 0-62mph faster than a 911 Carrera) and laden with technology, it’s a true BMW.


Hyundai Ioniq 6

You’ll have noticed Hyundai’s giant hatch, the funky 5. It put Hyundai on the EV map with its clever and adaptable platform – a platform that, in stretched guise, also sees service beneath the streamlined 6. It’s a curious car, the 6. You’ll likely love or hate the design, inside and out, but that arcing roofline does at least translate into superb efficiency. The 6 goes way further than, say, a BMW i4 on the same charge. It’s an assured and very refined drive, too. But look elsewhere if you want excitement. Kia’s EV6, which uses the same platform, is a lot more fun, but avoid the fast-but-flawed EV6 GT.


Porsche Taycan

Hugely profitable, you’d have forgiven Porsche for resting on its combustion-engined laurels. But no. It embraced EVs early with the stunning Taycan, having developed its high-voltage powertrain expertise via its hybrid Le Mans motorsport programme. A sales phenomenon, the Taycan’s since flourished into a range. In GTS Sport Turismo guise in particular it’s a hugely talented, rewarding and desirable machine. The Taycan’s starting to show its age now, though, with a dated cockpit and efficiency that lags behind some rivals – hence the imminent refresh.


Mercedes EQE

Merc’s electric flagship, the EQS (effectively the S-Class’s electric twin), can’t lay a glove on BMW’s sensational i7. But the EQE is a far more convincing proposition, despite the very similar and pretty bland aero styling. Expensive, obviously. But an impressively complete electric saloon that manages to feel like a true Benz.



Lucid Air

Lucid’s sick of being called ‘the new Tesla’. But there’s some truth to the claim, not least because the brains behind Lucid’s first car, the Air, worked on Tesla’s breakthrough saloon, the Model S. A seductively styled hot rod with fabulous comfort, handling, interior space and range, the Air is the real deal. A better car than the Model S, it’s just a crying shame it’s not on sale in the UK… yet.


Tesla Model 3

It took another Tesla, the Model Y, to best the Model 3’s phenomenal sales success. For 2024 the 3 fights back with a comprehensive refresh. With sleeker styling, more range and an updated and incredibly clutter-free cockpit, Elon’s compact saloon is more impressive than ever. Factor in a fun and playful driving experience, Tesla’s extensive Supercharger network (its killer USP) and extremely aggressive pricing (the Model 3 starts at less than £40k) and the result is emphatic: this remains the best electric car on sale.

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