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The best plug-in hybrids and pure-play EVs

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Renault Zoe ZE

RH Numbers
RH Editor's Choice

Between them, Renault and Nissan have poured plenty of cash into their respective and combined EV programmes, and of the five models thus spawned it’s the little Renault Zoe that seems most likely to bring home the sales bacon. The same size as a Clio but with the swappable battery system used in the Renault Fluence ZE, it will also come with an 80-per-cent-in-30-minutes charge option like the Nissan Leaf.

Renault Zoe ZE

Renault will be selling the Zoe but leasing the battery pack which means the Zoe will sell for around the £14,000 mark after the Government’s £5000 e-car grant when it goes on sale in Blighty this September. Unlike the Fluence ZE, the Zoe has been designed from the tyres up as an EV so in countries not taking the Better Place shilling, I suspect it will rapidly become the most common electric car on the roads.

Reg Rating 95%
Availability September 2012
Price £14,000
More Info Renault

Smart ED Third Generation

RH Numbers

I drove the second-generation Smart ED back in June 2011, but the new model - the one actually destined for mass-market sales, which will start later this year - is an altogether more impressive bag of tricks. With a larger, 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a more powerful, 55kW electric motor, and the option to quick charge the new car, the 3G ED will go further faster and spend less time stationary before you can start your next trip.

Smart ED Third Generation

In Germany, the ED will be sold for around €16,000 (£13,410) while the battery pack will leased for around €60 (£50) per month. Those prices don’t take into account any local government grants, so the Smart should still work out a fair bit cheaper than the Renault Zoe in the UK. Just as well; it’s a much smaller car. That won’t bother Renault because it has the freaky little Twizy urban-EV up it’s sleeve which will be cheaper yet.

Reg Rating 80%
Availability Winter 2012
Price TBC, approx £8500
More Info Smart

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