Hybrid and electric cars are becoming increasingly popular on UK roads. They’ve accounted for almost 40 per cent of all car registrations so far in 2021 thanks to a rise in some of the UK’s favourite cars getting the hybrid treatment.Advertisement
Manufacturers like Ford have announced plans for an all-electric range by 2030, including a range of all-new models that will hit the UK car market for the first time and Volvo are another car brand announcing huge electrification plans. They’ve set a goal to have 50 per cent of all their new cars fully electric by 2025 and pretty much everywhere you look now is a new electric Volvo car being released.
Over the next 10 years we are going to see a huge shift towards electrification, with the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to be banned from 2030. And while we’re still early in the transition towards a fully electric car market, there’s a range of new hybrid models on offers with familiar faces. All of the UK’s top 10 best-selling cars available as a fully electric or hybrid model and we’ve taken a look at some of the UK’s best-selling and most loved cars that are going green for the first time.
The Fiesta is one of the UK’s most loved family cars and one of Ford’s best-selling models. Since going on sale in 1976, the Fiesta has been a staple model on roads up and down the country and has been recognised ever-since as the go-to family hatchback.
In 2020 Ford released a hybrid Fiesta model, which incorporated a 48V-battery-powered electric motor with it’s awarding winning EcoBoost petrol engine. This helped the Fiesta meet new stricter legislation on fuel consumption and carbon emissions, which was set in 2018 by a new worldwide standard.
As a mild hybrid (mHEV), performance gains from the battery and electric motor are only marginal but have helped improve the economy and lower the emissions of the engine to meet the new standards. Ford’s EcoBoost engine gives you more bang for your buck too with a 1.5-litre ST-Line model available that will max out performance with a 200bhp engine.
Kia is one of South Korea’s largest car manufacturers and the Sportage is their best-selling model in the UK. It’s a mid-sized family SUV that’s proved itself as one of the top 3 most popular SUVs since going on sale more than 25 years ago.
The latest Kia Sportage range is 100% hybrid and joins an already strong line up of hybrid and electric vehicles manufacturer by Kia. As a mid-sized SUV, it sits between the Kia Niro compact crossover range and the larger 7-seater Sorento.
The Sportage uses a mild hybrid engine with a 48V battery and integrated starter generator (ISG) that improves the responsiveness of the Stop/Start engine function and reduces fuel consumption when the car is idling or stationary. Again, mild hybrid gains are fair from significant but are beneficial at saving you fuel when stuck in traffic. At these times the engine will switch off and there’ll be less engine noise and vibration too.
Vauxhall is on the UK’s most successful brands and at the forefront to their range is the Corsa hatchback. To date it’s the best-selling car of the year having received a brilliant redesign in 2019 that has proved popular with UK motorists.
Along with the standard petrol engine Vauxhall also released the Corsa-e, a fully-electric model with a 50kWh lithium-ion battery that has a 209-mile range. It’s one Vauxhall’s first electric models and they plan to have released a total of eight electric cars by the end of 2021.
Very much like the Fiesta, the Corsa is the prototypal family hatchback and has set the standard for what one should be. They are affordable to buy and economical to run, and give you all the essentials as standard. Even on the base Corsa model you get perks like a 7” touchscreen and wireless smartphone mirroring for using Spotify and Google Maps.
Not many cars have made an impact in recent years like the XC40. Volvo have seemed to hit the nail on the head with manufacturing a more compact SUV that can sit alongside their mid-sized XC60 model and the larger 7-seater XC90. Since its release in 2017, you really can find the XC40 everywhere and as a result it’s made its way onto the list of best-selling cars in the UK.
Offering exquisite Scandinavian style and sophistication, the XC40 is a higher price point than any other car mentioned here and offers many luxury perks like fine leather upholstery and intelligent safety features that have earnt the XC40 an outstanding NCAP safety rating.
It’s manufactured as a mild hybrid but if you’re looking for maximum hybrid performance the Recharge plug-in hybrid (PHEV) range is the one to be looking at. Not only is it powerful but its efficient too and has 28-mile electric range which should be useful for the majority of your journeys.
With the current popularity of SUVs, having the title of best-selling SUV is one to be proud of. And Nissan can certainly brandish that title on the Nissan Qashqai. Not only is it a well-loved family SUV, it’s also one of the many Nissan models manufactured here in the UK at the Sunderland plant in the North East.
After the huge success of the Nissan Leaf, it’s fair to say that Nissan have a pedigree for electrification. Without messing with the winning formula, Nissan have announced the release of the Qashqai mild hybrid which promises to be as good as it’s conventional petrol counterpart. On first release expect a premium edition hybrid model that’s designed to make a statement, with all the same family-features that have made the Qashqai such a success.
As a mild hybrid the Qashqai will use a battery and electric motor alongside a 1.3-litre engine and like most other mild hybrids will have reduced engine emissions and improved responsiveness. An e-Power Qashqai model is also in the mix which uses a slightly different hybrid engine configuration like what is used in the Nissan Leaf.
With e-Power, the petrol engine is used to recharge the battery instead of driving the wheels, with all power coming from the electric motor. In the wake of Brexit, Nissan have also recently announced their plans to move their battery production to the Sunderland plant to avoid any potential import tariffs.
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