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Best Electric Cars for Uber

Best Electric Cars for Uber

Best Electric Cars for Uber

It’s more than 150 years since the first electric cars appeared. However, once they were eclipsed by the cheaper, more powerful and easier to fuel combustion engine, battery-powered vehicles faded away. But that was then. In 2020, no matter if you’re in New York, London or elsewhere, with dozens of new battery-powered cars set to emerge from almost every mass manufacturer, we can expect to see a huge jump in the number of electric cars on our roads.

With this in mind,  we’ve reviewed every battery-powered car on sale in 2020 in the UK and US to create a top-ten list of the best all-electric cars for UberX. 

What you should care about when buying an all-electric car

  • Cost and car selection

Until recently, most all-electric cars were high-end, luxury vehicles, with big price tags to match. They were far too expensive for UberX. However, more affordable options have appeared, and they make the idea of using a battery-powered car for UberX a clear possibility. In our review, we’ve set a price limit of £40,000 for cars bought in the UK, and $40,000 for those purchased in New York .

  • Usage

Not so long ago, with their short battery life, electric cars had limited appeal to professional drivers. That’s all changed. Most of today’s affordable electric cars have real-world range of more than 150 miles and some go almost double that. 

  • Charging 

Thousands of new residential and commercial charging points are being added every day in the UK and the US. Very soon, electric car users will never have to worry about running out of juice again.

Additionally, some forward-thinking countries, like Norway, are developing wi-fi charging networks. (See the sidebar below). These systems charge cars whilst they’re on the move, transmitting power to re-charge a car’s batteries from the road to a receiver on the underside of the vehicle. This means no need for charging stations, permanent power and cheaper, lighter cars as batteries shrink in size.

Wi-Fi charging works by transmitting power from plates set in the road to receivers underneath the car. Transmitters will be placed wherever cars slow down, idle or park, such as traffic lights, toll booths, parking garages and taxi-ranks. Norway’s capital, Oslo, is already working to install the system for use by its fleet of licensed taxis. Eventually, they will expand wi-fi charging to all cars across the country. 

What We Consider in the Best Electric Cars for Uber

Any review of electric cars must consider features that do not apply with traditional gas/diesel-vehicles. To achieve our top ten all-electric cars for UberX, we’ve looked at the following:

  • All-electric only

There are no gas/electric hybrid vehicles in this review. That favourite of UberX,  the trusty Toyota Prius hybrid, does not appear. All selected vehicles run on battery power alone.

  • Battery capacity

The power and range of an electric car is reliant on its battery pack. The more capacity it has, usually the faster and further it will go. Battery capacity is measured in kilowatt hours, or kWh. The higher the number, the bigger the capacity. 

  • Range

Manufacturers make claims that their electric cars can go further on a full battery than is typically possible in the real world. We’ve found independent research that reveals how far each car will really go, (its range), in real traffic conditions.

  • Re-charging

Manufacturers also tend to underplay how long it takes to recharge a battery. Once again, we give you the real times to refill a battery from zero to full  – for a slow charge using a home wall-socket, for a fast charge using a special home or commercial outlet, and for a rapid charge using a superfast commercial facility. (Rapid charging typically gives only an 80% fill, so the battery’s range will be reduced. Bigger batteries – kWh – also usually take longer to re-charge).

  • Performance

Generally, the battery capacity decides this. The bigger it is, the faster the car accelerates and the higher the top speed achieved. 

  • Emissions

All cars in our list have zero emissions.

  • Price and government incentives

Vehicle prices are shown after government rebates that are meant to incentivise the take-up of electric cars. In the UK, the rebate is worth £3,500 per vehicle. In the US, a federal grant offers between $2,500 and $7,500 off the price of a new electric vehicle according to a complex formula. Our prices are shown with the rebate deducted.

  • What to look for

Lastly, what should you seek in your ideal “Best Electric Car for Uber”?

The Option Our Opinion
Cost A price of less than £40,000 or $40,000 will give you all you need in an electric car car for UberX.
Range Even with the growing network of charging stations, you still need good range capacity. Ideally, this should be 150 miles or more – in real world driving.
Battery Capacity Bigger batteries often cost more and take longer to charge. However, they also make the car quicker. What do you need most – speed or lower price and faster charging?
Charging Battery capacity comes into play here. Most electric cars will take well over 12 hours to charge at home but will be much faster using a commercial outlet.
Transmission All battery-powered cars come as automatics.
Performance In the city, this is less important than you’d think. However, you don’t want a total slowpoke – some days you’ll be on the highway.
Styling Will this car also be your private car? If so, styling may be important. If the vehicle is only for UberX, this is not a priority.
Handling Good enough to soak up potholes and speed bumps, but there’s no need for race car cornering.
Interior Space It should be big enough for five people without a crush. Decent rear legroom is a good idea. Electric cars often have flat floors throughout the entire cabin.
Cargo Capacity Big enough to carry suitcases and at least two or three passengers to the airport.
Comfort Yes, you’re in the car all day.
Air Conditioning See above.
Sat Nav and Communications Sat Nav? Maybe your phone and Google Maps is good enough. Bluetooth is essential. Stereo? Not so much.
Cup Holders, Rubber Mats, Seat Protectors As many as you can get. They keep the car clean and ease depreciation
Maintenance Many brands roll this into the warranty. If not, check out the manufacturer’s service plans.

The Best Electric Cars for Uber in the UK and NYC

1. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Well, well, what do we have here? The car that ranked top in our Best Cars for UberX review when in its gas/electric hybrid form, is back at number one with all-electric power. Everything that made the Ioniq Hybrid our favourite remains – good looks, classy interior, crisp handling and an intense attention to detail – except with battery power the car is even better. Smooth, quiet and comfortable on the road, the Ioniq Electric benefits from lessons learned from its hybrid cousins, which means good reliability is a given. Add in a keen price, decent range and acceptable charging time, and the Ioniq still has the edge on all the rest. 

Vehicle HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC
Available UK/US
Expect to pay £30,000/$31,000
Range 165 miles
Top speed 103 mph
0-60mph 9.7secs
BHP 134
Battery 38kWh
Slow charge 19 hours
Fast charge 6 hours
Rapid charge 47 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Average
Interior Like a car at twice the price
Performance Not quick, but handles well
Styling Sharp, clean, modern

2. Volkswagen ID-3 Long Range

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Coming in at number two in our top ten electric cars for UberX is a vehicle that you can’t even buy until summer 2020. The ID-3 is just one of a new range of ID models from Volkswagen that will take the world of battery powered cars to a whole new level. Only the facts that some specifications are still unknown, there’s no US release date set and the vehicle has a relatively high purchase price prevented the ID-3 from topping our review. Cool looks, amazing performance, huge range and we expect great cargo capacity, will make this car a perfect choice for UberX. Come back to us next summer and we think you’ll see the ID-3 at number one.

Vehicle VW ID-3 LONG RANGE
Available UK only
Expect to pay £37,000
Range 280 miles
Top speed 112 mph
0-60mph 5.5 secs
BHP 268
Battery 82 kWh
Slow charge 39 hours
Fast charge 8 hours
Rapid charge 34 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo VW isn’t saying yet
Interior We’ll know in 2020, but so far, it looks great
Performance Rapid all round
Styling Cool, fast, desirable

3. Chevrolet Bolt EV

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Chunky looks, rapid acceleration, big battery capacity, excellent range and good cargo space put the Bolt EV in third spot. Until recently, a European version – the Ampere E – was also sold under the Opel brand. However, these days, the Bolt is strictly a US-only vehicle. With great cabin space and enough zip to command city streets and the open highway, this electric choice for UberX is only let down by less-than-stellar interior design and materials – things that should be better in a car costing $37,000.

Vehicle CHEVROLET BOLT EV
Available US only
Expect to pay $37,000
Range 259 miles
Top speed 91 mph
0-60mph 6.9 secs
BHP 200
Battery 66 kWh
Slow charge 9 hours
Fast charge 3 hours
Rapid charge 37 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Good
Interior For $37k this should be better
Performance Fast off the line
Styling Bold and chunky

4. Nissan Leaf e-Plus

⭐⭐⭐

Nissan’s Leaf has been around since 2010 and despite a cosmetic facelift in 2019, the car is starting to show its age. The all-new Leaf e-Plus has an upgraded battery pack, longer range and considerably enhanced performance from its predecessors, however it looks drab, the interior is out-dated and the price tag is too high. Only solid reliability, excellent manufacturing and cosy familiarity put this one at number four. In short, choose the Leaf e-Plus if you want a tried and tested contender. However, if you’re ready for something fresher for your business, please look elsewhere. 

Vehicle NISSAN LEAF e-PLUS
Available UK/US
Expect to pay £36,000/$37,000
Range 205 miles
Top speed 98 mph
0-60mph 7.3 secs
BHP 215
Battery 62 kWh
Slow charge 28 hours
Fast charge 10 hours
Rapid charge 35 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Excellent
Interior Could be better, feels dated
Performance Much quicker than before
Styling Standard teardrop is not great

5. Peugeot e-2008 SUV

⭐⭐⭐

From 2020, European drivers will have access to Peugeot’s pumped-up version of their best-selling 208 hatchback – and in all-electric form. The e-2008 is a mid-sized SUV with eye-catching styling, huge carrying capacity and decent range. Unfortunately, it’s small 37 kWh battery capacity limits the performance. The e-2008 is never going to smoke rubber when leaving the lights. (Nor is a 24 hours charging time on a standard wall-socket for such a small battery anything to cheer about). As you might expect from Peugeot, the e-2008 is well-built and it has the typically outlandish interior that’s beloved by the French. Consider this one if you ticked the ‘unusual’ box on your wish list of electric cars for UberX.

Vehicle PEUGEOT e-2008 SUV
Available UK only
Expect to pay £31,000
Range 170 miles
Top speed 93 mph
0-60mph 9.0 secs
BHP 134
Battery 37 kWh
Slow charge 24 hours
Fast charge 5 hours
Rapid charge 28 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Excellent
Interior Futuristic is exciting
Performance Middle of the road is good enough
Styling Great mix of angles and curves

6. Hyundai Kona Electric SUV

⭐⭐⭐

A second all-electric SUV fills our sixth slot – this time from Hyundai. The Kona Electric, a battery-powered version of Hyundai’s standard Kona small SUV, is never going to win a beauty contest. It’s a boring looking car – a fact that’s barely offset by the excellent range, punchy performance and above-average cargo space. However, horsepower alone is not enough. The interior design is nothing special and the materials employed are tacky. Overall, the Kona Electric feels a little bloated, does not excite and it’s just a decent workhorse – but with a price tag it doesn’t merit.

Vehicle HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC SUV
Available UK/US
Expect to pay £35,000/$36,000
Range 245 miles
Top speed 104 mph
0-60mph 7.9 secs
BHP 201
Battery 64 kWh
Slow charge 32 hours
Fast charge 7 hours
Rapid charge 44 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Good
Interior A little too low-rent in some areas
Performance Despite its heft, this is a quick car
Styling Predictable and bland  

7. Kia E-Niro

⭐⭐⭐

Pretty much all that was right and wrong with the Kona Electric applies to the Kia E-Niro, which is no surprise, given that Hyundai owns Kia and the cars are built on the same platform. Kia’s attempt to differentiate the vehicles boils down to a re-skinned body that gives the E-Niro a minivan silhouette, and a larger carrying capacity. Otherwise, you pays your money, (the E-Niro’s a few thousand less than the Kona), and you makes your choice. You could almost toss a coin to decide.

Vehicle KIA E-NIRO
Available UK/US
Expect to pay £33,000/$38,000
Range 235 miles
Top speed 104 mph
0-60mph 7.8 secs
BHP 201
Battery 64 kWh
Slow charge 32 hours
Fast charge 7 hours
Rapid charge 44 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Excellent
Interior 6/10 could do better
Performance Sporty for a car that feels big
Styling Bulky shape lacks excitement

8. Vauxhall Corsa E

 2019 Vauxhall Corsa-e

2019 Vauxhall Corsa-e

⭐⭐

If you liked Vauxhall’s gas and diesel-powered versions of the Corsa, you are going to love the all-electric newcomer. However, it’s that sameness, that overwhelming feeling you’re not moving forwards, but just dodging sideways in the evolution of motoring that casts doubt on this car, and which pushes it down to eighth on our list. As always, Vauxhall has set a keen price for their UberX contender, but you do get what you pay for. Good range and decent performance are hurt by poor build quality, some questionable materials choices and a terrible sense of deja-vu. Pick the Corsa E only if your budget is tight and you have a taste for golden oldies. 

Vehicle VAUXHALL CORSA E
Available UK only
Expect to pay £26,000
Range 180 miles
Top speed 93 mph
0-60mph 8.1 secs
BHP 134
Battery 47 kWH
Slow charge 24 hours
Fast charge 5 hours
Rapid charge 28 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Poor
Interior Modern, clean, surprising
Performance Sharp and more than adequate
Styling Looks average, is average

9. Volkswagen e-Golf

⭐⭐

Going toe to toe with the Corsa E in the predictability stakes is VW’s electric incarnation of its venerable Golf hatchback. If you know the gas and diesel Golf, you pretty much know the E-Golf too. VW’s penchant for relying on good, solid, German engineering to sell their cars is going to fail one day, as the competition, particularly from South Korea, is getting so much better. The E-Golf is just another Golf, but with a battery – and a rather small one at that. It’s slower, costs more and takes longer to charge than the Vauxhall, but if you have more faith in German build quality than a car built in Spain, where the Corsa E comes from, then this one’s for you.

Vehicle VW E-GOLF
Available UK/US
Expect to pay £28,000/$32,000
Range 120 miles
Top speed 96 mph
0-60mph 9.3 secs
BHP 130
Battery 32 kWH
Slow charge 16 hours
Fast charge 5 hours
Rapid charge 36 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Average
Interior Practical, predictable German quality
Performance Feels quicker than the numbers suggest
Styling Nothing new, it’s a Golf

10. Kia Soul EV

⭐

Rounding out our top ten electric cars for UberX is another battery-powered clone of an existing gas and diesel model – this time the Kia Soul EV. Apparently, Kia thought it was a good idea to slot an electric motor and a small battery pack into their love it or hate it, boxy vehicle. Still very much a car that feels like a toy, the Soul EV is slow, costs too much and for a vehicle that looks like a van, it has poor cargo space as well. Saved by a very swift charging time, and an unusual interior, the Soul EV could be much better if Kia got the big things right – like restyling that breadbox body, installing a bigger battery and adding more power. Buy this one only if you’re still a teenager at heart.

Vehicle KIA SOUL EV
Available UK/US
Expect to pay £30,000/$38,000
Range 140 miles
Top speed 97 mph
0-60mph 9.6 mph
BHP 134
Battery 39 kWh
Slow charge 20 hours
Fast charge 6 hours
Rapid charge 43 mins
Transmission Automatic
Seats Five
Cargo Poor
Interior Still feels like a teenager’s car
Performance Still not fast or zippy
Styling Still boxy, just has a battery