Top five Ultra Low Emission Vehicles to lease

The experts keep telling us, electric vehicles are the future. It would seem Phillip Hammond feels the same way, as his Autumn Statement included yet another reason to consider a ULEV (Ultra-low Emission Vehicle)  – from April 2017, they will be the only vehicles available through salary sacrifice schemes. Top left clockwise: Tesla Model S, Renault Zoe facelift, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3

Nissan Leaf

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Luckily for us, the EV market has really exploded lately, with numerous manufacturers now offering EVs that offer a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel power, rather than the novelty they were just a few years ago.

So, while cars that produce over 75g/km of CO2 will no longer be available as salary sacrifice vehicles, you’ll still be able to get your hands on an Ultra-low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) via the schemes. Here’s five of the finest ULEVs available on salary sacrifice schemes right now…

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

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Undoubtedly still top dog in the electric car world, the Tesla Model S was the vehicle that changed people’s minds about EVs. Before its launch in 2012, most people dismissed them for being woefully slow and having an embarrassingly short range.

With a 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds in Ludicrous mode, and a range of up 613km (381 miles), the current range-topping P100D Model S blows those misconceptions out the water.

What’s more, its futuristic autonomous tech and huge central touchscreen means it’s one of the the most tech-laden cars available, too. In short, not only is it the ultimate EV, but also one of the most capable cars you can lease today.

Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe facelift

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One thing the Model S can’t claim to be however, is an entry level ULEV option. If you can’t afford the monthly cost that comes with a Tesla, how about the Renault Zoe? It’s certainly one of the most affordable ULEVs and, thanks to a recent upgrade to a 41kW battery pack, most models are now capable of over 250 miles on a single charge.

Taking 13.5 seconds to get to 62mph means it’s a little more ponderous than a Tesla but, being designed for city streets, that’s missing the point slightly. It’s one of the most well-equipped electric superminis to date, with some models even getting accoutrements such as satnav, leather upholstery, heated seats, a Bose audio system and a rear parking camera.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf latest

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Compared to some newer EVs, the Nissan Leaf may be getting a little long in the tooth, but that doesn’t stop it remaining one of the most popular ULEVs. Numerous improvements have been made since the Leaf arrived in 2011, and it can lay claim to be the best-selling EV not just in the UK, but across the globe.

It gets 155 miles of range, which is more than enough for most peoples’ daily commutes. If you’re considering this as a salary sacrifice vehicle, the oodles of interior space and typically Japanese build quality mean it stacks up well as a family car.

BMW i3

BMW i3

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Since the dawn of the petrol age, the first rule in a BMW designer’s handbook is to keep things understated and conservative. As we enter the electric age, it looks as if BMW’s design team threw the rulebook out the window. Minus the badge, little links BMW’s quirky i3 to the rest of its range.

What makes the i3 special is that unlike most other electric vehicles, sustainability is the centrepiece to the car’s design; almost every part of the car can be recycled. The i3’s electric motor produces 168bhp and 250Nm of torque allowing for a relatively impressive 8.1 second 0-62mph run.

A recent battery upgrade gives it a range of almost 200 miles, too. Add the regenerative braking system into the mix, and the i3 is by far one of the most advanced EVs on the road. But we think deciding whether the i3 is for you or not will really depend on your take on its marmite looks…

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-golf 2017

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And now for something slightly less extreme. Unlike BMW, fellow German manufacturer Volkswagen has taken a decidedly conservative take on its EV. Minus the specific e-Golf badges and its silent drivetrain, people will think you’re driving a 2.0-litre TDI. But maybe that’s the point?

The e-Golf is the perfect choice for people who want to keep their electric car admiration on the quiet. A recent battery upgrade gives it a range of 124 miles which, compared to some on this list seems a little poor.

However, its Golf underpinnings make up for this in spades. It’s certainly a more entertaining car to drive than the Nissan Leaf, and feels more composed. This is no doubt thanks to the fact that, aside from the 35.8kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor, it is based on a car that’s already the benchmark for the hatchback segment.

If none of these take your fancy, how about the Kia Soul EV or perhaps the all-electric e-UP – two more cars that won’t be affected by changes to salary sacrifice schemes.

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