Best Small Family Hatchback Electric Cars 2021: The Top 5 Guide For India

the new renault zoe electric car

The narrative is simple: love your family, love air quality, love zero-tailpipe emission electric vehicles!


It does not matter where in India or the world you live. Family matters! Love and protection are core themes for us parents. We strive to enable a better future for our children. There are many ways to create a better world and improving air quality is one of the ways.

In India, cities, towns and villages sadly have one thing in common: increased air pollution. Though a number of factors contribute to air pollution, one of the key offenders has been tailpipe emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This has resulted in a significant increase of air pollution, that has impacted the health of a number of individuals, to include the vulnerable, in particular the children. According to the UNICEF, across 86% of the UK, children are breathing harmful levels of toxic air.

We do not have the luxury to wait to improve air quality. We need to act now, with a determined urgency. Electric cars have many advantages over petrol and diesel cars, but none more so, than the positive impact in regards to air quality. Pure electric cars have no tailpipe emission and therefore do not contribute to increasing pollution. Every parent can make a difference to the quality of their children’s future by simply replacing polluting vehicles by zero-emission battery-electric vehicles.

In international markets, there is already an abundance of choice in the availability of pure electric vehicles, from all-electric SUVs, all-electric saloons, all-electric crossovers, all-electric superminis and yes, the favourite, all-electric hatchbacks. All these electric vehicles come in different sizes, to suit the needs of all families.

We hope that sooner than later, a number of the emission-free family electric vehicles will also be available to consumers in India. Of course, EVs are already available in India from local and international automotive manufacturers, like Tata Motors, Hyundai and MG Motors. However, we expect the availability of EVs to increase significantly over the coming years.

Moreover, electric vehicles (EVs) have become much more affordable, in particular, the small electric cars. Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As an example, in India, filling a full tank of fuel for the internal combustion engine (ICE) Tata Nexon SUV will cost up to Rs 5,000 (assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 100. The Tata Nexon has a fuel tank capacity of 44 L).

In comparison, the Tata Nexon Pure Electric SUV will cost less than Rs 300 for a full EV battery charge (EV Battery size: 30.2 kWh). In India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh(unit). Therefore the cost to drive per km (or mile) in a pure electric vehicle is substantially lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant!

ashvin suri e-zoomed founder
In the UK an EV can be charged for as little as £5
(Ashvin Suri, Founder e-zoomed)

Small electric cars, like hatchbacks, are perfect for small families and couples. The electric car range of small EVs have increased, with most achieving closer to 200 electric miles (WLTP) on a full-charge. In some case, it is even more than 200 miles. The all-electric Renault Zoe Play has an electric range of 245 miles. Moreover, these green cars come with rapid charging, reducing significantly the charging time at public charging stations. In some case up to 80% of the EV battery can be charged within 40 minutes. Perfect time for getting the kids fed on the road!

Hatchback are by design very family-friendly. In our top picks for hatchback electric cars, we have considered design, practicality, costs and performance. All the pure electric hatchback cars are well suited for small families living in cities, towns or even the countryside.

The pure electric hatchbacks combine elegance, performance and practicality with ease. There is ample room for children to sit on the rear seats and to carry their school gear and more in the boot. Moreover these hatchbacks are also a perfect getaway vehicle for family outings and weekends, without worrying about range anxiety! Of course these electric cars are also well suited for chores like grocery shopping, school-runs etc.



Best Small Family Hatchback Electric Cars: Top 5 Picks



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The BMW i3 Electric Hatchback


The BMW i3 electric hatchback is part of the BMW zero-emission sub brand ‘BMW i’. The plug-in electric i3 car is the first mass-market BEV manufactured by BMW. The BMW i3 made its debut at the International Motor Show in Germany 2011, with production commencing in 2013 in Leipzig, Germany.

The BMW i3 has won a number of awards, to include, the World Green Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, World Car of the Year and an iF Product Design Gold Award. The larger EV battery pack (42.2 kWh) was announced in 2018. In October 2017, the 100,000th BMW i3 rolled off the production line and the 200,000th BMW i3 rolled off the Leipzig production line in October 2020.   

The BMW i3 is a high quality compact electric car, perfect for families living in city centres or suburbs. The EV can easily fit children and young adults in the rear seat, with enough boot space for school gear, grocery shopping etc. The access to the unique rear-hinged rear seats is easy for children and adults. The 42.2 kWh EV battery size is sufficient for most requirements, to include weekend getaways and day trips. On a full charge, the hatchback electric vehicle can achieve nearly up to 200 emission-free electric miles (WLTP).

BMW i3 electric car India
The All-Electric BMW i3 (credit: BMW)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Hatchback
Engine:Electric
Available In India:No

Trims (2 Options)
BMW i3
BMW i3s

PROSCONS
Good performanceDC charging limited to 50 kW
Good design and stylingSmall boot and rear headroom limited
11 kW on-board chargerCheaper alternatives available

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size (42.2 kWh)
Charging:50 kW rapid charging (0%-80%: 42 mins). On-board charger 11 kW AC
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 100,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1590
Width (mm):1791
Length (mm):4006
Wheelbase (mm):2570

BMW i3 120Ah
EV Battery Capacity:42.2 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):182-190 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (miles/kWh):3.9-4.1
Charging:50 kW rapid charging (0%-80%: 42 mins). On-board charger 11 kW AC
Top Speed:93 mph
0-62 mph:7.3 seconds
Drive:Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
Electric Motor (kW):125
Max Power (hp):170
Torque (Nm):250
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:4
Doors:5
Driving Modes:N/A
Unladen Weight-EU (kg):1,345
Colours:7

The Corsa-e Electric Hatchback


Vauxhall (Opel) announced the launch of a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) Corsa in December 2018. The all-electric Corsa-e looks very similar to the hugely popular internal combustion engine (ICE) Vauxhall Corsa supermini. But this is where the similarity ends. The Corsa-e is fully electric and has zero tailpipe emissions. It also has a longer wheelbase compared to the petrol variant.

As is in the case with battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), the all-electric Corsa-e is cheap to drive. Depending on charging costs, a 100 km journey could be achieved in as little as Rs 50! The Corsa-e electric hatchback is a good entry level EV for those seeking to migrate to zero-emission electric driving. It is practical, and has a good EV range (209 miles WLTP). Moreover, this electric vehicle comes with 100 kW DC charging as standard (public charging), allowing the EV to be charged up to 80% SOC within 30 minutes.

vauxhall corsa e electric car India
The All-Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e (credit: Vauxhall)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Hatchback
Engine:Electric
Available In India:No

Trims (3 Options)
SE NAV Premium
SRI NAV Premium
ELITE NAV Premium

PROSCONS
Good all-rounderFor those seeking a more futuristic design, this BEV will disappoint
Familiar designInterior lacks inspiration
Impressive rangeInfotainment system could be improved
100 kW fast charging as standardVisibility from the car limited at the rear
Quicker than Zoe or Mii electricSlightly more expensive when compared to other smaller EVs

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size (50 kWh)
EV Battery Warranty:8 years/100,000 miles/70% capacity
Charging:100 kW rapid charging (charge up to 80% in 30 minutes). Two options of on-board charger (7.4kW and 11kW)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1433
Width (mm):1765
Length (mm):4060
Wheelbase (mm):2538

Corsa-e SE NAV Premium (7.4kW)
EV Battery Capacity:50 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):209 miles
EV Operation Efficiency (kWh/100km):16.5 kWh
Charging:100 kW Rapid Charging (on board charger: 7.4kW AC)
Top Speed:93 mph
0-60 mph:7.6 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive
Electric Motor (kW):100 kW
Max Power (PS):136
Torque (Nm):260
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg):1,530
Colours:6

The Nissan Leaf Electric Car


The Nissan Leaf, is one of the best-selling electric cars globally, with more than 500,000 sold.  The BEV was first introduced in 2010 in Japan & the United States. It was introduced in the UK in 2011. The electric Leaf is now sold in over 59 markets across the globe. In fact, in celebration of the inaugural World EV Day (September 9th 2020), Nissan marked the production of the 500,000th Leaf. Europe remains the largest market for the plug-in electric Leaf, followed by the United States and Japan.   

It has the unique distinction of being the first mass-market electric car in the world.  Since its launch, the ubiquitous EV has won numerous prestigious awards, to include, the 2018 World Green Car at the New York International Auto Show for the second generation Leaf.  The first generation Nissan Leaf won the 2011 World Car of the Year. In 2019, the Nissan Leaf was awarded the ‘Car of the Year’ in the Stuff Gadget Awards.

nissan leaf electric car India
The All-Electric Nissan Leaf (credit: Nissan)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Hatchback
Engine:Electric
Available In India:No

Trims (5 Options)
Acenta: Nissan LEAF
N-Connecta: Nissan LEAF
Tekna: Nissan LEAF
e+ N-Connecta: Nissan LEAF e+
e+Tekna: Nissan LEAF e+

PROSCONS
A good all-rounder BEVThough design has evolved, still not the best looking EV
Good rangeReliability assessment poor in the 2020 What Car? reliability survey
Affordable and practicalHeadroom for rear seats limited
Ample boot space (435 L)Sluggish infotainment system
High spec safety packageInterior materials feel cheap

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in two battery sizes (40 kWh and 62 kWh)
Charging:On-board charger: 6.6 kW. Port for Rapid Charger CHAdeMO type: 50 kW (60 mins-90 mins 20% to 80%)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1540
Width (mm):1788
Length (mm):4490
Wheelbase (mm):2700

Acenta
EV Battery Capacity:40 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):168 miles (combined)
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):242 miles (city)
Electric Consumption (kWh/100km):N/A
Charging:On-board charger: 6.6 kW. Port for Rapid Charger CHAdeMO type: 50 kW (60 mins 20% to 80%)
Top Speed:90 mph
0-62 mph:7.9 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive
Electric Motor (kW):110
Max Power (PS):150
Torque (Nm):320
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg)1,580-1,640

The Renault ZOE Electric Hatchback


The all-electric Renault ZOE was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, with deliveries commencing in the French market in December 2012. Since then, the ZOE EV has been a success for the French automotive behemoth, Renault. It has ranked as one of the best-selling top 10 electric cars globally in 2015 and 2016 and also been a top selling EV in Europe for the same years. In 2018, the ZOE won the ‘Best Green Car‘ at the inaugural FirstCar awards. In 2021, WHAT CAR? awarded the pure electric car, the prestigious accolade ‘Car of the Year 2021: small electric car best value’.

Renault has made significant improvements to its flagship plug-in electric car model, the ZOE pure electric car.  According to Renault, more than 150,000 ZOE zero-emission EVs have been sold across Europe over the past six years.

The All-Electric Renault ZOE India
The All-Electric Renault ZOE (credit: Renault)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Hatchback
Engines:R110 and R135
Available In India:No

Trims (3 Options)
ZOE Play
ZOE Iconic
ZOE GT Line

PROSCONS
Perfect for city drivingFast charger not standard
Good rangeReliability assessment poor in the 2020 What Car? reliability survey
Affordable and practicalHeadroom and legroom for rear seats limited
A good track recordDrivers seat positioned high, but cannot be lowered
High spec safety packageInterior materials feel cheap

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size (52 kWh)
Charging:50 kW rapid charging available all variants except Play. On board charger: 11 kW AC
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Battery Warranty:8 years or 100,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1562
Width (mm):1730
Length (mm):4087
Wheelbase (mm):2588

ZOE Play
Engine:ZOE i Play R110 Z.E. 50
EV Battery Capacity:52 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):245 miles
Charging:Rapid Charging not available. On board charger: 11 kW AC
Top Speed:84 mph
0-60 mph:11.4 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive
Electric Motor (kW):80
Max Power (HP):110
Torque (Nm):225
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg)1,502-1,563

The VW ID.4 Electric SUV


The series production of the all-electric VW ID.4 commenced in August 2020 at the company’s factory in Zwickau (Germany). The ID.3 VW hatchback electric car is also manufactured at the same location. The pure electric ID.4 is a compact crossover, well suited for families, seeking practicality and ample interior space. The ID.4 EV is a good all-rounder and a decent option for those seeking to migrate to zero-emission electric driving.

The all-electric ID.4 SUV will be manufactured in the US in 2022 and is also expected to be manufactured in China. According to Thomas Ulbrich, a Volkswagen board member, “Given the major societal challenges of recent months, the successful start of ID.4 series production is an exception achievement.” The ID.4 is the second electric vehicle (EV) to use the bespoke MEB platform, after the all-electric ID.3.

The pure electric SUV can be charged at home via a dedicated home EV charging station. Those with a 3-phase supply can take advantage of the 11kW on-board charger. The VW ID.4 EV is capable of rapid charging (125 kW) at public electric car charging points (199 electric miles in just 30 minutes).

Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV India
The All-Electric Volkswagen ID.4 SUV (credit: VW)

At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:SUV
Engine:Electric
Available In India:No

Trims (4 Options)
ID.4 1st Edition
ID.4 Life
ID.4 Family
ID.4 Max

PROSCONS
Good electric rangeInfotainment system could be improved
Ample interior (rear seats) and boot spaceAvailable only in one battery size
Excellent turning radiusCheaper electric SUV alternatives available

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size (77 kWh)
Charging:125 kW rapid charging standard. 11 kW on-board charger
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 100,000 miles

Dimensions
Height (mm):1640
Width (mm):1852
Length (mm):4584
Wheelbase (mm):2771

ID.4 1st Edition
EV Battery Capacity:77 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):310 miles (combined)
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):414 miles (city)
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):180.34
Charging:125 kW Rapid Charging (on board charger: 11kW AC)
Top Speed:99 mph
0-62 mph:8.5 seconds
Drive:Rear-wheel drive
Electric Motor (kW):150
Max Power (PS):204
Torque (Nm):310
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Unladen Weight (kg):2,124
Colours:3


Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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