There are electric versions of pretty much any type of road vehicle, up to and including massive freight lorries, currently in development, but they all share the same basic design principles.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of electric vehicle (EV), each of which comes with its own advantages and considerations:

Battery electric vehicle (BEV): These are fully electric, running entirely on rechargeable batteries, and are charged at home or at special charging points powered by the National Grid. The most common examples are the Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV): These vehicles have two motors – an electric one and a normal engine (usually petrol). They mostly run on electric power charged from the National Grid, deploying the petrol engine when more power and range is needed. This makes them good for moderate distances and for city driving when you want to reduce your emissions. The Toyota Prius is the classic example here.

Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV): The hybrid is quite similar to the PHEV, but it generates its own electricity using clever regenerative braking systems rather than plugging into charging points.

The latest generation of battery-only electric vehicles can travel almost 300 miles before needing to be recharged – far more than the average commute – while there are now enough charging points to get to almost anywhere in mainland Britain, provided you drive carefully.

That said, many cheaper electric cars have an effective range of under 100 miles, making them unsuitable for anything more than small, inner-city travel.
Electric cars are generally slightly more expensive than their petrol cousins, but as with a lot of green technology, there are significant savings over time