The cheapest electric cars on sale

Electric cars are often dismissed for being too expensive, so we've put together a list of the ten cheapest electric cars money can buy...

Mass produced electric cars have come a long way over the past ten years or so. The original Nissan Leaf arrived to the UK car market in 2010 and was £10,000 more than a similarly-specced Ford Focus. Now, electric car prices are much more competitive against those of their more traditional combustion engined cousins and with prices starting from around £12k, the cheapest electric cars are now within the grasp of every new car buyer.

Electric cars are more popular than ever and there are vehicles to suit all motoring needs. From the practical Citroen e-Dispatch, luxurious Tesla Model S or the affordable Renault Twizy, there’s an electric vehicle to suit almost any need. And thanks to government incentives and continuing development in EV infrastructure, the world is starting to see electric as a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel. The electric revolution is lighting up, so here are the cheapest electric cars for you to consider...

Cheapest electric cars: the top 10

Below are the top 10 cheapest EVs on sale (all except the Renault Twizy including the £2,500 government plug-in car grant). While our top five offers drivers the smallest outlay, the cars further down the list demonstrate that a wide range of manufacturers are now keen to embrace electric power - which can only lead to more choice, improving quality and more of us getting behind the wheel of a capable and cost-effective electric vehicle. 

  1. Renault Twizy: £11,995
  2. Smart EQ fortwo: £19,200
  3. Smart EQ forfour: £19,795
  4. Fiat 500: £20,995
  5. VW e-up!: £21,055
  6. MG 5 EV: £25,095
  7. Nissan Leaf: £25,995
  8. MINI Electric: £26,000
  9. Mazda MX-30: £26,045 
  10. MG ZS EV: £26,095

1. Renault Twizy

Price: £11,995 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Renault Twizy is the cheapest EV on the market today. It’s also one of the smallest ‘cars’ ever. While the measly 17bhp and woeful top speed of 50mph may put a lot of people off, Renault claims it costs just £1 to fully charge, putting a lot of people on. It has a long charging process - three and a half hours - which then allows drivers to travel for up to 62 miles. However, don’t expect to get much more than 50 miles in the real world. 

As the Renault Twizy is technically a quadricycle, you won’t get a grant from the government, and you have to lease the batteries from Renault, adding an extra running cost. However, Renault will repair and/or replace any leased batteries which go below 75% of their original performance.

2. Smart EQ fortwo

Price: from £19,200 (inc. gov grant)

Smart EQ fortwo

The tiny EQ Smart fortwo comes with 80bhp, and a top speed of 81mph. The EQ fortwo also has a surprising turn of pace, 0-62mph is dispatched in 11.6 seconds, while to charge it from 10-80% takes just over 3 hours from a home wallbox. A more sophisticated suspension set up over the previous generation makes the EQ fortwo far more compliant and comfortable for longer journeys, so long as the journey isn’t further than it’s 80-mile range.

The electric fortwo now has to compete with one of its own - the new Smart EQ forfour. The EQ forfour offers users additional seats, space, and therefore practicality for around an extra £600. For around a further £5,000 premium over the EQ fortwo hatchback, there’s even a convertible EQ fortwo for those more interested in hearing the whirr of the electric motor.

3. Smart EQ forfour

Price: £19,795 (inc. gov grant)

Smart EQ forfour

The Smart EQ forfour includes two extra doors to access its rear seats and as such feels more substantial inside. It's a great urban runaround, offering a little more practicality than its smaller sibling, but still maintaining low running costs.

Passenger access to the cabin is reasonably easy thanks to doors that open extremely wide, but the 185-litre boot is pretty small - due to the location of the electric motor. Under the skin, the EQ forfour uses the same rear-mounted 80bhp motor driving the back wheels, with 0-62mph in 12.7 seconds.

A 17kWh battery means that, based on the official WLTP testing figures, the forfour will cover around 78 miles between charging, while a 22kW on-board charger allows for topping up the battery from 10 to 80 per cent in a claimed forty minutes.

4. Fiat 500

Price: £20,995 (inc. gov grant)

Fiat 500e

Fiat scored a hit when it reinvented the classic 500 back in 2007, and since then it's become one of the best city cars you can buy. Time moves on, however, and Fiat has now delivered the all-electric third-generation 500.

Keenly priced from £20,995 after the plug-in car grant, the new 500 starts with the low-range model that’s capable of driving up to 115 miles on a single charge. There is a longer-range option, capable of up to 199 miles, that uses a 42kWh battery, a more powerful 117bhp motor and faster 85kW recharging, but that inevitably costs a little more to buy.

The iconic urban car is 61mm longer and 29mm taller than before, but it's still unmistakably a 500 and of course comes in hatchback and stylish convertible forms. What's not to like?

5. VW e-up!

Price: from £21,055 (inc. gov grant)

Volkswagen e-up! - front driving

The Volkswagen e-up! is the latest electrified version of the cute little city car that was first released in 2012. Choosing the e-up! gets you a great looking urban runabout, with a smart interior and solid residual values.

The controls are light, and visibility is great thanks to its boxy shape and big windows. Performance is good too, with the instant hit of torque belying the 11.9 second 0-62mph time. Claimed maximum range is 159 miles.

Topping the battery up at 40kW from a CCS plug remains the quickest way, and a 0-80 per cent recharge will take around an hour. A 7.2kW AC wallbox for home charging is offered as an option, enabling a four hour recharge, while from a standard three-pin plug expect a full charge to take around 16 hours.

6. MG5 EV

Price: from £25,095 (inc. gov grant)

MG 5 EV

The MG5 offers great value for buyers looking for a practical, all-electric family car. The MG5 only went on sale in the UK in 2020, but MG has already introduced a new, longer-range version. The latest model offers a WLTP-certified 250-mile range (up from 217 miles), 100kW charging capability and will replenish to 80 per cent charge from flat in as little as 40 minutes.

Entry-level Excite models come with alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operated through a eight-inch screen, keyless entry, push-button start and rear parking sensors. For around a further £2,500, Exclusive models add leather-effect trim, heated front seats, six-way electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, auto wipers and sat-nav.

7. Nissan Leaf

Price: from £25,995 (inc. gov grant)

Nissan Leaf driving

The Nissan LEAF launched in 2010 as a relatively affordable, all-electric hatchback for drivers looking to break away from combustion-engined family cars. It's an impressive package; easy to drive and comfortable, especially around town, with an impressive amount of tech and enough space for all the family.

Under the latest WLTP tests, Nissan claims a range of 168 miles for the standard Leaf, although cold weather will limit EV range, so you might be looking at around 100 miles from a full charge when it's really chilly. The Nissan Leaf e+, offers increased range, with a bigger battery delivering up to 239 miles. It also has more power, with 214bhp compared to the standard car's 148bhp.

8. MINI Electric

Price: from £26,000 (inc. gov grant)

MINI Electric

There’s only one power option for the MINI Electric - a 32.6kWh battery powers a single electric motor, producing a total of 181bhp and a 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds. The all-electric three-door model offers the usual smart and sophisticated MINI image, although overall range is around 145 miles. 

It retains most of the famed ‘go-kart’ handling and we think, despite its extra weight, the heavier Electric model is still as much fun behind the wheel as any other fast MINI.

9. Mazda MX-30

Price: from £26,045 (inc. gov grant)

Mazda MX-30 - front

The MX-30 small SUV has unusual rear-hinged doors that you may remember from Mazda's RX-8 coupe. This approach helps to create a pillarless cabin which, with the car's sloping roofline serves up quite a funky design. It's the same inside the cabin, with Mazda utilising unusual eco-friendly materials to generate a stylish, sporty feel.

Power is relatively modest at 143bhp, but a healthy torque figure of 271Nm helps shift the rather heavy (1,645kg) crossover from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds. The MX-30 uses a small 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery which offers a range of just 124 miles, so you'll have to weigh up if the MX-30 will suit your everyday motoring needs; don't forget that colder weather or journeys that incorporate lots of motorway miles will eat into overall range.

Safety kit is excellent, however, and reliability should be equally impressive - Mazda finished fourth out of 30 manufacturers in our 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

10. MG ZS EV

Price: from £26,095 (inc. gov grant)

Kia Soul EV

Like its MG5 EV sibling, the ZS EV offers tremendous practicality and low running costs, providing family buyers with a real value-for-money alternative to a fossil-fuelled SUV.

That battery powers a single electric motor, producing 141bhp and 353Nm of torque - enough to propel the ZS from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, with a top speed of 87mph. 50kW rapid charging, means 80 per cent of the battery capacity can be replenished in 40 minutes, with the charging port positioned behind the MG badge on the front grille.

It's practical, too, with 448 litres of boot space on offer with the rear seats in place, and 1,375 litres with them folded down.

If you're looking to buy a great value all-electric car, why not visit our sister site buyacar.co.uk for the latest deals...

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