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. 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 developments 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. 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. SEAT Mii electric: £20,300
  3. Fiat 500: £20,495
  4. VW e-up!: £20,695
  5. Smart EQ fortwo: £21,345
  6. Smart EQ forfour: £21,940
  7. MG 5 EV: £24,495
  8. MG ZS EV: £25,495
  9. MINI Electric: £25,500
  10. Peugeot e-208: £26,725 

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.

SEAT Mii electric 

Price: £19,800 (inc gov grant)

SEAT Mii electric

It may be a modern city car, but the SEAT Mii electric still requires an old-fashioned key to start the journey. Once you're on your way it's hard not to exploit the instant acceleration - who'd have thought travelling from 0-30mph could be so enjoyable? The downside is if you press on too often, you’re unlikely to get near SEAT's claimed 161-mile range for the Mii.

In terms of price, now that the Skoda Citigo-e has ended production, the Mii electric is now the cheapest when compared to its remaining sibling, the Volkswagen e-up!. It offers a great balance of small car dynamics and big car luxury, along with supreme levels of comfort.

 

Fiat 500

Price: £19,995 (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 £19,995 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 will of course come in hatchback and stylish convertible forms. What's not to like?

VW e-up!

Price: from £20,695 (inc gov grant)

Volkswagen e-up! - front driving

A sister car to the aforementioned SEAT Mii, the Volkswagen e-up! is the latest electrified version of the cute little city car that was first released in 2012. Though the differences are few and far between, choosing the e-up! gets you what is arguably the best looker of the two, plus the VW badge usually stands up slightly better to depreciation. Access to the We Connect smartphone app also comes as standard, which includes remote access to the car’s climate control, perfect for those cold winter mornings.

Not only does the e-up! face the unusual challenge of competing with the almost identical Seat Mii, but, until recently, it also had the even cheaper Skoda Citigo-e to consider as another threat. However, Skoda has since ended production of the cheapest car of the three, so some smart searching for finance deals should help decide which of the remaining two would be the wisest purchase.

Smart EQ fortwo

Price: from £21,345 (inc gov grant)

Smart EQ ForTwo - front

The tiny EQ Smart fortwo comes with 81bhp, and a top speed of 81mph to match. 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 £500. For a £2,420 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.

Now read our recommendations for the best new electric cars to buy and visit our sister site BuyaCar for the cheapest electric car deals...

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