Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2021
Contrary to popular opinion, not all electric cars are expensive to buy. Here are the cheapest ones available in the UK right now
These days, more and more electric cars are arriving on market all the time, and as economies of scale go up, carmakers have been able to reduce their prices. It's true that electric cars are generally expensive, even when you apply the UK government’s plug-in car grant (PiCG). In other countries, there are some very cheap options, including the Dacia Spring and Citroen Ami, although they're not for sale here – yet.
Before very long, electric cars will cost about the same as petrol and diesel models. That day hasn't arrived just yet, but there are some cheaper options out there right now – and you can always console yourself in the knowledge that an electric vehicle’s low running costs will save you more in the long run.
Cheaper electric cars tend to be small models with more limited range, but that suits their intended purpose. They’re often chosen as a second car, used mainly for short commutes and local trips at a very low running cost. Although these models have limited ranges and not always the fastest charging times, they can still be a great choice. We’ve put together a list of the cheapest electric models available in the UK at the time of writing – ranked by their list price.
It’s worth considering other factors, too. Running costs of around three pence per mile on an average household tariff is one thing, but then there are finance deals. Some electric cars are subject to some excellent deals, making them even more affordable than the list price suggests.
Scroll down to read our list of the cheapest electric cars, and don't forget to check out our electric-car deals page, as well as our list of the best small electric cars. Finally, make sure to follow DrivingElectric on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for the very latest on all electric and hybrid cars, at any price point.
1. Renault Twizy – £11,995
Okay, so we’re stretching our definition of ‘car’ here, as the Renault Twizy is technically a 'quadricycle', but given how much cheaper it is than the very cheapest fully fledged electric cars, you’d be mad not to consider it. Just £11,995 buys you 11bhp, a top speed of 50mph and a real-world range of around 50 miles. It doesn't sound like much, and it isn’t, but for short city commutes, it could be all you'll ever need. Read our Renault Twizy review here.
2. Smart EQ ForTwo – £20,550
Smart's EQ ForTwo is a two-seater version of the ForFour below. With no back seats to weigh it down, range improves slightly from the larger car, although 83 miles from a charge remains nothing to write home about. There’s also a Cabrio version that combines city-focused driving dynamics with open-air thrills. In a warmer climate, this might be one to consider. But in the UK? Forget it. Read our Smart EQ ForTwo review here.
3. Smart EQ ForFour – £21,035
The EQ ForFour is powered by an 80bhp motor, delivering a leisurely 0-62mph figure of 12.4 seconds. The battery measures 17.6kWh, and the official range isn’t great: 81 miles from a charge. This is poor by early electric-car standards, never mind modern ones, and an update to the car in late 2019 left the powertrain untouched. Still, if you’re only ever going to drive to the shops and back – or perhaps tackle the school run each day – then the Smart EQ ForFour will still serve those purposes well. Just don’t expect it to do much else. Read our Smart EQ ForFour review here.
4. Fiat 500 – £23,495
A recent entry on this list, the revised Fiat 500 is electric-only and intended as a rival to the MINI Electric and Honda e. It offers good real-world range for a smaller electric car, with either 115 or 199 miles on tap depending which battery size you go for, all the while retaining the charm and fun-factor that its predecessor was known for. It's good fun to drive, has a well designed interior and is roomier inside than the car it replaces. It's still not the most practical proposition – the boot measures in at 185 litres, for example – but there's still much to enjoy. It's one of our favourite small cars on sale. Read our Fiat 500 review here.
5. MG 5 SW EV – £27,595
The MG 5 SW EV is one of the best-value electric cars on sale – and also the only mainstream electric estate you can buy. Offering family-car practicality for supermini money, the MG 5 EV has plenty of space for passengers, luggage and pets. A range of 250 miles is claimed, and 50kW charging means you can top up to 80% in 40 minutes using a compatible charger. Elsewhere, the MG 5 brings a good level of equipment for its price, including cruise control, smartphone connectivity and a reversing camera, while everything is covered by a generous seven-year/80,000-mile warranty. Add the fact that it's decent to drive and there's little to sour what's a very good deal. Read our MG 5 SW EV review here.
6. MINI Electric – £28,500
Like the Honda e, the MINI is targeted at city-dwelling buyers, with around 120 miles of real-world range available from a 32.6kWh battery. At 1,360kg, the car is around 130kg heavier than the petrol version of the hatchback, with the ride height raised slightly to protect the battery, located in the transmission tunnel. It still feels agile , preserving that trademark MINI 'go-kart handling'. Read our MINI Electric review here.
7. Peugeot e-208 – £28,525
The e-208 is based on the same platform as the Vauxhall Corsa-e, as both firms are part of the Stellantis group. This means the e-208 gets the same 50kWh battery as the Corsa-e, although its official range is slightly higher, at 211 miles. Arguably, both the exterior and interior design of the e-208 surpasses that of the Corsa-e, begging the question of why the latter is more expensive. We’ve yet to work that one out, but one thing we can say is that – among many positive traits – the Peugeot's ride is slightly too firm for our liking. Read our Peugeot e-208 review here.
8. MG ZS EV – £28,595
The MG ZS EV was further down this list originally, given that the company matched the Government’s electric-car discount for the first 3,000 buyers of the car. However, that offer didn't last forever, so we’re sticking with the standard on-the-road-price here. Chinese-owned MG’s ZS EV boasts 163 miles of range from a 44.5kWh battery, while a 50kW charger should give the battery a 0-80% top-up in some 40 minutes. It looks like a steal even at its ‘normal’ price, but there are a number of small flaws that could prove frustrating in the long term. Read our MG ZS review here.
9. Vauxhall Corsa-e – £28,890
The Vauxhall Corsa-e costs only a little more than the Peugeot e-208 and it’s worth a look if you’re interested in the French model, because they use the same powertrain. The Corsa is often offered with excellent finance deals, so even though it falls behind in this list by one place, you may well find that the Corsa-e is cheaper to buy than the Peugeot. It’s comfortable, well equipped and has a smart interior, and has a range of 209 miles. Read our Vauxhall Corsa-e review here.
10. Renault ZOE – £30,095
If you’re after a capable and cheap electric car, the Renault ZOE is about as good as it gets. Updated for 2020, the latest model uses a 52kWh battery and comes with an official range of 245 miles. 50kW CCS rapid charging has also been added, making quick top-ups at public stations more feasible, too. Read our Renault ZOE review here.
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