Cheapest electric cars
There’s no getting away from the fact that most electric cars cost a bit more similar petrol and diesel models.
Depending on the type of vehicle, the difference in price between an electric car and an internal-combustion-engined one can be several thousand pounds, even after the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant has been applied.
However, buying an electric car needn’t break the bank if you know where to look. There are several battery-powered cars out there with competitive price tags, providing an entirely affordable route into the world of cars.
To help you on your way, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 cheapest electric cars on sale today. Not all of them will suit your needs – ranges and charge times vary from model to model – but there’ll almost certainly be something that ticks all the right boxes for relatively little outlay.
And once you’ve met the asking price, an electric car’s running costs will likely be stupendously low, giving you one of the cheapest overall forms of motoring there is.
Scroll down to read our top 10 list, starting with the cheapest electric car money can buy…
Price: £6,990 + battery lease
Okay, so we’re stretching our definition of ‘car’ here (the 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.
That £6,990 buys you 11bhp, a top speed of 50mph and a real-world range of around 50 miles. It doesn't sound like much, but for town driving, it might be all you need.
Unfortunately there's an additional monthly cost in the form of a mandatory battery lease: depending on how much you drive and how long a contract you opt for, this will set you back at least £45 per month. Read our full review.
The Citroen C-Zero was launched in 2010, and as such is one of the oldest electric cars you can buy today. It’s also one of the cheapest: after the Government’s Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) has been applied, it’ll cost you just £16,995.
There’s a reason for the low starting price, however. While the C-Zero is more than capable of seating four adults over short distances, those distances will be very short indeed: real-world range is around 60 miles, so regular charging will be required. Read our full review.
Also costing £16,995 is the Peugeot iOn, which is a sister car to the Citroen C-Zero. The pair are identical in every way apart from the badges, and were conceived together when they first went on sale in 2010.
A third car – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV – formed part of a trio with the iOn and C-Zero, however it's no longer on sale in the UK. Read our full review.
Smart EQ ForTwo
The Smart EQ ForTwo is yet another electric car best suited to city driving, and costs just a little more than the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn post-PICG, but on paper it offers better value.
Real-world range comes in at 65-80 miles, giving you a little bit more flexibility than the options above, while fast charging allows the battery to be replenished from flat to 80% in just 40 minutes.
The downside is that (as the name suggests) it’s a two-seater, so not quite as practical as rivals. Read our full review.
Smart EQ ForFour
If the Smart EQ ForTwo’s two seats aren’t enough, there’s always the Smart EQ ForFour. They're powered by the same 60kW motor and have the same 17.6kWh battery, although the ForFour is marginally heavier.
This makes it slightly slower from 0-62mph and reduces the range, too, but that’s a small price to pay for the extra capacity. Read our full review.
Price: £18,420 + battery lease
As well as being one of the cheapest, the Renault ZOE is one of the best-value electric cars on the market. It's currently available at £18,420, and you can expect a real-world range figure in the region of 186 miles, which is extremely competitive at this price point.
The only caveat is that Renault’s starting price for the ZOE doesn’t include the cost of a battery leasing scheme: this will cost from £59 to £110 per month depending on your annual mileage, although breakdown cover is included. Read our full review.
The Volkswagen e-up! is one of the cheapest electric cars on sale, although having been around for a good few years now, rivals are beginning to offer better value for money.
Real-world range is around 70 miles from an 18.7kWh battery, and a full charge from a domestic plug socket is achievable in around nine hours. However on a rapid charger, 0-80% takes around half an hour, which is good news if there’s one near you.
The facts are clear though: the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Renault ZOE are cheaper, more practical and offer more range, making the VW e-up! a tough sell these days. Read our full review.
The Nissan Leaf is the other contender for the title of ‘best-value electric car’, given its starting price and the amount of kit on offer.
With the PICG, the Leaf costs just north of £20,000, which is fairly remarkable given the real-world range of 168 miles and technology such as a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus various active safety aids, too.
Better still is that there’s no battery leasing scheme: after you’ve bought the car, there are no additional monthly costs to worry about. Read our full review.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
The Hyundai Ioniq was the first car in the world to be offered as either a basic hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicle, and in the latter form it just squeezes into our top 10 list of cheapest electric cars.
While 130 miles of real-world range from its 28kWh battery pack isn’t too shabby (that’s similar to the more expensive Volkswagen e-Golf), newer rivals are offering a little bit more for less outlay. It’s fun to drive, though, and therefore still worth considering. Read our full review.
Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona Electric is one of the most exciting electric cars on sale, at least when equipped with the larger of its two batteries: the 64kWh version will deliver around 300 miles of range on a single charge, which is what you might expect from some petrols and diesels.
But if you can’t stretch to the £32,845 asking price, there's a cheaper model with a 39kWh battery costing just £27,250. This delivers a very handy 194 miles of range, and a home wallbox charger will have this fully topped up in just over six hours. The SUV body is hugely practical, too. Read our full review.