Best cars

Top 9 best used electric cars 2022

Secondhand electric cars are becoming more widely available on the market in the wake of more and more models being launched. Here are some of the best-value choices out there...

Electric cars have been part of the mainstream for more than a decade now, and while this may make you feel a bit older than you’d like, there's a big upside. With earlier electric cars having reached a certain age, the list of the UK’s best used electric cars has expanded to make electric motoring a more realistic prospect for more drivers.

With new electric cars still commanding a higher price than their petrol and diesel counterparts (although this gap is dropping), it's likely that a lot of people's first electric cars will be used ones. The secondhand market is now big enough to offer something for everyone, ranging from small city cars to big big SUVs.

You shouldn't worry too much about range: lithium-ion batteries are proving to be much more durable than was initially thought, and manufacturers typically offer long warranties on their electric cars' batteries. This means a lot of used electric cars will still be protected under warranty, giving you the ultimate peace of mind.

Here, we've put together a list of the best used electric cars out there right now. As is the case with any secondhand car, make sure you do background checks and insist on a test drive before parting with cash...

BMW i3

BMW i3 (2014-present)

The i3 offers great interior space for its size, as well as futuristic design cues, quality construction and a great driving experience. In its original form, the electric i3 was powered by a motor making 168bhp, which is enough for a sprightly 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds; range is around 80 to 100 miles. In 2017, a battery upgrade gave the car a range of 114 miles, while another update for 2019 boosted that to 160 miles. As of early 2022, you can pick up a high-mileage early example for around £13,000, but we’d aim in the middle of the market for a good-condition, low-mileage car priced around £17,000. Read our full buying guide here.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2016-present)

The Ioniq is a practical hatchback that comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric form. While it isn’t the prettiest electric car you can buy, its unusual styling is in fact functional, as the Ioniq is highly aerodynamic. Thanks to this, the relatively small 38kWh battery can deliver a decent 193 miles of range in ideal conditions. A 2020 facelift upgraded the Ioniq's infotainment system and interior, but older examples (priced from around £18,000 as of early 2022) make most sense secondhand. Equipment is generous whichever you go for: 16-inch alloys, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a reversing camera, LED lights, adaptive cruise control and sat nav are all standard. Read our review of the Ioniq Electric here.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present)

Like the Ioniq above, the Kona has been offered with a range of powertrains, including petrol, hybrid and diesel engines, but once again we're focusing on the fully electric model. It has sold well since its 2018 debut, so there's a reasonably good supply of secondhand examples to choose from; as of early 2022, prices started from around the £25,000 for the earliest examples. Both 39 and 64kWh batteries have been offered in the Kona; the latter is best if you intend to do long journeys, but the 39kWh will be more than sufficient for urban commuter duties. Read our full Kona Electric review here.

Jaguar I-Pace (2018-present)

If you've got a bigger budget to play with, you might want to consider an I-Pace. The SUV was introduced in 2018, and immediately impressed with its excellent straight-line acceleration and wonderful handling through corners. Fitted with a 90kWh battery, the I-Pace should achieve some 230 miles of range in the real world. At the car's maximum charging speed of 100kW, an 80% top-up should take around 45 minutes, which isn't bad going either. As of early 2022, around £45,000 is the starting point for the earliest examples of the Jaguar, many of which have less than 30,000 miles on the clock. Read our full review of the I-Pace here.

Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro (2018-present)

Kia's e-Niro is a close cousin of the Hyundai Kona Electric mentioned above. Like that car, it has sold in big numbers in the UK, and been offered with both 39 and 64kWh batteries. Strong demand means you'll be doing well to pick up a used example for less than £30,000 as of early 2022, but this is one of the most efficient electric cars to date, so you'll get more miles per kilowatt-hour of energy than many rivals. If you're looking at the e-Niro, you could also consider the Soul EV, which uses essentially the same motor and battery setup in a more stylish, if slightly less practical, body. Read more about the e-Niro here.

MG ZS EV

MG ZS EV (2019-present)

The ZS EV is among the cheapest electric cars to buy new, but instead of being a dinky little city car, it's a practical family SUV. Three years since launch, examples can be found secondhand from around the £20,000 mark. Driving excitement isn't high on the agenda and there are some obvious low-cost materials, but if you’re after a straightforward zero-emissions family car, then the MG is hard to beat. A range of 163 miles from the modest 44.5kWh battery should prove fine for most daily use and luggage space is good, too. Read our full review of the MG ZS here.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf Mk1 (2011-2017)

Unveiled in 2010, the Leaf was for many years the best-selling electric car in the UK and Europe, so used examples are plentiful. Performance is adequate – 0-62mph takes 11.5 seconds – and two battery options were offered. The 24kWh version manages 124 miles, while the larger 30kWh model is good for 155 miles. As of early 2022, prices range from around £7,000 for an early example with the smaller battery, rising to around the £14,000 mark for a newer one with the larger battery. Read our guide to buying a used Leaf here.

Used Renault ZOE

Renault ZOE Mk1 (2013-2019)

The ZOE was introduced in 2013 and has an effective range of between 60 and 250 miles depending on which model you choose. It’s great if you need a small, stylish runabout for urban commuting or shorter trips. Aim for an Expression Nav or Dynamique Nav car built after July 2015; these have a more efficient electric motor that makes the most of the 22kWh battery for a range of 149 miles. In early 2017, a 40kWh battery was introduced, with a claimed 250-mile range. As of early 2022, you’ll pay around £7,500 for an early example with around 30,000 miles on the clock, or around £14,000 for a later example with the bigger battery. Beware that some examples may have a leased battery – read our used ZOE guide for details.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S (2014-present)

The fastest and probably most famous car on this list, the Model S was the first mainstream effort from the disruptive US manufacturer. An electric answer to the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, the Model S was so far ahead of its time that other manufacturers are only just getting round to offering credible rivals.

It has been on sale in the UK since 2014, with incremental upgrades and higher-performance versions added along the way. Tesla has also added four-wheel-drive versions, increased safety kit and the controversial ‘Autopilot’ system. Unlike the majority of cars featured here, even the basic Model S has a range of around 250 miles and a 0-62mph time of just under six seconds.

Generally, range and performance increase in line with the number after the car’s name (indicative of the battery size in kilowatt-hours) on earlier examples, but Tesla has since dropped these numbers in favour of its 'Long Range' and 'Performance' nomenclature, which is worth remembering if you're after a newer car.

As of early 2022, used prices started from around £32,000 for the entry-level 75 and 85 versions, but you’ll probably need at least another £10,000 for the range-topping 90 or 100, with ‘Ludicrous’ mode, a 300-mile range and sub-three-second 0-60mph time. Read our full guide to buying a used Tesla Model S here.

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