Electric cars are the future, but for many of us, this future seems quite far away, considering how expensive they can be – a new Tesla can cost you upwards of £50,000. But Tesla, of course, isn’t the only brand to hit the market with electric cars.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to compile a list of the cheapest electric vehicles from affordable manufacturers in 2023; let’s get straight into it.
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The Citroen AMI, while not the most powerful car (technically not a car) on the market, is the most affordable. It’s technically a quadricycle, which by definition means a vehicle with four wheels. Essentially, because it’s not a car, it can be driven by a 16-year-old who still needs to get a full driving license.
In addition, the Citroen AMI has only two seats and is limited in speed to 28mph. Although you won’t be making long road trips with this vehicle, it’s convenient for short commutes in town with an electric range of 47 miles.
And if your primary goal for getting an electric car is to have something environmentally friendly, it’s perfect for you as it emits zero emissions. Not only that, but it’s a very quiet drive, as there are no loud engine noises to contend with.
However, a significant concern with driving one of these is how it might handle an accident. Although it doesn’t go very fast, this doesn’t account for the cowboys on the road who might cause one with you.
How much will it set you back? You’re looking at a £7,995 cash price for this cheap electric car.
Smart EQ Fortwo
This two-seater hatchback is excellent in busy cities, mainly where parking might be pretty scarce, and boasting a range of 98 miles, it’ll have more than enough charge to get you to where you want to go.
Unfortunately, however, it could be a more comfortable drive and can feel pretty bumpy when taking corners or when on the motorway due to its small dimensions. Each of these little cars is powered by a 17kWh battery and is 81hp.
At least charging doesn’t take very long — with a 22 kWh fast charger, it’ll only take around 40 minutes. The car also boasts a touchscreen, although the sat-nav is among the worst available, and the screen is relatively slow.
How much will it cost to buy yourself one of these cars? Well, it’s among the cheapest electric cars, and prices currently range around £20,100. You might also find cheaper used electric cars of this kind.
Read next: best used family cars
Fiat 500 Electric
The well-known Fiat 500 is now an electric car and is a strong competitor in the industry as one of the cheapest electric cars on sale. With an extremely minimalistic design, the Fiat 500e is an excellent choice for your first electric car.
While it looks pretty similar to petrol or diesel models, the lack of an exhaust pipe and the new digital dial display clearly indicate its differences. Further, unlike the first two cars on our list, the Fiat 500e has space for four; however, the passengers in the back will have to be relatively small. There really isn’t very much space at all; you can’t even fit a child seat.
You have two choices of batteries, either a 23.7kWh or a 42kWh battery, with a 115 and 199-mile range, respectively. And with a 7.4kW wall box, you’ll be able to charge its battery in six hours. There is also a choice of different motors, either a 95hp or 118hp motor.
To buy a new Fiat 500e, you can expect to pay anywhere from £22,335 upwards.
As a small electric car, the Volkswagen e-Up is great for short commutes and easy driving around the city. It is, however, quite a simple vehicle, and VW hasn’t made any significant changes to this electric car. It has the standard hard plastics on the doors and dashboard and simple heating controls. The e-Up also boasts an infotainment system that is quite simple.
As for space, the vehicle has plenty of room for the average person, both in the front and in the back, although it may not be that comfortable for very long trips, which you’re not likely to do with this vehicle anyways; the e-Up only has a range of around 160 miles. Although, a fast charger can charge the car from empty to 80% in just an hour.
Although the production of new cars has stopped, you can still find many used models
This vehicle is valued at anywhere between £23,650 to £25,105, making it easily one of the cheapest electric cars on sale today.
This cheap electric car is a good drive, perfect for moving through rush hour traffic in busy cities. And with a range of 239 miles, you’ll be able to get quite far on a single charge, making it great for long trips as well. And with cruise control, it’ll be quite an easy drive.
Like the Fiat500e, it’s pretty tight at the back (although slightly more spacious). That said, it has enough room for a child seat. Another issue with the Renault is the height, as taller passengers may brush their heads on the roof lining.
Something important to note about this Renault is that it was awarded zero stars on its Euro NCAP crash test score; this is a test that pits cars against a rigid barrier that overlaps the vehicle entirely at a speed of 50 km/h.
The Renault Zoe costs £29,995 to purchase new.
Like the original MINI, the MINI Electric is making its mark in the small car market. It boasts the same style we’ve all come to know and love, with the traditional MINI wheels to match.
However, unlike the original MINI, the electric version has nearly oval-shaped digital dials with a matte finish, showing your speed, trip info, range, and power use. The vehicle also has an infotainment system, a sat-nav, and Apple CarPlay.
Charging doesn’t take that long either; with only a 7.4kWh wall box charger, it’ll take you three hours; a 50kWh rapid charger can have it done in about 35 minutes.
A level 1 model of a MINI Electric will set you back £29,000, a level 2 model £31,000, and a level 3 model £34,500.
This cheap electric car comes with a 134hp electric motor, a 50kWh battery, and an impressive 225-mile range, mainly due to mechanical tweaks done in late 2017. This range places it as one of the better long-distance electric cars on this list.
This model is great because of its low running cost, but it needs to improve its spaciousness. The back seat space can be a bit limited for taller passengers. But it does, however, boast a decent amount of boat space.
Unlike other electric cars, the Peugeot can comfortably maintain a cruising speed of 70mph.
Prices for this vehicle vary between £30,195 and £34,645.
MG 5 EV
The MG 5 EV is a cheap electric car, and as an estate car, one of the first electric ones to be sold in the UK. It boasts a 154hp motor with a 61.1kkWh battery and a range of 249 miles.
The cheaper model uses a 51kWh battery but uses the same 154hp motor, with the capability of driving up to 199 miles for needing a recharge. Typical home charging can take around eight and a half hours.
This car is likely among the most spacious cheap electric cars on the market and was 2021’s best-selling electric vehicle. Because of its size, it’s perfect for taller passengers with more than enough leg and headroom, and three can even sit in the back quite comfortably.
On the inside of the vehicle, you’ll see two large screens on the dashboard with various features. In addition, the material used for the dashboard and surrounds is of high quality.
The MG 5 EV is available for purchase for prices ranging from £30,995 and over.
Kia Soul EV
It’s a great cheap electric car and never ceases to impress. The Kia Soul EV is a great drive and even offers an incredible 280-mile range, meaning you can finally make long trips with an electric vehicle.
But the model has taken time and undergone optimization to get to where it is today. Kia Soul EV was among the first electric cars in the UK. It boasts a 64kWh battery, and with a 100 kWh charger, you can get it up to 80% from empty in about an hour.
The vehicle boasts a range of driving modes and regenerative braking, which essentially takes wasted energy from slowing down a car and uses it to recharge the vehicle. Among the few downsides of this vehicle is that it, unfortunately, has quite a small boot.
The Kia Soul EV goes for about £32,095 for the lower range and £39,295 for the upper range.
The Nissan Leaf is a comfortable drive and, frankly, one of the better vehicles on our list (we’ve saved the best for last). It’s a strong-performing car with a great design. It also has various features, including sat-nav, a digital driver display, and smartphone mirroring.
And unlike some of the other electric car models we’ve spoken about, the Nissan Leaf comes with plenty of room for passengers and can fit two grown adults in the backseat (three at a squeeze).
The standard 150hp Nissan Leaf has a range of 168 miles, whereas a top-range Leaf e+ can handle up to 239 miles. Charging can take 6.5 hours at home using a 7kWh charger.
Like many other cheap electric cars, the motor is relatively silent during drives; however, unlike many affordable models, it handles the road quite well and is not very reactive to bumps.
A new top-range Nissan Lead can cost you over £36,000, while cheaper options can cost as low as £28,995.
Read next: When is the best time to buy a car?
Is an electric car worth it?
Electric cars generally cost about half in regular maintenance than petrol or diesel cars. In addition, electric cars have a much lower cost per mile because fossil fuels are much more expensive.
If you’ve changed your mind about an electric model, take a look at some of the cheapest cars to run (with regular fuel).
What is the cheapest electric car built?
While technically not a car, the Citroen AMI is much cheaper than every other electric car. At just £7,995, it’s over ten thousand pounds cheaper than the next most affordable electric car.
If you are concerned with the cost, you can always make some money back by renting out your car.
What are the negatives of electric cars?
One of the primary negatives of electric cars is that you generally cannot drive very far with one, with most being limited to around 150 miles between charges. In addition, while they are greener transportation alternatives, the source of electricity used to power them matters. Electricity produced from coal-fired power stations isn’t green at all.
You also need to have a way to charge it. Getting a point installed at home can be costly, although there are some government grants available to get up to 75% off the install price.
Why are people so against electric cars?
Often, people have what is known as range anxiety, which is the concern that their electric vehicle will not last long enough to reach a charging station or that the charge times will be too long.
How long do electric cars last?
Most cheap electric cars are predicted to last anywhere from 10-20 years before the battery needs to be replaced. And customer reports put an electric car’s battery at around 200,000 miles before needing to be replaced.
Is an electric better than a hybrid?
Electric vehicles are a better investment because they don’t need as much maintenance and are more affordable over the long term. And, of course, electric cars are better for the environment.
How long can an electric car idle?
Usually, an electric car can idle for two hours without any issues. However, if you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic and the car is idling, it’ll likely drain faster.