>Cheapest Electric Cars UK
Cheapest Electric Cars UK
Electric cars offer a revolutionary way to achieve private transportation, enabling drivers to travel distances in excess of 100 miles, without directly emitting any carbon emissions. The fuel costs can also be very attractive for anyone doing lots of miles per year, as is the Road Tax.
However, the main limiting factor to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles is the prohibitive cost of the vehicles and batteries. When launched in 2010, the Nissan Leaf cost £10,000 more than a similar car powered by petrol or diesel.
But now in 2023, the cost of producing EVs has dropped significantly, meaning there is more affordable choice for both new and used cars.
What are the Cheapest Electric Cars in the UK?
With numerous manufacturers now making electric cars, there is a much wider selection of vehicles to choose from, from the basic Citroen Ami to the Mercedes EQA SUV.
We’ve rounded up the best affordable electric cars you can buy in the UK, judging them on criteria like price and usage.
Cheapest Electric Car: Citroen Ami
Whilst not classified as a car in its home country of France, but rather a quadricycle enabling it to be driven by 16-year-olds, the Ami is considered a fully-fledged car on UK roads.
We wouldn’t advise taking it on the M1, but for a small, (very) compact city car the Ami beats cycling or taking the bus!
What's more, it can be bought brand new for just under £7,700, much cheaper than anything else electric or petrol.
Cheapest Electric City Car: Smart ForTwo EQ
The Smart ForTwo has been around for a while now, offering just enough cars to suit the needs of a city-dweller with limited luggage. The new EQ version offers nearly 90 miles of range and a very fast recharge time.
At £22,225 it’s one of the cheapest new EVs you can buy, which is an especially good deal considering the reasonably large amount of equipment included.
Cheapest Electric Family Car: MG MG4
As the first ‘full-size’ car on our list, the MG4 is surprisingly large, sold as a compact SUV/Crossover, there's just enough room for 4 adults, but certainly enough for a couple with two children.
The MG4 has 218 miles of range, even on the entry-level model, meaning it’s punching well above its price point of £27,000
Cheapest Electric SUV: MG ZS EV
A full-size SUV capable of carrying 4 adults and over 450 litres of luggage, the ZS EV is the choice for economical electric sports utility.
With LED lights, a 10-inch touch screen and parking cameras as standard, the ZS comes well equipped, especially when considering the cost at just over £30,000 brand new.
Cheapest Electric Estate Car: MG MG5
Electric estate cars are few and far between, with the estate as a whole being phased out in lieu of SUVs. Although there are a few more due to be released for sale later this year, it’s pretty much the MG5 or a Porsche Taycan at over £100,000.
The MG5 does everything the Porsche can do though, other than doing 0-60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, in that it can comfortably carry 4 adults, with their luggage, in a lower vehicle, slightly sleeker than an SUV or crossover.
At £29,500 the MG5 is a reasonably priced electric estate car.
What are the Cheapest Used Electric Cars in the UK?
Now that EVs have been popular for a few years, the used market is a wash with reasonably priced cars. Whereas in the early days of EV adoption, the battery condition after a few years was unknown, buyers can be more confident now that a car has a certain lifespan until it may need replacement batteries.
Nissan Leaf 2011 - 2018
An average mileage Leaf can be found for under £5,000, some of the ones we found on Autotrader even had new batteries installed, meaning you can expect most of the claimed 110-mile range.
Mitsubishi I-Mev or Peugeot ION 2010 - 2015
Gaining less popularity or adoption than its rivals, you may well have never heard of the I-Mev, or rebadged Peugeot ION, but they can be a suitable electric vehicle if you only need to make short journeys.
There is a community of people online who have found great success in replacing the batteries in these ageing EVs and using them as their daily drivers! You can pick one up for around £4,000.
Renault Zoe 2013 - 2019
The Zoe has become one of the most popular small EVs in the last few years, in part thanks to some great deals on financing options from Renault. The MK1 was a reasonably successful car in its day, but there are issues that any buyer needs to be aware of.
Road Tax and Electric Cars
In the UK, Road Tax is a fee charged by the government for using a vehicle on public roads. Its official name was changed to VED or ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’ in 1937, but most Brits still commonly refer to it as Road Tax.
Another common misnomer is that the tax pays for the upkeep of the roads, in actuality, this has been funded by the local council taxes of the area since the same year as the name change.
VED is charged based on how much pollution your car produces, with low or zero emissions vehicles costing nothing per year, to luxury and sports cars with large engines costing up to £700 per year!
Is Road Tax Free for Electric Vehicles?
Currently, yes, any vehicle producing less than 100 grams per Km of CO2, is charged at £0 per year. The first paid tax band; A is 100 - 110 grams per Km, and is charged at £20 per year.
This also applies to many hybrid vehicles too, with most falling into either the first, second or third tax band.
Will Electric Vehicles Have to Pay Road Tax In The Future?
In November 2022, the UK government published a policy paper outlining the VED rules regarding Electric Vehicles. From 2025, Band A will be charged at the same rate as B, meaning electric vehicles and other zero emissions-rated cars will be charged at £20 per year.
The reasoning behind the change, as stated in the government paper, is to equalise all the VED bands across the board, making a fairer tax system, particularly for ICE (petrol and diesel) engine vehicle owners.
Which Electric Car is the Best Value For Money?
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck option, it’s best to avoid new cars, as the depreciation can end up costing you a lot of cash in a short amount of time. Similarly, the cheapest electric cars will need careful consideration to make sure they don’t need replacement batteries soon.
For a balance of the best of both worlds, we’d suggest getting a good-condition used third-generation Nissan Leaf - from 2018 onwards.
£12,000 will get you a low mileage well-serviced ex-finance car, that has already lost most of its depreciation, but has plenty of battery life left! With plenty of creature comforts, and over 150 miles of range, and 150hp available a Nissan Leaf would make a great zero-emissions commuter or family car!