While electric vehicles (EVs) may look like the future of motoring, it can still be a large expense to make the switch, and buying one outright or financing it isn’t always feasible.
However, the used market offers some cracking deals for some of the cheapest secondhand electric cars, which favours those who like to keep their wallets fuller for longer.
Here’s a look at the cheapest used electric cars you can buy right now.
Not only was the Nissan Leaf the best-selling electric car in the world at one point, but it also has one of the greenest names in the game.
The reason the Leaf did so well is that it’s often viewed as the car that made electric vehicles go global – it kickstarted the trend that other manufacturers soon followed.
Despite its affordable price, the Nissan Leaf offers the same tech as much more expensive EVs, including its extensive range of capabilities.
Even the entry-level model packs a punch with its 40kWh battery, which should give you around 168 miles of range, whereas the range-topping model variant should do more than 200 miles on a single charge – very good for an electric vehicle of its age.
Another thing that keeps the cost down is that because the Leaf has been around for so long - the used market offers some excellent examples that can be snapped up for a fraction of the cost of a new EV.
Like the Nissan Leaf, the used BMW i3 has been around for years – once again adding to the impressive collection of EVs on the used market.
The average range offered by the i3 is up to 153 miles on a single charge, which is more than enough for most people’s daily commute and may even last them a few days to a week, depending on their use.
Aside from its attractive price point and size, another benefit of the i3 range is BMW’s attention to detail in the cabin.
Keeping with the environmental theme, every i3 comes with sustainable materials such as carbon fibre-reinforced plastic for its overall structure and a range of fabrics and wood throughout the interior – making it a true car of the future.
Smart EQ Fortwo
The Smart Fortwo EV is the cheapest new electric car for sale in the UK, which also means used prices are also rather attractive. Sure, there’s the Renault Twizy, but most of those don’t even have proper windows, and we think you deserve a little more luxury.
All models come with a 41kW electric motor and a 17.6kWh battery that produces 83hp and a quoted range of around 70 miles. This may not sound like a lot out of context, but when you think about city life, this makes an awful lot of sense and would do most people for a few days.
This also means that in theory, they are quicker to charge too, with charging times taking less than 40 minutes to get from 10 to 80%.
It’s by far the best choice for someone living in a city who doesn’t need loads of space or a great range, but who also likes the luxury one might find in a Mercedes.
Kia Soul EV
The Kia Soul EV has been on the electric car scene since 2014, making it an early pioneer in the space.
Not only does this mean the vehicle offers a tried-and-tested body and motor, but it also means the used car market loves them because prices are very attractive.
The Kia Soul EV has been around since 2014, and offers a tried-and-tested design at an affordable price point.
Electric range remains the same across the range, rated at 280 miles on a single charge.
This may be less with some used cars because the batteries deteriorate slowly over time, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still get some decent range. You'll still get some great coverage.
Each model is powered by a 64kWh battery, which can be fully charged at a 7kW home wall box overnight, or in about an hour if you use a faster 50kW charger.
Aside from the Smart Fortwo, the Renault Zoe is the other small EV on the market, and it’s one of the most attractive options because it offers superb range and stylish looks at an affordable price point.
With the Smart Fortwo, the Renault Zoe is the other affordable and stylish small EV on the market.
Underneath lies a powerful battery that’s capable of returning up to 245 miles on a single charge, which is very impressive for a car of its size and rivals that of larger family EVs.
Because of its size, it’s perfect for city or town driving, but it isn’t afraid of longer motorway journeys, should you choose to make one.
Hyundai IONIQ Electric
Much like the Kia Soul, the Hyundai IONIQ has been around for a few years now, making it one of the most reliable and solid EVs money can buy.
It offers low running costs – which is a running theme with electric cars – and it’s practical too, making it a great first EV for a family of four.
What makes this one even more impressive is that the Ioniq Electric was Hyundai’s first-ever attempt at making an all-electric vehicle – and what a start it was.
When the Ioniq received its facelift in 2019, its battery capacity went from 28kWh to 38.3kWh, resulting in a full 200-mile range.
Skoda Citigo e iV
This is a car that comes as standard with some big features, as well as an attractive price tag for an EV. If you’re looking for a small electric city car, then chances are you’ve looked at one of these.
Because it's based on the exact same platform and box of parts as the standard petrol Citigo, the electric version is very reliable yet cheaper to run because of its electric powertrain.
From a full charge, you can expect to get around 160 miles from its battery, which is plenty for city driving and even a few longer motorway trips.
You can expect to fill it up from empty to 80% using a 40kW DC charger in around an hour – this will be four times longer if you use a 7kW wall box at home.
If familiarity is what you’re after, then it doesn’t get more comforting than a used Volkswagen Golf. This is a family car that’s been around for decades, and now there’s the all-electric Volkswagen e-Golf up for grabs on the used market.
The e-Golf is essentially identical to a standard petrol or diesel Golf but with a completely electric drivetrain. It still has the same 341 litres of boot space and five seats, just with a 35.8kWh battery sitting under the bonnet.
This battery should return about 100 miles on a single charge, which granted isn’t loads nowadays, but it’s still plenty if you use it for small commutes during the week or for city driving.
Sitting in the same family as the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo, the Volkswagen e-UP! is an excellent option to go for if you’re looking for a small and nippy EV that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy or run.
What makes the e-Up! so popular is that it’s based on the tried-and-tested platform that the Up! sits on.
This means it’s mechanically sound, and potentially more so than its traditionally-fuelled siblings because its electric motor has fewer moving parts than an actual engine.
Volkswagen claims its smallest EV will return up to 160 miles on a single charge, beating the similarly-sized Smart EQ Fortwo by some distance, while still offering a lot of the same features and overall feel.
Vauxhall Corsa Electric
Rivalling the Volkswagen e-Golf and the newer ID.3, the Vauxhall Corsa Electric is a very attractive proposition when it comes to selecting your next electric car on a budget.
With a claimed range of up to 222 miles, the Vauxhall Corsa Electric offers much more than some of the smaller electric city cars, with some very good on-board tech.
It also shares many of its components and looks with the petrol-powered Corsa, so you can trust that it’s been properly tried and tested over the years.
Best electric cars to buy for new drivers
If you're new to the world of electric cars and driving, for that matter then you may not know which way to look.
With all the options out there, it's easy to get distracted. But, here are our suggestions for new drivers looking to purchase their first (electric) car.
Hyundai Kona Electric
If you're new to driving then the idea of being in a small electric car can feel quite daunting, which is why lots of people look to a larger crossover or small SUV.
This is mostly down to the extra visibility you get, which really helps in and around town, as well as on the motorway.
Aside from that, the Kona won't break the bank and comes with either a 39kWh or a 64kWh battery, which gives it up to 300 miles of range from a single charge. This will give you peace of mind on those longer journeys.
No matter who you are or where you live in the world, the chances are you can identify a used Mini. It's iconic – and now they make an all-electric one.
What's most likeable about any Mini is how small they are. Okay, they're not as small as they once were, but compared to some of the large SUVs we have on our roads, they're compact.
You have a choice of Green+, Green, Mid, and Sport driving modes. In its most 'aggressive' mode you can complete the 0-62mph sprint in an impressive 7.3 seconds – and the top speed is ‘only’ 93mph.
SEAT Mii Electric
Sharing the same platform as the Volkswagen e-Up!, the SEAT Mii is a great alternative if you're not a brand snob.
Not only is the SEAT cheaper but they also offer slightly different styling and a different feel inside.
It's full of all the usual bells and whistles you'd expect to find inside an electric car – plus it's small, so it's perfect for new drivers who don't want to rush into anything much bigger than a city car.
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