► The cheapest EVs on sale today
► Low running costs and easy recharging
► We'll constantly update this list
It’s already clear in 2020, electric cars are going to happen whether you like it or not - and a new round of cheap electric cars will fuel adoption. Manufacturers are racing to clean up their act, with future product maps littered with sustainable battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hybrids to reduce average CO2 output.
Helped along by international laws – and most recently jolted forward in the UK by a 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol, diesels and hybrids – our adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is being forced ever closer. This cocktail of eco-concerns, political pressure and taxation incentives mean 120,000 new electric cars are projected to be sold in the UK in 2020.
And all the while, prices are tumbling as battery costs slowly reduce and manufacturers are able to scale up. Read on for our guide to the cheapest electric cars and EVs.
Further electric car reading:
EVs are much better now than a few years ago, too: developments in battery technology have rapidly extended the distance they can travel between charges and manufacturers are working on bringing prices down - the still-secret VW ID.1 (above) is being developed for launch in 2023 at a target cost of less than £18,000.
It means that more and more buyers are finding EVs are gradually becoming a viable alternative to petrol- and diesel-engined cars.
Many consider that going electric is still an expensive bandwagon to jump on. Even without a VED car tax charge or London Congestion Charge to pay – as well as help from the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) – EVs are still considerably more expensive than their ICE counterparts in the showroom.
The cheapest electric cars on sale now
So what’s the cheapest ticket to the world of battery electric vehicles? Above you’ll find the cheapest electric cars on sale in 2020. They're not all there – the Renault Twizy, for example, scores high on fun but low on being an actual car… But a list doesn't really tell the whole story does it? Keep reading for a detailed breakdown on the cheapest real viable EVs in 2020.
Smart EQ Fortwo EV
- £20,350 - £24,425
- Range: 70 miles
The original two-seater city car returns, and this time with the electric power we always felt it wantd. As you’d expect, the Smart Fortwo features all the usual safety equipment you’d expect in 2020. And although it’s small, the mini EV still gives you a lot of style and car for the money. The only catch? The Fortwo is very much urban creature: a 70-mile range means you won’t want to stray out of town.
Read our Smart Fortwo review
- £20,400 - £22,760
- Range: 160 miles
This isn’t the last time you’ll see one of VW’s electric runarounds on this list. Simply put, it’s a great small car that needs plugging in – but throw in nippy acceleration along with silent drive, and your city journeys should be relatively painless. A 160 mile range shouldn’t make you too anxious, either.
Read our Skoda Citigo-e review
Smart EQ Forfour
- £20,785 - £25,565
- Range: 70 miles
Nope you haven’t seen this one yet – that was the Fortwo. As you can probably tell from the name, the Smart EQ Forfour is Merc’s electric mover for four people. Although the seating is doubled, it’s not diluted: the Forfour retains much of the charm of its even smaller sibling, and the same cheeky styling. Range still tops out at 70 miles though; impressive when you compare it the Fortwo, but not when you compare it the 160 miles of the Skoda Citigo-e.
Seat Mii Electric
VW Group has basically made the same car a few times, with slightly different looks. Bad on the variety front, but good on the ‘EV market having cheap cars’ front – which is the one you care about if you’re reading this. Like its sister cars, which also include the VW e-Up, the Mii Electric is pleasant enough to drive, has a good range, and is an excellent introduction to EV ownership.
Read our Seat Mii Electric review
Mini Cooper SE
- £27,900 - £33,900
- Range: 140 miles
Here’s a more familiar name for you. The city-centric Mini moves with the times by finally getting an EV powertrain. Although the Mini name adds a price premium over some of the cars on this list, it’s simply a bit cooler – isn’t it? BMW has managed to keep the best bits of the EV Mini’s ICE counterparts, but has packed it with the best battery saving tech.
Read our Mini Cooper SE review
MG ZS EV
- £28,495 - £30,495
- Range: 160 miles
Yes MG does exist, and it’s actually making one of the best low-cost EVs you can buy right now. The ZS is proving to be one of the UK’s best family-sized electric SUVs, and that’s because it does so much, so well. It’s a Nissan Qashqai-sized thing, with a five-star Euro NCAP rating, and it’s not much more than its petrol-powered rivals.
If you go for the top-spec Exclusive model, it loads you up with even more safety tech. And at just £2,000 more than the vanilla ZS EV version, it still won’t break the bank.
Read our MG ZS EV review
- £28,550 - £32,750
- Range: 210 miles
Peugeot’s e-208 continues to impress, because it’s very much an EV version of the already impressive 208. It’s not rocket-science. The French, electric supermini has great handling coupled with a continental interior, and finishes the job with a range of 211 miles – one of the higher numbers on this list.
This could be a lot of people’s first EV – and first car, too.
Read our Peugeot e-208 review
- £29,179 - £32,870
- Range: 200 miles
No longer the UK’s cheapest EV, the Renault’s appeal is undented thanks to a sharper design and greater efficiency. A 200 mile range is up there with the best of them, and when combined with 50kW charging, you might actually think about venturing out of the concrete jungle.
Read our Renault ZOE review
- £30,610 - £34,160
- Range: 200 miles
The uninventive naming isn’t the only thing the Corsa-e shares with the Peugeot e-208. Both cars are based on the same platform but look and feel quite different – and not necessarily in a negative way. Throw in a range of exterior and interior colour combinations – as well as identical looks to its ICE cousins – and it’s a winner.
Read our Vuaxhall Corsa-e review
- £31,145 - £39,525
- Range: 180 miles
The Nissan Leaf was always going to end up on this list. It's been around since 2011, and has seen off the likes of Tesla and Renault to remain the bestselling EV in the UK. Now available with a larger battery pack, its range is competitive with its newest rivals – but it’s also known and trusted throughout the industry. It might not have the funky styling of some other cars on this list, but it doesn’t really need it.
Read our Nissan Leaf review
- £32,950 - £34,950
- Range 130 miles
Rewind around 12 months, and we’d be singing the Ioniq’s praises, but the EV world moves very fast. The Hyundai’s specs, value and range have been somewhat eclipsed by newer rivals. It’s in need for a facelift, and an injection of tech, too.
Read our Hyundai Ioniq review
- £35,350 - £39,840
- Range: 180 miles
It hasn’t been updated visually for a while now, but it doesn’t really need to be. BMW i3 still looks fresh inside and out, and with a 180 mile range its actual performance is competitive, too. There's no escaping the fact it's both expensive and limited in range compared with its more mainstream and newer rivals – but look at it. Leasing deals make it more affordable, too.
Read our BMW i3 review
The e-Niro is a juggernaut in the 'budget' end of the EV market. Featuring a brilliant range, stacks equipment, and a relatively low cash price, the e-Niro is a bargain. Especially with that 250 mile range.
Read our Kia e-Niro review
Revealed: the fastest electric cars
How to lease an electric car: our sister site CarZing reports