The cheapest electric cars on sale

30 Apr, 2019 9:20am Alastair Crooks

We all love ice caps and hate getting ripped off, so here are the ten cheapest electric cars money can buy...

Mass produced electric cars have come a long way in the past decade. The original Nissan Leaf arrived to the UK car market in 2010 was £10,000 more than a similarly specced Ford Focus. Now, electric car prices are much more competitive against those of their combustion engined cousins and with prices starting from as little as £7k, the cheapest electric cars are now within every new car buyer’s grasp.

Electric cars are more popular than ever and there are vehicles to suit all motoring needs. From the practical Nissan EV200 Combi Van, luxurious Tesla Model S executive car or the affordable Renault Twizy city runabout, there’s an electric vehicle to suit almost any need. And thanks to government incentives and developments in EV infrastructure, the world is starting to see electric as a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel. The electric revolution is lighting up so here are the cheapest electric cars for you to consider...

• Best electric cars to buy now

The cheapest electric cars on sale

Renault Twizy

Price: £6,690 + battery lease

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Renault Twizy is the cheapest EV on the market today. It’s also one of the smallest ‘cars’ ever. While the measly 17bhp and woeful top speed of 50mph may put a lot of people off, Renault claims it costs just £1 to fully charge, putting a lot of people on. It has a long charging process - three and a half hours - which then allows drivers to travel for up to 62 miles. However, don’t expect to get much more than 50 miles in the real world. 

Cheapest new cars on sale

As the Renault Twizy is technically a quadricycle, you won’t get a grant from the government, and you have to lease the batteries from Renault, adding an extra running cost. Assuming a 36-month, 6,000-mile per year arrangement, the lease will cost £49 a month. Although Renault will repair and/or replace any leased batteries which go below 75% of their original performance.

Citroen C-Zero

Price: £17,020 (inc gov grant)

A relative of the deceased Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Citroen C-Zero is the cheapest EV which offers drivers glass windows and a heater, two items clearly deemed as luxuries over at Camp Twizy. The C-Zero is has blistering performance compared to the Twizy with 67 bhp on tap and a top speed of 80mph, meaning journeys outside city centres are possible. The battery technology in the C-Zero feels outdated now as even after the eight hours required to fully charge the C-Zero, you are limited to a maximum theoretical range of 93-miles. Which drops closer to 60-miles in the real world.

The handling matches its city-dwelling persona, as the steering is a little vague and the body has enough roll to warn drivers the racing line, is the wrong line. But the C-Zero offers buyers an affordable electric car that could be used for the majority of their motoring needs.

Used electric cars: should you buy one?

Smart EQ Fortwo

Price: £17,695 (inc gov grant)

The tiny EQ Smart Fortwo comes with 81bhp, and a top speed of 81mph to match. The EQ Fortwo also has a surprising turn of pace, 0-62mph is dispatched in 11.5 seconds. To charge it from empty, you will have to wait only two and a half hours, meaning you are but a trip to the cinema away from a fully charged car. A more sophisticated suspension set up over the previous generation makes the EQ Fortwo far more compliant and comfortable for longer journeys, so long as the journey isn’t further than it’s 100-mile range.

The electric ForTwo now has to compete with one of its own - the new Smart EQ ForFour. The EQ ForFour offers users additional seats, space, and therefore practicality for only another £500. For a £2,140 premium over the EQ Fortwo hatchback, there’s even a convertible EQ Fortwo for those more interested in hearing the whirr of the electric motor.

Renault ZOE

Price: £17,720 (inc gov grant)

The Renault ZOE, named after the Greek word for ‘life’ looks a lot like a regular supermini. The ZOE has been Europe’s best-selling electric car for three of the past four years and with a battery update in 2018, it got even better. The ZOE R110 now has 106bhp from a 40kWh battery, powering it from 0-62 in 11.9 seconds. Despite the bump in power, the ZOE’s range remains unchanged at 186 miles on the WLTP cycle.

The ZOE is easy to drive with a near-silent drivetrain, light steering and smooth ride. The instant torque from the electric motor allows for zippy overtaking, but this is still a car suited to city driving rather than long journeys. The 338-litre boot is bigger than most other superminis and the interior is well designed, if somewhat lacking in quality materials.

• How to buy an electric car

Smart EQ Forfour

Price: £18,190 (inc gov grant)

The Smart EQ Forfour comes with the same 17.6kWh battery as its EQ Fortwo sibling. However due to extra weight and size (almost 200kg heavier than the EQ Fortwo), the EQ Forfour only has a claimed range of 95 miles. It also has slower acceleration - 12.7 seconds to get from 0-62mph.

Thanks to the addition of two doors however, the EQ Forfour is much more practical than the two-door EQ Fortwo. An increase of 611mm in wheelbase means the EQ Forfour can just about fit four adults and the level of kit inside certainly helps create an upmarket feel - heated front seats, two-piece panoramic roof, leather upholstery and a seven-inch infotainment screen are all standard.

Cheapest electric cars: the top 10

Below are the top 10 cheapest EVs on sale. While our top five offers drivers the smallest outlay for the EV lifestyle, the cars in the bottom five begin to offer significantly better practicality. Most notably the Nissan e-NV200 Combi - which can be had with seven seats. Hopefully showing that as demand continues to rise, manufacturers are looking to plug different markets with a range of EVs lowering costs further.

  1. 1. Renault Twizy - £6,690 + battery lease
  2. 2. Citroen C-Zero - £17,020 inc grant
  3. 3. Smart ForTwo Electric Drive - £17,695 inc grant
  4. 4. Renault Zoe - £17,720 + battery lease inc grant
  5. 5. Smart ForFour Electric Drive - £18,190 inc grant
  6. 6. Hyundai Ioniq electric - £27,250 inc grant
  7. 7. Hyundai Kona EV - £27,250 inc grant
  8. 8. Nissan Leaf - £27,995 inc grant
  9. 9. Nissan e-NV200 Combi - £29,225 inc grant
  10. 10. Kia e-Niro - £32,995 inc grant 

Would you consider buying an EV? Let us know in the comments section…

Get the latest electric car news, reviews and analysis on