As battery technology improves and economies of scale kick in with increased EV production, the cheapest electric cars are increasingly wide ranging. Prices are also getting ever closer to their budget internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. With the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars getting closer, we can expect even more affordable options over the next few years.
Here are our picks of the best cheap electric cars:
MG’s budget electric hatchback is the best value EV you can buy in the UK right now, starting at just £26,995 with the entry-level SE model. This still boasts an impressive quoted range of 218 miles, and comes with a substantial amount of standard equipment – including Apple/Android smartphone integration, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, and a digital drivers display.
Moving up to the top-spec ‘Trophy Long Range’ brings range up to 280 miles, as well as a reduced 6.1 seconds 0-60mph time, for £32,495.
As well as being a practical car for the family, the MG is also a fantastic drive, with pinsharp handling and instant acceleration from the 168bhp electric motor. A performance model of the car is arriving soon, for the family who wants to get somewhere quickly!
|Quoted Range||218 miles|
|0-60mph Time||7.7 seconds|
|Maximum Charge Rate||117kW|
Smart EQ ForTwo
Smart’s tiny ForTwo, renowned for its ability to park perpendicularly into any parking spot, has recently been given an electric makeover. After the Citroen Ami, it’s one of the cheapest electric cars on sale in the UK with a starting price of £22,225. Despite its small size, a top speed of 81mph and 80 miles of range makes it more capable for further ventures, unlike the less versatile Ami.
For an extra £2,000 or so you can get a cabriolet variant, which also made it onto our best electric convertible cars roundup!
|Quoted Range||80 miles|
|0-60mph Time||11.6 seconds|
|Maximum Charge Rate||22kW|
Citroen’s standout Ami is the cheapest EV on four wheels you can buy new in the UK right now, starting at £7,695. With its ultra-compact form and top speed of 28mph, it’s ideal for driving through urban areas, but for carrying passengers or venturing outside the city you’ll want to look elsewhere. It’s technically classed as a quadricycle, which means you don’t need a full drivers license. It can be driven on a moped license, allowing 16 year olds to get behind the wheel too.
|Quoted Range||46 miles|
|Maximum Charge Rate||2.3kW|
Fiat’s electric version of the 500 is another consideration and at the time of writing (July 2023), Fiat were offering a unique £3,000 ‘Fiat grant’ to further reduce the cost of the 500e. While relatively cheap in the scheme of EVs, its value for money is slightly lacking compared to the MG 4. However, many will happily pay the premium for its retro looks.
Despite its small size, it still touts a sizeable 199 mile range on a full charge. Combine that with an 85kW rapid charging function, and longer trips in the 500e are easily feasible.
|Quoted Range||199 miles|
|0-60mph Time||9.0 seconds|
|Maximum Charge Rate||85kW|
The best electric supermini out now is Peugeot’s e-208. Despite being based off of an ICE car rather than a whole new electric platform, it’s still a top performer. Peugeot quotes a range of 224 miles, a 0-60mph time of 8.1 seconds, and a starting price of £30,790.
The interior and exterior design are particularly striking, and the facelift, available from October, looks even better. Like many cars on this list, Apple Carplay and Android Auto also come as standard.
|Quoted Range||224 miles|
|0-60mph Time||8.1 seconds|
|Maximum Charge Rate||101kW|
The electric Renault 5 may not grace our roads until 2024 or 2025, but the company is aiming for a price tag around £20,000, which could make it a serious contender for the best cheap EV. Its retro-inspired styling could pull customers away from the 500e, too.
This no-nonsense, bargain EV is already being sold in mainland Europe and is set for a UK launch in 2024. It’s currently on sale in France for the equivalent of £14,500, with a range of 190 miles and seating for four. This gives an idea of how much it could undercut the UK’s cheapest fully-fledged EV, the Smart EQ ForTwo.