These days there are more electric cars available than ever before. It’s hard to find a big-brand car manufacturer that doesn’t have a model or is working on one. Most will have heard of Elon Musk’s Tesla range of cars, but for many, these are out of their price range.
The two biggest questions for most are the initial cost and the range the battery will offer. Generally, prices are better than ever and ranges have increased but often a balance needs to be found depending on taste and personal needs.
In the past year, we have seen prices rise on many electric models as inflation has risen. Plus, in the UK, we have recently seen the end of the plug-in car grant. Despite this, electric cars still offer good value and are far cheaper to run than any combustion-engined equivalent.
As a result, we have been lenient with our £30,000 limit. To avoid missing some great value electric cars we have several that are just over this amount but have kept the limit to £31,000. Here we bring you ElectricDrives best electric cars in this price range
CITROEN AMI from £7,695
Citroën gave their AMI electric vehicle (EV)the green light for UK sales in 2022. While it takes me back to my youth, the James Bondesque Ami is far from retro. Instead, it’s forward-thinking, functional, sustainable and affordable with a £7,695 price tag.
It’s the perfect around-town car and the 5.5kWh battery offers a range of 46 miles (74km) with a top speed of 28mph (45kph). The battery can be recharged in just three hours. The range might sound small but for those who only do short journeys, it’s fine.
The Ami measures 2.5m long, 1.5m wide and 1.5m tall, and it weighs just 471 kilogrammes. Surprisingly, it feels bigger inside than you might think. It has an incredibly tight turning circle making the AMI agile and a good solution for navigating busy streets and fitting into narrow parking spaces. At this price, the Ami could be a game changer for urban driving.
SMART EQ FORFOUR from £22,295
The instant pull of Smart’s five-door EQ ForFour is its sub £25,000 price point. That said, it is at the smaller end in terms of size of what’s available in the electric car world. The latest version was updated in 2020 and offers a range of 81 miles (126km) from its 17.6kWh battery.
This range might appear small but for those who only drive a few miles at a time, it will be more than adequate with a charge or two per week. It offers a top speed of 81mph (130kph) and accelerates from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 12.7 seconds.
The EQ ForFour is fun and easy to drive but not as smooth handling over rougher terrain as some of its competitors. It fits four adults but the rear doors are small and awkward to get in and out of. Overall, it is a cheap electric car ideal for town use and is easy to park.
Vauxhall Corsa E from £28,555
The Corsa E is a stylish hatchback that brings plenty to the electric car table. At the heart of the Corsa E is a 50kWh battery that delivers 134bhp taking it from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in just 8.1 seconds, with a top speed of 93mph (151kph). Fortunately, the range isn’t overly compromised as a consequence with the Vauxhall offering up to 222 miles from a full charge.
It will also charge up to 80 percent in as little as 30 minutes using a 100kW charger. There are three driving modes; Normal, Eco and Sport, which cover all bases for most situations and driver types.
Inside, it feels modern and sensible but it’s not as sporty or space age as some here. There’s plenty of room for four and the 267-litre boot space offers sufficient room for most driving situations.
Vauxhall have achieved a good balance with their Corsa E. It offers a sporty feeling hatchback that delivers on performance yet has a good range. It works equally well for young singletons or the family who don’t want to feel like boy racers.
Nissan LEAF Acenta from £28,995
The LEAF has been a forerunner in the electric car space having been produced for the last decade. It pre-dates the Tesla Model S by two years and at nearly £50,000 cheaper it’s no wonder it has become a much loved small family electric car that this car has sold 500,000 units.
The latest version offers a good balance of performance and drivability with a range of up to 168 miles (270km) from its 39kWh battery. This is ideal for general around-town use and short commuting tasks. With a 50kW rapid charger it can be charged to 80 percent of its capacity in around an hour.
Nissan’s e-Pedal system is a neat feature that allows for one-pedal driving which makes life easier, especially in traffic. This combined with the light road feel and ease of driving makes it a forgiving car to live with. It’s not a complete slug either when it comes to acceleration delivering 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 7.9 seconds.
The styling of this hatchback is sporty both inside and out and carries out most family duties with ease. The Leaf has developed with the times and has become the car that many of its competitors have tried to emulate.
Fiat New 500 from £29,435
It’s hard not to fall in love with the looks of Fiat’s New 500 which takes its styling from the Italian carmaker’s original from 1957. Fast forward to now and this modern classic has the same ethos of offering a small, cheap to run and good value car. It is a four-seater, although legroom is limited for adults in the back but kids should be fine.
The entry-level level model features a 70kW motor driven by a 23.8kWh capacity battery. This delivers a limited top speed of 84mph (135kph) and will accelerate from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 9.5 seconds.
It has a combined range of 199 miles but with Fiat’s power-saving mode this can boost the range up to 248 miles in the urban cycle. With the average commute under 30 miles per day most drivers of the New 500 won’t have an issue.
The drive is fun and easy here, and being a small car makes it easy to manoeuvre and parking is a cinch. You sit relatively high up which puts you in a good position to view the road ahead and your surroundings. The modern-feeling cockpit and dials are well-positioned and make for easy day-to-day use.
New MG ZS EV from £29,495
The big attraction of MG’s ZS EV is that it’s one of the cheapest electric sports utility vehicles (SUVs) on the market. It’s bigger than most of the other cars here so will appeal to those who prefer a larger family car. This award winner has been a big seller for the British car company along with its MG5 EV electric estate car.
It has a modern stylish exterior and is powered by a 51kWh battery that offers a 198-mile (319km) range. As a bigger electric car, the MG ZS EV offers a solid acceleration reaching 0-62mph (0-100kph) in an impressive 8.5 seconds. The top speed is 87mph (140kph) but for most law-abiding citizens this shouldn’t be a problem.
The inside of the ZE EV feels spacious like you’d expect from an SUV, and there’s plenty of room with its vast 448-litre boot area. The cockpit feels modern and is easy to navigate, and the overall drive is fine.
The ZE EV offers outstanding value for money for a family-sized SUV and it works brilliantly for day-to-day duties. It’s hard not to think a car of this size would be used for longer journeys where range could become more of an issue.
Peugeot e208 Active Premium from £30,195.00
It’s hard not to like the Peugeot e-208 with its subtle sporty looks that don’t instantly make it look like an electric vehicle. It’s simply a Peugeot 208 with a battery. This small hatchback is still big enough for a family of four and is only £195 over the £30,000, so we had to include it.
It’s powered by a 50kWh battery that pushes the 100kW (136 horsepower) motor. In turn, it offers up to 217 miles (349km) of range so should help any potential customers with range anxiety. It can accept 100kWh DC charging that allows up to 80 percent of a full charge in just 30 minutes. It’s a solid mover too hitting 0-62mph (0-100kph) in around eight-seconds.
It’s hard not to be impressed when you climb inside the e-208 where the good looks and smart styling flow naturally from the exterior. In the driver’s area, all the instruments are viewed clearly above the steering wheel making life easy on the road. Legroom in the back is more than adequate and there are 265 litres of boot space.
Overall, the e-208 is a cool character with its sleek external styling and neat driver-friendly interior. Add to this the fact it’s fun to drive, and this neat little hatchback will attract those who like to enjoy their time on the road. It offers a good balance of range, drivability and flair.
MG5 EV Long Range from £30,995
MG Motor UK recently revealed its latest version of the MG5 EV electric estate car which is spacious, practical and connected. This updated electric vehicle (EV) has a host of new features including significant styling and equipment upgrades.
It comes with 61kWh battery that delivers a range of up to 250 miles making it ideal for work and family duties where longer journeys may be involved. This new version also comes with updates to both the front and rear bumpers of the vehicle. Plus, it now features new LED lights. Together, these give the MG5 EV a slick new look.
In terms of technological updates, the MG5 EV offers Vehicle-To-Load (V2L) technology. This was first seen on the all-new MG ZS EV launched in November 2021. This means users can power other electric devices using the energy stored in the battery, such as electric bikes, portable heaters and camping equipment.
The new MG5 EV has also received interior design and technology upgrades. This includes a 10.25’’ widescreen infotainment system with upgraded software and is now capable of supporting iSMART connected car functionality through MG’s dedicated smartphone app.
While the MG5 EV is £995 over the £30,000 limit, we had to include it because it offers such good value as a practical family car. Plus, we think with the new updates it’s a great-looking sporty estate car.
Mini Electric from £31,000
The revival of the Mini has been one of BMW’s big success stories in the small car market. The coming of an electric version makes it even better when it comes to green credentials. We know it’s £1,000 over the £30,000 limit but it’s a Mini and holds a place in most people’s hearts, so had to be included.
The size and styling of the electric version are similar to the combustion engine versions which will keep Mini enthusiasts happy. The Mini Electric even became the safety car for Formula E last season.
This British-built car offers a range of up to 145 miles (233km) from a full charge making it ideal for town use and shorter length commuting. It can be charged to 80 percent in just 36 minutes from a 50kW quick charger. The 32.6kWh battery offers 181 horsepower taking it from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 7.3 seconds with a top speed of 94mph (151kph).
Inside and out it feels like a Mini which is a good thing. It easily seats four adults, and like the non-electric Mini, the boot space is small. This is just 211 litres but there’s enough room for day-to-day items and the seats do fold down offering ample space when there’s a need to transport larger items.
The cockpit area of the electric Mini feels sporty in a modern way but with a sprinkling of nostalgia. All of this combined will be enough to keep lovers of the Mini design happy. It’s a solid player when it comes to style, performance and handling, and kindness to the planet.