BMW i3

Best affordable electric cars

Looking for an electric car that won’t break the bank? We’ve rounded up our favourite affordable electric cars, both new and used.

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By Cazoo editorial team

Electric cars are gaining in popularity rapidly and with so many to choose from, there are now lots of affordable options if you want to make the switch to zero-emissions electric power.

From family SUVs to easy-to-park city cars, there are used and new cost-effective electric cars that could be just right for you.

Top five affordable used electric cars

1. BMW i3

The BMW i3 is a distinctive and luxurious city car. It’s surprisingly nippy and so small that you’ll have no problems squeezing into tight parking spaces.

The design is futuristic, with contrasting two-tone panels on the exterior and a minimalist-looking interior that uses sustainable materials, including recycled plastics. Although you only get four seats, the large windows give the interior an open and light feel. You can fit a couple of small suitcases in the boot and the back seats fold down to create more room.
If you’re buying a used BMW i3 there are lots of versions to choose from, and the battery range and power you get will vary. Cars made before 2016 have an 81-mile battery range, which could be plenty if you’re mainly driving around town. After 2018, the battery range increased to a maximum of 190 miles, and it might be worth paying more for a longer-range model if you regularly need to drive long distances.

2. Nissan Leaf

Launched in 2011, the Nissan Leaf was one of the first electric cars made for the mass market. An all-new version was introduced in 2018 (pictured) that improved the Leaf’s range and introduced new tech – whichever version you choose, the Leaf is a very affordable option if you want an electric car that’s suitable for the whole family.

For starters, every Leaf is comfortable, giving you and your passengers a smooth ride and lots of legroom and headroom. It’s relaxing to drive and zippy around town. The top trims have a 360-degree camera that gives you a birds-eye view of the car and its surroundings on the infotainment screen, which can be very helpful when parking in tight spaces.
Early Leafs have a maximum official battery range of between 124 and 155 miles depending on the model. Post-2018 Leafs have a maximum range of between 168 and 239 miles. The newer Leaf is a bit more expensive, but it might be worth the extra if you want to be able to go further on a single charge.

3. Vauxhall Corsa-e

Many electric cars have futuristic styling and can feel quite different from traditional petrol or diesel models, but the Vauxhall Corsa-e is essentially the popular Corsa model with an electric motor under the bonnet. If it’s your first time buying electric, this could be a more familiar, comfortable choice.

The Corsa-e shares most things with the traditional Corsa except the engine, and the interior is pretty much identical. The Corsa-e comes with lots of kit; every model gives you a 7-inch touchscreen with sat nav and smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth and lane-departure warning. You can download an app on your smartphone to set the interior temperature or to set the car to charge at a particular time – charge it overnight when electricity can be less costly, and you could save money.

The Corsa-e has an official 209-mile range, which is more than rivals such as the Mini Electric or Honda e, and if you use a rapid charger you can get to 80% in 30 minutes – great if you need a quick top-up on the go.

4. Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe has been around since 2013, so there are lots of used models to choose from. It’s very practical for such a small car, with an impressive amount of room for adults and a generous boot. The steering is light and the acceleration is quick, so the Zoe’s a great car for nipping in and out of traffic.

The latest model – sold new from 2019 (pictured) – looks very similar to the previous version on the outside but it has a more high-tech interior that includes a large touchscreen infotainment system. If you rely on your smartphone for everything, post-2019 models give you Android Auto, but if you’re loyal to your iPhone then you’ll need a 2020 model or newer to get Apple CarPlay.
Zoe models sold from 2013 to 2016 have a 22kW battery. Those sold from 2016 to the end of 2019 have a 22kW battery, which increased the official maximum range to 186 miles. The latest, post-2020 Zoe has a larger battery and a maximum official range of up to 245 miles, which is much better than many other small electric cars.

5. MG ZS EV

If you’re after an electric SUV then the MG ZS EV is a great option. It gives you the rugged design and higher driving position that SUV buyers love, yet it’s inexpensive to buy and compact enough to be easy to park.

The ZS EV might cost less than many rival cars but you get lots of equipment for your money. Top trims come with synthetic leather upholstery and electrically adjustable seats, while even on the lowest trim level you get lots of tech including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors and lane-keeping assist. The MG badge glows green when the car is charging, which is a fun extra detail.

It’s well-suited to childcare duty because there’s loads of room in the front and back seats, and the boot is huge compared with many of the ZS EV’s electric rivals. Maximum battery range for pre-2022 ZS EVs is a reasonable 163 miles; the latest version (pictured) has a bigger battery and refreshed design, as well as a maximum range of 273 miles.

Top five affordable new electric cars

1. Mazda MX-30

Sporty-looking, with a sloping coupe-like rear window, the Mazda MX-30 has rear-hinged doors that open backwards, letting you make a grand entrance wherever you’re going.

Its unremarkable official battery range of 124 miles means that it’s best suited to those that don’t do lots of long motorway trips, but the pay-off for having a smaller battery than many rival cars is that you can charge it from 20-80% in just 36 minutes (using a rapid charger).

It’s comfortable to drive and the boot is nice and big, with plenty of space for bags, hampers, muddy wellies and your pooch. The interior design is a real highlight, with a simple, stylish look, and it uses sustainable materials such as recycled plastic and cork trim. Considering how affordable it is, the MX-30 is jammed full of tech; there’s a touchscreen to operate the climate control as well as a larger screen for infotainment. It also comes with rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity.

2. VW ID.3

Finding a family car with electric power is much easier these days than it used to be, and the Volkswagen ID.3 is a great example of a cost-effective runaround that all the family can use comfortably.

The ID.3 has three battery sizes to choose from and even the smallest has a very decent official range of 217 miles. The largest has a huge range of 336 miles, which is more than some Tesla Model 3s. It’s really comfortable on motorway journeys and the number of standard safety features is very generous, even on less expensive models.
Headroom in the back is good, you can seat three adults without being too squished and there’s a fraction more boot space than you get in a Volkswagen Golf, even though the ID.3 is a slightly shorter car overall.
The interior features a minimalist dashboard, with a 10-inch touchscreen. All the buttons on the steering wheel are touch-sensitive, which can be handy when you’re concentrating on driving. You also get very useful USB-C ports for recharging devices and a wireless charging pad for smartphones. For all the family’s odds and ends, it has huge door bins and several central storage compartments.

3. Fiat 500 Electric

If you want a stylish, small electric car with a great battery range, then the Fiat 500 Electric is certainly one to consider.

The 500 Electric has loads of retro appeal and is a breeze to drive around the city. Its small size makes it easy to park and manoeuvre in traffic. The official maximum range is 199 miles, which is decent for a small electric car and a lot more than the similar-size Mini Electric.

You can choose from several trim levels, and in addition to the regular hatchback model there’s also the convertible 500 Electric with a folding fabric roof. There’s even a rose-gold paintwork option if you want something particularly fancy. The interior has several storage compartments, which is handy because the boot is on the small side.

4. Peugeot e-208

For city dwellers and first-time drivers, the Peugeot e-208 is a great car to help you make the switch to electric. It looks like the petrol and diesel version and it’s just as practical – the e-208’s boot is big enough for your sports kit and your shopping and there’s also lots of room in the front. The back is definitely best for kids but adults should be fine on shorter trips.

The interior is well equipped for a small family car, with a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen and wireless phone charging on all but the lowest trim. There are four trims to choose from, topped by the GT version, which comes with sporty design details and a reversing camera. The e-208 gives you an easy, relaxing drive and a great official battery range of 217 miles.

5. Vauxhall Mokka-e

Affordable small electric SUVs are rarely as much fun as the Vauxhall Mokka-e. The styling stands out from the crowd and you can choose from some very bright neon colours if you’re feeling particularly brave.

Its 310-litre boot is decent if not huge – bigger than in the Vauxhall Corsa-e hatchback – and it can hold a few bags for a weekend away. Legroom and headroom in the back is good despite the sloping roof.
The Mokka-e is quiet around town and on the motorway, and an official range of 209 miles per battery charge should keep you going without frequent top-ups. You can charge the battery to 80% capacity in 35 minutes using a 100kW rapid charger, so if you do need extra juice you won’t have to wait around for long.

There are lots of high-quality electric cars for sale at Cazoo. You can also get a new or used car with a Cazoo subscription. For a flat monthly payment you get a new car, insurance, maintenance, servicing and tax included.

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