It’s a known fact that electric cars are more expensive to buy than an equivalent petrol or diesel, with battery production and low volume manufacturing being the main reason for the steep price increase.
While you can soon recuperate the initial offset with EVs’ ultra-low running costs, the initial price tag stops many from switching to electric.
While used EVs are the most affordable way into electric car ownership, many of us would prefer something new. So if you want a factory fresh electric car, what are the most affordable models available?
All prices include the government’s £3,000 electric car grant
Smart EQ Fortwo – from £17,550
Currently the cheapest new EV you can buy today, the EQ Fortwo is the electric version of Smart’s well-known and well-loved 2-seat city car. Famed for its tiny dimensions and for being available to park in spaces where no normal car could fit, the EQ Fortwo is a brilliant urban electric car.
It’s lucky it’s so good around the city though, as this Smart’s tiny 17.6kWh battery sadly prohibits it from going much further afield – having a claimed range of just 82 miles, or less in the real world. However, if you don’t need to travel long distances and are able to charge easily, either at home or using nearby public chargers, the EQ Fortwo is an appealing option, especially with low pricing. The ability to charge at 22kW means the Smart’s battery can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in 40 minutes.
Smart EQ Forfour – from £18,035
If you like the Smart Fortwo but need more than 2 seats, the larger Forfour is worth going for, especially as it’s only around £500 more expensive. While you’ll struggle to sit adults in the back comfortably, it’s a good option for occasional use.
Smart now only produces EVs and has more than a decade of experience in making battery-powered models, so its electric models are very competent. But again, the EQ Forfour’s range lets it down – managing just 79 miles from a single charge, which is quite disappointing. Charging times remain the same as the Fortwo.
Seat Mii Electric – from £19,800
If you’re after longer trips without having to stop to charge every 5 minutes, consider spending a bit more to get the Seat Mii Electric. It’s the first EV from the Spanish manufacturer, and it shares underpinnings with the Skoda Citigo-e iV and Volkswagen e-Up!, though both of these other models are unavailable to order new (at the time of writing).
That just leaves the Seat out of this trio, which is no bad thing – with sub-£20,000 pricing, a roomier interior and 160-mile electric range, the Mii is a very accomplished small EV. You also get plenty of kit for your money, including front sports seats, cruise control and rear parking sensors. Thanks to 40kW charging capabilities, its 36.8kWh battery can be topped up to 80 per cent in an hour.
Mini Electric – from £24,900
It might be surprising that a premium brand like Mini produces one of the most affordable EVs, but the British-built Mini Electric is a very accomplished choice that’s not as expensive as you might expect.
Prices sneak in at just under £25,000, and for that you get , great performance, a high-quality interior, and the brilliant styling that Minis are renowned for. It’s also great fun to drive. There is a downside, though – this hatchback’s range is somewhat disappointing 144 miles from a single charge.
Its smaller battery and ability to charge at 50kW, though, means its battery can be charged to 80 per cent in as little as 36 minutes.
MG ZS EV – from £25,495
All these electric cars so far are small city-aimed EVs that would struggle to fit into family life. But if it’s space you’re after, consider the MG ZS EV – a compact crossover that would make a brilliant family car.
Sure, it might not have the badge appeal of other EVs, but it offers a roomy cabin and a large 448-litre boot. Its 163-mile electric range lags behind rivals like the Peugeot e-2008, but as they’re far more expensive, it’s to be expected. At £25,495, this MG is brilliant value for money – you get loads of standard kit, along with a generous 7-year warranty.
Like the Mini, this MG can charge at 50kW, meaning the battery can be charged from flat to 80 per cent in 40 minutes.