Cheapest electric cars: top used and new EVs 2023

Cheapest electric cars: top used and new EVs 2023
With new petrol and diesel car sales set to be banned from 2030 you could be ahead of the low-emission curve by purchasing your first electric vehicle (EV) today.

Our buyer’s guide runs through some of the most affordable electric cars on the market and some considerations to help you make the right decision.

Top 12 cheap electric cars

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf helped kickstart the mass production of electric cars and showed that batteries alone could power larger family-sized vehicles. 

While you can pick up the earliest model of a Leaf at a great price, you may find their range a little limited, especially as parts degrade. 

However, models from 2016 onwards can reach 120 miles on a full charge which should be enough for most UK drivers. 

Price: £9,000 for a second-hand model

Read our Nissan Leaf review.

Smart EQ ForTwo

The EQ was perfectly suited for an all battery makeover and in 2009 Smart did just that. It's a nifty, lightweight run around built for the city with a range of 84 miles.

If the two-seater model seems a bit… intimate, the five door ForFour model provides extra seats to allow you to carry more passengers.

The accompanying “smart control” app lets you monitor battery level from your phone while a powerful 22kW on-board charger, in later models, allows for an 80% charge in less than 40 minutes.

Price: £14,000 for a second-hand model

Read our Smart EQ ForTwo review.

Volkswagen e-Up!

The e-Up! is the perfect city car, a swift run-around for drivers who tend to make shorter trips.

Batteries are neatly stored under seats to save interior space and the rapid-charging facility means you’ll be running at 80% capacity within 30 minutes.

Be warned, the earliest models only cover around 66 miles, so it's targeted squarely at urban drivers. 

Price: £12,500 for a second-hand model

Read our Volkswagen e-Up! review.

Renault Zoe

Thanks to an upgraded battery, the Renault Zoe covers around 197 miles on a full charge. 

The souped-up supermini packs a lot into a small package, with enough room for child passengers in the back seats and a surprisingly spacious boot. 

A full charge could take around one hour and five minutes from flat, using a rapid charger.

Price: £15,000 for a second-hand model

Read our Renault Zoe review.

Kia Soul EV

The Kia Soul EV first left showrooms in 2015 and years later there are plenty of second-hand models available to pick up at an affordable price.

The Soul can cover up to 280 miles on a single charge using its 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.

It's a great family car that stands out from the competition thanks to its bold design.

Price: £8,000 for a second-hand model

Read our Kia Soul EV review.

Seat Mii Electric

The Spanish manufacturers have done away with combustion-powered versions of its Mii city car to make way for an all-electric future.

Latest models of the agile all-rounder boast a 160-mile range and use clever Brake Energy Regeneration technology to help you go the distance.

Price: £19,500 for a second-hand model

Read our Seat Mii Electric review.

Hyundai IONIQ Electric

The IONIQ gives the Nissan Leaf and other hatchbacks in its field a run for their money thanks to its impressive 193-mile range.

Pre-2019 models can still cover a respectable 117 miles without the need to charge too. 

If you regularly hit the road for longer trips, you’ll be happy to hear that the battery can be charged to 80% in just 30 minutes. 

Expect to pay: £20,000 for a second-hand model

Read our Hyundai IONIQ review.

BMW i3

It may not be quite as affordable as the previous EVs on our list, but when you consider the savings of buying a used BMW i3 compared with a new model (on the road from £38,785), the price tag doesn’t seem so steep. 

This is a fun car with excellent ConnectedDrive services neatly packaged in a bold, futuristic design.

We recommend looking for 2016 models and onwards for the improved battery capacity.

Expect to pay: £20,500 for a second-hand model

Read our BMW i3 review.

Volkswagen e-Golf

The e-Golf is an electric iteration of a traditional combustion engine car. 

It combines the Golf’s light steering and sharp looks with the economic benefit of a battery electric vehicle.

Entertainment in the electric-powered family hatchback can be controlled from the handy Volkswagen ‘Car-Net’ app.

Price: £20,500 for a second-hand model

Read our Volkswagen e-Golf review.

Vauxhall Corsa-e

The Vauxhall Corsa-e could play a key part in making supermini EVs accessible for all. 

Equivalent models may cover a greater range, but this car is bound to reach a wider audience with its state-of-the-art tech and reasonable pricing. 

Whilst other compact EVs like the Renault ZOE and the BMW i3 will take you a little further on a single charge, this is pretty much state of the art in terms of full-electric small cars.

Price: £22,500 for a second-hand model

Read our full Vauxhall Corsa-e review.

MINI Electric

MINI claims their all electric vehicle will cover 145 miles on a full charge. But that shouldn’t be a problem when using a fast charger, as a DC 50KW point will charge from empty to 80% in just 35 minutes.

In-car extras across all three trims include a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and a map system to show public charging stations.

Price: £23,500 for a second-hand model

Read our full MINI Electric review.

Peugeot e-208

If you’re looking for a zero-emission supermini, the Peugeot e208 is a great option and comes with monthly finance options that make a brand-new model surprisingly affordable. 

With snappy good looks and the ability to cover 217 miles between charging it makes for the perfect first electric car. 

Price: £23,000 for a second-hand model

Read our Peugeot e-208 review here.

EVs to look out for in 2023

The RAC has also highlighted some of the new electric vehicles that will be hitting forecourts across the UK this year and beyond.

What new EVs have just been released?

In the first two months of the year, German manufactures BMW and Mercedes, along with Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis have revealed their latest electric models.

BMW i4

As the first all-electric Gran Coupé, the BMW i4 combines performance with innovative modern comforts. Equipped with fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology, the BMW i4 M50 delivers up to 544hp, while the BMW i4 eDrive40 offers up to 365 miles in range.

Mercedes-AMG EQS 53

The EQS 53 is the performance division’s first all-electric series production car, and offers 648bhp with a range of up to 358 miles. Two versions of the model have been releases – Night and Touring – but both contain an augmented reality display, 360-degree camera and a lot more new technology.

Genesis Electrified G80

The luxury sedan is the first EV model from Genesis, and is capable of range of more than 300 miles with 365bhp. With a 0-60mph time of 4.9 seconds, Genesis describe the vehicle as a ‘powerful’ yet ‘smooth and stable driving experience’.

What will be see for the rest of the year?

Tesla Model Y

The latest addition to Tesla’s range of EVs, the Model Y offers a range of 331 miles with is all-wheel drive dual motor car. This five-seater vehicle boasts more than 2,100 litres of cargo space, as well as offering new ultra-responsive technology enabling the vehicle to work perfectly in any weather conditions.

Volkswagen ID 5

This new EV SUV is scheduled for release later this month, with prices starting around £50,500. The ID 5 comes with a 77kWh unit, that creates a range of up to 313 miles – and it can charge up to 80% of its battery in less than 30 minutes with a rapid charger.

Volvo C40 Recharge

The C40 Recharge is Volvo’s first pure electric crossover vehicle, that offers a 275 mile range and a fast charge option that can reach 80% in 37 minutes. Like many of its competitors, it offers the latest innovations including 360-degree camera, an advanced air purifier and built-in Google.

Citroen Ami

This urban alternative provides a range of 43 miles and a top speed of 28mph – making it perfect for city living. The Amu ultra-compact length of 2.41m and a turning circle of 7.2m provides a small, eco-friendly vehicle for the modern world.

Porsche Taycan GTS

The latest addition to the Taycan range, the GTS model uses a 93.4 kWh performance battery, which has a range of up to 313 miles – and with its 290 kWh DC rapid charging, the Tcan GTS can go from 5-80% charge in 22.5 minutes. The GTS model also provides 590bhp and a 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds.

Dacia Spring EV

Although not 100% confirmed, Dacia’s first electric car is scheduled for release later this year in the UK. The four-seater, 44bhp Spring EV will provide a range of 140 miles. Pricing is rumoured to be around £10-11,000, offering UK drivers a cheaper alternative to other manufactures for a new EV.

Lotus Evija

The British supercar makers new all-electric vehicle produces an incredible 1972bhp, creating a top speed of more than 200mph. Lotus claim the car has a target range of up to 215 miles from its 70 kWh battery pack. This is the latest development from the Norfolk-based company to electrify some of its range.

Nissan Ariya

The Japanese manufacturer’s latest electric crossover SUV launched in the second half of 2022, and comes with a range of up to 310 miles. However, with rapid charging it can reach a range of 186 in just 30 minutes. The Ariya has four different models ranging from 63kWh battery up to its 87kWh performance model.

RAC Breakdown Cover

Join the RAC and get breakdown cover. Our patrols fix 4 out of 5 vehicles on the spot, with repairs done in just 30 minutes on average.

RAC Breakdown Cover
RAC Breakdown Cover