At a glance

  • Electric cars have exploded in popularity in recent years, producing a wealth of budget-friendly options
  • This list will help you to find an electric car that fits both your personal needs and style
  • The Peugeot e-208 is one of our top picks of the year, offering great features at an affordable price
  • The Smart ForTwo is an ideal choice for inner city living, packing a lot of smart features into its compact frame


Whether you’re buying your first electric car or are looking to upgrade your driveway with a new eco-friendly run-about, purchasing any new or used car can often be difficult to navigate without the right directions. Here is our expert-informed guide to finding the best and cheapest electric cars of 2023.

Our top tips for buying an affordable electric car

Before buying your electric car, think about what your personal needs are. Are you an inner-city professional looking for something compact and nimble to get you there and back in a flash? Or are you a fan of taking the scenic route, needing a vehicle with the range to ferry you and the family off on far-flung adventures? Here are some vital things to consider while finding the perfect fit for you: 

  • Range and charging time – As these can vary from vehicle to vehicle, it’s important to know how far you need your electric car to travel on a single charge, as well as the time it takes to recharge, to avoid getting stuck in a pinch.
  • Vehicle size – Whether you’re zooming about on solo escapades or bringing the whole family along, choosing a vehicle that’s the right size for your lifestyle is essential. 
  • Battery Health and Warranty When buying a used electric vehicle, it’s crucial to check the battery’s health, as they naturally degrade over time. It’s just as important to check the vehicle’s factory warranty. Most electric vehicle providers offer longer warranties than traditional vehicles, but it’s always best to be sure you’re covered. 

What are the cheapest electric cars of 2023?

1. Renault Zoe

A compact and nimble electric vehicle, great for inner-city travel, the Renault Zoe is a choice pick to whisk you through busy urban streets. With a respectable range of up to 238 miles on a single charge, there’s little need to worry about being stuck miles from a charger on longer journeys.

The Zoe comes equipped with a 52kWh battery, recharging from 0-80% in 1 hour and 5 minutes using a rapid charger or 7 hours and 43 minutes using a home wall box. The Zoe can come equipped with a smaller battery at a reduced cost or with added DC rapid charging, which increases the price. Having been on sale for a number of years, there are plenty of used examples for a variety of budgets, with used models currently costing between £12,490-£27,994. 

Best Features

  • One of the smallest EVs around, the Zoe is a perfect choice for inner-city drivers
  • Early vehicles came with a battery leasing scheme, which may apply to your model
  • Built of stylish and durable plastic inside, older models look better for longer
  • Its light and nimble handling allow the Zoe to nip in and out of traffic with ease

2. Citroen Ami

As one of the more unique electric vehicles on this list, the Citroen Ami won’t be to everyone’s taste. However, this quirky and compact quadricycle could be the ideal transport option for inner-city living. While its top speed of 27mph prevents it from travelling on dual carriageways or other faster roads, this eye-catching two-seater makes up for it with its other handy features.

With used models going for around £XXX, the Ami could be an affordable alternative depending on your transport needs. The Amis’ 5.5kWh battery provides a 46-mile range, able to charge to full in just 3 hours, placing it in a category of its own on this list. Although not suitable for everyone, if you’re seeking a vehicle that can get you through tight city squeezes without also squeezing your wallet, this could be just the right fit for your needs.

Best Features

  • Cost-effective, yet challenging to find used models as it is relatively new
  • Unsuitable for dual carriageways or faster roads due to 27 mph top speed.
  • While sporting only two seats, the Ami instead offers smart internal storage options.
  • The cabin can become quite cold, so be sure to wrap up warm. 

3. Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is one of the more popular electric cars on the scene right now, which isn’t surprising considering its practicality and spacious interiors. As the Leaf has been around for some time, there are a number of older used models available on the market that provide excellent value for money. 

The Nissan Leaf comes with a 239-mile range, powered by a 62kWh battery. Using a rapid charger, the Leaf powers up from 0-80% in just 50 minutes and in seven hours using a home wall box. Used models sell within a very economical range of between £13,870-£37,784. While older models may go for less, newer models provide more range, faster recharge times and more equipment, so if you’re looking for greater reliability, this is the way to go.

Best Features

  • Regardless of model, all Leaf vehicles are practical and spacious
  • Earlier models have reduced range, yet provide better value over shorter journeys
  • Different models have different cables and connectors, so be sure to check before buying
  • Still being sold new, the Leaf has plenty of dealer support if you require assistance

4. Smart ForTwo

If you’re willing to sacrifice space for striking design and a compact body, then the Smart ForTwo could be your ideal city electric car. As a Smart car, parking should forever be a walk in the park, with the ForTwo able to easily fit into the tightest of spaces.

With an 80-mile range, powered by a 17.6kWh battery, don’t expect to get particularly far in this EV. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice range for ease of use and affordability, this could be the perfect car for your average city slicker. Due to its small battery, the ForTwo charges to full in just three hours, allowing you to get back on the road in no time. Used models sell for between £13.998- £22,000, making it one of the most budget friendly options on this list.

Best Features

  • Extremely compact, with a tiny interior
  • Lower running costs at the sacrifice of range and space
  • Easily parks in the smallest of spaces
  • Its small battery allows for rapid charging times

5. Peugeot e-208

The Peugeot e-208 offers excellent value for money and an impressive range, resulting in a versatile electric car that beats many of the more expensive competitors in the space. With its robust build quality and a decently-sized 50kWh battery, no matter the model, this EV ticks boxes in all the right places. 

Able to travel 225 miles on a single charge, with a superfast 30-minute recharge time from 0-80% using a fast charger and a 7.5-hour home wall box charge to full, used models are available for around £20,200 – £29,500, providing plenty of options for all budgets.

Best Features

  • Superb budget option, offering considerable range while remaining relatively low cost
  • Even base trim models come with air conditioning and a large central screen
  • Sturdy build quality, meaning older models retain their appearance for longer
  • Rapid charge time, letting you get back on the road faster

6. Seat Mii Electric

For drivers hoping to shave down their fuel usage and reduce their costs over shorter trips, the Seat Mii Electric is a strong contender. With a middle-of-the-pack range of 159 miles on a single charge, powered by a 32.3kWh battery, this electric vehicle isn’t likely to turn many heads. However, what it lacks in flash, it makes up for with its speedy recharge times of one hour using a fast charger and four hours using a home wall box. 

There are a fair number of used options on the market, selling within the range of £19,580-£22,698. With varying trims and engine sizes affecting the price, there are many choices out there to suit a range of budgets. 

Best Features

  • It shares the same underneath as the Volkswagen e-UP!, but with more attractive styling
  • Hard-wearing interior and striking appearance
  • No built-in sat-nav, instead providing a standard fit holder for your smartphone
  • A four-seater with plenty of headroom, making it an excellent choice for taller passengers

7. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

If you’re looking for an electric car that acts as a great budget all-rounder while also sporting several handy quality-of-life features, such as a built-in sat nav and air-conditioning as standard, then the Hyundai Ioniq Electric could be just what you’re after. 

With a range of 193 miles, made possible with a 38.3kWh battery, the Ioniq doesn’t lead the pack in any category but instead provides a versatile, reliable choice for drivers seeking practicality and spacious interiors. The Ioniq can recharge from 0-80% in 57 minutes using a rapid charger and in six hours using a home wall box. Used models sell for between £21,195-£39,870, depending on specifications which vary depending on the model.

Best Features

  • A lot like a ‘normal’ car, with plenty of interior and boot space
  • It comes fitted with plenty of equipment as standard, such as sat nav and air con
  • All models come with a transferable five-year warranty, so used models may be covered
  • Hyundai has a great reputation for reliability, with mechanical issues being rare

8. KIA Soul EV

One of the quirkier electric cars on this list, the Kia Soul EV unquestionably stands out from the crowd. While its bold design may draw attention, it backs it up with its spacious interiors and decent range, resulting in a versatile and dependable vehicle suitable for the whole family. 

With its 64kWh battery able to cart you up to 280 miles on a single charge, along with a superfast 30-minute 20-80% recharge time using a rapid charger and a nine hour home wall box time from empty to full, the stylish KIA Soul EV is one to watch out for. Its latest 2020 refreshed model is currently going for £32,845, while used older models sit within the range of £17,995-£35,725. 

Best Features

  • Its bold design is perfect for drivers aiming to make a statement
  • Impressive seven-year transferable warranty, with used models potentially still covered
  • Plenty of room inside, making it great for families
  • Rapid charging, along with solid range making it also suitable for long-distance drivers

9. Volkswagen e-UP!

Another excellent choice for city drivers, the compact and quick-charging Volkswagen e-UP! is a dream for shorter commutes, with its speedy recharge rate of 0-80% in one hour using a rapid charger and a four-hour home wall box time, resulting in an agile and easy-to-use electric car that makes urban driving a doddle. 

Its updated 2020 model sports a respectable range of 159 miles, powered by a 32.3kWh battery. Earlier models came with a much smaller battery, offering a real-world range of less than 100 miles, so it’s important to be aware of this when browsing used options. Used models sell within the reasonable price range of £17,491-£25,498, making it one of the most affordable picks of the year. 

Best Features

  • Compact and easy to park, ideal for urban living
  • No built-in satellite navigation, the e-UP! provides a cradle for smartphone navigation
  • Easy to drive, with intuitive controls – ideal for first time EV users
  • Smaller battery resulting in speedy charging times

10. Vauxhall Corsa-e

With their relatively recent contribution to the EV scene, Vauxhall has proven with the Corsa-e that it’s more than capable of producing dependable and reasonably priced electric cars. 

Combining its strong range of 225 miles, its 50kWh battery and numerous features such as air-conditioning and a central screen as standard, the Corsa-e packs a whole lot within its stylish and familiar body.

Even with its larger battery, the Corsa-e still boasts a superfast charging speed of 30 minutes from 0-80% using a rapid charger and 7.5 hours from empty to full using a home wall box. Used models are currently selling within the range of £20,471-£32,495. Higher-spec models can go for more, depending on which extra equipment they come equipped with.

Best Features

  • It has the same range, charging time and battery as the Peugeot e-208
  • Packed with equipment such as air-con and a central screen as standard
  • Potential savings with earlier models while still boasting an impressive range
  • Easy to control, making it great for first-time EV drivers

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