At a glance:

  • With huge advancements in EV technology over the last decade, even the smallest electric cars can still deliver considerable performance
  • With most car manufacturers now manufacturing compact electric vehicles, there’s a wide selection of models to choose from, new or used
  • The MINI Electric provides all the personality and features of the classic Cooper but with a more economical and climate-friendly package
  • The Honda e isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd, combining quirky, retro design with a heap of high-tech equipment as standard


The electric car scene is growing daily, with more and more manufacturers throwing their hats into the EV ring. With increased competition comes better options, meaning an ever-growing range of compact, powerful and affordable electric cars are now available. Here’s our roundup of the best small electric cars on the market today, selected by our in-house experts. 

Our top tips for buying a small electric car

Whether you’re a first-time driver, making your first venture into the EV scene, or even just looking for some expert advice to make the most informed choice possible while scouting for your new electric car; here at Motors, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our top tips and things you should look out for when buying a small electric car: 

Range: When buying an electric car, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. While you might say that more range is better than less, consider your personal needs. If you’re only using your electric car to do the school run, you’re unlikely to need an EV which could take you to Timbuktu and back on a single charge.

Size: Although here at Motors, we understand that while performance and style in a vehicle are important, they don’t count for much if it’s too small to fit everyone in. That’s why we recommend you consider the size of the car and whether it’s suitable for your lifestyle. The Smart ForTwo is an excellent vehicle for getting about in tight squeezes but probably isn’t the best pick if you’re the owner of a pack of Great Danes.

Battery Health and Warranty: When selecting an electric vehicle, it’s essential to know the condition of the vehicle before purchasing it. Given that EV batteries naturally degrade over time, checking the health of yours is highly recommended to avoid any dramas later down the line. Many electric car manufacturers offer longer warranties on their vehicles than on traditional models, so it’s a good idea to check if yours still qualifies.

What are the best small electric cars?

1. The top 10 best small electric cars: Volkswagen ID.3

Having been described as the spiritual successor to the iconic VW Golf, the ID.3 provides everything you’d expect from its predecessor, in addition to a wealth of modern technology and battery options.

Offering a range of up to 340 miles, powered by batteries scaling up to 77kWh, the ID.3 allows generous customisation options at varying price points to suit your personal needs.

Charging from 20-80% in just 30 minutes using a rapid charger and in 12 hours to full using a home wallbox, the Volkswagen ID.3 is an ideal all-rounder and a leader in its class. 

Best Features

Volkswagen ID.3 key features

  • Next in line to the Golf and Beetle as Volkswagen’s most iconic vehicles
  • Available with several battery sizes, providing a range of price points
  • Features some of Volkswagen’s latest technology and equipment
  • Similar in size to a Golf, making it very manageable and easy to park

2. The top 10 best small electric cars: Renault Zoe

A strong contender for budget-minded drivers, the Renault Zoe offers a reliable and satisfying drive while still coming in at an affordable price point.

With an extensive range of second-hand options currently on the market, you can be sure to find a model that meets your budget and performance requirements. With a respectable range of up to 238 miles on a single charge, powered with a 52kWh battery, you’ve no need to worry about getting stuck miles from a charger.

With a brief one-hour charging time from 0-80% with a rapid charger and seven hours and 45 minutes with a home wall box, this charming three-door city car comfortably earns its place on this list. 

Best Features

Renault Zoe key features

  • Having been on sale for a number of years, there are plenty of used options available
  • Extremely small, so ideal for  city dwellers or those commuting into busy areas
  • Earlier models have a much smaller range but represent good value
  • Earlier models offered a battery leasing service – check if yours qualifies

3. The top 10 best small electric cars: MINI Electric

Perhaps one of the most recognisable cars of all time, the MINI needs no introduction. Yet, while appearing almost identical to the original, the Electric presents a modern and eco-friendly refresh to the formula without sacrificing any of the useful equipment and character you’d expect from its older brother.

This three-door hatchback, while not a leader in performance, offers a fair range of up to 141 miles on a single charge, using its middle of the pack 32.6kWh battery. Its ability to charge from 0-80% in just 36 minutes and three hours 12 minutes using a home wall box more than makes up for what it lacks in range, providing drivers with a comfortable, familiar MINI experience, only with a smaller, more climate-conscious footprint. 

Best Features

MINI Electric key features

  • All the fun and character of the original, with a smaller carbon footprint
  • Its small battery means a smaller range but super fast charge times
  • The electric model sets itself apart from the original with its striking yellow badges
  • Only a three-door hatch, not the larger five-door available with petrol models

4. The top 10 best small electric cars: Smart Fortwo

The indisputable marmite of the car scene, you’ll either love the ForTwo for its quirky, compact design and ease of use, or you’ll dislike it for its short range and lack of storage options. Indeed, the appeal of Smart ForTwo depends entirely on the person behind the wheel. Are you a lover of long drives in the country with the whole family? You should probably keep scrolling.

But if you’re an inner-city driver or someone seeking only to make brief commutes, this eye-catching and agile two-door electric vehicle could be exactly the runaround you’re looking for.

The ForTwos’ small 17.6kWh battery, charging to full in three hours using a wall box, unapologetically offers only 80 miles of range, not attempting to be anything more than what it is: a small, sleek and sustainable city car which can fit just about anywhere you’d need it to.

Best Features

Smart Fortwo key features

  • The ForTwo is tiny, allowing it to fit into the tightest of spaces
  • It only offers seating for two, better suiting solo drivers or couples
  • It cannot be rapid charged, only powered via a 7kW wall box
  • Its shorter range means it’s a good option for urban or city drivers

5. The top 10 best small electric cars: Honda e

Not afraid to stand out from the crowd, the Honda e wears its quirks on its sleeve. With the reliability and versatility you’d expect from a Honda, paired with a generous helping of high-tech internals, this bold and unique electric car delivers a whole lot within its compact frame.  

Boasting a range of 125 miles with its 35.5kWh battery, the attention-grabbing two door is tailored for urban life. Its light and nimble body make manoeuvring a breeze while still offering room for four adults, making economical use of its internal space.

With a rapid charging time of 31 minutes from 0-80%, and in four hours using a home wall box, the Honda e offers everything you’d need for inner city escapades. 

Best Features

Honda e key features

  • Packed with internal technology, including an ultra-wide main screen
  • U-turns are a breeze with its super tight turning circle
  • Its relatively small range makes it better suited to shorter commutes and city drives
  • Provides a standard three-pin plug, allowing you to power whatever you like

6. The top 10 best small electric cars: Kia Soul EV

For drivers who are perhaps a little apprehensive when it comes to buying their first electric car, the Kia Soul EV provides a familiar take on a traditional hatchback, offering everything you’d expect from a five-door of this size.

Touting plenty of interior space and robust design, the Kia Soul EV delivers an excellent driving experience, further improved by its exceptionally low running costs, great if you’re looking to save money. 

With a considerable range of up to 280 miles on a single charge, powered by a 64kWh battery, the KIA soul still maintains a super fast 30-minute recharge rate from 0-80% using a rapid charger and in nine hours to full using a home wall box. Ideal for first-time electric car owners, the KIA Soul EV offers a familiar and approaching offering in a compact frame.

Best Features

Kia Soul EV key features

  • A great first electric car, feeling very similar to a ‘normal’ car both inside and out
  • Latest models bring an excellent range and quick charging speed
  • Earlier models are still very practical and offer respectable range
  • Kia offers a seven-year transferable warranty, so be sure to check if yours qualifies

7. The top 10 best small electric cars: Peugeot e-208

One of our star picks in the EV market today, the Peugeot e-208 puts many of its more expensive and larger competitors to shame, touting a considerable max range of up to 225 miles on a single charge, powered by its 50kWh battery, all within its petite and unassuming frame.  

This discreet yet powerful four-door hatchback provides more than meets the eye, providing impressive stats and a range of internal equipment as standard, made only better with a lightning-fast 30-minute recharge time from 10-80% using a rapid charger and 7.5 hours using a home wall box. With numerous options available, providing for a range of budgets, it’s no surprise the Peugeot e-208 is one of the most popular small electric cars around.

Best Features

Peugeot e-208 key features

  • The e-208 is Peugeot’s smallest electric vehicle
  • Offers considerably more range than many other more expensive models
  • All cars ship with plenty of equipment – sat-nav and air-con come as standard
  •  You’ll find plenty of used options available on the market

8. The top 10 best small electric cars: BMW i3

Although having been on the market for some time, the BMW i3 still manages to maintain its reputation of being a forward-facing ‘car of the future’. Its sleek, modern design paired with the robust build quality you’d expect from a BMW makes the i3 a formidable presence on the road, despite its smaller frame. 

A 42.2kWh battery enables the four-door city car to travel up to 192 miles on a single charge, with a fair recharge rate of 42 minutes from 0-80% using a rapid charger and 4.9 hours using a home wall box. Surprisingly spacious and refreshingly user-friendly: the BMW i3 makes for a pleasurable and memorable EV experience. 

Best Features

BMW i3 key features

  • Has been on sale for several years, with plenty of used options available
  • Some offer a ‘range extending’ petrol engine if you’re not looking to go fully electric
  • The newer, sportier i3S model provides more equipment and revised suspension
  • Its rear-hinged back doors provide easier access to its interior

9. The top 10 best small electric cars: Nissan Leaf

While we often aim to move against the crowd, in the case of the mega-popular Nissan Leaf; sometimes it’s best to listen to the people.

The five-door hatchback has a wide variety of specifications and personalisation options, with a considerable number of affordable used options on the market, making it an ideal, budget-friendly choice for those hesitant to join the EV market due to their larger price tags. 

With a range of up to 239 miles, a 62kWh battery size, and a reasonable recharge speed of 50 minutes from 0-80% using a fast charger and seven hours using a home wall box, the Nissan Leaf’s stats aren’t going to win any awards. Although not leading in any single category, it delivers as an excellent all-rounder. With spacious interiors, a sleek and modern design and a range of specifications, the Leaf earns its place as one of the most popular EVs of all time. 

Best Features

Nissan Leaf key features

  • One of the most popular EVs around, with used options at a range of price points
  • Newer models provide decent range while maintaining speedy charge times
  • Its Hatchback style means that the Leaf offers plenty of headroom and interior space
  • Its moderate size and built-in reversing camera make parking a breeze

10. The top 10 best small electric cars: Volkswagen e-up!

With the original Volkswagen Up! already providing an excellent offering in its own right, its eco-conscious counterpart: the e-Up! delivers the same ease of use and functionality as the original but takes it one step further with added efficiency and a light, straightforward driving experience. 

Sporting a decent range of 159 miles with a 32.3kWh battery, the e-Up! makes for a perfect urban vehicle, aided by its snappy, responsive steering and stylish design. A charging speed of 0-80% in one hour using a fast charger and 4 hours using a home wall box sets it firmly in the middle of the range. While arguably not the most powerful EV, the e-Up! is a well-designed, affordable and eco-friendly compact electric car that will get you there and back reliably and in style. 

Best Features

 Volkswagen e-up! key features

  • The e-up! is essentially an electric version of the very popular up! city car
  • While compact, the e-up! retains plenty of interior space with ample headroom
  • Its small battery means that the e-up! charges in no time
  • The e-UP!’s light and responsive steering make it ideal for urban driving

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