From small EVs to electric SUVs there’s now a used electric car with a price and range to suit most drivers
A quick look around you will confirm that electric cars are now part of the motoring mainstream.
Sales of EVs have soared - up 88% so far this year compared with 2021 - as a combination of carrot and stick persuades buyers to move from petrol or diesel to all-electric power.
Many of the cars on our list lack the big batteries and impressive range of the newest models but they are all still a great way to make the switch to all-electric motoring, whatever type of car you need.
1. BMW i3 - From £13,500
Recently discontinued, the i3 was a trailblazer when it was launched in 2013 and even now its sharp design, carbon fibre construction and premium eco-friendly interior feel modern. Most i3s come with a 168bhp motor, although the i3 S ups that to 181bhp for even more sprightly performance. Early models came with a relatively small 22kWh battery, good for 120 miles when it was new. Later versions got a 33kWh unit that increased range to 160 and a 42kWh option was added in 2018, taking the theoretical maximum up to 193 miles. For those worried about the relatively short range, there’s also a range-extender version that uses a tiny petrol engine as a generator for the battery and adds around 80 miles of range.
2. Nissan Leaf - From £4,700)
The Leaf is the granddaddy of mainstream electric cars, offering a regular family hatchback with electric power. With the earliest examples now 11 years old, you can pick one up for less than £5,000. These older cars, however, had small batteries to begin with (around 80 miles of real-world range) and are likely to have lost a fair bit of that by now, so are better suited as a second car or local runaround. Later first-gen cars got a 30kWh battery for improved range but if you can afford it, the second-generation model was a big improvement inside and out and brought bigger battery options for between 168 and 239 miles.
3. Renault Zoe - From £7,000
The Zoe is another long-termer in the EV market, where battery size, range and equipment have improved with age. At heart it’s a nippy little supermini with decent performance and, in later guise, a good range. A developing range of battery and motor combinations in the first-gen car offered between 93 and 150 miles. Second-generation models got new motor and battery options that offered between 238 and 245 miles on a charge. Just be aware that many first-gen and some early second-gen cars were sold with a battery lease deal, which keeps purchase costs down but leaves drivers paying a monthly fee to Renault.
4. Hyundai Ioniq - From £18,000
Not to be confused with the more recent Ioniq 5, the original Ioniq was unusual in that you could buy it as a full hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure EV. A sensible and well equipped family hatchback with a decent range, it’s now a fairly affordable and practical choice for those looking to make the EV switch. Early cars with the smaller 28kWh battery had a claimed range of 174 miles, while a 2019 facelift added more equipment and a 38kWh battery good for a claimed 193 miles.