The new electric car market is changing constantly, with major brands announcing new models on a weekly basis and entire new companies arriving with EVs to sell.
In 2022 EVs overtook diesel cars to become the second-most popular drivetrain in the UK, and sales were up more than 40%. The third best-selling car over the whole year was the all-electric Tesla Model Y.
Other big-selling EVs included the likes of the BMW i4, Polestar 2, Tesla Model 3 and Audi Q4 e-tron. But with average prices of well over £40,000, they highlight the justified concerns around the price of new EVs, which are invariably more expensive than their petrol or diesel equivalent.
There is good news, however, VW is aiming to bring two new small cheap EVs to market and other car makers, including Renault and Nissan, are turning their attention to the more affordable end of the market.
There are also some relatively reasonably priced EVs already on sale, so, we’ve rounded up the current top 10 most affordable electric models on sale.
Citroen Ami - £8,095
The Ami isn’t technically a car but it is a four-wheeled EV, so we’re counting it on our list. The tiny plastic quadricycle from Citroen is aimed at urban dwellers and businesses who want zero-emissions transport with space for a passenger and luggage, plus protection from traffic and the elements. With a 28mph top speed and 46-mile range, it’s not designed for the open road but is an intriguing alternative to scooters, bicycles or public transport. Citroen Ami review
Smart ForTwo EQ - £22,225
The Mercedes-backed city car is the next closest thing to the Ami but this a proper car with a slightly more substantial feel and the ability to keep up with traffic outside the city. Nonetheless, its natural home is the urban jungle due to a 17kWh battery that offers around 80 miles of range before needing topped up.
MG4 - £26,995
MG’s new entry-level EV has really caught the attention since it arrived last year. It’s a spacious family hatchback with all the modern equipment you’d expect but for less than the price of many superminis. Entry level cars come with a 203bhp motor and 51kWh battery good for 218 miles. But even the long-range version of the SE spec, which offers up to 281 miles from a 64kWh battery, is less than £30,000. MG4 review
Fiat 500 - £28,195
Confusingly, the old Fiat 500 is still on sale in hybrid form but the electric version here is an entirely different car. It’s bigger and brings a more modern twist to the 500’s famous retro styling, as well as a more modern drivetrain. The cheapest versions come with a 94bhp electric motor and 23.8kWh battery good for a claimed 118 miles of driving. If you want the 203 miles offered by the larger battery and more powerful motor you’ll need at least another £3,000. Fiat 500 review
Nissan Leaf - £28,995
The Leaf is the granddaddy of mainstream EVs. Apart from the slightly gawky looks it’s a fairly standard family hatchback but with an all-electric drivetrain. Cheaper “standard” versions have a 148bhp motor and 40kWh battery with 168 miles of range while the E+ costs £4,450 more and gets a beefier 212bhp motor and a 59kWh battery with a 239-mile range. Both accept DC rapid charging of up to 50kW and feature Nissan’s neat e-pedal which allows for single-pedal driving.
Mini Electric - £29,000
Another compact city car to rival the Fiat 500 and the far more expensive Honda e, the Mini Electric brings all the usual appeal of the regular Mini but with a zero-emissions drivetrain. With a 182bhp motor, instant throttle response and Mini’s famously lively chassis, this EV is a hoot to drive but the 32.6kWh battery only offers around 145 miles of range. Mini electric review
Renault Zoe - £29,995
Along with the Leaf, the Zoe was among the earliest affordable electric cars and remains among the cheapest new models, even if prices have crept up. Despite offering supermini levels of interior space, the Zoe’s 52kWh battery offers “big-car” range of up to 239 miles. The latest updates mean even entry level cars get the 134bhp motor and 50kW DC charging. Renault Zoe review
MG ZS EV - £30,495
The ZS was MG’s first EV and has been slightly eclipsed by the brand’s other electric models recently. While the interior and driving experience won’t blow you away, every version is spacious and well equipped. Entry-level models come with a 51kWh battery offering around 198 miles of range while an extra £2,500 gets you a long-range model with 273 miles. MG ZS EV review
MG5 EV Long Range - £30,995
If you were in any doubt that MG is serious about this affordable EV business, the fact it has three models in this list should set you right. The MG5 has just been updated and the second generation brings improved looks, new technology and an upgraded powertrain. Still the only electric estate car besides the Porsche Taycan Tourismo, the MG5 offers room for five people and up to 1,367 litres of boot space, plus 154bhp, a 250-mile range and 150kW charging.
Mazda MX-30 Prime-Line - £31,250
The MX-30 is Mazda’s first production EV and, like so many Mazdas, has a slightly different approach than most EVs. Beneath the eye-catching rear-hinged rear doors and the cork interior panels, the compact SUV also bucks the trend for big batteries and range, offering just 124 miles from its 35.5kWh battery. The fact Mazda is about to launch a range-extended hybrid version of the MX-30 might reveal how buyers have received that “right-sized” approach to the powertrain. Mazda MX-30 review