- We reveal the cheapest electric car lease deals
- All are easy to recharge and deliver low running costs
- Could one of these BEVs tempt you into going electric?
Although it's taken until the early 21st century for interest in them to build up momentum, electric cars have existed since the dawn of motoring way back in the late 1800s.
Developments in technology in recent years have significantly increased what's known as the range – the potential driving distance between recharges – meaning battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are quickly becoming viable alternatives to petrol- and diesel-engined cars for many drivers.
How can going electric save you money?
Not only do battery electric cars produce no CO2 emissions while they're being driven, meaning there’s no London Congestion Charge or VED car tax (providing they cost less than £40,000 when new) to pay, there's also a financial contribution from the government, known as the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG). Until 21 October 2018 this was worth £4,500, but since that date it's been reduced to £3,500.
Nationwide network of electric car charging stations
Recharging is becoming ever-easier with further grants available to pay for the installation of domestic wallbox units at home. These offer quicker recharges than ordinary three-pin plugs and are similar to the electric car charging stations you’ll find in public car parks, supermarkets and motorway services.
Finding them is easy, too, thanks to a number of sophisticated smartphone apps, which not only help you locate and navigate to them, they'll also advise whether they're functioning and in use.
The best cheap electric cars available to lease
We’ve saved you the trouble of running your batteries low by rounding-up the cheapest electric cars available to lease. Could one of these spark your interest enough to become your next car?
All of the deals below are 48-month PCH leasing contracts, with an £1,199 initial payment and a cap of 8,000 miles per year.
If you're looking for the cheapest electric car to lease, then look no further than the Smart Fortwo EQ Coupe. EQ took over from Electric Drive in 2018 as the BEV sub-brand for both Smart and for Mercedes-Benz, both of which are part of the larger Daimler concern.
This change also ushered in improvements to both the driveability of the electrically powered Fortwo as well as extending its range, but the pert two-seater's city-centric short length and tiny 6.95m turning circle remain intact.
We prefer the electric iteration over the petrol engines, as the 82hp and 160Nm of torque are available from a standstill, meaning this little car is extremely nippy around city roads and away from traffic lights, aided by its single-speed gearbox.
Smart claims you can get 99 miles between charges, which doesn't sound much, but it will last well if the car's primarily used around town. A depleted battery will need around six hours to charge to 80% from a normal domestic socket, or in under 40 minutes from a professionally installed wallbox.
Despite its tiny size, there's plenty of space for two large adults, plus 260 litres in the boot, too. The battery doesn’t take up room as it is hosted under the rear of the car.
Go for the entry-level Prime Premium version and you'll be looking at a monthly lease bill of £254*.
Don't despair if you need a dash of extra practicality - the four-seater Smart Forfour EQ, featuring the same electric driveline, can be leased for £275* per month.
Zen monthly lease prices from: £254*
Range: 99 miles
Domestic charge time: under 40 minutes for 80%
Boot size: 260 litres
Only slightly more money per month than the Smart above is the Kia Soul EV. Why is it such good value? Primarily because it's going to be replaced by an all-new third-generation model during 2019 that will only be sold in the UK in electric form.
That doesn't mean you should overlook the outgoing model, though.
It's set apart from petrol- and diesel-engined Souls courtesy of a re-profiled nose section, EV-specific alloy wheels, and an interior fitted-out with white and pale grey materials instead of the usual jet black - it all helps give the electric Soul its own identity.
There’s less boot space and rear legroom than in the regular Kia Soul as the batteries are housed at the back - it's a compromise as the Mk2 Soul wasn't designed from the outside to be a BEV. They provide a reasonable 132-mile range - indicating how far battery technology has moved-on since the Soul's launch - but will take over 10 hours to recharge on a normal domestic mains set-up.
Like the others in this quintet, the Kia Soul EV is a doddle to drive smoothly, making especially light work of the trudge of urban driving. Once again braking energy is recovered and stored as electricity in the battery pack. Order one though Zen Leasing and you'll pay just £257* per month.
Zen monthly lease prices from: £257*
Range: 132 miles
Domestic charge time: 10-14 hours
Boot size: 281 litres
All is not quite as it seems with the Peugeot Ion, principally because it’s not really a Peugeot at all – it’s a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV - a model long-since discontinued - and complicating matters further is that it's also sold as the Citroen C-Zero.
Compared with newer electric cars, it’s clear to see how technology has moved on with a range of just 93 miles claimed by Peugeot, although it’ll only take seven hours to fully recharge its modest battery pack.
There’s space inside the Ion for four, but the narrow bodywork makes it a tad cosy as well as making it feel less stable to drive than the more polished Renault Zoe.
It is significantly cheaper than its French-branded rival: if you fancy leasing a Peugeot Ion you'll be looking at a monthly fee of £301* - it's not the greatest value package, but if exclusivity is your thing then you might consider it a small premium to pay alongside the £354* required for a Zoe each month.
Zen monthly lease prices from: £301*
Range: 93 miles
Domestic charge time: 7 hours
Boot size: 166 litres
Sharing its underpinnings with the Kia Niro, the Ioniq bears more than a passing resemblence to the Toyota Prius, but unlike its Japanese rival, the Hyundai is available in self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and fully electric forms.
While the driving experience won't thrill enthusiasts, it handles neatly and progress on the electric version is deftly smooth courtesy of its 120hp/295Nm motor.
It's longer than its direct rivals - the e-Golf and Leaf - ensuring that cabin space isn't compromised by the battery packs nestled under the seats, while boot space is reasonable at 350 litres.
Plus, being a Hyundai, it's got a bulletproof reliability record reinforced by the brand's five-year warranty.
Fancy leasing one through Zen? You're looking at a £327* monthly bill for the entry-level - but still well-equipped - Premium version.
Zen monthly lease prices from: £327*
Range: 174 miles
Domestic charge time: 4.4 hours
Boot size: 350 litres
Think 'electric car' and for most people if it's not a Tesla of some variety, it's the Nissan Leaf that the mind conjures up.
Nissan introduced the Mk2 Leaf in 2018, but don't be fooled into thinking it's an all-new car - it isn't. Instead, it's a very clever reskin and overhaul of the original, with a sharper-suited body and a normalised cabin.
Plus, the motor and battery combination have been improved giving peppier performance and a genuine 150-mile range in summer months - something we've experienced with our long-term test Leaf.
Its primary drawback is that because the 40kWh battery lacks a sophisticated cooling package it can only be rapid-charged once every 24 hours - something remedied with the more powerful, longer-range Leaf e+ due in summer 2019.
It's less accomplished as a driver's car than the Hyundai Ioniq, let alone the VW e-Golf, but seeing as it goes further than both between charges, it's still an enticing package.
Arrange one through Zen and an entry-level Leaf Acenta could be on your driveway for £337* per month.
Zen monthly lease prices from: £337*
Range: 168 miles
Domestic charge time: 7.5 hours
Boot size: 400 litres
Despite being on the brink of being replaced by an all-new generation of models, the Volkswagen Golf remains the mid-sized family hatchback of choice, particularly if you want a petrol- or diesel-engined version.
For the electric e-Golf, it's less clear cut. On one hand you have the excellent driving manners and plush-feeling cabin common to all Golfs, but with a quoted range of just 124 miles under the latest, more realistic WLTP testing regime.
Driving with vigour also limits its ability to travel far between recharges.
If you're primarily driving the Golf on shorter, more city-centric journeys, with easy access to charging facilities, then the range is less likely to be an issue, making the e-Golf a sound choice. If it fits your bill then you can lease one for £348* per month.
However, also be aware that when that all-new Golf arrives towards the end of 2019 the electric version will be replaced by an entirely new range known as the I.D. Neo.
Zen monthly lease prices from: £348*
Range: 124 miles
Domestic charge time: 5.3 hours
Boot size: 343 litres
*Deals are correct at time of publication. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and credit is not always available – Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. These deals are indicative examples of some packages available this week.
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