The cheapest electric cars you can buy in 2020

  • We reveal the cheapest electric cars on sale today
  • All offer low running costs and easy recharging
  • Could one of these tempt you into an electric car?

Electric Vehicles (EVs) have existed since the dawn of motoring, but in recent years interest in them has really taken off. Environmental concerns, political pressure and taxation incentives are all playing a part in leading people towards them – and that is why it's expected that 120,000 new electric cars will be sold in the UK in 2020.

The good news is that EVs are getting better and better. Developments in battery technology have rapidly extended the distance they can travel between recharges – for many people, they are becoming viable alternatives to petrol- and diesel-engined cars.

Not only do electric cars produce no CO2 emissions while they're driving, meaning there’s no VED car tax charge or London Congestion Charge to pay, the government will give buyers up to £3,500 towards the cost of them through the Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG).

The cheapest electric cars on sale now

We’ve saved you the trouble of running your batteries low by rounding up the best of the cheapest electric cars on sale.They're not all there – the Renault Twizy, for example, is more of a plaything than a serious consideration. However, the cars we have listed, we rate very highly indeed.

Stay tuned as we update this list throughout 2020 – and remember that all cash prices are excluding the government Plug-in Car Grant, and if the lease deal isn't showing that's because it's only available to pre-order.

Read next: The Parkers electric car guide 
Read next: The best electric cars to lease

Smart EQ Fortwo

2020 Smart EQ Fortwo front view, driving

>> £20,350 - £24,425
>> Range : 70 miles

The popular two-seater citycar is back for 2020 with a freshened-up new look and a completely electric line-up of cars. It's packed with up-to-the minute safety equipment and driver tech, and represents a lot of fun for the money. But a maximum range of 70 miles means it's best left in the city.

Skoda Citigo-e iV

Skoda Citigo-e (2020)

>> £20,400 - £22,760
>> Range : 160 miles

If you want a new Skoda Citigo these days you can only get it in electric form. This is no bad thing at all and you could argue that the Citigo-e iV just happens to be a great small car that needs plugging in. It looks like a standard car from the outside and drives just like one, too – a common factor with all current Volkswagen Group EVs. In the city, its nippy acceleration and silent drive combined with a very reasonable range of around 160 miles make this a very easy entry into electric car life.

Smart EQ Forfour

2020 Smart EQ Forfour side view, driving

>> £20,785 - £25,565
>> Range : 70 miles

Like its two-seater sister car, the Smart EQ Fortwo, the Forfour is perfectly suited to city driving thanks to its compact dimensions and impressive turning circle. Its appeal is limited by its short range (not a problem if you're city-bound, though), and the strong competition offered by the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo.

SEAT Mii Electric

SEAT Mii Electric (2020) front view

>> £22,800
>> Range: 160 miles

Even if you have a very basic knowledge of EVs, it won't have escaped your notice that the Mii Electric is very similar to the Skoda Citigo-e, detailed above. That's because they're basically the same car, with a few detail differences – and your choice between the two comes down to whether you want a Spanish- or Czech-badged car. Then there's also the Volkswagen e-Up, which is detailed in its full review. Like its sister cars, the Mii Electric is good to drive, has a decent range, and is an excellent introduction to EV ownership.

MG ZS EV

MG ZS EV (2020) front view

>> £28,495 - £30,495
>> Range: 160 miles
>> Leasing price: from per month
>> View lease deals

The MG ZS EV is proving very popular as the UK's cheapest family-sized EV. It's basically a Nissan Qashqai-sized car that in EV form has a five-star Euro NCAP rating and is priced very similarly to its petrol-powered rivals. It’s accessible, unintimidating and very cheap – and comes with a seven-year warranty. Pick of the range is the top-spec Exclusive model, which gains additional safety tech. Even at £2,000 more than the basic version, this is still usefully cheaper than all of its EV-powered opposition.

Peugeot e-208

Peugeot e-208 (2020) front view

>> £28,550 - £32,750
>> Range: 210 miles

We're really impressed with the Peugeot e-208. It combines all of the appeal of Peugeot's new supermini hatchback – great handling and an interesting interior – and wraps it up in a refined and efficient EV package that delivers a potential range of 211 miles. It looks good, feels solid and drives almost as well as its lighter petrol-powered siblings. We suspect this is going to be a lot of people's first EV – and what a great introduction it would be.

Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe (2020) being charged up

>> £29,179 - £32,870
>> Range: 200 miles

 >> Leasing price: from £386 per month
 >> View lease deals

Thanks to no longer being offered on Renault's battery leasing scheme, the Zoe can no longer claim to be the UK's cheapest four-seater EV. But its appeal remains undented thanks to recent improvements in design and efficiency. It now comes with 50kW fast charging for those who want to more easily venture beyond the 200-plus miles of singel-charge range. It's practical, fun, good looking and simple to drive – no wonder it's even more popular now than when it was launched.

Vauxhall Corsa-e

Vauxhall Corsa-e (2020) front view

>> £30,610 - £34,160
>> Range: 200 miles

Although it's closely related to the Peugeot e-208, the Vauxhall Corsa-e looks and feels quite different. Prices and specs have been announced, and you'd have to be blind not to have seen the advertising, but you can't take delivery yet, as production starts in early 2020, with cars turning up in the spring. It looks worth waiting for given its smart styling, wide choice of exterior colour combinations and a decent range and on-road driving experience. Like the Peugeot e-208, the Corsa-e looks almost identical to its petrol-powered cousins.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf (2020) driving

>> £31,145 - £39,525
>> Range: 180 miles

What's left to be said about the Nissan Leaf? It's been around since 2011, and is still the bestselling EV you can buy. Now available with a larger battery pack, it's competitive with its newest rivals – and comes with the advantage of being a tried-and-tested product that's known and trusted throughout the industry. The e-Pedal set-up makes it a doddle to drive (like a bumper car, you just go and stop with the throttle) It might look visually challenged compared with newer rivals, but if want to make an EV statement, here's where to begin.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Hyubdai Ioniq Electric (2020) driving

>> £32,950 - £34,950
>> Range 130 miles
>> Leasing price: from £213 per month
>> View lease deals

The recently-facelifted Hyundai Ioniq Electric seems reasonable enough in isolation, it's been rather left behind by newer rivals (especially the brilliant Hyundai Kona Electric, though that's not available to buy at the moment) in terms of price, range and tech. It's a likeable option, but at current prices you might be served well looking elsewhere.

BMW i3

BMW i3 (2020) side view

>> £35,350 - £39,840
>> Leasing price: from £331 per month
>> View lease deals

We like the BMW i3, which is both funky to look at and dripping with techy, geeky details. But there's no escaping the fact it's both expensive and limited in range compared with its more mainstream and newer rivals, such as the larger and more efficient Kia e-Niro, detailed below. Competitive leasing deals mean it's more easily within reach than its cash price would imply – and for that reason alone, if you're a city dweller and fancy making a statement, the i3 is still well worth looking at.

Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro (2020) side view

>> £36,495
>> Range: 250 miles

Here's the current state-of-the art in terms of tech, price and efficiency in the 'budget' end of the EV market. Offering a brilliant range, oodles of equipment, and a cash price that's usefully lower than the winner of the 2020 Parkers New Car of The Year, the Tesla Model 3, the e-Niro is earning lots of friends.  With a battery range knocking on the door of 300 miles, here's an EV that many families will be able to make the move into without making (too many) compromises...

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** These deals are indicative examples of some packages available as at 8 January 2020 but are subject to change without prior notice. Everyone's financial circumstances are different and the availability of credit is subject to status. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically.

Bauer Consumer Media Limited is an appointed representative of ZenAuto Limited for the broking of regulated consumer hire agreements. ZenAuto Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. ZenAuto Limited's registered office is Number One, Great Exhibition Way, Kirkstall Forge, Leeds LS5 3BF. ZenAuto Limited's company registration number is 10967345. ZenAuto is the trading name of ZenAuto Limited.