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The best affordable electric cars you can afford to run without breaking the bank

  • Regularly updated list of the best cheap electric cars on sale
  • Could one of these tempt you into an affordable EV?
  • Running costs lower than equivalent petrol models

Written by Keith Adams Published: 18 July 2024 Updated: 18 July 2024

A high list price has long been a factor putting many off making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs), but that’s starting to change.

The prices of many EVs have fallen in recent years, despite considerable improvements in their efficiency and performance, before a UK ban on internal combustion engine cars in 2035. The high-end, mega-range luxury EV models still command a hefty sum, but several entry-level EVs have fallen to within touching distance of cost parity with ICE options, especially on finance, and even lower in some cases. To help you sniff out the best deal, we’ve compiled a list of the best affordable EVs on sale today.

Our order of preference is based on a combination of price, ease of finding cheap finance and overall usability.

Best cheap electric cars

A great electric car that undercuts key rivals on price

MG has really come of age. The MG4 EV represents a huge leap forward for the brand because it combines its famed affordability with a genuinely engaging driving experience.

Our current car of the year doesn’t even feel that cheap. Sure there are some inexpensive plastics, but everything you interact with regularly feels solid. A long range and impressive warranty means it's still the affordable EV to beat.

Read our full MG4 EV review

Pros

  • Better than more expensive rivals
  • Good ride/handling balance
  • Accurate range predictor

Cons

  • Some cheap plastics inside
  • Touchscreen-led cabin can be fiddly
2

Citroen e-C3

Comfy, spacious and useful value for money<br>

The Citroen e-C3 is a recent entrant to the affordable electric car segment. It's the next generation version of Citroen's best-selling model, which is now available as an EV for the first time. Using a 44kWh battery, Citroen claims just shy of 200 miles from a charge, but with 100kW rapid charging, there's scope to take this electric supermini further afield.

Priced from £21,990, you get a lot of car for your money, and it retains many of Citroen's core strengths. These include exceptional ride comfort (especially for a small car), plenty of interior space and also a funky design to help it stand out.

Read our full Citroen e-C3 review

Pros

  • Very comfy
  • Spacious rear seats
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Vague steering
  • Boot isn't a very useful shape

Great fun to drive and much-improved range

The previous MINI Electric was one of the most fun EVs to drive, but hamstrung by a high price and poor electric range. But that's changed with the new Mini Cooper Electric, which can now travel up to a claimed 249 miles on a charge with the top-spec Mini Cooper SE.

A cheaper Cooper E is available and still boasts a 182-mile range, and at a lower cost than the previous electric MINI. It's still enormous fun to drive and gets a premium interior filled with all of the latest technology.

Read our full MINI Cooper Electric review

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Good range for its size
  • Well-equipped

Cons

  • Three-door only
  • Small boot

Cheeky looks and a long range for such a small car

The Fiat 500 Electric offers both style and substance. It has a maximum official range of just shy of 200 miles and a design fit for a Milanese postcard.

It’s also great fun to drive and surprisingly responsive despite just having 118hp to play with. We struggled to fault it when we tested it. The 500e was previously let down by a high price, but Fiat has recently slashed this to an attractive £21,995.

Read our full Fiat 500e review

Pros

  • Wonderfully stylish
  • Quick and fun to drive
  • Long range for a small car

Cons

  • Not that practical
  • Entry model has a short range

Bargain EV is the cheapest electric car you can buy

The most eagerly awaited EV in 2024 is probably the Dacia Spring, with this pint-sized model taking the title as the UK's most affordable electric car – and by some margin as prices start from just £14,995. That's less than many petrol cars of a similar size.

Ideal around the city, it has a surprisingly pleasant interior and more room inside than you might expect given its size and price. Just be mindful that the price is low because savings have been made in other areas to help bring the cost down.

Read our full Dacia Spring review

Pros

  • Outstanding value
  • Very efficient and cheap to run
  • Modern interior is easy to use

Cons

  • Poor safety performance
  • Roly-poly handling

A value-focused, battery-powered load-lugger

The MG5 has a simple mission statement. It’s a flexible and affordable electric estate. It isn’t perfect, mind – the boot size is average at 578 litres, and there’s a big drop from the opening down to the boot floor.

But, when compared to similarly priced electric hatchback rivals, the rear looks like an aircraft hanger.

Read our full MG5 EV review

Pros

  • Lots of standard kit
  • Sensible real-world range
  • Agreeable ride

Cons

  • Uncomfortable seats
  • Slightly impractical boot

Odd name, decent car that's well-priced

The BYD Dolphin is a good car that’s missing out on that last little bit of polish. However, considering you’re getting a very practical hatchback with a decent real-world range and, in the case of 60kWh models, punchy acceleration for less than £30k, a few rough edges are forgivable.

We also like the interesting design and appealing materials inside, while the ride is more comfortable than many rivals. Given the bargain pricing, it’s well worth considering.

Read the full BYD Dolphin review

Pros

  • Terrific value and efficiency
  • Strong acceleration
  • Comfortable and spacious interior

Cons

  • Boot not the largest
  • Could be more fun to drive

Funky SUV represents great value

A Smart car is no longer a small vehicle for the city, but now more generic SUVs. But ones that are able to start out from the crowd. Designed by Mercedes and engineered by Chinese automotive giant (the company behind Volvo), the 'Smart 1' is one of the most impressive compact electric SUVs around.

It's also great value for money, starting from £31,950 with a 193-mile range. Standard kit is generous and the Smart 1 is also decent to drive and has a spacious interior.

Read our full Smart 1 review

Pros

  • Very generous equipment
  • Good to drive
  • Spacious interior space

Cons

  • Small boot
  • Irritating driver assistance tech

Upmarket(ish) electric hatch with a smooth drive

The Peugeot e-208 is a likeable EV, but one that was starting to fall off the pace next to newer rivals. But a recent update has helped to rectify this, with this electric supermini now having a claimed range of up to 248 miles, courtesy of a larger and more efficient battery.

It's had a facelift inside and out too, while Peugeot has also dropped the starting price by several thousands to a more attractive £28,600, though it's still more expensive than many rivals.

Read our full Peugeot e-208 review

Pros

  • High-quality cabin
  • Plenty of torque
  • Large boot

Cons

  • Firm ride
  • Awkward seating position

Big discounts make the Corsa Electric an attractive choice

Vauxhall has offered an electric version of its Corsa, but it's only recently become worth considering as the firm has slashed the starting price off this supermini by £5,550 to just shy of £27,000. Plus, dealers should be able to offer further discounts off this.

The Corsa Electric is a very easy EV to live with because it looks and feels just like any other Corsa, with plenty of standard equipment and style on its side. A claimed range of up 246 miles is respectable for something of this size, too.

Read our full Vauxhall Corsa Electric review

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Easy to live with
  • Big discounts available

Cons

  • Warranty not as good as rivals
  • Not the most exciting EV

Verdict

Prices are steadily falling and we reckon there’s likely to be a car in here that will suit your needs. Just remember that EVs won’t suit everyone – they’re great for people doing shorter journeys with an urban focus and for those who can easily charge up at home.

If you do longer journeys, erratic distances and don’t have off-street charging, you may be better off sticking with a petrol, diesel or hybrid car for a while longer.

Read on for popular questions about affordable electric cars.

What is the cheapest electric car?
The cheapest full-size electric car you can buy is the new Dacia Spring, which is available for £14,995. That’s only around £1,000 more than the cheapest petrol car – the Dacia Sandero. After this, the Citroen e-C3 is available from £21,990, while the Fiat 500e is available for a fiver more.

How long ’til EVs come as cheap as conventional cars?
Most observers reckon it’ll happen before the middle of the decade – so stay tuned as we update this guide in the coming months. The direction of travel is clear to see: prices of batteries are falling, production is rising, and demand is soaring… EVs are inexorably getting cheaper!

How can I check electric car prices in the UK?
The Parkers specs pages list the recommended retail prices for every make and model of car sold today – and it’s updated automatically, so you can browse different EVs and see how much they cost.

Which cheap electric cars should I avoid?
We’d steer clear of electric quadricycles like the Renault Twizy and Citroen Ami. They’re fine if you want an urban runaround but is pretty impractical and a little bit daunting on the open road…

Where can I read more about the cheapest electric car choices?
Check out the guide by our sister website Carmagazine.co.uk for further advice.