Best small electric cars 2022: our pick of the battery babies and the one to avoid...

Parkers electric cars

  • Our pick of the best small electric cars today
  • Compact EVs, small city cars, plug-in superminis
  • Tiny cars perfect for zero-emissions urban duty

The best urban runabouts are now electric, where the instant punch of an electric motor can shine, the regenerative braking technology minimises running costs and where range anxiety is less of a worry. Small electric cars are easy to park, cheaper to run and at the moment, have perks, such as ULEZ charge exemption.

Though electric vehicles (EVs) remain more expensive than their petrol and diesel equivalents, owing to the high cost of batteries, that premium is gradually eroding, as economies of scale kick in, technology costs fall and adoption grows. What’s more, there’s a broader choice of small EVs than ever before.

Owing to their small size, small electric city cars generally have restricted boot capacity – so if you regularly need to carry lots of people or luggage, you may wish to upgrade to a bigger car. And don’t forget that every car on our list qualifies for support from the government’s electric car grants, which will subsidise the purchase price up to £1,500.

In this guide Parkers recommends the best small electric cars UK buyers can choose in 2022. We’ve road tested every single recommendation, so you can rest assured we’ve put these electric city cars and hatchbacks through their paces in the urban jungle. Here we detail their e-range, value for money and all-round ability.

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Click through the below list to read about the one you’re most interested in, or keep scrolling to see our top 10, PLUS the one to avoid!

Best small electric cars 2022

10. Renault Twizy

9. MINI Electric  

8. Honda e

7. Volkswagen e-Up

6. BMW i3

5. Kia Soul EV

4. Peugeot e-208

3.Vauxhall e-Corsa

2. Renault Zoe

1. Fiat 500 Electric

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10. Renault Twizy

The smallest electric car you can buy: the Renault Twizy

Want one of the smallest of small cars? Look no further than the Renault Twizy, which is technically more of a quadricycle than an electric city car – but it’s 100% EV and it’s utterly at home in the urban rat race.

Half bike, half city car, the Twizy is great at threading across town but do remember that practicality is seriously limited and its 62-mile range may hinder progress too. A curveball to consider if funds are tight and you’re open-minded.

Used price: From £6,895 

9. MINI Electric

MINI Electric promises a lot of fun!

The Mini Electric is perhaps one of the coolest cars here; everyone loves the MINI’s fashionable shape – and this one carries across all the brand’s usual attributes (trendy looks, go-kart handling, premium feel) and bolts in some of the EV technology from the BMW i3.

This makes for one of the quickest small electric cars on our shortlist, with 0-62mph times to rival many hot hatchbacks and fun dynamics to enjoy hustling across town. Downsides include a bumpy ride, limited range, cramped rear space (especially with the panoramic sunroof) and a minuscule boot.

New price: From £28,500

Used price: From £21,670

Leasing price: from £387 per month

8. Honda e

Best small electric cars 2021: the Honda e is full of character

The Honda e is the coolest little electric car on sale today – with cute, cartoonish design and a high-tech interior that boasts wall-to-wall digital displays instead of instruments. Even the door mirrors have been replaced by cameras and the central display has a built-in aquarium for a soothing, gaming vibe. It’s not all electro-gimmickry, though.

The Honda e is a wonderful small car to drive, with a tight turning circle and maturity to the way it goes, handles and stops while the quality of its interior is first-rate. Few small EVs make you feel as good. Just watch out for its small 36kWh battery and 125-mile quoted range (in theory, we never reached even 100 miles on our extended test when we lived with a Honda e for half a year). Watch out also for its tiny loadbay. 

New price: From £34,365

Used price: From £21,620

Leasing price: from £487 per month

7. VW E-Up

VW e-Up: one of the best small electric cars

Take one common or garden Volkswagen Up, electrify it and you have one of the smartest, simplest entry points into the EV marketplace. It’s undauntingly simple and feels easy to drive, with a small footprint meaning it’s stress-free to drive around town and won’t scare off technophobes.

With a battery capacity of 33kWh, VW now claims a reasonable 159-mile electric range. We’d also recommend looking at the mechanically identical Seat Mii Electric if you’re less bothered by the badge on a car’s snout.

New price: From £24,085

Used price: From £6,615

Leasing price: from per month

6. BMW i3

BMW i3: best small electric cars UK

BMW’s first all-electric production car has become a familiar sight on our roads and remains little changed years after its launch. It still looks futuristic and high-tech – and for good reason.

This is a cutting-edge design and uses F1-spec carbon fibre in its construction to save weight and eke out every extra mile out of its batteries’ capacity; BMW quotes a 186-mile range on one charge. The i3 is not a big car, but it is very tall so four adults will be perfectly comfortable onboard. Just watch out for a very small boot and impractical rear doors.

New price: From £30,980

Used price: From £7,790

Leasing price: from per month

5. Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul: now electric only, with a decently long range

The latest, third-generation Kia Soul is exclusively an electric vehicle nowadays and no petrol or diesel versions are sold here. Under its distinctive, boxy design lie the EV innards of the excellent Kia e-Niro, so you get the same 64kWh battery and a 204hp electric motor for ample performance.

The result? Kia claims 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and a 280-mile quoted range potential. The icing on the cake of the Soul is how good it is to drive.

New price: From`£34,995

Used price: From £23,185

6. Peugeot e-208

Peugeot e-208 small electric car

The e-208 is a brilliant small electric car: compact enough to drive around town fearlessly, simple enough not to require a postgraduate degree in science to operate and with a reasonable electric range. Yes, 211 miles is the official figure but in our experience the range predictions made by the car are rather optimistic. 135 miles is more likely in mixed driving conditions.

Peugeot has decided to offer its supermini in a choice of petrol, diesel or electric powertrains – and this means you can simply pick the energy solution that works best for your most common driving needs. Bravo.

New price: From £29,760

Used price: From £15,745

Leasing price: from £417 per month

3. Vauxhall Corsa-e

A decent small electric car: Vauxhall Corsa-e

The first electric Corsa is a really smart choice and well suited to people wanting their first small electric car. You can’t currently buy a battery-powered Ford Fiesta or VW Polo, so Vauxhall has stolen a march for those wishing to plug in to a small EV.

Fundamentally, the Corsa-e shares the hardware from the Peugeot e-208 and that means that its key stats are similar: a 50kWh battery, 209-mile e-range and charging times of as little as 30 minutes on a public rapid charger, or just over seven hours if you plug in at home. Crucially, Vauxhall generally has some cracking finance deals that’ll make it more wallet-friendly than its French cousin.

New price: From £27,308

Used price: From £14,895

Leasing price: from £367 per month

2. Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe: one of the UK's favourite small EVs

The Zoe has been around for many years now and Renault has gradually evolved it into a sophisticated small electric car. Each successive upgrade has brought extra range and it now has more than enough electricity storage with a promised 250 miles of driving on each charge from the bigger 52kWh battery.

The interior has been updated recently, but can’t quite match the quality of what you’ll find inside the cabin of a Honda e or Peugeot e-208. The Zoe has a similar footprint to its Clio sibling and is consequently very at home driving around town and given the excellent range for the price, is a strong contender in the class.

New price: From £29.095

Used price: From £6,560

Leasing price: from per month

1. Fiat 500 Electric

Fiat 500 Electric: a classy compact EV

The new Fiat 500 is being launched as a standalone electric car – and the older model will continue to be sold as a petrol city car alongside it. Prices for the Fiat EV start at below £24,000 and buyers can choose from a 24kWh battery (for 115 miles of range) or a larger 42kWh cell (for a quoted 199 miles).

If you live and predominantly drive in a city, the smaller battery may well be enough but we suspect that many buyers may prefer the reassurance of the bigger unit. The Fiat 500 Electric is super-stylish outside and in and is also available as a convertible. In many regards, it’s the perfect electric city car. In fact, it’s so good we named it our 2022 Small Electric Car of the Year.

New price: From £23,835

Used price: From £16,085

Leasing price: from £343 per month

The one to avoid…Smart ForTwo

2021 Smart ForTwo EQ

On the face of it the Smart EQ ForTwo might seem appealing. After all, its small size and tiny turning circle make it a breeze to drive around town. However, the official range of just 80 miles means out of town journeys will require plenty of planning, it’s sluggish and there’s only two seats. With a miniscule boot and a price that’s not far off the far more practical E-Up, we’d give it a miss.

Leasing price: from per month

Further EV reading

>> Best electric cars

>> Cheapest electric cars

>> Best electric SUVs