Best used electric cars 2019

Save on tax and fuel costs while doing your bit for the environment. Here are the best used electric cars

BuyaCar team
Jan 22, 2019

Buying an electric car means that you'll never have to pay sky-high fuel prices again - but all the savings could be eaten up by the higher cost of the car in the first place.

Despite cheaper models and a (reduced) government new car grant, new electric vehicles remain more expensive than a conventional car. The good news is that sales continue to increase, meaning that more models are filtering onto the used car market, where lower prices and long battery warranties make them an appealing proposition. 

They are free from road tax and Congestion Charge-exempt in London, which cuts ownership charges. Electric cars are also immune to clean air zone emissions charges.

Some finance agreements ensure that you’ll be able to return your electric car at the end, so you won’t be left with an outdated model. For more advice and information, read our full guide to buying an electric car.

In most cases, the used price of an electric car is all you'll need to pay. You'll usually be eligible for a home charging point grant too. However, most Renault Zoe and some previous-generation Nissan Leaf models don’t come with batteries, which must be leased. Prices start from £49 per month, so you may be better off with a more expensive model that includes the batteries.

Best used electric cars (EVs)

BMW i3

Best used electric car for innovation and style 

Latest BMW i3 deals from £14,689
Finance from £220 per month

Some electric cars are based on petrol and diesel models but BMW gave its engineers free rein to create an electric car from scratch. So the i3 is made from large amounts of strong but light carbon fibre. The batteries are placed low down, and the electric motor is between the rear wheels. These features reduce the effect of the heavy electric components and make the i3 surprisingly agile and fun to drive. 

The interior is spacious and as cool as a Scandinavian furniture store. But it’s only got four seats, and there’s no compartment for storing charging cables, so they eat into boot space.

The original i3 features a 22kWh battery, and can manage around 80 miles on a single charge. More recent models have a higher-capacity 94Ah battery, providing at least 125 miles per charge. From next year, new cars will have a 120Ah battery will store even more power. Many used i3s were bought with a range-extender engine: a petrol motor that recharged the batteries on the move when they were low, almost doubling the car's range.
BMW i3 buying guide

 

Nissan Leaf

Best used electric car for frugal motoring

Latest Nissan Leaf deals from £10,750
Finance from £160 per month

It may be no oil painting but the Nissan Leaf could brighten up your life in other ways: namely by saving you money. The best-selling pure electric car in Britain is widely available on the used car market, with prices starting at £6,000 for the VW Golf-size hatchback.

Those are the previous generation models which have a 24kWh battery, making for a comfortable driving range of around 100 miles. Trying to match the claimed 150 miles will bring you out in a cold sweat. A new Nissan Leaf with a longer range went on sale at the beginning of this year (shown above).

The older Leaf seats four adults in comfort, five people at a pinch, but lacks style: the interior is a sea of grey and black plastic with few stylistic flourishes. Avoid the basic Visia trim level and pick Acenta, as it includes a useful touchscreen system, more efficient heater and allows for rapid charging. Watch out for older models badged "Flex"; these are cheaper because batteries aren't included and must be leased.
Nissan Leaf buying guide 

 

Renault Zoe

Best used electric car for a compact second car

Latest Renault Zoe deals from £7,500
Finance from £143 per month

For less than £100 per month on finance, you could own a 2014 Renault Zoe that’s covered no more than 30,000 miles and still feels fresh enough to pass for a new car – after a professional valet.

Buy it as a second car and you might be surprised to find how much you come to depend on it. Many owners report that they soon switch to using their Zoe as their everyday car, because it costs so little to run and is surprisingly practical – seating five, assuming those in the back don’t mind getting snug. Alternatively, two child seats will fit.

At that price, you’ll be getting a Zoe without batteries, which have to be leased. Costs start at £49 per month, based on an annual 4,500 mileage. You’ll pay more if you drive further. The range can drop to just 60 miles in the winter, but this increases to 90 miles in the summer. A newer version, called the Zoe Z.E. 40 has greater range.
Renault Zoe buying guide 

 

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Best used electric car for conservative design

Latest Hyundai Ioniq Electric deals from £22,279
Finance from £341 per month

With a realistic range of 130 miles, space for five and a reasonably-sized 350-litre boot,the Hyundai Ioniq Electric is a perfectly capable family car, particularly as its price has now dropped closer to £20,000, and well under £350 per month on finance.

In fact, it would be top of the list for families if it wasn't for the new Nissan Leaf, which brings more range, more boot space and extra headroom compared with the Ioniq Electric, which is restrictive for rear passengers because of its low roof.

For now, the Ioniq is available for less than the latest Leaf, and its conservative looks may appeal more than the Nissan too, which will give it the edge for many buyers.
Hyundai Ioniq buying guide

 

Jaguar I-Pace

Best used electric car for luxury

Latest Kia Soul EV deals Limited stock

Jaguar's new I-Pace is in close contention with Tesla's Model S as the most desirable modern electric car, thanks to its sleek design, dual-screen dashboard and lightning performance. Its range of well over 200 mils on a single charge means that it fits the bill for most motorists, who'll find that they rarely need to use public chargers (assuming there's somewhere to plug in at home).

Unfortunately, the car's desirability means that prices reamain steep on the used market, but if you're looking for the car and don't want to wait for it to be built, a nearly-new, low-mileage example could be ideal.
Jaguar I-Pace buying guide

 

Volkswagen e-Golf

Best used electric car for a great family hatchback

Latest Volkswagen e-Golf deals from £23,000
Finance from £342 per month

The first attempt at creating an electric Golf didn’t go terribly well. The Golf part of the car was fine, but the electric part was poor. Range was a claimed 118 miles, but considerably less on the road, and the performance was mediocre. Not many drivers bought one.

In 2017, VW introduced a substantially improved version with its own, in-house engineered powertrain. The range climbed to 186 miles, although that's realistically 130 miles in everyday use. Charging times sped up (80% capacity in 45 minutes, using a 45kWh rapid charger). And the car sped up, too, finally feeling nippy rather than half-asleep.

A false floor in the boot gives somewhere to store charging cables, and as the rest of the package is a Golf it’s oh-so-nice to live with. However, as a relatively expensive new car that’s still young and in short supply, used examples are pricey. In face, some drivers might be better off with a GTE plug-in hybrid.
VW e-Golf buying guide

 

Tesla Model S

Best used electric car for range

Latest Tesla deals Limited stock

In the context of the other used electric cars in this selection, the Tesla Model S is likely to seem breathtakingly expensive. However, compare it with a similarly-sized and luxurious Audi A7, BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo or Porsche Panamera and it is fairly priced.

Tesla’s electric cars are renowned for their impressive performance and generous driving range. The Californian car company offers free updates over the air for the lifetime of its electric cars.

There have been several versions, with the least powerful being the Model S 60 and 60D (the D means it has dual motors, giving all-wheel drive). These were phased out last March due to a lack of demand. From that point, the 70 and 70D were the bread-and-butter models, with a 300-mile range. The flagship P100D is silly-fast, able to go from 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds, and extends the range to a potential 380 miles. The problem is, despite being Tesla’s best-selling EV, the Model S is in short supply in the UK, which is another reason prices are so high; demand outstrips supply.

 

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Best used electric car for a compact second car

Latest Smart ForTwo Electric Drive deals from £14,250
Finance from £222 per month

Not everyone needs, or wants, a family car. Which is where the Smart ForTwo comes in. It’s wonderfully different to anything else on the road. The brief for the original Smart was to hold two people and a case of beer.

Those pocket-sized proportions (it’s less than 2.7m long) mean it may be just the thing for those after a cheeky little runaround. The ForTwo Electric Drive (ED) is capable of up to 90 miles on a charge. A wall charger will replenish the battery in three hours. Earlier this year, the car was renamed the Smart ForTwo EQ, but little else changed.

It’s at its happiest in town or pottering about the suburbs, where the ride comfort is just about acceptable. Venture onto main roads and the Fortwo ED does a little pogo dance, shaking up that case of beer in the boot, while the top speed of just 78mph tells you all you need to know about how it’s being pushed to its limits on dual carriageways and motorways.
Smart ForTwo buying guide

 

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