Best used electric cars 2020

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

BuyaCar team
Oct 20, 2020

Looking into the possibility of buying an electric car? It will mean you'll never have to pay sky-high fuel prices again - but all those savings could be eaten up by the much higher price tags that tend to be attached to these battery powered machines.

Despite the recent introduction of some relatively affordable models and the continuation of the government new car grant, new electric cars remain much more expensive than petrol or diesel alternatives. But, they are exempt from expenses such as road taxULEZ and the Congestion Charge in London, which may go some way to alleviating that initial cost.

You can of course reduce the initial cost of an electric car by heading to the used car market. In most cases, the price of a used electric car is all you'll need to pay (some older versions of the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf may come with leased batteries, which cost from around £49 per month, so you may be better off with a more expensive model that includes the batteries. Regardless, it will be cheaper than purchasing a brand new electric car.

Read on for a list of great value used electric cars available on BuyaCar right now. We've dug out some seriously competitive prices here that promise to compete with even the best value petrol and diesel alternatives. Also, if you find yourself wondering about all the jargon that comes with these electric cars, our electric car guide will give you the low down.

Best used electric cars

1. BMW i3

Best used electric car for innovation and style 

Used deals from £13,000
Monthly finance from £239

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 BMW 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 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Nissan Leaf

Best used electric car for frugal motoring

Used first-generation deals from £7,499
Monthly finance from £142

Used second-generation deals from £17,695
Monthly finance from £264

It may be no oil painting but the original 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 at some very affordable prices.

It's powered by a 24kWh battery, making for a comfortable driving range of around 75-100 miles. The first generation Leaf is 10 years old now so the technology inside it is pretty out-dated against newer opposition, but that's not to say it isn't still a very usable electric car, and at that price it might just be the perfect first step for a move towards electric power.

A new Nissan Leaf, which is more attractive and offers a longer range, hit the road in 2018 with a new 40kWh battery bringing increased range of up to 151 miles. Prices for those first models are beginning to drop now, and offers far below £20,000 represent a pretty good value deal.

The older Leaf is cheaper and 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 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Renault Zoe

Best used electric car for a compact second car

Renault Zoe front

Used deals from £6,300
Monthly finance from £126

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 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Best used electric car for conservative design

Used deals from £15,504
Monthly finance from £231

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 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Jaguar I-Pace

Best used electric car for luxury

Used deals from £45,000
Monthly finance from £660

The Jaguar I-Pace is in close contention with the Tesla Model S as the most desirable modern electric car on the market, thanks to its sleek design, dual-screen dashboard and lightning performance. Its range of well over 200 miles 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 desperate for an I-Pace but you don't want to wait for it to be built, a nearly-new, low-mileage example could be an ideal choice.

JAGUAR I-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volkswagen e-Golf

Best used electric car for a great family hatchback

Used deals from £20,490
Monthly finance from £294

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 fact, some drivers might be better off with a GTE plug-in hybrid which is a much cheaper alternative starting at £13,495 on BuyaCar.

VW E-GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Tesla Model S

Best used electric car for range

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 car, the Model S is in short supply in the UK, which is another reason prices are so high; demand outstrips supply.

8. Smart EQ Fortwo

Best used electric car for a compact second car

Used deals from £13,746
Monthly finance from £184

Not everyone needs, or wants, a family car. This is where the Smart EQ 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 that's easy to maintain and easy to park. The EQ ForTwo is capable of up to 90 miles on a charge. A wall charger will replenish the battery in three hours.

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 EQ Fortwo 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 BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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