Cheapest used electric cars

Cut-price recharging, free road tax - and prices that start at just over £100 per month: these are the cheapest used electric cars

BuyaCar team
Apr 23, 2020

They might be cheap to run, but electric cars have a reputation of being expensive to buy, which isn't helped by some substantial price tags being slapped on the more well known electric models.

The Jaguar I-Pace, for example, costs from more than £60,000, to say nothing of the Tesla Model X, which can easily exceed £100,000 with a few additional options, but these are at the extreme end of desirability. This may be true for new electric cars, but used models can be surprisingly affordable.

Below that flashier end of the market sit plenty of far cheaper alternatives that make the cheap recharging costs, zero road tax, and low company car tax associated with electric cars much more accessible. If you can charge at home and don't regularly travel too far on any one trip you can take advantage of cheap home energy tariffs too.

Take a look at the used car market and those prices drop even further still; at the moment, electric car prices on BuyaCar start at £7,000 or from £137 per month on finance. Read on for more details on the cheapest options.

Cheapest used electric cars

1. Renault Zoe

Latest Renault Zoe deals from £7,000
Monthly finance from £137

If you like the idea of electric motoring but don't want to shout about it, the Renault Zoe could be for you. It looks just like any petrol or diesel-powered small car, the only giveaway being the large blue bonnet badge concealing its charging point.

It’s a roomy car that can easily seat five people, although rear passengers do sit higher than normal because the batteries are tucked away under the back seat. The 338-litre boot is bigger than a Renault Clio's, so it’s quite practical too. The Zoe is good to drive, with brisk acceleration from a standing start. It leans a little in corners and will thump a little harshly over some potholes but on the whole, it’s perfectly comfortable.

Older cars have a 22kWh battery with a real-world range of around about 100 miles. More recent ones have a bigger 41kWh battery for 180 miles of driving between charges. Most Zoes require you to lease the battery separately, from £49 per month (£59 for 41kWh batteries).

Versions badged ‘i’ include the battery but are more expensive. Whichever you go for double check which battery capacity it comes with and whether you have to pay extra to lease the batteries. Bear in mind that if you do lease the batteries Renault should replace them for free if they drop below a certain capacity.

RENAULT ZOE BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Nissan Leaf

Latest Nissan Leaf deals from £7,999
Monthly finance from £156

The car that started the electric revolution has a loyal following. People like its roomy, practical interior, comfortable driving experience and decent 100-mile range between charges that you can realistically expect.

At 370 litres, the boot is around the same size as a VW Golf’s and will comfortably swallow a week’s family shopping. If you need more load space, it’s possible to fold down the rear seats.

The only real downside to Leaf ownership is the model’s ungainly looks. It can’t be a coincidence that the all-new version launched in early 2017 looks more conventional.

NISSAN LEAF BUYERS' GUIDE

3. BMW i3

Latest BMW i3 deals from £12,500
Monthly finance from £230

Even though the car first went on sale a number of years ago, the BMW i3 still looks futuristic, thanks to its oddly-shaped windows, rear-opening back doors and stubby bonnet that doesn’t need to accommodate an engine.

The interior is up to the quality standards of any other BMW and it drives fairly nimbly too, with instant electric acceleration - the i3 rockets away from traffic lights far faster than you might imagine - and good grip in corners, which allow you to drive confidently.

The range of the original car is around 100 miles but that was extended to 125 miles from early 2017 with the 94Ah model. For more range, there's the more expensive range-extender version (current BuyaCar prices start at £12,500). This has a small supplementary petrol engine that powers the electric motor should the batteries run out of charge. This does make the car heavier - meaning it's slower and less efficient - so if you rarely go on long trips you may be better off with the pure electric version.

BMW I3 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Hyundai Ioniq

Latest Hyundai Ioniq deals from £17,995
Monthly finance from £294

The Hyundai Ioniq is full-size family car that comes in three versions. First off is a hybrid, combining a petrol engine with an electric motor. Secondly there's the plug-in hybrid which can be charged to provide pure electric motoring for around 30 miles, offering the back up of a petrol engine for when the batteries run out of charge.

Finally, there’s the fully-electric Ioniq. This has a real-world range of around 130 miles on a full charge. It’s quiet around town and on the open road, and accelerates quickly too - and in silence, with no petrol engine cutting in and out as with the plug-in hybrid model.

Although it costs more than an equivalent Nissan Leaf, the Ioniq feels more upmarket, with a high level of standard equipment and more conventional interior, which helps to justify the cost. Being a Hyundai, it comes with a five-year warranty from new which means that strong-value three-year old models will still have two years’ warranty cover remaining - that's two years more than most three-year old cars.

HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC BUYERS' GUIDE

5. VW e-Golf

Latest VW e-Golf deals from £13,999
Monthly finance from £258

For the ultimate in understated electric motoring, you’ll want the Volkswagen e-Golf. You’d be hard pushed to tell it apart from its petrol and diesel equivalents, which is a large part of its appeal.

It feels like a traditional Golf to drive, too: solid, composed and steady in corners. Being an electric car, it zooms away from a standstill and can cruise at 70mph on the motorway without difficulty.

Saying that, high speeds will reduce the battery’s range. In average motoring, the e-Golf’s range is around 125 miles, compared with VW’s official claim of 186 miles.

VOLKSWAGEN E-GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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