Cheapest used electric cars

On a budget but want to go electric? These affordable used electric cars start from under £7,000 or £150 per month and are cheap to charge

BuyaCar team
Sep 22, 2021

Electric cars may cost very little to run, but they’re typically painfully expensive to buy, even in the case of supposedly cheap models. The Peugeot 208 supermini is a case in point, brand new it costs from around £17,000 with petrol power and a whopping £26,000 in e-208 electric form.

If you want something a bit more upmarket and comfortable, the prices can be stratospheric. You need more than £60,000 to buy a brand new Jaguar I-Pace, while a top-of-the-range Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan or the new Audi e-tron GT are in the ‘if you have to ask you definitely can’t afford it’ bracket. However, these are large and luxurious cars and similar petrol and diesel alternatives are hardly cheap either.

This unfortunate caveat of the electric car may be true for brand new models, but used alternatives can be surprisingly affordable in comparison. The Peugeot e-208 is available from just £23,480 on BuyaCar, while a two-year-old Jaguar I-Pace can be found for a much more reasonable £47,480. Then you have the likes of the Reanult Zoe which can be counted as one of the cheapest used cars available on BuyaCar.

Even below that flashier end of the market, there are plenty of far cheaper alternatives that make the low 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 used cars then and going electric could be a very realistic prospect, with the starting price to move into an electric car constantly coming down; at the moment, electric car finance prices start at £8,000 or from £156 per month on BuyaCar. Read on for more details on the cheapest options.

Cheapest used electric cars

1. Renault Zoe

Used deals from £8,000
Monthly finance from £156*

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 four 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 what you'd find in a Renault Clio of a similar age, so it’s quite practical too. The Zoe is good to drive, with brisk acceleration from a standing start. It leans a little around corners if you take them at speed and will thump a little harshly over some potholes, but on the whole it’s perfectly comfortable.

Older models have a 22kWh battery with a real-world range of around 100 miles. More recent ones have a bigger 41kWh battery for 180 miles of driving between charges. Initially, the Zoe was available with a separate battery leasing option, which meant you would pay for the battery each month in addition to the cost of the car. This initiative was dropped in 2019, but keep an eye out for used models that come with an additional battery lease cost.

Versions badged ‘i’ include the battery but are generally more expensive to purchase as a result. There is a benefit to leasing the battery, however; if the condition of the battery reduces below a certain point - in turn reducing how far you can travel per charge - Renault will replace the battery for you. This is something which could prove costly if you owned the whole car and had to pay for a replacement battery yourself.

Whichever you go for, double check which battery capacity it comes with and whether you have to pay extra to lease the batteries, to make sure it's right for you.

RENAULT ZOE BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Nissan Leaf

Used deals from £9,991
Monthly finance from £227*

The car that started the recent electric car shift - the Nissan Leaf - has a loyal following. Many drivers like its roomy, practical interior, comfortable driving experience and 100-mile range between charges that you can realistically expect with most versions.

At 370 litres, the boot is around the same size as that in a VW Golf, 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 newer version launched in early 2017 looks more conventional. With prices for the newer version still dropping, you may want to have a look at that, too.

NISSAN LEAF BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Smart EQ ForTwo/ForFour

Used deals from £17,000
Monthly finance from £262*

The little Smart car was supposed to have electric power when it was first conceived as a joint venture between the Swatch watch company and Volkswagen way back in 1993. It wasn’t a great working relationship, and when Mercedes stepped in to replace VW in 1994 the electric setup went out the window in favour of a tiny turbocharged petrol engine.

So it wasn’t until 2013 that the first electric Smart car went into full production, but it has been available ever since. The most recent EQ versions arrived in 2017 and were updated in 2020, but the Smart formula of a tiny upmarket city car has been relatively unchanged for years.

You can pick from versions with two or four seats, and the latest models deliver up to 81 miles of electric range from a single charge of the 12.6kWh battery. That’s no great shakes by the standards of most rivals, but if you’re only whizzing around in town, a Smart with electric drive can still make a lot of sense.

4. BMW i3

Used deals from £18,199
Monthly finance from £274*

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 the i3 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 together allow you to drive very confidently.

The range of the original car is around 100 miles per charge 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 (). This has a small supplementary petrol engine that powers the electric motor should the batteries run out of charge, enabling you to travel further between charges and top ups of the tiny petrol tank.

This does make the car heavier - meaning it's slower and less efficient - and you'll be burning petrol if the generator kicks in, meaning this isn't a fully zero-emission machine. So, if you rarely go on long trips you may be better off with the pure electric version.

BMW I3 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Hyundai Ioniq

Used deals from £21,680
Monthly finance from £321*

The Hyundai Ioniq is medium 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 electric motoring for around 30 miles, while offering the backup 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’ manufacturer warranty cover remaining - that's two years more than most cars of this age.

HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC BUYERS' GUIDE

6. VW e-Golf

Used deals from £21,390
Monthly finance from £288*

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 nips away from a standstill and can cruise at 70mph on the motorway without fuss.

Saying that, high speeds will reduce the car’s range, as electric cars are typically most efficient around town, with economy decreasing at speed. In average motoring, the e-Golf’s range is around 125 miles per charge. While models such as the BMW i3 above are rapid when it comes to accelerating, the e-Golf is a more leisurely affair, offering perfectly good speed, but little in the way of excitement.

VOLKSWAGEN E-GOLF BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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