Cheapest used electric cars

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

BuyaCar team
Jun 30, 2021

They might be cheap to run, but there's no getting away from the fact that new electric cars are currently rather expensive to buy - even the cheap ones. A petrol-powered Peugeot 208 for example starts at around £17,000, the cheapest e-208 (the electric version of the 208) costs around £26,000.

Then there are the larger and more sophisticated electric cars offering more onboard tech and better battery range. The Jaguar I-Pace, for example, costs from more than £60,000 and that's before we focus on the Tesla Model X, which can easily exceed £100,000 with a few additional options. However, these are large, desirable cars and the petrol and diesel alternatives are hardly cheap.

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 £22,000 on BuyaCar, while a two-year-old Jaguar I-Pace can be found for a much more reasonable £42,450. 

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 prices on BuyaCar start at £6,458 or from £126 per month on finance. Read on for more details on the cheapest options.

Cheapest used electric cars

1. Renault Zoe

Used deals from £6,458
Monthly finance from £126*

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 a similar age 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. 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 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.


2. Nissan Leaf

Used deals from £6,700
Monthly finance from £157*

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 decent 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.


3. BMW i3

Used deals from £11,985
Monthly finance from £226*

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 together allow you to drive very 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 £14,290). 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.


4. Hyundai Ioniq

Used deals from £19,995
Monthly finance from £288*

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 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.


5. VW e-Golf

Used deals from £18,980
Monthly finance from £282*

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 difficulty.

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.


*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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