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Cheapest electric cars

Electric motoring can be expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be. Here, we pick out the most affordable electric car options for people who have both an environmental conscience and a limited budget.

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Words by: Auto Trader

Published on 12 July 2023 | 0 min read

It’s hard to believe how rapidly the modern electric car era has progressed since the the weird and not-so-wonderful Mitsubishi i-MiEV went on sale in 2009, a year before the first Nissan Leaf. But such speedy progress means development costs for the manufacturers have been high, which is why electric cars can still look expensive compared to their petrol and diesel equivalents. Prices are levelling out though, and today there are loads of EVs that look genuinely good value – especially considering how much cheaper they are to run. And as you’re about to see, the lowest-priced EVs on sale today are just brilliant cars, too… mostly, anyway. Here are the cheapest new electric cars on sale today.

Citroen Ami

The cheapest new electric car on sale isn’t even a car. It’s a quadricycle, technically. But it looks like a car, right? Okay, it actually looks proper weird, but that’s a big part of its appeal. It’s a quadricycle because any vehicle that weighs less than 450kg and has less than 20hp is one, by definition. The Ami only has 8hp, which means it can be driven legally by a 16-year-old with a moped license. At less than £8,000 it’s cheap for a new ‘car’, but you’ll have to live with its tiny two-seat interior and a 28mph top speed.
Priced from: £7,700 Explore the Citroen Ami range on Auto Trader

Smart EQ Fortwo

The two-seat EQ Fortwo isn’t the most cutting edge EV on sale, at all – it’s basically a 2018 Fortwo with a 17kWh battery instead of a fuel tank and a real-world range of about 60 miles. But an 81mph top speed means it does work on the motorway, at least. Unlike an Ami. If all you’re looking for is a very cheap way to get to work by yourself, or you fancy a zero-emissions billboard for your hipster small business, this could be the cheap EV for you.
Priced from: £22,000 Explore the Smart EQ Fortwo range on Auto Trader


This is almost certainly the best value electric car on sale today, picking up the crown from another MG, the ZS EV. It’s a more appealing car than the ZS in most ways: looks sharper, more interesting to drive, very nearly as spacious, just as comfy, and with excellent battery range. There are two battery choices, in fact, but even the smaller of them boasts a 323-mile range – surprisingly close to the 365 miles of the ‘Long Range’ version. A very easy car to recommend.
Priced from: £27,000 Explore the MG4 range on Auto Trader

Fiat 500 Electric

By fixing everything that was fundamentally below par about the outgoing Fiat 500 – mainly its poor driver ergonomics and patchy interior quality – the latest 500 is already a massive improvement. The fact that it’s electric makes it even better. Two battery choices mean you can opt for a cheaper version if you don’t need big single-charge range (the smaller one will give you about 100 miles), but whichever you choose, the latest 500 is just great. A tall adult can now get comfy in the driver’s seat, and electric power means it’s really refined and feels proper quick around the streets.
Priced from: £28,000 Explore the Fiat 500 E range on Auto Trader

Nissan Leaf

The car that started it all (sort of) is now in its second generation, and it’s still one of the most appealing EVs on sale. It feels high quality, has plenty of space in the rear seats, and it’s designed to be comfortable to drive first and foremost. Nissan has a habit of sporadically introducing new trim levels with confusing names, but even a base model (whatever it happens to be called when you read this) will be chock full of safety tech and convenience features. And even the smaller of the two batteries you can choose from (40kWh) should be good for a real world 150-mile range.
Priced from: £29,000 Explore the Nissan Leaf range on Auto Trader

Renault Zoe

Okay, so the Zoe feels like it’s been around for years – because it has, really. The car on sale now is basically the car that first appeared in 2012. In ordinary car years, that’s two lifetimes. However, a constant schedule of improvements mean that today’s Zoe is actually very different to the decade-old versions. The battery has grown from 22- to 52kWh – now good for a 245-mile range – and the interior has had a total makeover. It feels modern and high quality, and because the Zoe is tall, it has an airy feel that makes it a small car suitable for taller people.
Priced from: £29,000 Explore the Renault Zoe range on Auto Trader


The former king of the high value EV, until MG knocked itself off the perch with the newer, smarter MG4, the ZS is still a fantastic proposition for families. The ZS was never the cheapest EV on sale, but no other electric car gave owners this much space and equipment for this sort of money. So it’s true that the dashboard isn’t at the cutting edge – it feels a little creaky in places and the infotainment is fiddly to use – but the ZS is comfy to drive and has great battery range. A recent update bumped the battery to 72kWh, and the official quoted range to 273 miles.
Priced from: £30,500 Explore the Renault Zoe range on Auto Trader


At the time of writing, the MG5 EV is in a niche of its own as the only fully electric estate car on sale in the UK. There are a few on the way, like the Vauxhall Astra-e Estate and the BMW i5 Touring, and arguably the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo is an estate too… but we digress. Basically, if you need lots of space but don’t want your EV to be shaped like an SUV, here you go. Like the ZS EV and the MG4, though, the MG5 EV is a very good value electric car. It’s very well-equipped, the boot is huge and the battery range is 250 miles. And all for less than the price of a MINI Electric.
Priced from: £31,000 Explore the MG5 EV range on Auto Trader

Mazda MX-30

The Mazda MX-30 was met with a mixed reception when it launched. It’s great to drive – as much fun as you could possibly expect from a small electric SUV – and it’s designed with a sense of fun, including its rear-hinged ‘suicide’ back doors. Its infotainment system is proper intuitive to use too. All good. That said, the battery is on the small side – at 35kWh, less than half the capacity of the MG ZS’ unit – which means the 124-mile range (closer to 100 in real life) is prohibitively low for many. Shame, because with a bigger battery it would be absolutely superb.
Priced from: £31,200 Explore the Mazda MX-30 range on Auto Trader

MINI Electric

If you want a chic and comfy small EV, get a new Fiat 500 Electric. If you want a small EV that’s proper good fun to drive, get a MINI Electric. The EV technology underpinning the MINI feels a little old now (the battery is about half the capacity of a top-spec Nissan Leaf’s) but the motor is powerful and there’s no loss of interior or boot space compared to a petrol MINI. That’s impressive given that the car wasn’t designed to be an electric vehicle from the outset. Instant accelerator response and one of the best driving positions in any car, at any price, make this a really appealing EV.
Priced from: £32,500 Explore the MINI Electric range on Auto Trader