Best cars

Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022

Not all EVs are out-of-reach - here are the cheapest electric cars currently on sale.

2021 Citroen Ami

​Most electric cars are more expensive than petrol or diesel equivalents but as the technology becomes more mainstream, prices are gradually coming down. As more manufacturers add full-electric options to their line-ups - including MG with the ZS EV or Citroen with the e-C4 - electric cars are becoming more affordable.

In the past year or two, there has been a flurry of new electric cars that can all manage 250 miles of range or more, and most manufacturers are spending vast sums on the development of electric models. While many of these are still too expensive for the majority of buyers, the technology has started to trickle down into cheaper cars. Today, a number of manufacturers will sell you an electric car for less than £30,000, with more models arriving on the market each year. Cars costing less than £32,000 are eligible for the Government’s plug-in car grant, and some car makers have adjusted their pricing accordingly. Even some seven-seat electric cars, such as the Citroen e-Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo-e Life, now cost less than £30,000.

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

There's an increasing choice of affordable electric cars now – the cheapest starts from the price of a new city car but you do have to live without most modern creature comforts. It’s also worth remembering that recharging an electric car can cost just a few pounds and road tax (VED) is free, so the low running costs can outweigh the high initial price.

If these cheapest electric cars are still out of reach, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid car might be within your budget. Hybrids still offer lower running costs than most petrol or diesel engines, and the difference between the two is whether you have to plug it in to charge or not. Plug-in hybrids tend to offer around 20-40 miles of electric-only range - enough to cover most commutes without using the engine.

Here are the 10 cheapest electric cars on sale.

For a different view on the cheapest electric cars, visit our sister site Driving Electric

Citroen Ami hatchback review

Citroen Ami
Carbuyer rating

3.3 out of 5

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While the Citroen Ami is technically a quadricycle, this small electric ‘car’ offers unrivalled value for money. Unlike the now-discontinued Renault Twizy, the Ami offers a surprising amount of interior space for its size. Its boxy shape allows for plenty of headroom for you and one passenger, as well as plenty of floor space and ingenious cubbies to store a handful of items from an impromptu shopping trip.

Don’t expect to get anywhere particularly quickly, however. The Ami has a top speed of 28mph and the ride is unsettled enough that you may be glad it doesn’t go any faster. Furthermore, a rather short range of up to 46 miles means it’s even behind the Twizy’s, which was officially capable of 50. 

The range and performance is intentional, as the Ami was designed solely for short bursts around cities. With a tiny turning circle of 7.2m and compact dimensions, it’s perfect for darting in and out of traffic; the Ami is a great solution for those living in cities.

Smart EQ ForTwo hatchback review

Smart EQ ForTwo driving
Carbuyer rating

3.4 out of 5

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Smart now only sells the EQ ForTwo, in coupe and convertible guises. It offers around 80 miles of range but is flexible in terms of charging; it’ll charge from a domestic socket in six hours, use a 22kW fast-charger to top up to 80% in 40 minutes, and can be charged in two-and-a-half hours from a Smart wallbox. Inside, the Smart features a modern design and infotainment system, and the boot is a usable size.

The main downside of this model is its two seats, although you might also see its price as a stumbling point – it’s about £6,000 more than the previously available petrol-powered Smart ForTwo. The recently withdrawn Smart EQ ForFour offers two extra seats but a smaller boot.

Fiat 500 review

Fiat 500 electric
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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There’s now a brand-new, all-electric version of the 500. Although it has undergone a major technological update, the little 500 still retains the retro charm and great ability as a city car. Its 117bhp gives it quick acceleration, making the electric 500 effortless to drive around town, while a range of up to 199 miles (depending on trim level and battery) means that the occasional longer trip is manageable, too.

Prices for the new 500 start at less than £22,500 after the plug-in car grant but if you opt for the highest-spec trim, you’ll pay a few thousand pounds more. As with the old model, the new 500 is also available with a folding fabric sunroof, meaning it’s one of the few electric convertibles currently available on the UK market.

Volkswagen e-up! hatchback review

Volkswagen e-up driving
Carbuyer rating

3.5 out of 5

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The e-up! has an 82bhp electric motor and will manage around 160 miles of range. It’s mechanically identical to the SEAT Mii Electric and Skoda Citigo, but the e-up! is now the only one you can buy new. There’s just the one trim level, but it comes with ‘big-car’ features including heated seats, cruise control and remote pre-heating of the cabin. It’s better equipped than the entry-level Fiat 500 EV, but barely any more expensive.

Unlike many electric cars, the e-up! isn’t fast, but it does offer considerably lower running costs than the petrol model, which was hardly a gas-guzzler anyway. Its compact size and skinny tyres means it’s good fun to drive, even with the extra weight of the batteries.

Vauxhall Corsa-e hatchback review

Vauxhall Corsa-e
Carbuyer rating

3.7 out of 5

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The Vauxhall Corsa-e takes its place on this list after a £3,000 price cut in December 2021. Not only does it mean that every Corsa-e (and every Vauxhall Mokka-e) is now priced from less than £32,000, but the cheapest electric Corsa starts from less than £26,000. All versions get LED headlights, air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and a touchscreen.

Recently, Vauxhall also announced upgrades to the electric powertrain that underpins its ‘e’ badged models. A more efficient heat pump and new tyres are among the updates that now mean the Corsa-e can travel up to 222 miles on a charge; before, it offered a maximum of 209 miles.

MINI Electric hatchback review

MINI Electric
Carbuyer rating

3.9 out of 5

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The switch to electric power has made little impact on the MINI’s fantastic handling and the MINI Electric is nearly as quick as a petrol Cooper S. Even the entry-level ‘1’ model comes with sat-nav, dual-zone air-conditioning, cruise control and a digital instrument cluster, and starts at £27,000.

But you pay for the premium badge and equipment; the 145-mile range is far less than the Peugeot e-208 and Renault ZOE can muster, and there’s not much space for passengers or luggage, although there’s no compromise against the regular MINI.

Mazda MX-30 SUV review

Mazda MX-30 SUV
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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Mazda’s first electric car is one of the quirkier options on this list. Its striking looks are made more unusual by its back doors that open rearwards, and the inside uses recycled cork trim to recognise Mazda’s origins in the cork business. Rather than chasing a long range with a big battery, the Mazda MX-30 packs quite a small 35.5kWh cell.

Fitting a small battery was a conscious decision. Its 124-mile range is disappointing, but Mazda’s research suggests that’s fine for the majority of its customers. And a smaller battery brings plus points elsewhere; the MX-30 is light, agile and relatively cheap because of it. A slightly claustrophobic rear seat area means the MX-30 isn’t the best family car around, although many of the cars on this list are similarly small.

Renault ZOE hatchback review

Best Small Electric Car: Renault ZOE
Carbuyer rating

3.6 out of 5

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The Renault ZOE was slightly ahead of the curve when it came to attainable electric cars with usable range, and is Europe’s best-selling EV as a result. Similarly sized to the Renault Clio, the ZOE offers a big boot and space for four, and its low-mounted battery pack even makes the car quite good to drive.

In this new model, the battery pack provides enough power for a claimed 245 miles, and the range won’t drop as much in cold weather as the old one. Fast-charging is available on Iconic and GT Line trim levels, so it’s worth upgrading if you’ll regularly make use of it. Battery leasing is no longer available, so the initial price seems higher but you’re not paying a monthly fee for the batteries.

MG 5 EV estate review

MG 5 Estate
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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​​Continuing the low-cost, no-frills legacy of the ZS EV, the MG 5 EV isn’t particularly exciting but it is a highly practical and affordable estate car. With a starting price of around £28,000 (after the grant) for the Long Range model, it’s priced like a much smaller car but with a huge 578 litres of boot space, it will take just about anything and everything you could need to carry with ease, and it’ll seat five passengers in reasonable comfort. 

It’s not like MG has sacrificed range to bring down the price either, because the MG 5 EV Long Range can achieve around 250 miles on a single charge. Plus, even with the car’s no-frills nature, standard equipment includes an eight-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and air-conditioning. The MG 5 is getting a facelift for 2022, with fresher looks and updated technology.

Peugeot e-208 hatchback review

Peugeot e-208
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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For Peugeot’s first crack at an electric car, the company decided it wouldn’t give the e-208 outlandish styling to mark it out as something different. It looks almost identical to petrol and diesel 208s, although it’s striking and sporty-looking nevertheless. You could argue it has the performance to back up those racy looks, as it’s the quickest model in the 208 range.

The 0-62mph sprint takes a smidge over eight seconds, while its maximum range is quoted as 225 miles. With 100kW fast-charging available, you can top up the e-208’s batteries by 100 miles in just 20 minutes. Peugeot is now a by-word for eye-catching, well-equipped interiors, and the e-208 is no different. Not having somewhere to store the charging cable is an annoying, if minor, oversight.

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