Top 10 best used electric cars 2022
Second-hand electric cars are becoming more widely available - here are the best used electric cars to buy this year
Most electric vehicles (EVs) are much more expensive than equivalent petrol and diesel cars but there are now quite a few on the second-hand market. Tiny, outdated electric city cars start from around £5,000, but spending the price of a new supermini can get you a much more modern car with a more respectable range and the latest creature comforts.
Gone are the days when electric cars lost almost all their value as soon as you’d bought them - now, residual values are catching up with petrol and diesel cars, and in some cases you might get more for the electric model on the used market.
Part of the reason you can’t get many bargain used EVs any more is that battery technology is so much better than it was a decade ago. The amount of miles you can travel on a charge has massively increased and batteries shouldn’t degrade as quickly - although you should bear in mind that used electric cars will probably have a slightly shorter battery life than brand-new ones.
Still, a second-hand electric car can still be a savvy purchase. You won’t need to pay VED (road tax) and recharging at home costs a mere fraction of what you’d pay for a tank of petrol. With far fewer moving parts than an engine, an electric car should theoretically be more reliable and easier to service. Plus, the driving experience is smooth and quiet, there’s usually nippy acceleration and you won’t be emitting any carbon dioxide.
Read on for our guide to the best used electric cars. You might also be interested in our guide to the cheapest electric cars, as several new EVs cost around £20,000.
The second-generation Nissan Leaf went on sale in early 2018 and you can now buy one of those early examples for the price of a mid-range Nissan Micra. This Leaf offered the best part of 170 miles on a charge when it was new, and cars of this age should still be covered by Nissan’s generous eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty. Nissan gave the new car much more conventional styling, and both the exterior and interior look far more modern.
There’s plenty of tech - even the entry-level model has sat nav, a reversing camera and cruise control - and it’s decent to drive, too, hitting 0-62mph in a sprightly 7.9 seconds. Look for e+ models if you need a little more range; these should manage comfortably more than 200 miles.
As part of our Best Used Car Awards, we recently named the Nissan Leaf our Best Used Family Electric Car for 2022.
The BMW i3 has been on sale for quite a few years now and it still looks as fresh and as futuristic as the day it was launched. Inside is just as interesting, with a wide expanse of dashboard barely interrupted by the infotainment screen and digital dials. Earlier cars get quite a small screen but the cabin is incredibly light and airy, thanks to a high roof and tall windows.
You might expect it to be a little more practical than it is, and battery degradation may mean you get fewer miles from a charge than the figure BMW quotes for new models. Those drawbacks don’t stop the i3 being a very sought-after car, and it scooped our Best Used Small Electric Car award for 2022.
When the Tesla Model S was launched, electric cars were in their infancy and none were fast, fashionable or able to travel far. It wasn’t Tesla’s first model, but it was the first to show that EVs could be a real alternative to luxury petrol and diesel cars. As a result, the Model S is very desirable and holds its value well.
Some models feature lifetime free charging at Tesla’s Supercharger network, so we’d recommend looking out for one that offers this. Tesla updates all its cars over-the-air so even early models can get the latest technology, and you should easily be able to manage 200 miles between charges. It’s still quite expensive to buy a used Tesla Model S but it’s worth it. We gave the Model S our inaugural Best Used Large Electric Car award for 2022.
With the Honda e, MINI Electric and Peugeot e-208 now on sale, the Renault ZOE has more rivals than before - but those cars are only just catching up to Renault’s big-selling EV. The ZOE was updated in 2019 with a new face and a bigger battery but, if you can live without these, there are plenty of second-hand ZOEs available - and some will be cheaper than you expect.
Later models come with fast-charging capability and a more powerful battery than earlier ones, so you should be able to manage around 150 miles between charges. We’d recommend hunting out a newer ZOE if you can because they’re also faster and better equipped. Some older models have leased batteries, which makes the car cheap but you’ll need to factor in £50-£120 per month to cover the battery costs.
The UK’s best-selling supermini is now available as a fully electric car. The Vauxhall Corsa-e looks almost identical to the petrol-powered version - inside and out - and brings lots of standard equipment. There are also dealerships in most towns, which will make servicing easy.
Sharing its 50kWh battery and electric motor with the Peugeot e-208, the Corsa-e should manage over 200 miles from a full charge. Fast-charging is available to top the car up in half an hour, while it will feel very nippy around town. We’d like it to feel a bit more special but the electric Corsa earns its place on this list because it’s great value; we’ve seen nearly new Corsa-e models for under £20,000, which is a substantial discount on a new one.
Besides the grey blanked-off grille, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric looks pretty normal, especially in comparison to cars like the BMW i3 and the original Nissan Leaf. With the inside looking pretty similar to any other Hyundai, the Ioniq could be an ideal choice if you’re worried about an EV feeling too unfamiliar.
Few EVs currently offer a sparkling drive and the Ioniq is no exception, but instead it does well for comfort and refinement and is still better to drive than the Ioniq Hybrid. Newer second-hand examples should manage around 150 miles between charges - enough for most people’s weekly commutes - and the battery should be fully topped up if you charge overnight.
The Volkswagen ID.3 hasn’t been on sale for that long, so used examples are still quite expensive. But, like many new cars, the ID.3 is subject to lead times that stretch into the middle of next year. Buying a lightly used Volkswagen ID.3 is therefore a great option if you don’t want to wait.
The ID.3 packs the very latest tech at VW’s disposal. The ID.3 is also a spacious family car with far more interior space than the similarly sized Volkswagen Golf, plus you’ll get between 200 and 330 miles on a charge depending on the battery you pick.
If you want an electric car that feels barely any different to a petrol or diesel, or can’t stretch to an ID.3, the older Volkswagen e-Golf is worth considering. Besides model-specific alloy wheels, C-shaped daytime running lights and a couple of blue trim finishers, the e-Golf looks pretty much identical to any other Golf, and inside very little gives away the electric powertrain. The boot’s exactly the same size as petrol and diesel models, too, and acceleration is about the same. In fact, perhaps the only difference is that you’ll need to plug it in every 130 miles or so. Here are all the used examples available on BuyaCar.
The Kia e-Niro is one of our favourite mainstream electric cars, and it seems that prospective buyers like the look of it too - Kia sold out quite quickly, and the e-Niro makes up a good proportion of Niro sales.
It’s another EV that subscribes to the idea that electric cars should look normal - only the fared-in grille and blue highlights mark it out. Unusually, the fully electric e-Niro is more practical than the hybrid models, so there’s a big boot and plenty of space inside. It’s better to drive than the hybrid pair, too, and running costs are even lower - although you’ll pay much more in the first place. Perhaps the best bit is that the e-Niro offers one of the longest ranges of any EV this side of a premium model at twice the price, with a fantastic 282-mile range.
The Jaguar I-Pace shows that electric cars can be very fun to drive, as well as an environmentally-friendly way of getting from A-to-B. It’s quicker from 0-62mph than most hot hatchbacks and impresses on a twisty road. Used buyers can pick up an 18-month-old I-Pace for around £20,000 less than the initial cost price, so you can enjoy its well-appointed interior, futuristic styling and massive boot for under £50,000.
Insurance will be expensive - like any premium electric SUV - but running costs are low. Official estimates suggest you can get almost 300 miles on a full charge, and the ability to recharge at up to 100kW means 80% of the battery’s capacity can be topped up in the time it takes to have a coffee.
The Citroen C4 is another car that’s been reinvented with electric power. It actually shares its parts with the Corsa-e and e-208, but its curvier, more aerodynamic bodywork slightly improves range. Prices for the Citroen e-C4 are about the same as a used Mazda MX-30 but the C4 offers a maximum range of 217 miles compared to the Mazda’s 124 miles. The C4 is also a little bigger inside.
While the new Citroen e-C4 won’t feel as quick as some of its rivals, it may be more comfortable because that’s what Citroen chose to prioritise. Even the cheapest version gets a reversing camera, a head-up display and multi-zone air conditioning.
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