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Tips and advice

How much do electric cars cost?

We look at the current prices for all kinds of electric cars, plus explain why they generally cost more than petrol cars

EV cost

The cost of electric cars is something that has to be considered by all potential EV buyers at some point. Even the most rudimentary research will show that electric cars tend to cost significantly more than very similar petrol models. But that doesn’t mean that electric cars are completely unaffordable.

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At the time of writing, the cheapest used electric car we could find online was available for £1,000. Yet at the same time, it is also possible to spend upwards of £350,000 on an electric Rolls-Royce. So the simple answer to the question in our headline is that electric cars vary in cost to the same extent as petrol and diesel cars.

But we certainly wouldn’t recommend spending any money on the tired G-Wiz we found, nor is the Rolls-Royce Spectre particularly good value unless you happen to be one of the world’s richest people. It’s somewhere in between these two extremes of the market where most people will be looking.

Best electric carsTop 10 best electric cars 2024

There are appealing used and new electric cars available at any budget, and in this article we’ll identify which we would recommend as well as explain why EVs typically cost more than the equivalent combustion engine models.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the cost of electric cars.

EV costs 2

Why do electric cars cost more than petrol cars?

One of the key components of electric cars is the battery, and it’s also a huge reason why they are generally more expensive. The battery in a modern electric car contains rare materials that cost a lot to extract from the ground before they can be used in EVs.

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Additionally, as electric cars are not quite fully mainstream yet, car makers don’t have the economies of scale that they do with petrol and diesel cars. The cost to produce a combustion engine car has been pushed down over decades of production. However, as we start to build cars with electric motors and batteries instead, some elements of the process have to start from scratch, and this pushes costs up. As more cars become electric, it will get cheaper to make them, and they should get more affordable to buy.

There’s also the fact that car makers have invested billions in researching and developing electric cars and simply can’t sell them at the same prices as petrol cars that have much lower development costs. While a new version of a petrol car might require a fresh look for the bumpers, different engine mounts for a new engine and some other minor changes over an existing model, most current electric cars have been created from scratch. That development cost needs to be recouped, otherwise the car makers would go out of business.

How much are the cheapest electric cars?

The cheapest way to buy an electric car is to choose an older, used model. There are plenty of options at the most affordable end of the market including the Renault ZOE and Nissan Leaf, which were the first EVs to arrive in the UK that seemed a genuine alternative to a normal car (and not a tiny quadricycle like the G-Wiz).

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These models can be bought for less than £4,000 and since they have limited driving range on a single charge (less than 100 miles), they tend to have very low mileages, even at this price. 

cheapest electric carsTop 10 cheapest electric cars 2024

While it’s tempting to consider more expensive new models, you should always bear in mind that used examples are available at a much-reduced price and since electric cars are more reliable than petrol or diesel cars, you can buy second-hand with confidence.

EV cost 3

If you are settled on a new car, amongst the cheapest electric cars at the moment are the Smart EQ ForTwo, the BYD Dolphin and the MG4. (We’re not counting the tiny Citroen Ami as it has a top speed of just 28mph and isn’t really suitable as a car for most people). The Smart, BYD and MG cost less than £27,000 brand new, which admittedly is a lot more expensive than the cheapest used EVs. But with current new car prices at an all-time high, £27,000 is about as low an entry point as is available.

Don’t forget that car finance makes electric car costs more palatable, too. The MG4 may cost £27,000 outright, but most people will instead pay around £300 a month on a PCP finance deal. (This example requires a deposit of £5,000, with the monthly payments covering 48 months, and a maximum of 8,000 miles a year are allowed).

How much do electric family cars cost?

If you need a larger model that’s capable of carrying a family and all their stuff in comfort, plus has a long driving range on a single charge, you’ll need to spend a little more. There are models in this category that are good value but not for everyone because of their utilitarian looks, such as the Citroen e-Berlingo, which is available for around £32,000.

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To get into one of the more popular SUV-style family cars like the Hyundai Kona Electric, Smart #1, Peugeot e-2008 or Cupra Born, you will need to pay in the region of £35,000. As you go up to larger, more powerful and longer-range models, prices rise: the Renault Megane E-Tech, Volkswagen ID.4, Volvo EX30 and Skoda Enyaq iV cost up to around £39,000, for example.

The best electric family cars heroTop 10 best electric family cars 2023

Our current favourite electric cars are models that can drive for about 300 miles on a single charge, have lots of equipment, plenty of space inside and excellent, powerful motors. Examples include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Tesla Model Y, Polestar 2 and Nissan Ariya. These models cost from about £42,000 to £48,000.

Go over £50,000 and you can buy a more premium electric car such as the Volvo C40, BMW i4 and Audi Q4 e-tron. These are all excellent family cars, but aren’t as good value for money as the models costing a little less.

EV costs 4

How much do the top electric cars cost?

The most expensive electric cars aren’t necessarily the best, although there are some fantastic cars available to people with a much larger budget.

The Jaguar I-Pace, Audi Q8 e-tron and BMW iX are exceptional electric SUVs that are more than just expensive cars with electric motors. They’re packed with a huge amount of tech, have stunning interiors that feel worthy of their price tags and drive brilliantly. It’s a good thing too, because they cost around £70,000 to buy.

longest range electric cars10 longest-range electric cars

Get up to around £80,000 and you’ll be able to afford a Porsche Taycan, possibly the most desirable electric car available right now for those who really appreciate an enjoyable driving experience. The Taycan is as good to drive as you’d expect of a Porsche and has plenty of driving range. It’s also really practical, especially the Sport Turismo (estate) version.

A budget of £100,000 will get you into a Tesla Model X, BMW i7 or a Mercedes EQS. These are extremely luxurious cars aimed at people who want to travel in the ultimate comfort. And for the ultra-rich, there’s the Porsche Taycan Turbo S (£150,000), Maserati GranTurismo Folgore (£200,000) or the Rolls-Royce Spectre (£350,000).

Read our round-up of the best electric cars on sale, and if you're on a tight budget, browse our list of the cheapest electric cars available

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