Electromobility is on the rise worldwide, and Great Britain is not an exception. Government incentives, such as the 'Plug-in Grant' worth up to £2.500 (down from £3.500), make buying an electric vehicle (or EV) even more reasonable. We also have to mention that the network of car-charging infrastructure is constantly growing. Not only major cities but also smaller communities can now enjoy more fast-charging stations. Potential buyers are no longer limited to snail-pace wall sockets that restrict the range and fun of driving an electric car. However, the growth of the charging station network doesn't keep up with the increasing numbers of EVs. This situation means very often that drivers have to check for places to recharge beforehand. Even then, there is a chance that no spots will be available on arrival. But that shouldn't discourage the change as the pros are obvious.

electric car charging at a charging station

Cheap electric cars are gentle on your wallet and the environment

Due to the current green transport revolution, many UK drivers are on the lookout for the cheapest and best electric cars available on the market. Usually, the words 'inexpensive' and 'quality' don't go together well in the automotive world. This time, however, things look a bit different. Electric cars are much more expensive than the same models with internal combustion engines. And well-equipped too.

On average, EV owners pay 50% less for their daily commute. And that is even when we calculate the price per mile inclusive of maintenance and insurance cost. The economic incentive is obvious, but more and more people say that they go electric to look after the environment. Whatever the reason for the switch, let's see what the market has to offer when it comes to best electric cars that won't ruin your budget.

the KIA e-niro being charged on an event

What are the cheapest electric cars?

Cheapest electric cars for sale include mostly small city vehicles such as Volkswagen e-Up, Renault Zoe and Kia e-Niro. Other available models are Fiat 500e, Kia Soul EV, Opel Corsa-e or Peugeot e-208. Those EVs usually make it to the Top 10 cheapest electric cars. Their prices are between £20.000 - 40.000, depending on the model and the additional equipment chosen. For that money, we receive a vehicle with an advertised range of up to 250 miles. That is a very optimistic estimate, and most drivers will likely be unable to exceed 200 miles.

Undoubtedly the most affordable electric car is going to be Dacia Spring. Manufactured by a Romanian but French Renault-owned company, it will cost about £15.000. For this price, a prospective owner will receive a city car with a range of up to 180 miles and fast charging from 0 to 80% battery capacity within one hour. It is going to be one of the cheapest electric cars UK has ever seen. And likely even the most affordable ever. Unfortunately, the new Romanian-French car is not all sunshine and rainbows. Dacia has already announced that the 0-60 mph acceleration will be an unimpressive 20-21 seconds. So much for any fun of driving Spring.

As we have mentioned already, the government decided to cut the EV grant to £2500 and make only under £35,000 cars eligible (until recently, it was under £50.000). Consequently, a few models are no longer on the list of cheapest electric vehicles for sale. BMW i3, Volkswagen ID4, Ford Mustang Mach-E and many more don't qualify for the incentive at the moment. This move is unlikely to cause a plummet in EVs sales, but buying anything other than a city car will now cost a UK buyer significantly more.

Things to consider before buying one of the cheapest electric cars for sale

EVs are not for everybody, and before making a decision, you should carefully assess your needs.

a man is charging his electric car

  • First of all, know your daily commute. Electric cars are perfect for short routes and city driving because of their batteries. If, however, you often cover longer distances, you should consider a hybrid (HEV) or a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). By combining an internal combustion engine and an electric powertrain, they easily allow for over twice the range of an EV.
  • Find out where to charge your car. Sooner or later, your electric vehicle is going to need 'juice'. You will require a Level 1 (simple household socket, allows for 5-10 miles per hour of charging) or Level 2 (car charging station, allows for about 50 miles per hour) outlet. Unfortunately, with cheapest electric cars available in the UK, Level 3 Fast Charging (with direct current, charges the battery to 80% capacity in 20-30 minutes) is not an option at the moment. Also, if you live in an apartment and park your car in the street, charging might be tricky.
  • Be ready for a hefty price tag. Before saving on your travels, you must prepare yourself for spending a lot on your EV. There is an enormous gap between what you have to pay for petrol and an electric car. Even with the government incentive of up to £2.500. For example, the difference in the case of a Vauxhall Corsa and Corsa-e is £10.000. And remember, to be eligible for the grant, you must choose a car that costs less than £35.000

Join the ever-growing EV owners club now. Or wait and join it even cheaper

Pick one of top 10 cheapest electric cars in the UK and join the electro revolution. What you will notice very soon is a much lower travel cost. On top of that, you will experience better commute comfort, as EVs drive smoothly and are very quiet. Electric vehicles can also enter many city zones unavailable for their internal combustion counterparts, and some communities even allow them free parking as a way of saying 'thank you' for going green.

If, however, you have a petrol or a diesel vehicle that you intend to keep for some time before switching to one of the best electric cars, there is some good news for you. The price gap is likely to shrink in the next few years, with EVs becoming even more affordable. So, if you have to wait some time before making a purchase, it seems like a good idea that will save you quite a few quid.