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The best cheap electric cars to buy in 2024

Check out our picks for the best cheap electric cars in 2024. Great affordable EV choices from under £20,000

Electric cars don’t have to be expensive. Brand new models just off the factory floor tend to be ambitiously priced and often out of reach for family buyers – it’d take you tens of thousands of miles to see a saving on a new Vauxhall Corsa-e versus a petrol one. But used electric cars can offer incredible value.

You might have concerns about buying a used electric car – about battery degradation, breakdowns and maybe blazing infernos. Our mild climate helps the longevity of batteries, and you’re unlikely to see a marked difference in battery health unless you fast-charge every time you plug in. Most electric cars offer enough miles to a charge that range anxiety isn’t often a thing anymore. And, if it’s fires you’re worried about, maybe it’s time to stop driving a car that runs on a flammable liquid. The truth is that EV fires are incredibly rare, despite what you might read.

Why buy a cheap electric car?

  • Smooth, quiet powertrains
  • Free VED (road tax) until April 2025
  • Service costs should be cheaper than for petrol or diesel cars
  • Charging is cheap and convenient if you can charge at home
  • Huge choice, both from established brands and new disruptors

There’s never been a better time to buy an electric car, and the sheer amount of choice is mind-boggling. It’s possible to buy EVs from Tesla, Jaguar and Audi for under £20,000 if you don’t mind higher-than-average mileage. We’ve focused on more mainstream offerings, but even then you can pick from chic cars such as the Mini Electric and Fiat 500, clever superminis like the BMW i3 and Peugeot e-208, family hatchbacks like the Citroen e-C4, several small SUVs and even the roomy MG 5 estate.

Browse used electric cars by monthly payment.

Renault Zoe

  • Range: Up to 238 miles 
  • Fast-charging capability: 50kW if fitted (15 to 80% in 54 minutes)

All small EV buyers should consider looking at the Renault Zoe, which can cover nearly 240 miles on a full charge. The Zoe’s supermini-sized body means you'll get a reasonable amount of luggage or passengers in, and its size makes it a doddle to park in tight city spaces. There are also some Zoes with rapid charging, allowing it to recover 90 miles in just 30 minutes, or an 80% charge in slightly more than an hour.

Nissan Leaf

  • Range: Up to 168 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 50kW (20 to 80% in 60 minutes)

The first Nissan Leaf broke new ground in the EV world thanks to its affordable price and useable range. This second-generation Leaf represents a massive improvement in every area. Range is now up to 168 miles on the 40kWh battery pack, or as high as 239 miles with the optional 60kWh pack. Plus, the Leaf’s larger body – similar in size to a VW Golf or Ford Focus – makes it easier to live with for EV buyers who need space for the whole family. 


  • Range: Up to 273 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 100kW (10 to 80% in 42 minutes)

Reborn MG has focused on value-for-money, undercutting rivals while offering the same level of equipment (or more!). That continues with its electric cars, including the impressive MG ZS EV crossover. It's large enough for family life and won't cost very much to run, plus it comes with plenty of kit to enjoy. Pre-facelift models produced up to November 2021 have a 163-mile range, while newer cars get a Long Range version that offers a whopping 273-mile range.

There’s also the MG 5 estate, which is similarly spacious and even better value, with two-year-old examples costing spare change compared to some electric cars.

Volkswagen ID.3

  • Range: Up to 264 miles 
  • Fast-charging capability: 110-125kW (5 to 80% in 30-38 minutes)

The Volkswagen ID.3 is the German giant’s first bespoke attempt at offering an EV in the competitive family hatchback segment. You’ll notice the wheels are pushed far into the corners to make the most of the interior space, so you get more room for passengers than the combustion-powered Golf. The ID.3 comes with a slightly higher price tag than some of the other cars in this list, but it strikes back with a 264-mile range, which will be more than enough for most buyers. For a sportier take on the ID.3 recipe, look at the Cupra Born.

Peugeot e-2008

  • Range: Up to 206 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 100kW (charge to 80% in 30 minutes)

One of few small SUVs to offer a fully electric option, the latest 2008 was designed from the ground up to be an EV. This means that there’s no loss in practicality for the e-2008 compared to the petrol version, so you get a large 434-litre boot and generous rear-seat space – especially for a car in this class. Up front, you get a large touchscreen and a snazzy interior layout with digital dials and a small steering wheel, which helps the car feel more agile. Peugeot also sells the smaller e-208 with the same interior and a slightly longer range, if you don’t need so much space.

Read our Peugeot 2008 review

Vauxhall Corsa-e

  • Range: Up to 222 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 100kW (charge to 80% in 30 minutes)

Because Vauxhall and Peugeot are owned by the same company, the electric Vauxhall Corsa benefits from the same powertrain as the Peugeot e-208. The 50kWh battery provides a longer range than some rivals, and there’s fast charging to keep you topped up on trips further afield. You get lower running costs than fuel-powered Corsas – which aren’t expensive to run in the first place – and much nippier acceleration. Plus, with no gears to shift, the Corsa is smooth and easy to drive in town or on the motorway. This powertrain is also in the slightly larger Vauxhall Mokka-e.

Read our Vauxhall Corsa review

MG 4

  • Range: Up to 281 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 117-144kW (10 to 80% in 35-39 minutes)

See an MG 4 coming towards you and you’d be excused for thinking it’s a Lamborghini, such is the MG’s angular, look-at-me styling. Especially in bright orange! The MG 4 is a very different sort of ‘cool’ to a Lamborghini, but it’s currently the best car MG makes. Three battery sizes are available, offering between 218 and 323 miles – or more if you’re in stop-start traffic a lot. The MG is comfortable and good to drive and, to show that MG is serious, there’s a full-beans XPower version. How does launch control and 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds sound? Lamborghini-ish, that’s how it sounds.

Fiat 500e

  • Range: Up to 199 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 85kW (0 to 80% in 35 minutes)

The Fiat 500 has always been a great city car, but the addition of a zero-emission electric powertrain has made the dinky Fiat even better at nipping through congested streets. Its acceleration is laughably brisk at town speeds, or you can stick it in the Sherpa driving mode to conserve as much of its near-200-mile range as possible. Entry-level cars come with a phone holder and access to a range of apps that function as your infotainment system, while higher-spec cars come with Fiat’s latest-generation touchscreen that makes the new 500 feel drastically more modern inside than the old one.

Hyundai Kona Electric

  • Range: Up to 300 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 100kW (10 to 80% in 47 minutes)

Besides models from Tesla and other high-end EVs, the Hyundai Kona Electric was one of the first truly impressive electric cars. It can reliably do up to 300 miles on a charge, a figure most rivals are still catching up with. Now, there’s a smaller, cheaper version that still offers nearly 200 miles of range, so you can save yourself some cash if you primarily do short, local journeys. 

BMW i3

  • Range: Up to 188 miles
  • Fast-charging capability: 49kW (20 to 80% in 40 minutes)

A car that still looks as futuristic as the day it launched, the BMW i3 was rather ahead of the curve. It used exotic materials like carbon fibre in its construction, comes with bespoke skinny tyres and had a quirky side profile design. The i3 can manage up to 188 miles on a full charge, which is still competitive with many of its rivals. With big windows, an open dashboard and very slim seats, the i3 has a surprisingly spacious cabin – you can sit four large adults in one with ease.

Best of the rest

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