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The cheapest electric cars on sale

Auto Express logo Auto Express 13/06/2017 James Wilson

Mass produced electric cars are still relatively new to the UK car market but they’ve come a long way in a short space of time. When the original Nissan Leaf arrived in 2010 you could do 80 - 100 miles of motoring, provided you didn’t go nuts with the AC or crank the stereo up too loudly. That was fine, if all you wanted to do was potter about town but if you did decide to take the plunge, prices in the region of £25,000 meant there were a lot of more rounded, conventionally-engined cars for similar money. 

How times change. Today, the cheapest electric cars are genuinely cheap. Due to incentives from governments and exciting developments in the world of EV technology, the world is slowly thawing to the idea of less petrol, and more plugs. Prices are coming down and fanning the flames of the silent revolution with more and more car buyers realising that a cheap electric car can fulfil their needs without busting their budget.

• Best electric cars to buy now

While the majority of electric cars below fall into the category of city cars, superminis or family hatchbacks, there are some outliers. An example being the Nissan e-NV200 Combi, which not only comes with a choice of five or seven seats, but also costs less than the diesel version. So tighten those purse strings, as an EV might cost less than you think.

The top 5 cheapest electric cars on sale

Renault Twizy

Price: £6,995 + battery lease

Almost small enough to replace bikes in cities, the Renault Twizy is the cheapest EV on the market today. Offering drivers a mighty 17bhp, and a dizzying top speed of 50mph, it fails to appeal to the most ardent internal combustion fans. While the straight-line performance may put a lot of people off, Renault claims it costs just £1 to fully charge, putting a lot of people on. The charging process takes three and a half hours, which then allows drivers to travel for up to 62 miles. However, 50 miles is more accurate in the real world. 

As the Renault Twizy is technically a quadricycle, you won’t get a grant from the Government, and you have to lease the batteries from Renault, adding an extra running cost. Assuming a 36-month, 6,000-mile per year arrangement, the lease will cost £49 a month. Although Renault will repair and/or replace any leased batteries which go below 75% of their original performance.

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Citroen C-Zero

Price: £12,495 

A relative of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Citroen C-Zero is the cheapest EV which offers drivers glass windows and a heater, two items clearly deemed as luxuries over at Camp Twizy. The C-Zero has 67 bhp on tap and a top speed of 80mph, meaning journeys outside city centres are possible. However, they will have to be short ones, as even after the eight hours required to fully charge the C-Zero, you are limited to a maximum theoretical range of 93-miles. Which drops closer to 60-miles in the real world. 

The handling matches its city-dwelling persona, as the steering is a little vague and the body has enough roll to warn drivers the racing line, is the wrong line. But for under 13k the C-Zero offers buyers an affordable electric car that could be used for the majority of their motoring needs. 

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Renault Zoe

Price: £14,245 + battery lease or £19,845

The Renault Zoe, named after the Greek word for ‘life’ looks a lot like a regular supermini. Once more, the Zoe Z.E 40 looks like it could replace your current supermini, mainly due to its claimed real-world range of around 180 miles. Which is almost the same range as the new Ford GT supercar and people are queueing up to buy that. Performance is down on the GT though, as the maximum power available is 91 bhp and a 0-62 time of 13.5 seconds. 

With your purchase Renault includes a 7.4kW ‘wall-box’ for you to charge the Zoe at home. Still, using said box takes up to eight and a half hours to go from flat to full, dependent on which engine configuration you opt for. More impressively, 43kW charging points get the Zoe from flat to 80 per cent in under one hour forty minutes irrespective of engine choice. 

Peugeot iOn 

Price: £15,995

The final member of the C-Zero, i-MiEV, and iOn family. Costing £3,500 more than the Citroen, but offering no improvements in performance and range. There is little to convince you this is the best car for your money. Unless of course your favourite animal is a lion… In which case, you get some pretty niffy lion badges for the bargain price of £3,500.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive 

Price: £16,420

The tiny Smart Fortwo Electric Drive comes with 81bhp, and a top speed of 81mph to match. With a range of 100 miles, it fits in between the iOn/C-Zero and the Zoe. To charge it from empty, you will have to wait only two and a half hours, meaning you are but a trip to the cinema away from a fully charged car. For the first time ever though, the electric ForTwo has to compete with one of its own - the new Smart ForFour. The ForFour offers users additional seats, space, and therefore practicality for only another £500.

Cheapest electric cars: the top 10

Below are the top 10 cheapest EVs on sale. While our top five offers drivers the smallest outlay for the EV lifestyle, the cars in the bottom five begin to offer significantly better practicality. Most notably the Nissan e-NV200 Combi. Hopefully showing that as demand continues to rise, manufacturers are looking to plug different markets with a range of EVs lowering costs further.

1. Renault Twizy - £6,995 + battery lease2. Citroen C-Zero - £12,4953. Renault Zoe - £14,245 + battery lease4. Peugeot iON - £15,9955. Smart ForTwo Electric Drive - £16,4206. Nissan Leaf - £16,6807. Smart ForFour Electric Drive - £16,915 8. Nissan e-NV200 Combi - £19,4039. VW e-up! - £20,78010. Kia Soul EV - £25,495

Would you consider buying an EV? Let us know in the comments section…

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