Compare the best cheap electric cars
Browse cheap electric cars from rated and reviewed dealers
Best affordable and budget electric cars and deals of 2023
An inexpensive electric vehicle is the perfect car for many people, as it combines a reasonable initial purchase price with affordable running costs. And if you’re able to charge an EV using your domestic tariff – as opposed to the more expensive public chargers – your running costs will be considerably lower than a petrol or diesel car with an internal combustion engine.
However, it’s that initial sticker price that is often the sticking point for buyers who want to switch to an EV. Electric cars currently cost more to buy than ICE cars because of the money carmakers have invested in developing this new technology and the relatively low numbers being produced, as well as the cost of the battery tech on board. As production ramps up and expertise increases over the next few years, we can expect to see prices fall, making them equivalent in price to petrol or diesel cars.
But for those who are committed to reducing their carbon footprint, there are ways of going electric now that won’t break the bank.
We've chosen the best (relatively) cheap electric cars on sale in the UK today and listed them according to Carwow’s test team ratings.
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Best value electric cars FAQs
Electric cars can offer real value for money, even if they’re not necessarily cheap to buy. If you want to know more, our FAQs should help you decide if now is the time to switch...
EVs are more expensive than petrol or diesel cars, because the costs of developing the technology for the battery packs, motors and all the other features of an electric vehicle haven’t been fully recovered by the car companies. You should be able to offset the higher initial purchase price of an EV with lower running costs: for example, charging an electric car is cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car. And, if you’re a company car user, an EV is extremely tax efficient, too.
The Smart EQ ForTwo is the smallest electric car you can buy, but it’s not the cheapest and its limited range means it’s only really suited to city life or as a second (or even third) car.
EVs are relatively new and in high demand, which means that used prices are strong and there are no really cheap examples to be found. You can pick up an early example of the Renault Zoe or Nissan Leaf, but they still aren’t as cheap as ICE cars of a similar age.
Leasing a car is a great way to get into a brand new EV at an affordable monthly cost, with the added bonus that a warranty and tax are included in the fee. It tends to be more affordable than other finance methods and after the lease expires, you just hand the keys back (and, if you want, take a lease out for another new car).
There are lots of cars that can be leased for a relatively inexpensive monthly fee, but it’s worth bearing in mind that your monthly payment is usually dictated by the initial payment and length of contract. Check out the latest electric car leasing deals on carwow.
As car companies ramp up production to meet the increasing demand for electric cars, economies of scale will start to cover research and development costs and prices will fall.
We’re starting to see this already, with the MG4 and other Chinese EVs showing that a practical and well-made car can be bought for not a huge amount of money. And as more smaller electric cars come on to the market, this will start to lower the cost of entry further.
The UK government did offer a plug-in car grant, which discounted zero-emission vehicles to encourage uptake, but it was axed in 2022. Certain vehicles – including some vans, taxis and motorcycles – can still qualify for a grant, but EVs are no longer eligible for any money off.
However, there are still some financial incentives to go electric, such as zero-rated vehicle excise duty and a 2% company car benefit-in-kind tax rate, until the 2024/2025 tax year (it will increase to 3% until 2027/2028). Installing a chargepoint can also be eligible for a £350 grant if you own or rent a flat, or for companies installing workplace chargers.
What we’re seeing so far is that EVs don’t depreciate in the same way that petrol and diesel cars do, with the current trend being for them to hold their value much better. A number of factors affect used prices, with one of the key reasons being the high demand for EVs, with long waiting lists for new cars pushing some buyers to the used market. The price premium over equivalent new petrol and diesel models is also resulting in many buyers turning to cheaper used EVs, although it's still early days in the used EV market.
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