Going Green on a Budget: carwow expert Mat Watson shares the top five used EVs you can grab for less than £15k

July 10, 2023 by

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Looking to get into an EV on a budget? You’ve come to the right place.

Recent research by carwow*, the online platform for buying and selling cars, found that only a quarter (24%)** of people in the UK wouldn’t like to own an electric vehicle (EV) in the future, with over half of those polled (57%) saying if they could afford to switch their current vehicle, they would buy a cleaner vehicle like an EV or hybrid.

As we mark this year’s Environment Day (5 June) and with more low emission zones coming into effect (Glasgow – 1 June, London’s ULEZ expansion – 29 August, plus more cities implementing zones next year) EVs are becoming increasingly appealing to British motorists.

However, cost is regularly cited as a significant barrier to adoption. Of those that said they wouldn’t be interested in getting an EV in the future, 56% said it was due to purchase costs being too high (though this is trending down from 63%*** in November 2022).

carwow’s automotive expert and YouTube star Mat Watson shares his top picks for used EVs you can get your hands on for under £15k right now, that are under five years old, and have around 20k miles on the clock. (as well as a few options if your budget will stretch a little further…)

Nissan Leaf

One of the original electric cars for the masses, the Nissan Leaf is a smart EV that comes with an impressive safety kit, a comfortable interior and a big, practical boot. At this price you’ll probably only find the lower-range models, but an official 168 miles between charges should be enough for most. The interior can feel a bit cheap in places, but a good driving position and good visibility make the Leaf easy to drive in town. The punchy electric motors certainly help here, too.

Mat says: “The Nissan Leaf is ideal if you’re looking for an affordable, practical electric family car”.

Example: £14,990 https://quotes.carwow.co.uk/deals/4b3bb0747342969307d7ef36f6999972

Vauxhall Corsa Electric

The electric Vauxhall Corsa has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. It’s stylish without being too in-yer-face and offers affordable, unassuming motoring. It suits electric drive because its diminutive stature makes it ideal for the city where its zero-emission status will appeal most, while a range that could embarrass some bigger EVs – officially over 200 miles – means it can also take you far and wide with little fuss. It’s not the most exciting car inside and rear seat space is a bit cramped, but if you don’t need the room this is a well-equipped car for the cash.

Mat says: “The Vauxhall Corsa Electric is a small car with a big range and lots of on-board kit.”

Example: £14,998: https://quotes.carwow.co.uk/deals/59707afd226b8e0a27edc4b33f08cd67

Volkswagen e-Golf

It’s widely known that whatever your motoring needs, the Golf should probably be on your radar, so it’s no surprise it also makes it onto a list of affordable electric cars. In EV form you get the same excellent build quality and spacious interior you will find in combustion-engined versions, but with the benefit of silent electric motoring, although you may have to go a bit above 20,000 miles for one of these. The boot is a bit smaller than non-EV models and the range isn’t great, but for those doing shorter journeys it’s a good all-rounder.

Mat says: “The Volkswagen e-Golf shows you don’t need to buy something quirky to go electric.”

Example: £15,000: https://quotes.carwow.co.uk/deals/3886126f28362ea4b1cd8fcf4474d90e

Hyundai Ioniq

The Hyundai Ioniq was the first car to be available with petrol, hybrid and electric versions. Electric models are particularly well-equipped so you get all the mod cons in a quiet, comfortable car that’s really easy to drive and spacious inside. Again, its range isn’t fantastic next to newer alternatives, but if you can charge at home it’s less of an issue and the Ioniq proves you’re not limited to small city cars if you want a low-cost EV.

Mat says: “If you want a spacious, affordable electric car that doesn’t shout about its green credentials, the Hyundai Ioniq is worth a look.”

Example: £15,000 https://quotes.carwow.co.uk/deals/81067613e3b102dd710a0995bba2c3b3

Renault Zoe

Another trailblazer for mainstream electric cars, the Renault Zoe is a chic little EV, and because it looks cool, you don’t need to sacrifice style for affordability. Despite its small stature, it has an impressive range that means long journeys are less daunting. It’s a bit cramped in the rear seats and the interior feels cheap in places, though. You also have to watch out for extra costs, as some cheaper models will have a monthly battery rental fee. Faster 50kW charging wasn’t standard on base models either, so check the specs before buying if this is important to you.

Mat says: “There are no gimmicks with the Renault Zoe, it’s just a stylish little electric car with a good range that’s fun to drive.”

Example: £14,000 https://quotes.carwow.co.uk/deals/595576a812b7cb8aeb506f35519eaede 

If you’ve got a bit more cash, there are some more options available. Here’s our pick of the wider variety on offer if you can stretch to about £20,000, still under 5 years old, and under 20,000 miles on the clock.

MG 5 – One of the best value cars you can buy, the MG 5 estate is well-equipped and has a massive boot while also being fun to drive.

DS3 Crossback – This is a small SUV, but what it lacks in space it makes up for with a funky, upmarket interior and comfortable ride.

Fiat 500e – With a decent range and nippy performance, the Fiat 500e doesn’t just rely on its ultra-cool looks to appeal.

Hyundai Kona – Hyundai always packs its electric cars full of useful kit, while the Kona is also comfortable to drive with a long-range battery option.

Citroen e-C4 – This stylish electric car has swoopy coupe looks, a nice interior and fast charging to get you back on the road quickly.

Peugeot e-208 – One of the best-looking cars on this list, the e-208 backs up its style with a usefully large range and fast charging.

Vauxhall Mokka-e – The latest Mokka looks great and, combined with the leap in interior quality, is a genuinely appealing option.

*Research carried out between 2nd May and 5th May comprising of 2,002 UK adults.
** Research carried out between 2 May – 5 May, comprising of 2,002 UK adults
*** Research carried out monthly on 1,025 UK adults aged 17-75 year old with a driving licence