The best entry level EVs in 2023

If you're looking to get an electric car on a smaller budget, check out our pick of the top entry level EVs in the market

Electric vehicles are more expensive than their ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) rivals, but there are still plenty of options at the affordable end of the market.

The thing to remember with EVs is that even though the upfront cost is higher, running costs are much lower than an equivalent petrol-engined car, so the total cost of ownership is considerably less.

Using the Journey Cost Calculator on the Zap-Map website, we compared the new Fiat 500 Electric with the conventional 1.0-litre mild hybrid petrol version.

Over a year, you could save nearly £2,000 on a daily journey, by driving the electric version (£2,864 vs £4,639) – that’s 7.8p per mile compared to 12.7p per mile. The calculation was based on a daily journey distance of 100 miles with electric priced at 34kWh and a litre of petrol at 149p.

The prices below are correct as of April 2023. EV ranges quoted use official WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) figures achieved in a laboratory. Real world ranges will vary.

Here are some of the cheapest introductions to zero emissions motoring…

Our pick of the best entry level EVs right now
Citroen Ami (5)
Citroen Ami
From £7,695

Verdict

4
The cheapest electric car for a city runaround
More cute city mobility solution than a car (it's classed as a quadricycle), this plastic two-seater is already a common sight on the streets of Paris and Rome. At 2.41m x 1.39m wide, it can fit in the tightest of spaces and has a tiny turning circle of just 7.2 metres (tighter than a London taxi). Top speed is 28mph, it has a range of 43 miles and battery size is just 5.5kWh. To charge, simply plug in into a normal household socket and only takes three hours.
Read our review of the Citroen Ami
smart EQ fortwo Coupé
Smart EQ Fortwo
From £22,225

Verdict

The most complete 2-seater electric car
This two-seater (also available as a cabrio) is perfect for zipping around town and parking in the smallest of spaces. If you need four seats, then its bigger brother, the Smart EQ Forfour, is only a little bit more expensive. Neither has a huge range (up to 80 miles), but they are both nippy, great fun and well built. What's more, you can charge your Smart (from 10-80%) in as little as 40 minutes at a 22kW public charging station - just enough time to do your weekly shop. You can also charge overnight at home using any domestic power socket, or less than half that using a 7kW home wallbox. Battery size for both models is 17.6kWh.
Read our review of the Smart EQ Fortwo
FIAT 500 Electric Cabriolet
Fiat 500 Electric
From £28,195

Verdict

One of the cutest (and cheapest) 4-seater EVs
The all-electric third-generation Fiat 500 is one of the cutest and cheapest EVs on the market. Available as a hatchback or convertible (Cabrio), The new 500 comes with either a 23.7kWh battery with a 115-mile range or a 42kWh battery that gives it a 199-mile range. The 500 will charge from empty to 80% in as little as 35 minutes (via an 85kW connection) or overnight at home. Slightly bigger than its petrol-powered predecessor, it's now packed with the latest tech, but despite the bigger dimensions, it's still a squeeze for rear passengers.
Read our review of the Fiat 500 Electric
Vauxhall Corsa-e
Vauxhall Corsa-e
From £31,800

Verdict

7
A refined and surprisingly spacious compact EV
Launched in 2020, the fifth generation of Vauxhall's supermini is the best ever and is the UK's best-selling new car. The 100 electric version (it’s also available with petrol and diesel engines) is powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery. Capable of accelerating from 0–60mph in just 7.6 seconds, it offers a range of up to 222 miles. Delivering a straightforward EV motoring experience, the Corsa-e is refined, surprisingly spacious and easy to drive. It will charge up to 80% in 30 minutes using a rapid 100kW charging station, or simply plug it in overnight at home.
Read our review of the Vauxhall Corsa-e
Nissan Leaf (8)
Nissan Leaf
From £28,995

Verdict

6
A practical and pleasnt to drive compact electric car
The pioneering British-built Nissan Leaf was still the UK's fourth best-selling EV in 2021, but it's gradually getting overtaken by cooler, newer rivals. Depending on whether you choose the 39kWh or 59kWh battery, your range will vary between a maximum 199-239 miles. Practical and pleasant to drive, a Leaf will charge overnight using a 7kWh home charger and takes as little as 60 minutes to get to 80% via a 50KW fast charger.
Read our review of the Nissan Leaf
MG ZS EV
MG ZS EV
From £30,495

Verdict

6
A great value electric crossover with a great warranty
MG's electric crossover offers serious bang for your buck. Stylish, simple to drive, well equipped, and with space for five, its 72.6kWh battery offers a range of up to 273 miles. It can be charged up to 80% using a 50KW public chargepoint in just over an hour and it accelerates from 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds. Add MG's generous seven-year/80,000-mile warranty and it's no wonder the ZS EV is selling well.
Read our review of the MG ZS EV
Renault Zoe E-Tech Electric
Renault Zoe E-Tech Electric
From £29,995

Verdict

6
A great combination of space, equipment and personality from Europe's best-selling electic car
Up until recently, Europe's best-selling electric vehicle used to have the cute supermini end of the market all to itself. Now it's facing tough competition from the likes of the Honda e, MINI Electric and Fiat 500e. That said, the Zoe is hanging in there with its winning combination of space, equipment, driver engagement and personality. Equipped with a 52kWh battery, it has a range of up to 238 miles and takes an hour to recharge using a 50kW public chargepoint, or it can be charged at home.
Read our review of the Renault Zoe E-Tech Electric
Mazda MX-30
Mazda MX-30
From £31,250

Verdict

A fun-to-drive EV with plenty of kerb appeal
Mazda's first all-electric car oozes kerb appeal and features unusual rear-hinged back doors. Swift, smooth and well equipped, it's fun to drive and perfect for urban environments where a long range isn't a necessity. Its 35.5kWh battery can be topped up from 20-80% in just 26 minutes using a 50kW fast charger, you can top up from 20%-80% in just 26 minutes.
Read our review of the Mazda MX-30
Hyundai Kona Electric
Hyundai Kona Electric
From £32,450

Verdict

7
Affordable Electric Car of the Year in 2018 and 2021
Based on the distinctively styled Hyundai Kona family crossover, the electric version comes with two sizes of battery (39/64KWh), giving it a range of between 189-300 miles. Named Affordable Electric Car of the Year at the Auto Express Awards 2018 and refreshed in 2021, it’s now better than ever. Easy to drive, safe and with space for five, it offers peace of mind too because it comes with a decent five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. The Kona Electric will add 10-80% of charge in 47 minutes via 100kW connection, extending to 64 minutes using a 50kW charger.
Read our review of the Hyundai Kona Electric
MINI Electric (6)
MINI Electric
From £32,550

Verdict

6
A fun-to-drive small electric car with go-kart handling
If you want your EV to look as conventional as possible and experience serious driving engagement, then the MINI Electric might be right up your street. Just as agile as its petrol-powered siblings, this funky three-door is fast (0-62mph in 7.3 seconds) and offers premium build quality. In theory it's possible to travel up to 145 miles on a full charge of its 32.6kWh battery, so it's ideal in an urban environment, but if you do want to go further afield it can be charged from 0-80% via a fast charger (50KW) in as little as 36 minutes.
Read our review of the MINI Electric
MG4 EV (5)
MG MG4 EV
From £26,995

Verdict

8
A stylish EV that's great value
And finally, here's a newcomer that's really shaking up the EV market. Now Chinese-owned, MG is making a name for itself with its range of cars at the affordable end of the market. The MG ZS EV crossover and MG5 EV estate are great value, but the striking new MG4 EV adds serious style. Range will depend on the battery size chosen, so it's up to 218 miles with the 51kWh, or up to 281 miles (64kWh battery). Whichever you choose, it's well equipped and comes with a seven-year warranty as standard. Charging time is as low as 35 minutes via a rapid 150kW connection and, naturally, it will also charge overnight at home.
Read our review of the MG MG4 EV
Buying an EV on a budget: what you need to know
How much should I spend on an electric car?

In the UK, the cost of an electric car can vary depending on the make and model, battery capacity, features, and location. Currently the cost of a new electric car in the UK can range from around £7,500 for the Citroen Ami, to well over £100,000.

Ultimately, how much you should spend on an electric car depends on your personal budget and driving needs. It's important to consider the long-term savings on fuel and maintenance costs, as well as any incentives and grants available, when making a decision.

Are more expensive electric cars better?

Not necessarily. The price of an electric car does not necessarily indicate its quality or performance. There are many factors that determine the quality of an electric car, such as its range, charging time, acceleration, handling, and safety features, among others.

There are many affordable electric cars on the market that perform well and offer a good driving experience. As you spend more, you'll tend to get bigger batteries which mean longer range, and more features as standard. You may also get a second motor for all-wheel drive. How much you need these things will inform your budget.

What's the most cost-effective way to buy an electric car?

There are several factors to consider when looking for the most cost-effective way to buy an electric car. Here are some tips to help you get the best deal:

Look for incentives: Many governments offer incentives for electric car purchases, such as tax credits, rebates, or other financial incentives. Check to see what incentives are available in your area.

Check for dealer discounts: You may find discounts on electric cars, especially if dealers have a surplus of inventory. Be sure to shop around and compare prices from different dealerships to find the best deal.

Consider used electric cars: In general electric cars depreciate in value more slowly than ICE-powered cars, but buying a used electric car can still be a cost-effective option. Look for certified pre-owned electric cars from reputable dealerships.

Lease an electric car: Leasing can be a cost-effective way to drive an electric car, as monthly lease payments are often lower than financing a car purchase. Additionally, you may be eligible for tax credits or other incentives when you lease an electric car, especially if it's through work.

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