Electric cars are taking off in a big way. Registrations have more than doubled so far in 2019 compared with 2018 and more and more manufacturers are announced battery-powered models to join or replace their conventionally fuelled models.
While most EVs were initially the preserve of the very rich, a lot more affordable models have begun to appear, bringing zero-emissions motoring to the masses.
Here we run down the cheapest new electric cars available to buy or order right now. All prices take into account the £3,500 government plug-in car grant.
Read more: A buyers’ guide to hybrids and electric cars
£6,690 plus battery lease
The Twizy pushes the definition of an electric car to its limits and, in fact, is regarded as a quadricycle because it’s so small and light. It’s a ridiculous looking two-seater with a meagre 17bhp and a tiny 6.1kWh battery that Renault says is good for around 50 real-world miles. It starts at just over £6,500 but doors are an extra £545 and battery leasing will cost between £45 and £67 per month depending on your mileage.
A tiny city car from a tiny new Swedish company. Orders for the Uniti One have just opened and the first customer cars are expected to be delivered in early 2020. The Uniti One is a compact 600kg three-seater designed for urban use. Its single 67bhp electric motor drives the rear wheels and is good for 0-31mph in 4.1 seconds. Entry level models come with a 12 kWh battery which provides a claimed range of 93 miles from a single charge. An optional 24 kWh battery doubles that range.
The bigger, more sensible choice if you’re looking for a French EV. The Zoe was one of the first “affordable” EVs and the second generation was launched in 2019 offering more power, more range and refreshed looks. Its new 52kWh battery offers up to 242 miles on the WLTP test and now features 50kW rapid charging to add 90 miles of range in around 30 minutes. There are also two motor choices – a 108bhp R110 and a 133bhp R135 – to suit different drivers’ needs.
Seat Mii Electric
This is the first of Seat’s electrified range, available to order now with first customer deliveries early in 2020. An all-electric version of Seat’s existing compact five-door city car, the Mii Electric offers 82bhp and a massive 156lb/ft from its single electric motor, meaning it can reach 31mph from a standstill in only 3.9 seconds. The car’s 36.8kWh battery provides up to 161 miles of range from a single charge, based on the WLTP test cycle and allows for rapid charging to 80 per cent capacity in an hour. The Mii electric is the first VW group city car to go electric but it will be joined by the VW e-Up and Skoda CitigoE iV in 2020.
MG ZS EV
Another pure EV based on an existing model, the ZS EV is the first all-electric car from budget brand MG. It’s also one of the first all-electric models in the C-SUV segment. What it lacks in glamour, it makes up for with high equipment levels, a decently spacious interior and a 44.5kWh battery that’s good for 163 miles of zero-emissions motoriing.
The Leaf is the granddaddy of mainstream EVs and remains one of the default choices for buyers looking to switch from conventional engines to electric. Apart from the slightly gawky looks it’s a fairly standard family hatchback but with an all-electric drivetrain. Since mid-2019 it’s been available in two versions – the less powerful standard car has a 148bhp motor and 40kWh battery while the E+ gets a beefier 212bhp motor and a 62kWh battery. The standard car’s range is stated at 168 miles, while e+ stretches that to 239 miles. Both accept DC rapid charging of up to 50kW and feature Nissan’s neat e-pedal which allows for single-pedal driving.
Nissan E-NV200 Combi
An EV with practicality to the fore. This is a passenger version of Nissan’s E-NV200 cargo van and is available in five or seven-seat configurations, features sliding doors and between 70 and 2,940 litres of load space. It uses the same drivetrain as the standard Leaf but its boxier shape means the 40kWh battery only stretches to 124 miles of range and entry-level models miss out on rapid charging capabilities.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
The Ioniq was the first car to offer three different electrification options, with the choice of mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric. This all electric model, like the Leaf, is fairly conventional family hatchback with a 38kWh battery and single 134bhp motor. Fully charged, it offers 194 miles of range.
Kia Soul EV
The e-Niro is currently stealing all the headlines but the Soul was actually the Korean brand’s first EV, back in 2014. Next year sees an all-new version hit the roads, with order books for the fully loaded First Edition models already open. Under the boxy love-it-or-hate-it body is the same drivetrain as the e-Niro – a 64kWh battery feeding a 201bhp motor that drives the front wheels. Quoted WLTP range is 280 miles and rapid DC charging is standard.
Hyundai Kona Electric
£35,100 (incl grant)
Hyundai’s second entry on this list has been winning plaudits around the world for bringing huge real-world range at an affordable price. The all-electric version of the firm’s crossover features a 64kWh battery that powers a 201bhp motor. Its range is a Tesla-troubling 279 miles from a single charge and rapid charging will add 80 per cent of capacity in 75 minutes.