If you’ve been looking at second-hand cars for sale, it’s likely you’ve noticed the increasing number of electric cars that are now available on the used market. But does a used electric car make good financial sense?
To find out, we’ve compared the 10 cheapest electric cars you can buy new with second-hand electric car prices. Could you score a great deal buying an electric car that’s already covered a few miles, or does it make more sense to stick to brand new when it comes to EV technology?
The cheapest electric cars you can buy new
1. Smart EQ ForTwo
The Smart EQ ForTwo is the cheapest ‘proper’ electric car you can buy new in the UK – although with only two seats it won’t be suitable for everyone. With a limited maximum claimed driving range of 81 miles it won’t take you very far, either. But for nipping around the city it’s just fine.
New price: from £20,725
Used price: from £13,990 (2018)
Or try: used BMW i3 for £20,299 (2017)
2. Fiat 500 Electric
If it’s only a small city car you need, you may as well stop searching right now: the Fiat 500 Electric is a brilliant compact electric model that combines chic visuals with 118-200 miles of driving range. It’s so new you won’t get a good deal on a used one yet – but we have found a compelling alternative…
New price: from £23,835
Used price: n/a
Or try: used Renault Zoe for £23,490 (2021)
3. Volkswagen e-Up
While most of Volkswagen’s electric vehicles are now purpose-built on a special electric vehicle platform, the most affordable is still a converted petrol car. The 159-miles-per-charge e-Up competes against the 500 Electric, and what it loses in style it gains in practical passenger space.
New price: from £24,085
Used price: from £20,995 (2020)
Or try: used Volkswagen e-Golf for £23,490 (2019)
4. Vauxhall Corsa-e
The Corsa-e the latest version of a firm British favourite, upgrade to electric drive technology. Using the same underlying tech as the Peugeot e-208, you can forgive the reduced sense of occasion when it also comes with a usefully reduced cost. The 209-mile claimed range may be optimistic, however.
New price: from £27,305
Used price: from £20,400 (2020)
Or try: used Hyundai Ioniq Electric for £26,995 (2020)
5. MG ZS EV
The MG ZS EV is the first SUV on our cheap new electric cars list – and it’s a bit of bargain. An impressive claimed driving range of 273 miles per charge is outstanding for the price, it has a five-star Euro NCAP rating and a seven-year warranty. Tough to beat for outright value.
New price: from £27,495
Used price: from £19,950 (2019)
Or try: used Mazda MX-30 for £27,210 (2021)
6. MG 5 EV
Looking for a larger, more practical electric car? Then the MG 5 EV is also great value – and is unusual for being an electric estate car. MG’s electric tech is properly good, too. Just note that older versions have a smaller battery compared with the ‘Long Range’ 214-mile models sold new now.
New price: from £27,945
Used price: from £21,999 (2021)
Or try: used Peugeot e-2008 for £27,591 (2020)
7. Nissan Leaf
The gamechanger. The original Nissan Leaf was the first mainstream electric car it was possible to take seriously, and the second-gen version has pushed those boundaries further, with maximum driving range now as much as 239 miles per charge and clever ‘one-pedal’ driving.
New price: from £28,495
Used price: from £7,495 (2013)
Or try: used Citroen e-C4 for £27,250 (2021)
8. MINI Electric Hatch
MINI has successfully brought its joyful sense of fun right up to date with the electric version of its popular Hatch model. These are fun to drive, fun to sit in and available with all the personalisation touches we’ve come to expect from the brand. Driving range is modest at up to 145 miles, though.
New price: from £28,500
Used price: from £22,999 (2020)
Or try: used DS 3 Crossback E-Tense for £27,999 (2020)
9. Renault Zoe
One of few electric cars that’s already on its second generation, the Renault Zoe ticks a lot of boxes. It’s good-looking, good to drive and purpose-built – which helps it achieve a strong 245-mile maximum claimed driving range (the cheapest used models have much smaller batteries, mind you).
New price: from £29,095
Used price: from £7,735 (2014)
Or try: used Honda e for £27,650 (2020)
10. Peugeot e-208
Essentially the same car as the Vauxhall Corsa, but in a sharper suit and packing a much more interesting interior. You get a slightly higher 225-mile claimed driving range as well, but these are among the worst EVs for living up to the official figures. You have been warned…
New price: from £29,760
Used price: from £20,995 (2020)
Or try: used Hyundai Kona Electric for £29,000 (2020)
Conclusion: are new electric cars better value than used ones?
As you can see from the list above, there are some hefty savings to be made if you’re willing to consider a used electric car instead of a new one.
But you’ll also find that the cheapest second-hand electric cars have out-dated technology and far shorter driving distances per charge – and that’s before you consider any wear and tear on the battery. Which is important, because like the one in your smartphone, electric car batteries do wear out over time.
So whether the used savings are worth it may come down to the type of driving you plan to do. If you just want an electric car to pootle around town, then a used example isn’t going to give you any trouble. But if longer journeys are a regular occurrence a newer model makes more sense.
Other things to consider
If buying used is an option for you, it’s worth checking out the different kinds of electric car you can afford for the price of a new one. You may find you can afford a bigger vehicle, for instance, or one with a more prestigious image – there are example of both scenarios in the list above.
Finally, consider that buying incentives such as the Plug-in Car Grant [ https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants ] are only available on new electric cars; you’re more likely to be able to get a free home charger installation when buying new as well.