Best Used Electric Cars 2023: The Complete Guide For The UK

Used Electric Cars

Electric Cars: The Basics

For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we would recommend a read of the following articles:

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The growth in electric driving in the UK has been unabated, but not surprising. Like other international markets, consumers in the UK (individuals, families and businesses) are seeking environmentally-friendly and cleaner forms of road transportation. Electric driving fits perfectly in the narrative they seek!

Modern electric cars have come a very long way in a very short span of time. We say ‘modern’ because electric driving is not a new invention. EVs have been around even longer than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. However, the resurgence of electric cars has been more recent, from the introduction of the all-electric Nissan Leaf in 2010.

Though the Japanese automotive manufacturer, Nissan, re-introduced pure electric cars, it is the famed co-founder of Tesla. Inc, Elon Musk that galvanised the momentum of modern electric cars. Today, Tesla electric cars are as well recognised as any other major global brand, like Apple, Nike etc.

Until and unless you have been living in a cave for the past decade, it is impossible to have not come across an electric car. Some of us have even been driven in one (electric taxis) or already own one! Today, battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) command a market share over 15% in the UK for new car registrations. This is a phenomenal achievement for a relatively nascent industry, and this will only continue to grow! Apart from consumer choice, another factor spurring this momentum is legislation, in particular the ban on petrol and diesel cars in the UK in 2030.

We have also witnessed growth in the used electric car market. Five years ago it was challenging to find a reasonable choice of used electric vehicles (EVs), with only a handful of used models available. In 2023, the narrative could not be more different. Today the choice for consumers seeking second-hand electric cars is vast, to include, leading global automotive brands, body types, budgets etc. Of course, the used EV market will only continue to grow, as consumers continue to become more confident with purchasing new and used electric cars.

Though both used BEVs and PHEVs are available, in general, we recommend purchasing a used BEV. For those new to electric driving, a BEV is also a pure electric car. To learn more about the different types of electric cars, simply follow this link!

The reason for recommending all-electric cars, is simply because the benefits offered by pure electric cars are more than PHEVs, and certainly much more than mild hybrids or conventional petrol or diesel cars. To learn more about the benefits of owning a pure electric car follow this link! Of course, a used battery-electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will always be a better choice than a used conventional petrol or diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.

Though the list below is for the top 10 used electric cars, there are many more suitable used EVs available in the market, for all budgets and preferences. A used EV is an affordable entry into electric driving, in particular, for families and company’s restricted by smaller budgets. Like any second-hand car, a used EV has already factored the initial ‘depreciation hit’ in value.

The good news is that a used EV is just as good an option for saving money and having a lower negative impact on the environment. Electric cars are cheaper to drive per mile, compared to conventional petrol or diesel cars. For those with an on-site solar or wind system, coupled with battery storage, the cost of driving electric becomes even lower. Moreover, given the various competitive financing options for used electric cars, like, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Hire Purchase (HP) etc, buying a used EV becomes even more affordable.

Not surprisingly, the brand with the most used pure electric cars is the Japanese manufacturer, Nissan, given the early-stage entry of the Nissan Leaf. Nissan is followed by Tesla and Volkswagen, again no surprise, given the commitment of these automotive manufacturers for developing electric vehicles (EVs). But other brands also gaining a foothold in the used EV market include: Polestar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, MG Motors and Vauxhall.

For those seeking an affordable entry into electric driving, the all-electric Vauxhall Corsa-e is an option worth considering. Prices for the second-hand Corsa-e start as low as GBP 10,995 (a new one is closer to GBP 30,000).

The Corsa-e is available in only one EV battery size (50 kWh), with a claimed zero-emission electric range up to 222 miles. Real-world e-range will be lower. An EV range closer to 190 miles is more realistic. The electric car can be fast charged up to 100 kW DC (charged up to 80% in 30 minutes), and incorporates a 11 kW AC three-phase onboard charger as standard. The EV can be fully charged in 5 hours via a dedicated three-phase EV charger like myenergi zappi. For single-phase EV charging, it will take up to 7 hours and 30 minutes to fully charge.

There is also ample availability of used Tesla Model 3 electric cars. Prices commence as low as GBP 23,000. The Tesla Model 3 is available in three variants: the entry-level Tesla Model 3 with the standard battery, the Model 3 Long Range and the Model 3 Performance. The entry-level is a rear-wheel drive (RWD), while the other two are offered as dual motor all-wheel drive (AWD). 

In terms of pure electric range, neither of the variants disappoint. The entry-level variant has a claimed zero-emission electric range up to 305 miles (WLTP), while the Long Range has a range up to a whopping 374 miles (WLTP). The top of the line, Model 3 Performance has an e-range up to 340 miles (WLTP).

Even adjusting for real-world driving conditions, the range for the Model 3 is impressive and class-leading. For the entry-level, expect a real-world range closer to 260 miles. For the Long Range, a pure electric range up to 325 miles is more realistic. For the Performance, expect an electric range closer to 290 miles.

Used VW ID.3 electric cars are available from under GBP 20,000. The electric car uses the MEB bespoke electric platform. Manufacturing commenced in November 2019. The ID.3 has a 58 kWh (Pro Performance) onboard EV battery. The manufacturer claims a zero-emission electric range up to 265 miles (WLTP). Even adjusting for real-world driving conditions, the EV should be able to deliver an electric range over 225 miles.

The VW EV offers DC charging up to 120 kW DC, which is more than sufficient given the size of the onboard EV battery. At 120 kW DC, the EV can be charged up to 80% in 30 minutes. Just enough time for a coffee and short motorway break.

Top Tips For Buying A Second-Hand Electric Car
Check the EV real-world range: electric car range is impacted by a number of factors, to include: weather, temperature, road conditions, payload, driving profile and more!. Always take the EV for a test drive, preferably, testing the EV range under as many real-world conditions as possible.
Check EV battery performance/ charging/ degradation: in general, an EV battery will degrade 2.3% of maximum capacity a year.
Check EV battery warranty: in general, most BEVs have an EV battery warranty of 8 years or 100,000 miles. However, PHEVs have a shorter battery warranty profile. Moreover, some of the earlier generation of electric cars offered shorter battery warranty, usually up to 5 years. Also worth checking if the EV battery can be extended, albeit, with an additional payment.
Check service/ maintenance history and costs: this applies to all types of cars, to include petrol, diesel and electric cars. If a car does not have a well documented service history, best to avoid it.
Buy a used EV with as large a battery as possible, for the given budget: the larger the onboard EV battery, potentially, the longer the electric range. In particular, for those considering buying a used plug-in hybrid car. Only buy a PHEV with a real-world practical range, so that, the benefits of electric driving can be leveraged.
Where possible, look for EVs with DC charging capability: in general, most PHEVs do not offer DC charging, while most of the latest BEVs do. It can be the case, that some of the first-generation of electric cars do not offer DC charging capability. So for those keen on buying a used pure electric car, better to identify one with DC charging capability, and preferably 50 kW DC +.


The Best-Selling Tesla Model 3 (credit: Tesla)

Best Used Electric Cars: Top 10

Electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet! You can follow the links below for a more detailed review of the EVs.

Brand/ ModelBattery Size (kWh)Electric Range (WLTP)Body Type
BMW i342.2 kWh173 – 190 milesHatchback
Hyundai Kona39.2 kWh/ 64 kWh189 – 300 milesSUV
MG ZS EV51.1 kWh/ 72.6 kWh198 – 273 milesSUV
Nissan Leaf 39 kWh/ 59 kWh168 – 239 milesHatchback
Peugeot e-20850 kWh218 – 224 milesHatchback
Renault Zoe 52 kWh223 – 238 milesHatchback
Tesla Model 353 kWh, 78 kWh, 82 kWh305 – 374 milesSaloon
Tesla Model S95 kWh396 – 405 milesSaloon
Vauxhall Corsa-e50 kWh222 milesHatchback
Volkswagen ID.358 kWh265 milesHatchback

While e-zoomed uses reasonable efforts to provide accurate and up-to-date information, some of the information provided is gathered from third parties and has not been independently verified by e-zoomed. While the information from the third party sources is believed to be reliable, no warranty, express or implied, is made by e-zoomed regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. This disclaimer applies to both isolated and aggregate uses of this information.

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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