Best Cheap Pure Electric Cars: The Complete Guide to Affordable EVs 2022

peugeot e-208 electric

It is now a well established fact, in that, pure electric cars are cheaper to drive and own on a life cycle cost basis, compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) petrol and diesel cars!

Affordable Electric Cars

We have certainly come a long way since the days of the introduction of the Nissan Leaf electric car, in December 2010. Much has changed in the automotive landscape in the U.K. and globally, in a way that it is impossible to recognise the old order!

For a start, it is now clear that the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel (internal combustion engine) vehicles will be banned in the UK from 2030, as the government aims to replace polluting vehicles with zero-tailpipe emission electric cars. We at e-zoomed expect the ban date to be pushed further forward as the development and manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs) continues to gather pace. Moreover, it is not only legislation that is driving the migration to pure electric cars, but a widespread and fast growing consumer sentiment to make consumption choices that are better for the environment and society.

SMMT new car registrations UK
SMMT New Car Registrations December 2021 (credit: SMMT)

Electric cars certainly fit this change in consumer narrative, hence the reason EVs are now popular with individuals and families of all budgets and needs. In fact, in 2021, the UK witnessed an astounding 76.3% increase in the sale of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), also known as pure electric cars. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) also performed impressively, with a 70.6% increase in 2021 compared to 2020. A total of 190,727 BEVs were registered in 2021 and 114,554 PHEVs. EVs commanded a total market share close to 20% in 2021. In comparison, the sale of petrol cars dropped by 15.7%, while diesel sales dropped by more than 48%. The writing is clearly on the wall: the future is electric!

But that is not the only good news. Historically, electric cars have been expensive in terms of retail prices, with very few truly affordable pure electric cars available for consumers on restricted family budgets. However, over the past decade as the EV industry has matured, retail prices have become lower, and the availability of cheaper electric cars has improved significantly.

In fact, a number of electric cars are now as well priced (on a retail price basis) as the petrol or diesel equivalent. A decade ago this would have been impossible! We at e-zoomed expect this positive momentum of cheaper electric cars to continue unabated for the foreseeable future for all body types, to include: electric SUVs, electric hatchbacks, electric saloon, electric estates, electric vans and more!

Of course, to mirror the continued improvement in the prices of electric cars, the UK government has adjusted its plug-in car grant incentive accordingly i.e. a reduction in the incentive. The incentive is still available, albeit, for a fewer number of affordable EVs, for a maximum of £1,500. We at e-zoomed do not expect the incentive to be available beyond 2022, so do take advantage while the incentives are available. Quite a few of the affordable electric cars mentioned in our top 5 list qualify for the electric car grant!

ashvin suri e-zoomed founder
You Can Recharge A Pure Electric SUV Between £5 – £10 (Ashvin Suri, Founder e-zoomed)

It is not only the reduction in retail prices for electric cars fuelling the significant uptake in the adoption of green cars in the UK, but also the realisation by consumers that electric cars are cheaper to drive and maintain compared to petrol and diesel cars. EVs lead to significant savings by individuals and families alike, while still creating a positive impact for the environment and improving air quality. In fact, you can recharge a pure electric car at the convenience of your own home, for as little as £5. No more visits to petrol stations, and certainly no need to spend up to £100 on filling a full tank of fuel! An electric car costs between 3p and 5p per mile to drive!

Best Cheap Electric Cars 2022: Top 5

In concluding our list on the top 5 affordable pure electric cars, of course, price has been an important consideration, however, we have also assessed a number of other parameters to include:

  • Electric car range (WLTP).
  • Practicality for families (seats, boot space etc).
  • Charging capability, to include the EV battery size and the onboard charger .
  • Build quality and technical specifications.
  • Ease to drive and park (in particular, in congested towns and cities).
  • Driving performance.

The list below is not in any particular order, as we do believe families or individuals have different requirements, based on budgets, needs and aspirations. However, most families and individuals will find one of the pure electric cars on the list below perfect for their circumstances.

Pure Electric Car Price
Volkswagen e-up! HatchbackFrom £24,085
Vauxhall Corsa-e Hatchback From £27,305
Renault Zoe E-Tech Hatchback From £27,595
MG5 EstateFrom £27,945
Peugeot e-208 HatchbackFrom £29,760

All these electric vehicles (EVs) can be leased via e-zoomed at very competitive prices!

Electric Cars: The Basics

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

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The All-Electric Volkswagen e-up! Hatchback

vw electric e-up
The All-Electric Volkswagen e-up! Available For Lease Via e-zoomed (credit: VW)
At A Glance
Price:From £24,085
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 32.3 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):159 miles
Charging:40 kW Rapid Charging (on-board charger: 7.2 kW AC)
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:81 mph
0-62 mph:11.9 seconds
Cargo Volume:250 L

The Volkswagen e-up! is a city car that was launched as an internal combustion engine (ICE) model in 2011. The battery-electric vehicle (BEV) variant was launched in 2013 at the International Motor Show Germany. The original pure electric e-up! had a 18.7 kWh lithium-ion EV battery. The second-generation all-electric VW e-up! was announced in 2019.

The compact EV has been positioned as a zero-emission city electric car. The VW electric hatchback is available in only one battery option (32.3 kWh), with a range up to 220 miles (WLTP). The electric hatchback is suitable for city driving and even day trips! The electric car has a 7.2 kW on board charger and is capable of rapid DC charging up to 40 kW.

A good option for pure electric city drivingLimited interior space
Well equipped Lacks automatic emergency braking
Easy to drive Limited range for out of city trips

The All-Electric Renault ZOE

Renault ZOE electric car
The All-Electric Renault Zoe (credit: Renault)
At A Glance
Price:From £27,595
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 52 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):239 miles
Charging:50 kW rapid charging available all variants except Play. On board charger: 11 kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:84 mph
0-60 mph:11.4 seconds
Cargo Volume:338 L

The all-electric Renault ZOE was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012, with deliveries commencing in the French market in December 2012. Since then, the ZOE EV has been a success for the French automotive behemoth, Renault. It has ranked as one of the best-selling top 10 electric cars globally in 2015 and 2016 and also been a top selling EV in Europe for the same years. In 2018, the ZOE won the ‘Best Green Car‘ at the inaugural FirstCar awards. In 2021, WHAT CAR? awarded the pure electric car, the prestigious accolade ‘Car of the Year 2021: small electric car best value’.

According to the company “Despite the sanitary situation, sales of electric vehicles in Europe remain very dynamic with growth rates of around 70 to 80% in the main European markets. EV sales now account for around 5% of the total market. More than 84,000 ZOE have been sold since January 2020, doubling the volume compared to 2019. The two main markets are France with 33,000 units and Germany, where more than 25,000 ZOE were sold. Throughout its evolutions, ZOE has been praised for its versatility and its best-in-class range, making it the most sold electric car in Europe year-to-date in November 2020.”

Renault has made significant improvements to its flagship plug-in electric car model, the ZOE pure electric car.  According to Renault, more than 150,000 ZOE zero-emission EVs have been sold across Europe over the past six years.

Perfect for city drivingFast charger not standard
Good EV range Interior materials feel cheap
Affordable and practical Headroom and legroom for rear seats limited

The All-Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e

vauxhall corsa e electric car
The All-Electric Vauxhall Corsa-e (credit: Vauxhall)
At A Glance
Price:From £27,305
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 50 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):209 miles
Charging:100 kW rapid charging (charge up to 80% in 30 minutes). Two options of on-board charger (7.4 kW and 11 kW)
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:93 mph
0-60 mph:7.6 seconds
Cargo Volume:267 L

Vauxhall (Opel) announced the launch of a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) Corsa in December 2018. The all-electric Corsa-e looks very similar to the hugely popular internal combustion engine (ICE) Vauxhall Corsa supermini. But this is where the similarity ends. The Corsa-e is fully electric and has zero tailpipe emissions. It also has a longer wheelbase compared to the petrol variant.

As is in the case with battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), the all-electric Corsa-e is cheap to drive. Depending on charging costs, the 50 kWh EV battery can be fully charged with £5, and the cost per mile can be as low as 3 pence. The Corsa-e electric hatchback is a good entry level EV for those seeking to migrate to zero-emission electric driving. It is practical, and has a good EV range (209 miles WLTP). Moreover, this electric vehicle comes with 100 kW DC charging as standard (public charging), allowing the EV to be charged up to 80% SOC within 30 minutes.

Good all-rounder For those seeking a more futuristic design, this BEV will disappoint
Familiar design Interior lacks inspiration
100 kW fast charging as standard Visibility from the car limited at the rear

The All-Electric Peugeot e-208

peugeot e-208 electric
The All-Electric Peugeot e-208 (credit: Peugeot)
At A Glance
Price:From £29,760
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Hatchback
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 50 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):217 miles
Charging:100 kW rapid charging standard (80% charged in under 30 minutes). On-board charger 7.4 kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:93 mph
0-62 mph:8.1 seconds
Cargo Volume:311 L

The Peugeot pure electric e-208 hails from the Peugeot 208 supermini  portfolio, first unveiled at the Geneva Motors Show in 2012.  The second generation 208 was unveiled by the French automotive manufacturer in 2019, at the Geneva Motor Show.  At the same time, the company also unveiled the all-electric e-208 hatchback supermini. Peugeot has retained ‘familiarity’ with the design, for the e-208 all-electric hatchback.  The battery electric vehicle (BEV) is very similar to its sibling petrol and diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.

The pure electric e-208 comes with 3 driving modes: Sport, Normal and Eco. The Eco gives priority to range, while the Sport gives priority to performance (0-60 mph: 8.1 seconds). The Normal mode is for everyday use.

A good option for zero-emission city drivingLimited interior space
Good looks and practical More expensive than other smaller EVs
Good range (rapid charging as standard)Infotainment system can be improved

The All-Electric MG 5 EV

The All-Electric MG5 EV (credit: MG)
At A Glance
Price:From £27,945
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body Type:Estate
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 61.1 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):250 miles
Charging:100 kW DC Rapid Charging (0-80%: 40 mins). On board charger: 7kW AC
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Top Speed:115 mph
0-62 mph:8.1 seconds
Cargo Volume:464

The MG5 electric vehicle (EV) is the second pure electric car from MG, after the all-electric MG ZS EV. The MG5 electric estate car is targeted at families seeking to buy a practical and affordable zero-emission EV. The MG5 EV does not disappoint in terms of affordability, with prices starting at £27,945 (not including the grant). The MG5 EV is priced below £32,000 and therefore eligible for the UK government plug-in car grant (PiCG).

The 5 seater e-estate is practical and family-friendly, without compromising on comfort. The rear seats are comfortable for adults, with a decent boot space (464 L). The electric vehicle (EV) is available in one EV battery option (61.1 kWh) with an electric range up to 250 miles (WLTP). The EV is more than appropriate for most family requirements, to include, work trips, school runs, family outings, grocery shopping, weekend trips and a lot more!

A genuinely affordable family electric estateDC charging limited to 100 kW
Good electric range Not the most inspiring drive
Practical and ample boot space Interior quality can be improved

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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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