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Affordable electric cars

The best electric cars that won't break the bank

  • Published 8 April 2020
  • 5 minute read
  • By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

Improving air quality and doing the right thing for the planet are credible reasons to buy an electric car. But there’s another small but significant benefit associated with owning an electric vehicle that’s often missed: visiting a petrol station will become a thing of the past.

No longer will you have to endure the long wait at the pump or the indignity of wearing a plastic glove as you pour a large proportion of the household budget into the fuel tank. You also can kiss goodbye to dodging the special offers as you make your way to the cash desk.

If you’d rather plug in than fill up, we’ve assembled a group of affordable electric cars you can lease for less than £300 a month.

Seat Mii Electric

Small, sassy and really great valueAffordable electric cars - Seat Mii ElectricAvailable to lease Lease Now

The Seat Mii Electric could be the electric car bargain of 2020. It’s based on the already rather good Seat Mii city car, but the petrol engine has been ditched in favour of a battery pack and electric motor.

As a result, the Mii Electric offers a claimed 161.5 miles of range, which, working on the assumption that you might want to sync your smartphone, use the air conditioning or warm your backside, should mean a real-world range of 100 miles. If that’s enough for you, the Mii Electric could be a great way to experience zero-emission motoring for the first time.

Or try: Cars to make you look good in the city

Renault Zoe

All the electric car you need?Affordable electric cars - Renault ZoeAvailable to lease Lease Now

Meet Europe’s favourite electric car: the Zoe accounts for one in five electric sales on the continent. Faced with an onslaught of new arrivals in 2020, Renault has given the car a nip and tuck. The styling looks sharper, the cabin has been revised and the 52kWh battery delivers up to 245 miles of electric range.

It might cost more to lease than the& Mi Electric, but because the Zoe was developed from the ground up to be an electric vehicle, it’s a better all-rounder. There’s more space, a smarter interior and impressive tech. All Zoe models get air conditioning, but it’s worth upgrading from Play to Iconic spec for the 7.0-inch screen with satellite-navigation.

PCP vs Lease: Our jargon-busting guide to pay-monthly cars

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Great driving range, well equippedAffordable electric cars - Hyundai IoniqAvailable to lease Lease Now

Following a recent facelift, the Hyundai Ioniq is better than ever. For a start, it no longer looks like an even less exciting version of the unexciting Toyota Prius. And its 38.3kWh battery delivers a range of up to 194 miles, with an 80% charge achievable in less than an hour (if you can find a powerful enough charger).

There are just two trim levels – Premium and Premium SE – with all models boasting an excellent 10.25-inch widescreen display with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, a wireless smartphone charger, climate control and 16-inch alloy wheels. There’s also a five-year warranty, which shows you how much faith Hyundai has in its products.

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Nissan Leaf

The original affordable electric carAffordable electric cars - Nissan LeafAvailable to lease Lease Now

You’ve met Europe’s most popular electric car, now meet the world’s favourite. With the Nissan Leaf, you get a choice of two battery sizes. The standard Leaf features a 40kWh battery that’s good for 168 miles, while the Leaf E+ boasts a 62kWh battery with the potential to deliver 239 miles.

Part of the Leaf’s dominance can be put down to lack of competition, which allowed us to forgive a few minor indiscretions – the driving position is woeful and the way it drives is a little odd. Not to mention it still looks a bit like a robot duck that time forget. For now, though, it offers the best balance of affordability and range.

Or try: Our Mercedes-Benz A-Class review

Peugeot e-208

Sexiest car on this list? You decideAffordable electric car - Peugeot e-208Available to lease Lease Now

The Peugeot e-208 is one of the cars hoping to muscle in on the Leaf’s territory. In common with the Mii Electric, the e-208 is based on a conventional model, but because the 208 is an all-new supermini, the electric version feels less compromised. It also happens to be a great looking car.

Thanks to its 50kWh battery pack, the e-208 should be good for 217 miles of range, with three driving modes available: Eco, Normal and Sport. In the latter, the Peugeot will hit 62mph in 8.1 seconds, but you’ll put a sizeable dent in the estimated range if you engage in too many traffic light Grand Prix antics.

Or try: Luxury cars that don't cost the earth

Vauxhall Corsa-e

A sensible choiceAffordable electric cars - Vauxhall Corsa-eAvailable to lease Lease Now

If you thought the Vauxhall Corsa was best reserved for rental fleets and driving schools, think again. The Vauxhall Corsa-e might be the most fun you’ve had in a Corsa since you got a little carried away in the McDonald’s car park.

It shares much in common with the Peugeot e-208, so if you're not bothered about the badge, shop around to see which is a better deal when you come to make your purchase. You get 209 miles of electric range, a free wallbox charger worth £800 and a cabin that’s refreshingly sensible. That might be the car’s biggest strength – the Corsa-e has adopted a grown-up, comfortable and easy-to-drive approach. It works.

Or try: Our Ford Fiesta review

BMW i3

If you want your EV to feel like the future, try thisAffordable electric cars - BMW i3Available to lease Lease Now

If you’ve spotted the small gap between the price of the Corsa-e and the i3, you’re probably already tempted to forgo your daily latte in exchange for life with a BMW. We wouldn’t blame you, because the BMW i3 is one of the most stylish electric cars you can buy, with a cabin that’s dripping in sophisticated glamour.

There are two models to choose from: the standard i3 and the more racy i3 S. Up to 188 miles of electric range is available from the 42.2kWh battery, which shows you just how far electric car technology has come. That said, with leasing deals that are in the same ballpark as the likes of the Corsa-e and e-208, the lure of flying premium class is strong.

With more new electric cars hitting the streets in 2020, you can look forward to a wider selection of affordable zero-emission vehicles.

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