How Much Are Electric Cars?

As electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular, manufacturers are fighting to stay competitive. This combined with the roughly 70% reduction in price of lithium-ion batteries is driving down the average price. 

However, you’ll still pay around  £17,000 for an entry-level city EV and somewhere around £25,000 for more passenger-friendly family hatchbacks that aren’t stickered with a premium badge.

You can also lease a brand-new electric car from around £200 per month for entry-level models, or from roughly £400 a month for more premium EVs.

Aside from the cost of the vehicle there are also costs for charging, insurance and maintenance that all factor into how much an electric car costs. Read on to find out everything you need to know when it comes to calculating the cost of an electric car.

Buying an electric car

On the road (OTR) prices for EVs are being heavily incentivised by the government with both grants and road tax exemption on offer. On top of this, leading manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Vauxhall are entering the marketing with more affordable electric cars such as the new Vauxhall Corsa-e with an OTR price of £27,665.00.

But what cost factors do you need to consider when working out if buying an electric car is right for you?

Government grant

The UK government currently offers a plug-in grant for eligible low-emission vehicles that reduces the price by 35% up to a maximum of £3,000. There’s no need to apply for the grant and the vehicle manufacturer or dealership should automatically include the value of the grant in the vehicle’s price. However, there are some eligibility criteria:

  • The vehicle must be brand new.
  • The vehicle must not produce CO2 emissions of more than 50g/km and must be able to travel at least 112km (70miles) without producing any emissions at all.
  • The vehicle must cost less than £50,000 and must be on the government’s approved list.

To demonstrate the impact of this grant, here are five popular EVs with their OTR price before and after the plug-in grant:

Charging

different electric charging connectors

While the costs of charging an electric car are cheaper than fueling a petrol or diesel engine, it’s still something worth considering when it comes to making your purchasing decision. 

There are two possibilities when it comes to charging: home charging or public charging, and ultimately, home charging will be cheaper. This is because the cost of the grid at home is far cheaper than the all the costs entailed with charge networks such as connection fees, membership subscriptions, time spent charging and the flat rate cost per kWh (kilowatt-hour) usage.

For more information charging costs, read our handy guide that details how much it costs to charge an electric car.

electric car MOT

Insurance

Originally insurance costs for EVs started out high due to the fact that insurers knew little about how they worked and there were only a few mechanics that were qualified to work on them. 

However, electric cars have become more of a common sight on UK roads, to a point where there’s now an average insurance price for some of the most popular models – but bear in mind that prices may differ depending on your details and whether you decide to pay monthly/in one lump sum.

Source: CompareTheMarket

Maintenance

As with all cars, EVs still need regular servicing and maintenance but fortunately due to less moving parts and more durable components, they are generally cheaper and required less frequently compared to combustion engines.

Studies show that the average servicing and maintenance costs for electric cars are 23% cheaper than petrol vehicles, over a three-year period, and that this gap extends to 35% for smaller cars such as the Renault Zoe.

Top 5 cheapest electric cars to buy

Now that you know what purchasing an electric car entails, here are the top five cheapest electric cars you can currently buy on the market.

1. Skoda Citigo-e iV

800px-Skoda_Citigo-e_iV_IMG_2504

One of the cheapest electric cars you can currently buy on the market is none other than Skoda’s aptly named city car the Citigo. Starting at around £15,000, this affordable EV features a quirky design, comfortable interior and a small size that’s great for city life.

2. Seat Mii

seat mii electric

At around £16,000 the Seat Mii is another affordable compact motor and unlike other vehicles on this list it features a wealth of equipment all available from standard. A comfortable and enjoyable driving experience is all but guaranteed in the Mii.

3. Volkswagen e-Up

800px-Volkswagen_e-up!_at_IAA_2019_IMG_0553

Also sitting at around £16,000 is the Volkswagen e-Up. The e-Up is an all-electric variant of the hugely popular Up range that has previously won sought after awards like the What Car? Car of The Year and with an advertised range of up to 159 miles, it is more than just an affordable EV.

4. Smart EQ ForTwo

smart fortwo eq

At number four in our list of the cheapest electric cars is the Smart Fortwo that starts from £17,350. This cosy coupe features a somewhat unusual design with a pod-like exterior that makes use of a lot of window space to provide a great view of the front and back. Its small size (2.69-metre-long by 1.89-metre-wide) allows you to zip about traffic and park practically anywhere.

5. Smart EQ ForFour

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Slightly larger, and therefore more expensive, than the Fortwo is Smart’s Forfour which starts from around £18,190. The Forfour is a comfortable four seater that is more than capable for city driving. It’s appealing design (both inside and out) also makes it a popular choice among commuters. 

Leasing an electric car

Electric car leasing is an affordable way to get behind the wheel of an EV, especially with average vehicle prices decreasing. With monthly payments you don’t need to fork out large lump sums and since you don’t own the vehicle there is no need to worry about depreciation costs.

Moreover, leasing is a great way to test the waters and find out if an EV is right for you since you can spend a few years with the car and hand the keys back at the end (provided you’ve stuck to agreed annual mileage and kept the car in good condition).

Monthly lease price

The monthly lease price for an electric car pays the depreciation of the vehicle and is based on how long you have it for, how much initial payment you put down and annual mileage. For example, higher mileage is likely to cause more wear and tear so the price is higher for these deals to compensate.  

How much your monthly payments come to entirely depends on the model you choose and terms of your contract. Here are a few examples:

  • A compact run around city car such as the Volkswagen e-Up is likely to have lower monthly payments because of its limited size and battery capacity. For example, prices for the e-Up start from £255.64 a month.
  • On the other hand, if you’re looking for an EV with all the bells and whistles like the Tesla Model S, you’re gonna to notice a steep rise in monthly payments. For example, prices for the Model S start from £1,010.79.

Businesses wanting to lease will find cheaper monthly prices as they are exempt from VAT when the car is used solely for work purposes and will also receive BIK tax benefits as electric cars have the lowest tax rates.

Remember: your quote will not include insurance costs unless it’s listed as a Total Care/Complete Care deal, so remember to factor those in too.

Charging

As we’ve already mentioned, home charging is cheaper than public charging and thankfully some leasing providers work with charging point suppliers in order to offer you a competitive price on installation of a home charging point.

Leased cars will come with a basic 3-pin-to-Type-2 cable or Type-2-to-Type-2 cable, whichever the manufacturer decides to supply with the vehicle. However, a charging point for faster charging will need to be paid for (plus installation costs) and prices for this can be found in our guide to charging costs.

Insurance

All lease cars must be insured with a fully comprehensive policy due to the registered owner and keeper being the finance company funding the deal. How much this costs will depend on your details, but average costs for popular EVs can be found by consulting the table in the Buying an Electric Car section above.

Insurance will need to be in place from the day you receive your EV, so be sure to find out when this is from your provider. If you’re awaiting delivery on a car you’ve leased, you should be able to run a quote by contacting the leasing company and requesting the vehicle registration number.

Top 5 cheapest electric cars to lease

Now that you know what electric car leasing entails, here are the top five cheapest electric cars to lease (prices based on personal leasing).

1. Renault Zoe

Renault_Zoe_ZE50_White

The Renault Zoe is Europe’s top selling EV and is also the cheapest electric car to lease. But cheap doesn’t mean tacky and in actuality the Zoe is far from it. It has a contemporary appearance and generally comfortable interior inspired by the popular Clio. However, the biggest surprise is what’s underneath as the Zoe boasts a 50kWh battery and an advertised range of up to 233 miles. All this from only £187.73 a month.

2. Skoda Citigo

Skoda_Citigo-e_iV_at_IAA_2019_IMG_0269 (2)

Runner up in our top five cheapest electric vehicles list is the What Car? Best City Car 2019 which sits at an affordable £203.44 a month. It’s no wonder that the Citigo is a city car favourite, as its box-shaped body provides ample room for four adults to travel comfortably and it’s small size makes parking it a treat.

3. Smart Forfour

Pennies behind the Skoda Citigo is the Smart Forfour that starts from as low as £203.83 a month. This diddy motor has a refined style and a great range of equipment as standard. While lacking in capacity compared to other EVs in this list, the Forfour’s  17.6kWh battery takes advantage of regenerative braking to minimise its use.

4. Nissan LEAF

1280px-2018_Nissan_Leaf_Tekna_Front

As one of the most successful all-electric vehicles on the market, the Nissan LEAF is a tried and tested EV fan favourite. Boasting a comfortable interior, great responsiveness behind the wheel and a decent range of up to 168 miles, the LEAF is the full package and all from only £205.88 a month.

5. Seat Mii

The Mii is Seat’s entry to the competitive city car market and while small in size has everything needed for great city driving. Bluetooth, digital radio and smartphone integration cater to your media needs while cruise control, heated windscreens and rain sensor wipers make city life that little bit easier. Prices start from £224.14 a month.

Will I need to pay road tax on an electric car?

Low-emission vehicles such as electric cars are exempt from road tax if they produce less than 50g/km of CO2 and have a list price of less than £40,000. Cars with a list price of more than £40,000 will be charged an additional tax if they are not considered to be a zero emission vehicle.

When leasing however, road tax is generally included for at least the first year, but mostly throughout the entirety of your contract, so you won’t need to worry about this cost.

Still not sure if an electric car is right for you? Start your search now and compare prices on our latest car lease deals to find a lease that suits you.

For more information on leasing, and to find answers for all your FAQs, check out our other guides.

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