As the car industry charges towards an electric future, we look at some of the best new electric cars for every budget on sale right now
Electric cars are becoming more and more popular on UK roads, as car brands continue their efforts to swap fossil-fuels for zero-emission, battery-powered alternatives.
Electric vehicles made up more than 10% of all new car registrations last month, and that market share is growing almost every month. By the end of this year, EVs could be outselling diesel cars.
We’ve analysed all the electric cars available at key price points in the new car market, and consulted our industry-leading Expert Rating index to see which models have the highest review scores from across the UK motoring media.
With comprehensive review data backing our recommendations, you can be confident that this is the definitive guide to the best new electric cars for every budget that are on sale in the UK right now.
Best EV under £25,000: Fiat 500 Electric
The electric car is becoming more affordable year on year, but unfortunately there aren’t too many brand new EVs that you can pick up for less than £25,000. However, if this is how far your budget can stretch, Fiat has you covered.
The all-new Fiat 500 Electric (also known as the 500e), which is set to eventually replace the long-serving and popular petrol Fiat 500, launched in the UK in Spring 2021, available in both hatchback and cabriolet versions. The 500e is a bit bigger than its petrol-powered predecessor, and has been praised for its driving dynamics and interior quality – both of which are significant improvements.
As of September 2021, the Fiat 500 Electric has an Expert Rating of 70%, based on 21 different media reviews. With a starting price of £23,495 (including the government’s £2,500 plug-in car grant), the 500 Electric certainly gives you a lot of car for your coin. What Car? seems to agree, as it awarded the Fiat 500 Electric ‘Best Small Electric Car’ at its EV Awards in 2021.
Honourable mentions go to the ageing-but-still-excellent SEAT Mii Electric and Volkswagen e-Up twins, which may have been around for the best part of a decade but are still fine city cars.
Best EV under £35,000: Skoda Enyaq
Throughout 2021, a battle has been brewing between EV manufacturers to conquer the all-electric family car market. The £35,000 threshold is important here, because that’s the new cut-off for the government’s £2,500 plug-in car grant. As such, manufacturers are working hard to position cars to fit into this category.
From a value-for-money perspective, the Skoda Enyaq eclipses the competition. It’s a very roomy five-seater with plenty of boot space that offers a very easy driving experience, and excellent battery range, and a surprising amount of tech features, all for a starting price of about £32,000.
Despite receiving some criticism for its light steering and average looks, the Skoda Enyaq has an Expert Rating of 84% from 20 reviews, which makes it quite comfortably the best mainstream electric SUV in our Expert Rating index. This rating is a huge 12% higher than that of the Volkswagen ID.4, which the Enyaq is based on.
If you’d prefer something a little smaller, the Kia e-Niro also has an Expert Rating of 84% and tops the charts for small electric SUVs at this price point.
Under £50,000: Tesla Model 3
Tesla has been a catalyst for electric motoring and has quickly become one of the most admired brands for UK car buyers, praised for its innovative tech and luxurious driving experience.
A true reflection of this sentiment, the entry-level Tesla Model 3 reached the UK in Spring 2019 and has been a sales sensation ever since. With a starting price of just under £41,000, it falls comfortably into this price category. A few premium all-electric competitors have recently emerged to challenge the Tesla, such as the talented Polestar 2, but none have yet managed to de-throne the Model 3.
As of September 2021, the Tesla Model 3 has an Expert Rating of 83% from 32 reviews, praised for its impressive performance, driving dynamics and minimalist style. It has, however, received some criticism surrounding its ergonomics, and concerns about how long it takes to charge the battery.
A new contender worth considering in this price category is the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is just starting to arrive in UK showrooms now. Recognised for its retro-futuristic design, the Ioniq 5 has become a fan favourite among the media, and has already been awarded ‘Car of the Year’ at the Auto Express Awards.
Read more: The Car Expert