PassMeFast’s Top 10: Budget Friendly Electric Cars for Under £28,000!

Close up of black electric car charging outside

If you’ve found yourself becoming more environmentally conscious lately, and you’re not at all happy with your carbon footprint, you might want to consider ditching your petrol car in favour of an electric one instead. It will bring your emissions down to zero and help you get ahead of the 2035 ban on new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles! If you’re looking to make the switch to an eco-friendly car, all the while keeping your bank balance above board, we’ve got just the thing for you! We’ve put together a list of the top 10 budget friendly electric cars that you can buy for under £28,000!

The prices we have listed for the electric cars below include the government’s Plug In Car Grant (PICG) of up to £3,000. This means that we have already deducted the grant from the original purchase price. (Prices are up-to-date as of September 2020.)

10. Renault TWIZY Expression

Starting from £10,995.00

First up on our list of budget friendly electric cars is Renault’s TWIZY Expression. Toted as “the perfect alternative to a city car”, the TWIZY’s small 15kW motor means that it’s technically classed as an electric quadricycle—which is why it doesn’t come with the government’s plug-in grant. That’s not to say that you should shrug off the TWIZY automatically. If you’re based in a city centre and not travelling far, it’s an absolute steal. It comes with a 62 mile driving range and a maximum speed of 50mph. With a battery capacity of 6.1kWh, the TWIZY can be charged in 35 hours using any domestic power socket.

This two-seater comes with an energy recovery system which enables you to increase your driving range every time you brake or lift your foot off the accelerator pedal. (Pretty handy if you’re trying to make the battery stretch that much further!) The Fuel Saver feature also enables you to control your energy consumption and figure out your available driving range. You can then use it to calculate your eco-score and improve your eco-driving performance.

While this isn’t something that regular drivers will want, it’s a worthy investment for city dwellers looking to ditch their petrol cars and avoid public transport.

9. Smart EQ ForTwo Coupé Passion Advanced

Starting from £17,550.00 (incl. PICG)

The next budget friendly electric car on our list is the Smart EQ ForTwo Coupé Passion Advanced. This electric car is one of the cheapest models available, but don’t assume that means it’s lacking in any way. It comes with a 60kW motor which can go from 0 to 60 in 11.6 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of approximately 81mph. With a 17.6kWh battery capacity, you’re looking at a pretty decent driving range of around 84 miles.

Now, if you’re charging the ForTwo Coupé at home using a domestic power socket, it will take 8 hours and 30 minutes to fully charge. Though this is pretty standard for electric cars, you’ll likely want to purchase a wallbox to bring this down—a standard 7kW charger will take 3 hours and 18 minutes, and a 22kW charger will move it down to a speedier 40 minutes.

The Coupé comes with a range of handy warning systems ranging from Active Brake Assist to Crosswind Assist to Hill Start Assist. For drivers wary of running out of battery, the ECO mode is a standout feature. It helps regulate the speed of the car and uses regenerative braking to recover lost energy to extend the driving range. With the Smart EQ control app, drivers can look at a wealth of information. From the remaining power in the car’s battery to predicted driving range to status reports, you’ll know everything you need to know about your Coupé at a moment’s notice! What’s more, you can get your own ECO score, which will analyse your driving style and offer tips to increase your efficiency.

(If you’re not interested in a two-person electric car, you can move up to the ForFour model for £18,035.00!)

8. SEAT Mii Electric

Starting from £19,800.00 (incl. PICG)

Slightly further up the price range, the SEAT Mii Electric comes out at a reasonable price tag of just under £20,000. This budget friendly electric car comes with a 61kW motor which can go from 0 to 60 in around 12.3 seconds, and reaches a maximum speed of 81mph. Not too shabby! Depending on where you’re driving, the Mii Electric’s 36.8kWh battery can reach a range of up to 160 miles (based on combined city and motorway driving), or up to 223 miles with 100% city driving.

One of the biggest deciding factors for electric cars is the charging time. The Mii Electric can take up to 16 hours to charge if you’re using a three pin domestic socket. It’s for this reason that manufacturers recommend installing a wallbox, which can drive down the time to a reasonable 4 hours. If you’re using a rapid charging station, however, it will take less than one hour—handy if you’re taking long road trips!

The Mii Electric offers drivers three driving modes: normal, Eco and Eco+. If you’re looking to extend your driving range, you’ll want to opt for one of the last two modes. As is the norm with electric cars, the Mii Electric offers regenerative braking to restore energy (this can be controlled with the gear selector). If you use the SEAT CONNECT app, you’ll have the ability to activate climate control, lock/unlock the car and turn on/off the lights. If you like to plan ahead, you can programme your weekly schedule into the app so it can optimise charging settings and have your car ready for you at the right time!

7. Honda E

Starting from £26,660.00 (incl. PICG)

Next up on our budget friendly electric cars list is the Honda E. This marks Honda’s first attempt at an electric vehicle to match the “new age of driving in the city”, and it’s certainly a decent first attempt. It offers drivers a 100kW motor that can go from 0 to 60 in 8.3 seconds, while reaching a maximum speed of 90mph. Its 35.5kWh battery will keep you going for up to 137 miles on a full charge.

So, what’s the charging situation like? If you’re using a domestic socket, brace yourself for an 18.8 hour wait for a full charge. Those of you opting for a home wallbox, however, only have to wait for 4.1 hours. If you’re using a public rapid charger, this wait time will move down dramatically to a bite-sized 31 minutes.

The Honda E, like all electric cars, comes with regenerative braking to recover energy. The minute you take your foot off the accelerator, it will start to gently brake. You can use paddles around the steering wheel to choose from three different modes in order to decide how much energy is recovered. It also offers drivers a range of warning and alert systems including Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System and Blind Spot Information.

If you make use of the My Honda+ app, you can use your smartphone to unlock and start your car instead of a fob! The app can also be used to start the AC, receive a charging status and look at maintenance reminders. If that wasn’t enough, you can also use it to set up a geo-fence perimeter that will alert you if your car has been moved from your designated area (perfect to use alongside your other security measures).

6. MINI Electric

Starting from £24,900.00 (incl. PICG)

The next entry on our budget friendly electric cars list is the MINI Electric. Though it might not look like much at a glance, remember that size isn’t everything when it comes to cars! This little baby comes with a 135kW motor that will take you from 0 to 60 in an impressive 7.3 seconds, not to mention reach a maximum speed of 144mph! Its 28.9kWh battery can last up to 145 miles and comes with an 8 year warranty (or lasts up to 100,000 miles).

When it comes to charging the MINI Electric, you’ll want to install your own home wallbox. A domestic charger will take 12 hours to fully charge, whereas a wallbox will bring it down to a much more manageable 3 hours and 12 minutes. If you’ve got a need for speed, however, a rapid charging station will decrease it to only 36 minutes! If range is an issue for you, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are 8,000 compatible charging stations across the UK—the locations of which are integrated into the car’s sat nav!

Not only does the MINI offer regenerative braking, it also comes with a Green Mode which will help drivers accelerate more smoothly and even anticipate the road ahead in order to increase its driving range. The MINI Connected app is extremely handy for planning routes and will even suggest charging stops based on your available range and intended destination. If you’re really looking to make the most of your battery, you can opt for an energy efficient ECO route. If you’re pretty fussy about the temperature of your car, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the app’s pre-conditioning feature which will allow you to set your ideal temperature while the car is charging!

5. MG ZS EV Excite 

Starting from £25,495.00 (incl. PICG)

We’re now past the halfway point on our list of budget friendly electric cars. The next car up, the MG ZS EV Excite, is the first car we’ve looked at that has been referred to as “family friendly”, so it’s certainly worth a glance if you’re going to be carting around more than one passenger. With a 105kW motor, this nifty car can go from 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds, all the while reaching a maximum speed of 87mph. Pretty impressive, right? If that wasn’t enough to catch your attention, its 44.5kWh battery can take you up to 163 miles on a single charge!

If you’re charging the MG ZS EV at home using a domestic plug, it will take 20 hours to fully charge. Fortunately, if you take the time to install a home wallbox, or use a public charging station, it will drop down to only 7 hours. Rapid charging stations, by comparison, will take you from 0 to 80% in approximately 40 minutes.

As you’ve probably guessed, the MG ZS EV comes with regenerative braking that will help increase your driving range. Depending on how far you need your battery to stretch, you can shift between three different levels using a handy control switch. There’s also a simple rotary gear selector that will allow you to switch easily between neutral, reverse and park mode. As with other MG models, the ZS EV comes with a range of warning and alert features including Active Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Active Cruise Control.

The only gripe we have with the MG ZS EV is that as of yet, unlike most of the other cars on our list, it doesn’t have an available app.

4. Nissan Leaf Acenta

Starting from £26,845.00 (incl. PICG)

The next contestant on our budget friendly electric cars list is from none other than Nissan, the car manufacturer that has been leading the electric car market since 2010. Though the Nissan Leaf Acenta is one of the pricier electric car models around, it could very well be worth it for you. With an impressive 110kW motor, the Nissan Leaf can go from 0 to 60 in only 7.9 seconds, while reaching a maximum speed of 90mph. If you’re going further than the typical commute, you’ll be pleased with the 40kWh battery that can take you up to 168 miles on a single charge!

Speaking of charging, if you install your own home wallbox, it will take approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes to fully charge your Nissan Leaf. For an electric car, that’s pretty darn speedy. Of course, if you’re on the road and time is of the essence, a rapid public charging station will bring this down to 60 minutes.

If driving range is a concern for you, as it is for many people on the fence, Nissan have got you covered. Its Eco Mode limits your engine output and helps save energy, and its B mode delivers more regenerative braking to help charge your battery without compromising on the power—you can combine the two to get the most mileage. If you integrate the NissanConnect Services with your smartphone, you’ll be able to set a timer for charging your car (at off-peak hours if need be), check your driving range status and activate climate control. Plus, if you’re worried about charging on the road, the route planner will look for charging stations on the approach to your destination and create routes that implement them.

3. Vauxhall Corsa E SE NAV

Starting from £27,665.00 (incl. PICG)

Coming in at third place on our list of budget friendly electric cars is the Vauxhall Corsa E SE NAV. Though slightly steeper in price, the Corsa E SE Nav is one of the best electric car models on the market at the moment. It offers drivers a nifty 100kW motor, which can take the Corsa E from 0 to 60 in only 7.6 seconds, not to mention reach a maximum speed of around 93mph. With its 59kWh battery, you can expect to reach a range of 209 miles on a single charge! (Certainly not something to turn your nose up at!)

When charging the Corsa E using a domestic socket, you’re looking at a wait time of around 22 hours. It’s for this reason that Vauxhall urges drivers to install a home wallbox which will bring it down to approximately 7 hours. If you’re charging your Corsa E on the road, a rapid charge will take you only 30 minutes!

Depending on your preferences, the Corsa E offers three driving modes. Normal mode is for typical daily driving, whereas Sport mode is for those looking for higher performance. If you’re looking to reduce power and extend your driving range, however, Eco mode will be your go-to option. As with Vauxhall’s standard car models, the Corsa E comes with a range of safety features including Lane Departure Warning, Speed Sign Recognition, Driver Drowsiness System and Emergency City Braking.

Those of you who enjoy having a realm of information at your fingertips will enjoy using the MyVauxhall app. It can inform you of your remaining driving range, maintenance issues and even look at your previous journeys to give you more accurate driving range predictions. You can also use the app to lock/unlock the door, pre-select charging times and remotely operate air conditioning.

2. Peugeot e-208 Active

Starting from £26,025.00 (incl. PICG)

The runner up on our budget friendly electric cars list is one that has impressed many electric car naysayers since its manufacture. Yes, we’re talking about the Peugeot e-208 Active—a car that has been on many top 10 lists this year and for good reason. It comes with a 100kW motor which can take you from 0 to 60 in 8.1 seconds, not to mention reach a maximum speed of 93mph. And that’s not all. If you’re looking to travel far, you’ll be more than content with the 50kWh battery that can last up to 217 miles on a single charge!

If you’re charging your e-208 using a regular socket (something to be avoided if you like living life in the fast lane) it will take 24 hours for a full charge. A home wall box will bring this down to approximately 7.5 hours, whilst a rapid charge will reduce it to an even 30 minutes.

As with the Corsa E, the e-208 offers drivers three driving modes. Sport mode will give priority to performance, Normal mode is simply for daily usage and Eco mode will give priority to driving range. And that’s not all. The e-208 also comes with two braking modes: moderate, which is similar to an ICE engine, and emphasised, in which deceleration is controlled with the accelerator pedal.

With the MyPeugeot app, drivers can track the status of their vehicle charge, look at consumption statistics for journeys and even receive personalised eco driving tips! The app can also be used to activate/stop charging and pre-programme the heating, air conditioning and windscreen defrosting.

1. Renault ZOE i Play R110 Z.E 50

Starting from £26,495.00 (incl. PICG)

Coming in at first place on our budget friendly electric cars list is yet another model from Renault. Unlike its cousin, the TWIZY, the Renault ZOE i Play is a hard hitting electric car that is sure to impress anyone looking to make the switch from electric. It comes with an 80kW motor that can go from 0 to 60 in approximately 11.4 seconds, and reach a maximum speed of 84mph. With its 52kWh battery, the ZOE i Play can reach a driving range of up to 245 miles on a full charge—making it ideal for daily commutes and long trips!

If you’re charging the ZOE i Play using a domestic socket, unsurprisingly you’re looking at a long waiting time—29 hours and 34 minutes, to be exact. That’s why your best bet is to install a home wallbox, which will bring it down to a more reasonable time of 6 hours and 54 minutes. If you’re on the road and looking to recharge fast, a rapid charge will take you approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes.

The ZOE i Play comes with a brand new driving mode, B mode, which will make city driving that much easier for you. When you drive in this mode, the car will slow down in a smooth fashion the moment you take your foot off the accelerator pedal (using regenerative braking). This means that you’re not as reliant on the brake pedal and don’t need to keep your foot hovering when you’re stuck in congestion!

Of course, the ZOE i Play would not have made it into first place if it didn’t come with its own handy app. The MY Renault app gives drivers the ability to view their driving range, check charging status and schedule charges at off-peak times to save on electricity costs. If you use the app’s journey planner, you can create routes to include stops at charging stations and even account for the type it will take for you to charge en route!

And there you have it! That’s our complete list of budget friendly electric cars for under £28,000! Whichever electric car model you choose, it’s bound to be a great investment (not to mention a surefire way to feel better about the impact you have on the environment). If we have, or haven’t, mentioned your favourite or current electric car, let us know in the comments!

Keep your eyes on the PassMeFast blog for upcoming top 10 lists!

By Bethany Hall

Whether you’re a learner or a pro driver, Bethany is here to help. From defensive driving to the Highway Code, she’ll tell you everything you need know about driving. If she’s not on the road, you’ll probably find Bethany with her head in a book or binge-watching the latest TV show.

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