Here are 10 of the best small electric cars to buy
From the Fiat 500 to the Honda e, the Citroen Ami to the Jeep Avenger, these are our favourite little EVs
“The Renault Zoe is Europe’s best-selling electric car thus far. It’s hugely popular – and with good reason. Whether that’s enough to sway you from newer, more style-led options is up to you. Even Renault itself has a rival (or perhaps replacement) on the horizon in the shape of its retro regen 5. Whatever the future for the Zoe, it’s place in the electric hall of fame is already assured. Mainstream EVs get no more trustworthy.”Advertisement - Page continues below
“It’s the Urban EV Concept that became a legend, the legend that became a prototype and the prototype that became the dinkiest, most desirable car since the Suzuki Jimny. It’s the Honda e, Honda’s first mass-market, pure-electric car and we want one.
“A range of 137 miles means you won’t want to stray too far from town, but a choice of 134bhp and 152bhp versions, a chassis that’s been shown some of Honda’s handling love and a configurable driving experience mean it’s not out of its depth if you fancy a ‘proper’ drive… and have the battery to spare.”
“The 500 is small, but if you don’t need space it could be your only car. That’s because it’ll go far enough on a charge to make motorway trips tenable. Whereas the Honda e or Mini Electric would have to be second cars to anyone who ever drives beyond conurbations rather than just within them.
“It’s not as fun to drive as those are, mind. It’s trying harder to feel normal. With a stylish, recognisable design and a quality feel. So the recipe’s been re-cast for health and welfare, but it still looks and tastes like la cucina della nonna.”Advertisement - Page continues below
"The i3 remains the best premium small EV out there. A decade on from launch, nothing has come along to usurp it, which only says a lot about the quality of the original concept.
"It's a wonderful car to be in and around. The design still looks fresh and interesting, the cabin is light and airy, beautifully made from tactile materials, the driver controls are logical (VW nabbed the gear controller idea for the ID.3 and ID.4) and although the ride is knobbly, it’s an eager, responsive car to drive.”
“We’ve always championed the weight-saving, space-giving packaging of the now-retired BMW i3, but it’s not been the sales dead-cert the investment required, so now it’s over to Mini to see if the conventional approach can do the numbers.
“It proves that the hot hatch will have a future as an EV. And it reinforces something we learned with the VW e-Golf – that an electric car doesn’t have to be wantonly radical to be a success. Stuffing a car we already know and like with batteries can, with the correct execution, be a good tactic.”
“This isn’t a car for anyone who wants to show off their zero-emission, planet-saving credentials, it’s a lot more subtle than all that. And it looks like a regular 208 because it really is a regular 208.
“In the old days you chose a car then decided what sort of engine and transmission to get. With the 208, in addition to diesel or petrol, manual or auto, there's also electric. So the e-208 can appeal both to people who primarily want a 208 then opt for that powertrain. And to people who primarily want an electric car and then opt for an e-208.”
“If you’ve been curious about going electric but are a little risk-averse, the Corsa Electric might just be for you. It’s significantly less peacocky than its Honda or Mini rivals, but there’s another 50 per cent of range and tons more room for people to compensate.
“Vauxhall has played it much safer than Peugeot in designing a small electric hatchback, and while the Corsa Electric will turn off plenty of people as a result, it’ll no doubt win over at least as many more.”Advertisement - Page continues below
“Who'da thunk it? Jeep has built an excellent city car. Like any decent EV the powertrain is silent, smooth and locally emissions-free. It qualifies for various cheap parking and congestion-zone incentives. It's small and manoeuvrable and the boxy outline helps you judge the corners. The bash-resistant exterior and speedbump-happy suspension calm your nerves.
“So enjoy the irony. A car designed to work reasonably well in one environment, moderate off-road trails, ends up working really well in its precise opposite. Not, of course, that Jeep didn't know that all along.”
“On the face of it, the MG 4 doesn’t seem like a very exciting car - certainly not something Top Gear would give a massively high score to. But when you dig into what it does for the money, how high it scores on multiple levels, it’s probably the only car in the class to recommend.
"It rides and drives very well, comes with a decent slug of standard kit, and most importantly - although very boringly - has immense residual value. MG really has played a bit of a blinder here: where ‘legacy’ manufacturers are busy making electric cars expensive, MG has thrown a large cat among the pigeons.”Advertisement - Page continues below
“The Ami is a rubbish car, but an entirely loveable object. It’s not fun to drive, but it is fun to use. In a city, at least. There’s a joy in it’s simplicity, in the way that it’s been designed, in the way that Citroen is embracing quirkiness.
“It’s not sophisticated or ground-breaking, but it is fun and interesting, and if it convinced a few Londoners to commute in one rather than a mostly-idling petrol or diesel SUV, then its a good thing.”