Want an electric car that fits into tight spots and darts about town? Our expert guide will give you a breakdown of the best small electric cars on the market right now.
The best small electric cars give you the tiny dimensions and nippy driving experience of the best city cars, but without the need to burn any fuel.
Not only are they some of the cheapest electric cars available, these compact city cars are also affordable to run. They're ideal for threading through the busiest towns and cities, with their petite size making them a breeze to park.
All electric cars are exempt from Europe's city or town emissions zones, including London's daily ULEZ charge, but you don't want something huge and difficult to park when you're negotiating Europe's cramped, crowded urban streets.
So, it you mostly cover miles around town and don't need too much space for passengers or luggage, these are the best small electric cars to drive in the city.
If you're ready to buy we've got over 4000 Used Electric Cars for Sale, while if you want more choice, we have over 70,000 Used Cars for Sale. if you're looking to save money, check out our guide to the Best Car Deals.
Best small electric cars 2024
1. Volkswagen e-Up
Year launched: 2014
The newest VW e-Up, with its significantly extended range, will fit into the lives of anyone who spends a lot of time in the city or does many short journeys, and who can charge at home. If you live in a block of flats, that probably rules you out.
The e-Up comes in a single standard specification, which means less decision making. It’s well-equipped as standard, too, with - climate control, heated seats and windscreen, cruise control, a rear-view camera, alloy wheels and smartphone integration. The cabin is lowkey but attractive and the e-Up actually drives better than the petrol model as well.
The newest e-Up generation gets a 32.3kWh battery, powering the 82PS electric motor - which gives an official range of 161 miles.
2. SEAT Mii Electric
Year launched: 2020
The SEAT Mii Electric is blissfully easy to drive and refined, with performance that makes it ideal for zipping around a city. Like the Skoda Citigo-e iV, low running costs are a big plus, once you get past the initial cost. The official range is 161 miles, which is lower than the larger, more expensive Renault Zoe. Therefore, if you aren’t looking to cover long distances in you EV, the Mii Electric would be a great consideration.
SEAT has tried to keep the list price of the Mii Electric as low as possible by cutting out the trims and options, so there’s just a single model in the range. Aside from the colour scheme, there are just three options: the mode 2 charging cable, the Easy Flex pack – which adds the double boot floor, a glovebox hook and a height-adjustable passenger seat for £70 – and a contrast roof.
Inside, it looks smart with all the major controls grouped closely together in the centre, but the Mii does without a central touchscreen like you get in the Renault Zoe. As standard, you get DAB radio and a smartphone cradle which connects up to give you Bluetooth for phone and audio streaming as well as a host of other features through the Drive Mii app.
3. Honda e
Year launched: 2020
The Honda e is the iPhone of cars. It’s small, expensive and will need recharging regularly. Yet, EV owners will buy it regardless of its shortfalls simply because of its desirability - in large part because of its looks. It’s a superb balance of modern and retro design meaning young buyers will gravitate towards this rather than, say, a Renault Zoe - despite its high price and shorter electric range.
Speaking of which, it has an official range of 137 miles, dropping to 125 miles if you spec the prettier 17-inch alloy wheels. That’s better than the Smart EQ Forfour, but not as good as competitors like the Skoda Citigo-e iV and MINI Electric - both of which are cheaper, too. But it’s got them all beat on tech. There are five screens spread across the dash, including two infotainment displays and digital screens instead of conventional mirrors.
Inside the cabin is superb, using a mixture of wood and contemporary materials to provide a lounge-like feel. Despite its compact dimensions, a flat floor means it feels surprisingly spacious up front, although room for rear-seat passengers is limited. It's got quite a small boot, too.
4. Peugeot e-208
Year launched: 2020
The Peugeot e-208 is far from the smallest electric car in this list, but it's hardly a Range Rover is it? It's certainly still dinky enough for the cut and thrust of urban life, but unlike some cars here it has a real air of style and luxury for a compact hatchback.
The striking exterior design can be had with cool-looking 'fang' LED lights and other nice details. But the premium air doesn't stop with the outside, as the e-208 has a surprisingly upmarket interior, particularly on top trims. It's roomier than other cars here, too, with higher levels of standard equipment available. Prefer a more subtle design and simpler (albeit duller) interior? The Vauxhall Corsa-e and the updated Corsa Electric share their mechanical bits with the e-208.
On the road the Peugeot e-208 feels heavier and less agile than some of the other best small electric cars. But the benefits of that include better refinement, a more comfortable ride and plenty of performance. You also get a very respectable range of up to 225 miles on a single charge, while it can be charged up to 80% in around 45 minutes via a 50kW charger. As a small car that can serve well doing longer distances out of town the Peugeot e-208 is a strong buy.
5. Fiat 500 Electric
Year launched: 2021
Fiat struck gold with the original Fiat 500 when it first arrived back in 2008, with its cheeky retro design a hit with those looking for a classy city car. Fast forward to 2021 and the latest Fiat 500 is an electric-only model.
The Fiat 500 Electric is a touch larger than the original car, but it's still one of the smallest cars on the road at only 3.6m long, while it comes with the choice of two batteries. The entry-level model is equipped with a modest 24kWh battery that delivers a claimed range up to 118 miles, while there's also a 42kWh battery pack that stretches the Fiat 500's range up to 199 miles. It can also be fast charged to 80% of full battery power in 30 minutes (you'll need to be using a fast charging public station to achieve this though).
Fiat's refined up the design of the 500 for 2021 while it's also available as a soft-top cabriolet - one of the few electric cars that allows you to have the roof down. There are three trim levels to pick from - Action, Passion and Icon. The entry-level model emits a touchscreen, instead requiring you to connect your smartphone, while the top of the range model sports a large 10-inch touchscreen.
6. Ora Funky Cat
Year launched: 2022
Ora is a new name to the UK, but the brand is an offshoot of Great Wall, a Chinese manufacturer that's been making vehicles for decades. The Funky Cat is Ora's first car to be released on our shores, and it's a really solid first attempt, with excellent safety ratings, loads of equipment included as standard and decent space inside.
It's also impressively affordable, which lets it take on other value-for-money electric cars like the MG4 and the BYD Dolphin as well as more expensive alternatives like the MINI Electric. There are of course some compromises for the money, including a relatively short battery range of 193 miles, although that's better than the MINI and the Honda e. While it's spacious in the back, it's got a small boot, and it's not particularly fun to drive, either.
But the Funky Cat has eyecatching looks and a very attractive price, which means we can forgive many of its shortcomings. Even more affordable versions should be on the way soon, too, which will make it even more of a tempation.
7. Mazda MX30
Year launched: 2020
The Mazda MX-30 is something of an oddball. It's a small SUV with a small battery range, although a range-extender model adds an interesting alternative to traditional plug-in hybrid rivals. It's a car that certainly won't be for everyone, but it nevertheless has much to recommend about it, especially as a used car.
With a battery range of just 124 miles, the MX-30 cowers at the many hundreds of miles that some rivals can boast. But this small capacity helps to keep costs down. If it's a problem, the range extender model has a tiny petrol engine – not to driver the wheels, but solely to recharge the battery. It'll cover about 50 miles before the engine steps in to help out, and unlike many PHEVs you can fast charge it at public chargers to top up.
Both models are fun to drive, with direct steering, and the interior is just lovely, with classy materials, an easy-to-use infotainment system and a great seating position. The rear doors are hinged at the back, which is an interesting talking point, although not particularly practical. We'd rather think of this as a quirky, very likeable city SUV for two.
8. Citroen Ami
Year launched: 2022
It's not just the unusual, funky design that draws people's eyes, it's the sheer size of it. At barely over 2.4m tall and under 1.4m wide it makes a Smart ForTwo look a bit bulky. It's perfect for the city, then, particularly as unlike something like a petrol moped you're not contributing to noise and air pollution.
It's a doddle to drive, too, and turns on a sixpence. But there's plenty of compromises to be made. For starters it isn't technically a car, meaning it doesn't have to obey any crash safety regulations. It's also only for a 47-mile range on a charge, but that's less of an issue because it'll only do 28mph.
With two seats and almost nothing in the way of equipment, it makes every other car in this list look luxurious. But it only costs from £7695, and unlike a bicycle or a scooter it has a roof, windows, some protection from bad drivers and a heater. You can't argue with that.
9. Renault Zoe
Year launched: 2013
Thanks to its small footprint, it's very easy to drive and squeeze into the tight parking spots, with the clever design means there's a decent amount of space inside and a slightly raised driving position compared to many small cars. While the design appears to suggest its a three-door, it is in fact a five-door hatchback, with the rear doorhandles neatly disguised in the frame of the door.
Over the years Renault has improved the battery performance on the Zoe. Originally coming with a 22kWh battery that delivered an official range between 130 and 150 miles, while the latest models feature a 52kWh capacity battery with a claimed range up to 245 miles.
10. Smart EQ Forfour
Year launched: 2018
Before we get into the EQ Forfour properly, it’s worth prefacing with the fact that the electric range is so limited that long journeys are out of the question – unless you like to stop every 50 miles for a coffee – so it is really a car that only works in the city. As for things it does well, it has the nippy low speed acceleration and manoeuvrability that are trademarks of electric city cars.
Smart is best-known for its tiny Smart Fortwo, the smallest city car. The Forfour is a slightly bigger car spun off the same platform, with four doors and the same unusual rear-engine. This design allows for max amounts of space. Inside, the entry-level Passion Advanced has most of the standard equipment you might want, including the Smart Media System, LED daytime running lights and the Comfort package that includes the height adjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat.
The Smart EQ Forfour has an official range of 81 miles, which isn’t a whole lot. However, for a car that’s less than 3.5 metres in length, it can seat four adults in reasonable comfort, even if the rear seats are best suited to children. Though, this means the boot only offers 185 litres with the rear seats in place, less than the identical Renault Twingo and less even than the Smart Fortwo.
Best Small Electric Car FAQs
The Citroen Ami goes for the lowest price as new, but it’s technically not a car – it's a quadricycle. For a bona fide cheap electric car, you'll want to check out the Smart EQ Fortwo.
The Peugeot e-208 promises up to 225 miles from a single change, which is pretty impressive. That said, there's a long-range version coming very soon, which promises up to 248 miles per charge and a bit of extra power, too.
We reckon that overall, the Peugeot e-208 is the best all-round small electric car when you factor in price, equipment, looks, range and driveability. Very close behind are the Fiat 500 Electric and the revamped Vauxhall Corsa Electric.
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