Best used electric cars 2022

The growing abilities of electric cars over the past few years have seen sales swell. This means there are ever more secondhand EVs on sale – but how do you find the best used electric cars?

Well, you’re starting in the right place. It’s easy to find used electric cars of all shapes and sizes in the Honest John Cars For Sale section. The choice is diverse and growing all the time.

The expansion of the electric car market means used EVs cover all the most popular car classes, from superminis to family hatchbacks, and SUVs to performance saloons.

The real appeal of used electric cars are prices that are significantly more affordable than new models. You can drive an EV for less than the price of a basic new supermini. And the lower running costs of electric cars mean those savings will keep on growing.

After driving everything, then scouring prices, here’s our guide to the best used electric cars on sale.

 Best used electric cars

 

 

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf was the world’s first mainstream electric car. It was launched back in 2011, which means there are lots of examples on the used car market to choose from. The first cars came with a 24kWh battery, which is on the small side for a five-door family hatchback. Quoted range was 109 miles, but most owners saw less than this. However, Nissan has constantly improved the Leaf’s range, to 124 miles in 2013, then to 155 miles in 2015 with the arrival of a 30kWh battery. A second-generation Leaf arrived in 2017, with crisper styling, a 40kWh battery and a 235-mile range. The 2019 Leaf+ has a 62kWh battery for 50 percent more range. The Leaf has proven very reliable, with robust batteries that degrade little over time. The refinement of even early models still impresses, too.

Read our full 2011-2018 Nissan Leaf review

Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe has been on sale for a decade. It is now into its second generation, following an extensive overhaul in 2019, but the earlier cars are most affordable. Originally, the Zoe was fitted with a 22kWh battery, which gave an official range of 130 miles on the older NEDC test cycle. This was on the short side, so Renault rolled out a 41kWh ‘ZE 40’ battery in 2016, improving the range to 250 miles. Today’s 52kWh battery in the revised Zoe gives a 245-mile range on the more accurate WLTP test. The only awkward aspect may be Renault’s initial strategy to lease the EV batteries, rather than include them in the price of the car. This makes the Zoe cheap to buy, but you have to factor in the price of a monthly lease for the battery. Later cars included the battery, so you don’t have to pay this fee.

Read our full Renault Zoe review

BMW i3

The innovative BMW i3 was launched in 2013. Truly unique, it uses carbon fibre in its construction for strength and light weight, and was initially available in both pure electric and range extender (or REX) guise – the latter with a tiny motorcycle engine that kicks in when the batteries are flat. Most used BMW i3s are pure electric. Original cars had a 21.6kWh battery (60Ah in BMW-speak), for a range of around 120 miles. In 2017, it grew to 33.2kWh (94Ah), and in 2019 to 42.2kWh (120Ah). BMW says the latest i3 has a 193-mile range. We love the i3’s ‘loft-style’ interior and think its handling is fantastic. But although the rear-hinged doors are neat, space in the rear seats could be better.

Read our full BMW i3 review

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S arrived in the UK in 2014. A large, sleek luxury four-door, it was a real game-changer for the electric car market and still holds its own today. Extraordinary range and performance have always marked out the Model S; even the earliest cars had a choice of 60kWh or 85kWh batteries, giving a range of up to 312 miles. The Model S Performance could blast to 62mph in 4.2 seconds, too. All cars have an eight-year battery warranty. In 2015, the P85D arrived, with twin motors and 762hp. All cars can use the speedy Tesla Supercharger network, while original cars use it for free. Just be sure to give any potential purchase a thorough going-over, as Tesla build quality can be patchy.

Read our full Tesla Model S review

Kia e-Niro

If the Nissan Leaf was the first mainstream electric car, the Kia e-Niro was the first mainstream long-range EV. It arrived in late 2018, offering a superb 282 miles between charges, thanks to its 64kWh battery. With 204hp, performance is impressive, and the 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 7.8 seconds. The e-Niro is a roomy crossover-style car, with a spacious cabin and ample 451-litre boot. All are well equipped, with an improved infotainment system following a facelift in 2019 (tell these cars apart by their distinctive LED running lights). Not only does the battery have a generous warranty, but the e-Niro itself is protected by Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile cover. It’s certainly one of the best used electric cars you can buy.

Read our full Kia e-Niro review

MG ZS EV

The MG ZS EV arrived in 2019: an affordable electric car with the added appeal of SUV styling. Fitted with a 44.5kWh battery, claimed range of 163 miles was impressive, given the bargain pricing. MG sweetened the deal further with a generous level of standard equipment on all cars. This included 17-inch aero-style wheels and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Smooth and efficient to drive, the ZS is also roomy inside, with the high-set driving position that draws people to SUVs. As the icing on the cake, MG even sold the car with a seven-year warranty. Provided it has been serviced on time, this remains valid for subsequent owners.

Read our full MG ZS EV review

Volkswagen e-Up

The Volkswagen e-Up was the toast of Yorkshire when launched in 2014, due to its cheery name, but bargain-hunting electric car buyers also cheered the VW’s arrival. It quickly became recognised as one of the best-value new electric cars on sale. Although its 18.7kWh battery only gives a range of 100 miles, Volkswagen argued this was less of an issue in a car designed for the city. The fact that it’s very light by electric car standards helps efficiency, and also benefits handling – this is a very nimble car indeed. Standard equipment is pretty good (on par with High Up trim in the petrol models), and an eight-year battery warranty should provide reassurance when buying a used e-Up.

Read our full Volkswagen e-Up review

Volkswagen e-Golf

A forerunner to the new Volkswagen ID.3, the e-Golf was an early attempt to electrify the family hatchback. Launched in 2014, it boasted all the classy kudos of the famous Golf hatch, but with a 115hp electric motor and 24.2kWh battery. A driving range of around 120 miles was less than ideal, but the e-Golf does deliver this reliably, and it can be charged back up again in around 30 minutes via a CCS rapid charger. Look out for a used e-Golf with the optional heat pump; this reduces energy consumption and can improve the winter range by an eye-opening 20 percent.

Read our full Volkswagen e-Golf review

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The original Hyundai Ioniq range, launched in 2016, comprised three electrified models: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric. The Ioniq Electric is identified by its smoothed-off front grille, and has an official driving range of 174 miles from a 28kWh battery. All models are very well equipped, something that was improved further after a 2019 facelift, which added extra active safety technology. These cars also have a larger, sleeker infotainment system, and can be identified by their LED lights front and rear. The best reason to pick a post-facelift Ioniq Electric, though, is the enlarged battery, which grew to 38.3kWh. According to the stricter WLTP test cycle, it now offered a range of up to 184 miles.

Read our full Hyundai Ioniq review

Jaguar I-Pace

A former World Car of the Year winner, the 2018 Jaguar I-Pace was a landmark for the British firm. Jaguar’s first ever car designed from the ground up as an EV, the I-Pace shares nothing with other petrol- or diesel-engined models. Its styling is beautiful, with perfect curves and creases – it’s an SUV that does a good job of impersonating a coupe. Inside, the I-Pace feels very luxurious, and space in the back isn’t bad for such a sleek design. A delight to drive, it’s a true Jaguar in how it rides and handles, while performance from the 395hp dual-motor setup and huge 90kWh battery is very impressive. It will speed along in near-silence for up to 292 miles between charges, while revised 2020 cars improved things further with better infotainment and improved charging tech. This or an Audi E-tron? For many, the Jaguar aces it.

Read our full Jaguar I-Pace review

How much does a used electric car cost?

The earliest electric cars are now easily down into four figures, but if you want the best used electric cars, you need to spend a little more. Nissan Leaf prices start from around £11,000, and used Renault Zoes cost from around £12,500. If you search hard, you may be able to find an early BMW i3 for around £15,000, but other premium-brand models such as the Tesla Model S and Jaguar I-Pace cost a lot more.

How long does a used electric car last?

As electric cars are more simple than petrol and diesel cars, they theoretically should last just as long – or even a bit longer. Certainly, many manufacturers are happy to offer an eight-year battery warranty on their EVs, and experience in the real world indicates electric car battery degradation over time is better than many expected.

Which used electric car is the cheapest to run?

All used electric cars are cheap to run, as it is so much cheaper to charge them with electricity compared with filling the tank of a petrol or diesel car. They need less servicing too, and you don’t have the worry of, say, a clutch wearing out. The cheapest used electric cars to run will be those from mainstream manufacturers such as Nissan and Renault, which won’t have the premium-priced service bills of other brands. They’ll also go further for every kWh of electricity than larger, heavier alternatives.

Ask HJ

What's the best value, used electric car?

Is the Volkswagen e-Golf the best value, used electric car?
The Volkswagen e-Golf is certainly an excellent introduction to electric vehicles. We ran one for six months and rated it highly: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/our-cars/volkswagen-e-golf/ You might find a Nissan Leaf to be a better choice, however. The 40kWh model can travel 168 miles on a charge (compared to the e-Golf's 144) and, as it sold in bigger numbers when new, there are more to choose from on the used market. We'd also recommend the Hyundai Ioniq Electric which has a range of up to 183 miles.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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