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The 10 slowest-depreciating electric cars

Shopping for an electric car, but worried how much it will be worth when you come to sell it? Well, buy one of these and you can rest easy...

Author Avatar
by
Darren Moss
Published03 January 2024

Electric cars used to lose more of their value over three years than almost any other type of car, because they were seen as a niche choice among buyers, and there were concerns about how long their batteries would last. Those days are long gone, though.

For a start, batteries are proving much more durable than feared, and although the rising popularity of electric models has stalled following the Government's decision to push back the ban on new petrol and diesel cars until 2035, fully electric models have still accounted for more than 16% of sales in 2023.

Volkswagen ID Buzz with depreciation graph

There are still big differences between the best and worst performers, though, so here we're using our residual value data to reveal the 10 models that lose the smallest percentage of their original price during the first three years. All figures are based on what you can expect for a trade-in that's covered 36,000 miles.

If anything takes your fancy, simply click on the relevant link to read our full review or see how much you could save by using our free New Car Deals service.

Our pick: 450kW 112kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 4.5 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 688 litres
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Supple and controlled high-speed ride
  • Composed handling
  • Appealing interior

Weaknesses

  • Too much road noise on the motorway
  • Overly firm in town
  • Glitchy infotainment system

Model R 112kwh | List price £120,000 | 36k/3yr resale value £74,450 | Price drop £45,550 | Retained value 62.1%

You may not think of Lotus as being the kind of brand to make a large, luxurious SUV, but the British sports car maker is promising to make the Eletre worthy of its name. Namely, that means giving it lots of power, and range-topping R versions will certainly get that – with 892bhp coming from dual electric motors, and a 0-62mph sprint time of just 2.5sec.

No matter which version of the Eletre you go for, you'll get the same 112kWh battery, which offers a range of up to 304 miles in R models, and 373 miles in the lesser Eletre and Eletre S variants. No version of the car is cheap, either, but at least that guarantees rarity, plus it will hold on to its value better than any other electric car.

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Pleasant to drive with a comfortable ride
  • Hugely practical
  • Strong resale values

Weaknesses

  • Not available as a seven-seater - yet
  • Fiddly air-con controls and infotainment
  • Efficiency could be better

Model Life Pro 77kWh | List price £59,035 | 36k/3yr resale value £35,750 | Price drop £23,285 | Retained value 60.6%

If you need acres of space for people and luggage, but also have a keen eye on depreciation, the ID Buzz should be at the very top of your shortlist. Not only is it the best electric seven-seater for depreciation, but it's also a very good car in its own right – so good that it's our reigning Car of the Year.

What makes the ID Buzz worthy of our top accolade? Well, aside from the spacey nature of its interior, it's also good to drive. The super-tight turning circle makes it easy to weave along city streets, you get punchy performance from its 201bhp motor, and the official electric range is a useful 260 miles.

Read our in-depth Volkswagen ID Buzz review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Comfortable ride
  • Classy and spacious interior
  • Well priced

Weaknesses

  • So-so performance
  • Visibility could be better
  • Cheapest versions have a short range

Model 45 quattro S line | List price £54,680 | 36k/3yr resale value £32,925 | Price drop £21,755 | Retained value 60.2%

This sleeker sibling to the regular Audi Q4 e-tron counts the BMW iX3, Mercedes EQA and Volvo C40 Recharge among its key rivals, but will hold on to its value across three years of ownership than any of them.

It's generally good to drive, with this mid-range 45 quattro model getting a long official range of 323 miles, and a respectable 282bhp from its dual motors. S line cars also come with 20in alloy wheels which, even combined with stiffer suspension, never make the ride feel uncomfortable.

As you'd expect from a car with an Audi badge, the interior features lots of high-end materials, and very little wind or road noise manages to find its way inside the car.

Read our in-depth Audi Q4 sportback e-tron review

Our pick: Long Range AWD 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 4.8 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Insurance group: 48D
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Rapid acceleration
  • Great range between charges
  • Tesla’s charging infrastructure

Weaknesses

  • Unsettled ride
  • Noisy for an EV
  • A Model 3 is cheaper and better to drive

Model RWD | List price £44,990 | 36k/3yr resale value £26,900 | Price drop £18,090 | Retained value 59.8%

Essentially an SUV version of the Tesla Model 3 executive car, the Model Y offers a higher driving position, a more practical, hatchback-style boot opening and even stronger resale values.

It's not a better all-rounder, though, suffering from an unsettled ride and more road and suspension noise than its sibling. RWD versions don’t have headline-grabbing ranges, either, covering an official 283 miles between charges, whereas Long Range models can do 331 miles. 

At least owning one grants you access to Tesla’s Supercharger network of ultra-reliable and ultra-fast charging stations, which consistently rank among the best in our real-world charging provider tests.

Read our in-depth Tesla Model Y review

Our pick: 178kW Advance 87kWh 22kWCh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 7.6 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 408 litres
Insurance group: 34A
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Stylish and high-quality interior
  • Even entry-level Advance models are well equipped
  • 87kWh version has a competitive range

Weaknesses

  • Not great to drive
  • Rivals can charge quicker
  • So-so performance for an electric car

Model Engage 87kWh | List price £44,645 | 36k/3yr resale value £26,150 | Price drop £18,495 | Retained value 58.6%

Nissan's range-topping electric SUV is available with two battery sizes and even comes with the option of four-wheel drive – this 87kWh model pushes the official range to 329 miles. And while you won't get as far as that in real-world conditions, our winter range test showed that 269 miles is still possible even in colder weather.

Even though Engage trim is the cheapest available, it still comes with everything you're likely to need, including parkingh aids, LED headlights, dual-zone claimte control, and a heat pump to efficiently warm the interior.

While the Ariya bests the rival Genesis GV60 in terms of depreciation, however, it's worth noting that the Genesis can charge at a faster rate – it's able to swallow electricity at up to 200kW compared with the Ariya's maximum rate of 130kW.

Read our in-depth Nissan Ariya review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Pleasant interior with showroom appeal
  • Comfortable ride around town
  • Plenty of interior space

Weaknesses

  • Slower charging than rivals
  • Wobblier than rivals on undulating roads
  • Brake feel takes some getting used to

Model Active 44.9kWh | List price £26,195 | 36k/3yr resale value £15,000 | Price drop £11,195 | Retained value 57.3%

This electric SUV promises to help you 'Build Your Dreams', and while we're not sure how it'll help you do that, it is at least good at holding on to its value, netting you more money back when you come to sell it than most rivals. 

It's also well priced to begin with, costing you less than an MG4, yet coming with a decent official range of 211 miles in Active form. There's plenty of space inside for passengers and luggage, but while the Dolphin's soft suspension deals with lumps and bumps in the road well around town, at motorway speeds it can leave the car bobbing around and never quite settling.

Elsewhere, there's a motorised infotainment screen inside for extra wow factor, and the rest of the interior feels rather plush compared with other small electric cars.

Read our in-depth BYD Dolphin review

Our pick: 115kW Altitude 54kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 9.6 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 355 litres
Insurance group: 24E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Good driving position
  • Competitively priced
  • Relatively fast charging

Weaknesses

  • Tight rear leg room
  • Some rivals can go even further on a charge
  • Scratchy interior plastics

Model First Edition 54kWh | List price £36,500 | 36k/3yr resale value £20,725 | Price drop £15,775 | Retained value 56.8%

Jeep was fairly late to the electric car party, but its first effort, the Avenger, aims to combine the practicality of an SUV with the low running costs of an electric car. It's mostly a success, with the Avenger feeling most at home in urban environments, where its light steering and tight turning circle make it a doddle to drive. All versions come with the same 54kWh battery, which means you should be able to travel at least 180 miles in real-world conditions before needing to plug in.

Even before you take depreciation into account, the Avenger is a solid financial choice, under-cutting most of its rivals on price. Plus, First Edition models come loaded with kit.

Read our in-depth Jeep Avenger review

Our pick: 1.6 GDi Hybrid 2 Nav 5dr DCT

0-62mph: 10.4 sec
MPG/range: 64.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 100g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 451 litres
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • 250+ mile real-world range
  • Fairly practical
  • Comfortable ride

Weaknesses

  • Slow charging speed
  • Hard interior plastics
  • Pricier than many direct rivals

Model 2 64kWh | List price £37,295 | 36k/3yr resale value £21,100 | Price drop £16,195 | Retained value 56.6%

The original Kia e-Niro was a former What Car? Car of the Year, and this latest version remains a strong contender in the electric SUV market.

All versions get the same peppy 201bhp electric motor and 64.8kWh battery, which allows for an official range of up to 285 miles between charges. The Niro EV's interior design is similar to that of the larger and more expensive EV6, which means it feels built to last. Tall people sitting in the Niro EV's rear seats won't grumble about space, either, and the boot is large enough to swallow seven carry-on suitcases.

A relatively slow charging speed and hard interior plastics count against the Niro EV, but at least you'll get a good chunk of your money back when you come to sell.

Read our in-depth Kia Niro EV review

Our pick: 125kW SE EV 51kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 7.7 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 289 litres
Insurance group: 27D
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Incredibly well priced
  • Competitive range between charges
  • Long warranty

Weaknesses

  • Some interior materials disappoint
  • Slightly unsettled ride
  • Infotainment system is fiddly

Model SE 51kWh | List price £26,995 | 36k/3yr resale value £14,995 | Price drop £12,095 | Retained value 55.2%

It's truly impressive that despite being the cheapest car to buy on this list, the MG4 also gives you such a good return on your investment – in fact, it loses little more than £12,000 in value after three years and 36,000 miles of ownership.

Wallet-pleasing figures are only part of the story, though. The smallest electric MG model also comes with a long warranty, and officially manages up to 218 miles on a full charge in Standard Range form. The Long Range model doesn't cost that much more and has an official range of up to 281 miles. We think the MG 4 is so good, in fact, that it's our reigning Small Electric Car of the Year.

Read our in-depth MG 4 review

Our pick: 150kW V1 58kWh 5dr Auto

0-62mph: 7.3 sec
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 385 litres
Insurance group: 25E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Good range between charges
  • Relatively fun handling
  • Quiet cruising manners

Weaknesses

  • Much pricier than MG4
  • Awful touch-sensitive dashboard buttons
  • Slightly firmer ride than ID 3

Model e-boost V3 77kWh | List price £40,955 | 36k/3yr resale value £22,100 | Price drop £18,855 | Retained value 54.1%

If driving pleasure is high up on your list of priorities when choosing a new electric car, then the Cupra Born should definitely be on your shortlist. It's a spicier, more flavoursome car than its Volkswagen ID 3 sibling, and as well as a nicer interior, it's also more enjoyable to drive. Turning into corners, the Born feels sharp and eager, and it flows along country roads with reassuring poise. Comfort is good, too, because the Born's suspension does a good job of soaking up lumps and bumps in the road.

You'll pay more to put a Cupra Born on your driveway than you would for most of its small electric car rivals, but the good news is that the Born also keeps a larger proportion of its value than most of those cars.

Read our full Cupra Born review, see our latest Cupra Born deals or see how cheaply you can lease one


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