Every electric car eligible for the Government's £1500 plug-in car grant
Cars costing more than £32,000 are no longer eligible for the Government's plug-in car grant, but that still leaves 16 fully electric models that are...
The upper price limit for eligible vehicles has also been reduced, from £35,000 to £32,000. That means some standout models – including the five-star Skoda Enyaq – no longer qualify.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of exciting electric cars that do, including some that have only just gone on sale. It's important to note, though, that not all trim levels of each car qualify for the grant, so it's worth checking before you decide to go ahead with any purchase.
Here we take a look at all 16 options and reveal which ones are worth considering. If any of them take your fancy, just use the relevant link to read our full review, or see how much you could save by using the free What Car? New Car Buying service.
If ever a car was born for urban driving, it’s the new electric Fiat 500. It’s shorter than key rivals, so it can fit into spaces they can’t, while a tight turning circle, ultra-light steering and excellent visibility make it very easy to drive and manoeuvre. Just make sure you go for a version with the larger 42kWh battery if you want it to be suitable for longer journeys.
Fiat 500 Cabrio
Similarly brilliant to its hard-top sibling, the Fiat 500 Cabrio won our Convertible of the Year award in January 2021 – making it the first pure electric car to do so. Unlike its closest rival, the petrol-powered Mini Convertible, the 500 Cabrio doesn’t shudder or shake along bumpy roads. Just bear in mind that it carries a hefty price premium over the hard-top model: £2650 in our favoured Icon trim.
Charming bulldog-like looks are backed up by a class-leading driving experience in the Honda E. It blends swift acceleration with agile, entertaining handling. Sadly, an assault of screens controlled by confusing software hurts the interior experience, while the boot is tiny and the range between charges disappointing.
Like the Honda E, the Mini Electric offers zippy performance and a retro aesthetic inside and out. However, it’s even less practical (you can’t have it with rear doors for starters) and the range is similarly measly, so it’s very much a second car.
If you don’t want to shout about going electric, the e-208 could be just the thing – only the badging distinguishes it from its handsome internal combustion-engined counterparts. You get a comfortable ride and impressive refinement, while the quality of the interior shines through thanks to minimal use of scratchy plastics. Short drivers beware, though: the abnormally small steering wheel blocks the instruments in some seating positions.
Key to the Renault Zoe’s appeal is its range compared with rivals: officially between 238 and 245 miles depending on your motor of choice. Higher trim levels make these extra miles especially pleasant, delivering an elegant interior and punchy performance. Only a choppy ride and a recent zero star Euro NCAP safety rating give other rivals and the e-208 a significant advantage.
Smart Fortwo EQ
The prototypical city car should lend itself well to electrification, but Smart’s execution is likely to leave you disappointed. Good acceleration at low speeds is marred by a bumpy ride and excessive noise, especially in the Cabrio. Cumbersome infotainment undermines the solid construction of the interior, while wheezy performance on faster roads and a 59-mile range in real-world testing further limit the Fortwo’s appeal. That said, no other car is quite as easy to park.
Smart Forfour EQ
The Forfour EQ is the physical manifestation of range anxiety, managing just 57 miles in our Real Range test. The ride jostles you around, too, and as you pick up speed there’s enough road roar to make you think you’re taxiing a 747. True, a tight turning circle and low cost make it serviceable as a city runabout, but if you want that, why not get the cheaper and more manoeuvrable Fortwo instead, given that the extra seats of the Fourfour are extremely cramped?
Despite being closely related to the Peugeot e-208, the Corsa-e has its own distinct character. For starters, the normal sized steering wheel doesn’t block the instruments in the way that the 208’s can, plus the Corsa sacrifices a bit of comfort for slightly sharper handling. It’s nowhere near as classy as the 208 inside, though.
With many new electric cars arriving on the scene, the e-Up is still a decent option for zipping around town. It's also great to drive, easy to park, and also has a good electric range – but if you do more than just urban driving, there are better and more usable options out there.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Lively performance, great equipment and long warranties (eight years or 125,000 miles for the batteries alone) make the Kona Electric an attractive buy. The ride can be choppy, though, and it’s a pity you have to make do with the smaller battery option if you want the grant. This version of the car managed only 158 miles in our real-world test, compared with the 259 miles of pricier Konas.
The MX-30 is something of a rolling paradox: it’s a big car with rear passenger space only a contortionist could enjoy, while its 124-mile official range binds it to urban use, where it feels too large to be truly at home. However, it does provide an enjoyable ride and handling balance, while the interior features interesting materials and an infotainment system that’s refreshingly easy to operate.
MG ZS EV
You have to put up with artificial steering and a rather bouncy ride, but you might be tempted to, because the ZS EV is very well-priced and offers a vast amount of passenger and boot space. Acceleration is swift enough, too, and brake pedal feel is far more consistent than it is in many electric cars, making it easy to drive the ZS EV smoothly in stop-start traffic.
Family cars and MPVs
On paper, the MG 5 appears to be great value for money. It provides far more range than the similarly priced 40kWh Nissan Leaf, goes from 0-62mph faster than the vastly more expensive Renault Zoe and offers more space for families than both those rivals. The absence of important safety systems such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) makes it hard to recommend over the similarly priced MG ZS EV, though.
You're not exactly spoilt for choice if you’re looking for a seven-seat electric car, but the van-based e-NV200 is one such model. Unfortunately, those van origins are all too obvious, not only in the way it looks, but also in the way the back end of the ‘car’ skips and crashes over bumps when you haven’t filled it with people. The range is small, too.
While the original Leaf instantly antiquated its predecessors in 2010, the current second-generation offering now feels off the pace. A similarly priced Volkswagen ID.3 can do a lot more miles on a single charge despite having a smaller battery than the range-topping Leaf, while the comfier 40kWh car – which only managed 128 miles of range in real-world tests – is trounced by the Peugeot e-208 in the ride quality stakes. Nonetheless, class-leading boot space and swathes of standard equipment make the 40kWh Leaf a good value proposition.
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