It’s no secret that traveling around London is expensive; a Zone 1-6 TFL travel card can cost up to £20 a day, while those who choose to brave London’s busy streets by car are subject to hefty Congestion Charge and Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) fees. Fortunately, the popularization of electric vehicles means there is now a more convenient and affordable way to get around our nation’s capital. If you, like our reader, have £15,000 to spend on an electric city car, read on for our top picks.
Top 10 cars exempt from London congestion charge 2022
One of the great benefits of driving an EV in the city is being able to avoid London’s congestion charge and the ULEZ – if you’re unlucky enough to be responsible for both, it’s a combined charge of £27.50 per day. And while many new cars are exempt from the former, only full electric vehicles don’t have to pay either.
Electric driving also brings more benefits; Fuel prices are currently at an all-time high, and while energy bills are also starting to skyrocket, charging an EV still costs significantly less than the gasoline or diesel equivalent. Electric vehicle owners can also dodge annual road tax bills, and for company car drivers, electric cars typically come with low Benefit In Kind (BiK) ratings, resulting in negligible tax for company cars.
However, electric cars have a fatal flaw: their high price. While combustion engine cars have been around for more than a century, electric cars are a relatively recent development and therefore cost more to build and buy. There are cheaper and smaller electric cars on the new and used market, but these generally come with a smaller battery and consequently a more limited range.
Fortunately, this is not a big problem for those who live in the city: metropolitan areas like London usually have a strong charging infrastructure, plus those who spend most of their time in the city do not usually drive long distances.
We’ve searched the internet and found three of the best cheap used electric vehicles that will fit into the life of any city dweller. If you’re looking for something a little newer, why not check out our guide to the best small electric cars? Read on to see which of these voltaic vehicles is our favourite.
BY: Fast, good build quality, long range, smart looks
AGAINST: Only four seats, small trunk, expensive
You can buy the BMW i3 as a direct EV or with a range-extending gasoline engine, which acts as a generator to charge the batteries. Either way, it’s a little car that breaks down; however, those going to London will be better off with the EV model, as only this is exempt from the dreaded congestion charge. Thanks to its small size and quick acceleration, the i3 feels nimble around town, and while the skinny tires mean grip could be better, the BMW’s rear-wheel drive setup and decent performance make it rewarding to drive. . It also looks like nothing else on the road.
Using bamboo, natural fibers and other well-thought-out materials, the BMW i3 offers one of the most interesting cabins in recent memory, all backed by good build quality and decent technology. However, the i3 is strictly a four-seater, with access to the rear seats through rear-hinged doors. However, rear space is cramped for adults and the view out is partially blocked by the B-pillars. Boot space is around 260 litres, but it increases to 1,100 liters if the rear seat backs are folded down.
We found a 16-plate, 55,000-mile i3 94Ah (fully electric, 168bhp, 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, 195-mile range) for just under £15,000.
BY: Good value for money, lots of kit, spacious interior
AGAINST: Cab quality, lots of hard plastics inside.
Although the Renault ZOE is larger than the BMW i3 and not as fast, it is still a competent car on both urban and rural roads. Steering is on the light side, but this arguably adds to its quiet nature more than anything else. The ZOE also rides comfortably and is impressively refined in a cruiser, with minimal wind and road noise intruding on the cabin.
Although the current ZOE isn’t in your budget, you can still stretch to a fairly recent version of the previous generation that boasts plenty of equipment, including touchscreen infotainment. However, the overall interior design is a bit dull, especially compared to the BMW i3, while some hard plastics are also present in the cabin. Practicality is a strong area for ZOE; there’s decent room in the rear seats and you’ll find excellent 370-litre boot space behind them.
We found a 19-plate ZOE R110 41kWh Dynamique Nav (107bhp, 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds, 186mile range) with 18,000 miles on it for sale for precisely £14,000.
BY: Large boot for this class, smooth e-Pedal handling
AGAINST: Suspension can be a harsh and divisive look
The Mk1 Nissan Leaf was the world’s first mass-produced electric car and introduced the EV engine to hundreds of thousands of people. The Mk2 model here adopted an angular, futuristic design that may appeal to some more than others. As with most electric vehicles, the Leaf offers very smooth acceleration and, like the ZOE, has fairly light steering. One small problem is the suspension, which can be unnecessarily stiff.
The Leaf’s interior is more exciting than the ZOE’s, but not as innovative as the i3’s. Overall build quality is pretty solid, while the infotainment system offers decent features, even if it’s not the slickest. Although the Nissan’s rear seats are slightly raised, the overall amount of headroom and legroom isn’t bad. However, the trunk is by far the best of these three cars; you get an impressive 435 liters of cargo space, and this expands to 1,176 liters when you fold down the rear seats. That’s an excellent figure for a small electric vehicle that has batteries to fit under the floor.
One thing to keep in mind is that examples of the current generation Leaf are a bit scarce on the used market at this price. A 40kWh, 18-plate, 70,000-mile Acenta (148bhp, 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, 168-mile range) will set you back around £15,000.
The i3 was first launched alongside the BMW i8 hybrid sports car in 2011, and stands as a testament to BMW’s brilliant design that the little electric hatchback still looks futuristic today. The Beemer’s sleek looks and premium badging will fit right in with city life, and although its boot is smaller than Renault and Nissan, the i3’s compact dimensions should make it a no-brainer to park on tight, crowded streets. of people. With the longer range here, it’s also possible to take the i3 out of the city and into more suburban areas, where thanks to its rear-wheel drive setup, this diminutive electric vehicle drives as well as any BMW.
Looking to travel a little further? Check out our list of the 10 best highway cars
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