Electric cars have been a common sight on UK roads for some time now, making them a viable option whether you’re looking at new or second hand cars. Although some of you will be well versed in the pros and cons of electric cars, here are a few pointers for those switching from petrol or diesel.

Cheap to run, expensive to buy

Batteries cost a lot of money to produce because of the hard-to-find materials that go into them. That pushes the purchase price well beyond that of a petrol or diesel version of the same car.

However, if you capped you energy prices before they shot up recently or have a cheap off-peak rate, you’ll spend less on ‘fuel’, road tax and they’re currently ULEZ charge exempt.

Government grants

Although you can no longer get a government grant to contribute to the cost of a new car, you can get money towards the purchase price of a wheelchair accessible vehicle or small van.

Range and efficiency

A small car means less space for batteries, so don’t expect a particularly long range. Some are better than others; while a Smart EQ Fortwo has an official range of just 81 miles, a Fiat 500 electric or Peugeot e-208 can officially travel more than 200.

We’d also recommend keeping an eye on the miles per kWh figure advertised, or the distance the car can travel for every unit of electricity you put in.

Now you know what to look out for, here are ten of the best small electric cars out there.

10. Renault Twizy

Technically this isn’t a car at all, instead it’s a two-seat quadricycle which means it doesn’t have to pass as stringent a crash test. It also has limited practicality and a short 62-mile range, but it’s cheap, can do 50mph and is perfectly home whizzing around a city.

9. Mini Electric

Like the regular Mini Cooper S, the electric version has a high-quality interior, rapid acceleration and some of the sharpest handling in its class. Be prepared for a bumpy ride, tiny boot and cramped rear seats, especially if you’ve got one with a panoramic sunroof.

8. Honda e

Like the Mini, the Honda e has a plush interior and is great to drive, plus it comes with the added bonus of five doors rather than three to boost practicality. The boot is small and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get more than 100 miles of range, even if you try.

7. VW E-Up

The E-Up feels just like a regular Up to drive only even easier thanks to the simple automatic gearbox. You should get just over 100 miles if you drive it carefully and it’s a cheap used option. Keep an eye out for the Seat Mii Electric too; it’s essentially the same car.

6. BMW i3

Despite being a familiar sight after a few years on sale, the i3 still looks like something from the near future. Its small rear doors and tiddly boot aren’t particularly practical, but space for passengers isn’t bad and you’ll get well over 100 miles on a charge.

5. Kia Soul EV

Unlike its predecessors, you won’t find a petrol or diesel version of the Kia Soul. Instead, this all-electric car shares its motor and battery with the Niro EV, giving a 0-62mph time of just 7.9 seconds and a range in excess of 200 miles.

6. Peugeot e-208

Although it’s a more expensive option than the petrol and diesel 208, the e-208 makes a great deal of sense. It shares a great interior that gives Mini a run for its money, is comfortable and has punchy performance. Just ignore the 211 mile official range, 140 miles is more like it.

3. Vauxhall Corsa-e

The Corsa-e shares its mechanical bits with the e-208, it just wraps them in a more conservative suit. The interior is also less divisive and Vauxhall generally has more attractive finance offers. That’s enough to make it more recommendable in our book. 

2. Renault Zoe

It might not be the newest car on our list, but the Zoe has been gradually getting better year after year. Range has improved to the point that big battery versions will do over 200 miles on a charge, and the interior has been improved as well. Alternatively, early versions are a cheap way of getting into electric car ownership.

1. Fiat 500 Electric

If you can live with the cramped rear seats and small boot, the 500 electric is the best small electric car you can buy. It’s great to drive, has a funky interior and has a range of around 140 miles in the real world if you opt for the big battery.