Top 5 cheap electric cars: EVs for the price of a Panda?

Mi faccio la (seconda) macchina elettrica: 5 auto elettriche al costo di una FIAT Panda

We often tell you here on techprincess that the electric cars they are a great choice for those who need a second car to use in the city or for short daily trips. Instead of your current gasoline city car, in fact, if you have where to charge it at night, an EV could be an excellent solution as a daily car. The purchase price, however, can be frightening, and that’s why we are here at Auto for Dummies, the column that every week analyzes the world of cars in a complete and simple way. Today we will see together 5 used and economical electric cars that can do for you at the price of a new FIAT Panda. Are you ready? Let’s reload!

The premises: battery wear and charging costs are subjective (and, in some cases, unavoidable): here’s why. And the management costs?

Before starting this long and winding journey inside the best used electric cars, it is good to do a couple of premises. Instead of talking at the end of the elephant in the room, it is better to immediately face the real worry of anyone who approaches a used electric car: management costs. In fact, it is often thought that, once at home, an electric is incredibly expensive.

So let’s analyze the main management costs. Let’s start from stamp: in 18 out of 20 Regions, the electric car is exempt from paying the full amount of the road tax for the first 5 years of life; from the sixth year onwards, however, the exemption “drops” to 75%. Therefore, you will pay only a quarter of the entire road tax. In Lombardy and my Piedmont, however, the exemption is for life: for the entire useful life of the car you will not pay even one euro of stamp duty. And theinsurance? Here, of course, it depends on your city of residence, but on average the cost of RC Auto for a battery-powered car stands out between 30 and 50% less than an equivalent thermal car.

Have you ever wondered about the because? According to several companies, this is not an incentive to spread them. The lowest premium is payable by two reasons: being free from flammable fuels, the probability of serious accidents with fire and flames is lower (ok, here there would be a lot of discussion on this aspect, but let’s take it as established for now); Furthermore, the lower autonomy compared to a thermal car it forces the electric to physiologically travel less km, especially in a row. Less km, less chance of an accident. The ordinary maintenance is very economical. An electric motor is in fact made up of very few moving parts, infinitely less than a heat engine. In addition, it is devoid of gearbox and therefore of another delicate component. THE coupons so they are really laughable, in the order of 90/100 euro.

When do you change the battery? And how much is it?

The real hot potato though is the battery. Especially on cheap electric cars, in fact, there is a fear that the batteries may no longer be efficient, and no longer guarantee the original mileage. Certainly Batteries have a lifetime, and wear out after years of use. At the moment there are few cars that have been on the market for several years: this means that we are not yet fully aware of the replacement costs and actual wear of various battery packs. All the houses, however, guarantee their batteries for a good number of years, from 6 to 8 to 10, and up to 100 or 150,000 km. If in this time period the efficiency of the battery pack, expressed as a percentage, drops below 70 or 75%, the manufacturer undertakes to replace the battery under warranty.

If, on the other hand, the efficiency were to drop to 80%, thus reducing the autonomy by 1/5, there would be no extremes for a replacement. And if you wanted to replace it anyway, how much would it cost? This is a wonderful question, and the answer isn’t that easy. Due to the short life of most of the electric in circulation, there are not many data and prices for replacement batteries. However, the cost is still very high, starting from 5/6 thousand euros for cars with small batteries or even 10, 15 or 20 thousand euros for cars with larger batteries. However, specialists are emerging who are able to replace only damaged cells, and to bring exhausted batteries back to life. We therefore wait to see the future of the battery market, which will certainly be at the center of the automotive life of the future.

Nissan Leaf, the first versatile electric: from 8,000 euros you can drive a piece of automotive history

We have therefore made all the premises of the case, inevitable to talk about cheap electric cars. But let’s goor in detail, by analyzing the 5 best electric cars that cost less than a FIAT Panda Hybrid new, which starts from the price list 14.000 euro for the basic version. The first of our cheap EVs is the one that until a few months ago was the best-selling electric car in history: Nissan Leaf.

The success of the Nissan Leaf begins with its launch in 2011. At the time, Tesla had the only Roadster on the list, Renault had not yet launched the Zoe and the world of electric cars was still in its infancy. The Nissan Leaf was the first electric all-rounder with real-world-proof range. The line of the first series, the version we are talking about today, is at the same time particular and reassuring. The very pronounced headlights, the spoiler equipped with a solar panel, the charging door instead of the classic grille: Nissan Leaf is undoubtedly an electric all-aerodynamic efficiency. At the same time, however, the 5 doors, the traditional passenger compartment, the space on board and the large trunk (330 liters) make it a true and versatile car, very different from the cramped city cars that populated the electric list.

The engine has 109 hp, and the battery is only 24 kWh until 2015, and rises to 30 kWh on request only in 2015 and 2016. Thanks to the efficiency of the engine, however, the autonomy is proof of daily use, with a declared mileage in mixed cycle of 199 km. In the real world, around 160 km can be covered in mixed use, and thanks to the small size of the battery, even with a domestic socket it recharges most of the capacity in one night. At the wheel, Leaf is snappy (12 seconds 0-100 km / h), quiet, well-finished and agile.

It’s not the funniest electric and doesn’t stick to the seat when accelerating, but despite its abundant Segment C size (it’s 445cm long!) It’s perfect for everyday life. The price? It starts at just over 7,000 euros for 9 or 10 year old specimens, while for a specimen of 2013 or 2015 they are enough between 8,000 and 10,000 euros depending on the equipment. The younger ones with a 30 kWh battery and an autonomy of over 250 km instead start at 13 / 14,000 euros.

Citroen C-Zero, Peugeot iOn and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the most accessible economic electric cars: excellent misunderstood city cars

In 2011, along with the Nissan Leaf, were launched in Europe three small supermini very similar to each other: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn. The three houses in fact invested in Mitsubishi’s original project, to create a compact, economical and perfect electric car for the city. Not everyone knows that Mitsubishi launched the thermal version of this car in 2006, simply called i: it was a kei car, Japanese cars with very small dimensions, with a rear engine and a lot of internal space, developed from the beginning to be also electric.

Precisely because of this kei car soul, i-MiEV / C-Zero / iOn are really small. The three cars are in fact only 3.47 meters long, just 1.47 meters wide and 1.61 meters high. This formula allows you to have a very small car with a lot of space on board, but it also gives a very strange aesthetic. And it was precisely this formula so unusual in Europe (combined with a very high launch price, well above 30,000 euros) that made the project misunderstood in all its 10-year career. In fact, at the time they were not appreciated for their low versatility and very particular aesthetics: the three cars were however small city ​​cars dedicated exclusively to urban life. The rear engine from 64 CV and 180 Nm is lively at low speeds, the car has aexcellent agility thanks to a very small turning radius and a very limited width.

In traffic, it’s easy to slip between cars, parking is child’s play and the visibility is fantastic thanks to the very thin uprights. Electric was once regarded primarily as a jack-of-all-trades, and these city beasts didn’t get a chance to shine. Today, however, their compactness makes them the ideal car for life in the increasingly congested European cities. the drums then they are among the first made ai lithium ions: have a rather small capacity, of 16 kWh, and allow to do up to 100/110 km on a city day. Using the heating, then, the autonomy drops a lot: paradoxically, it is better to use the air conditioner, less energy-intensive. Thanks to the reduced capacity of the battery pack, it also takes very little to recharge it.

Inside of, the space for the driver is excellent, and even behind despite the size there is room for two people (and the trunk measures 166 liters, as much as a FIAT 500). From an aesthetic point of view, however, you will get noticed. Of course, they won’t win the Compasso d’Oro, but these three city cars are personal and special. The price, then, is really low. All the cars for sale have very few km, and they can starting from less than 6,000 euros. With 8.000 euro, you can take home an iOn or a C-Zero with a handful of miles on your shoulders and a lot to give. The i-MiEVs, on the other hand, are rarer and more expensive: better bet on the two French ones. Misunderstood and expensive when new, excellent value for money when used. Is it finally time for the Japanese-French to shine?

BMW i3, the supercar among the electric city cars: made of carbon, it is sporty to drive and with the Range Extender all fear passes

This brings us to the third car on the list: BMW i3. The Bavarian electric has always been a car much discussed and controversial. This is the first BMW openly dedicated to the city, with a length that exceeds 4 meters by just one centimeter and a mini-minivan aesthetic. The look of the i3 is futuristic and particular, with an unquestionably BMW front, the rear lights incorporated in the glass tailgate and the tormented side characterized by the closet doors. Despite being released in 2013, 8 years ago, the i3 is still incredibly modern and turns so many heads to his …

John Vassallo is a versatile writer who covers two fascinating realms: Automobiles and Electronics. With a deep knowledge and passion for both industries, John brings you the latest updates, trends, and insights in these dynamic fields. From the latest car models, automotive innovations, and advancements in electric and autonomous technologies, to cutting-edge electronics, gadgets, and emerging tech trends, John's articles provide comprehensive coverage to keep you informed.