How to buy an electric car for not (too) expensive?

Bet on small first-price models

Inexpensive to use, electric cars nevertheless remain expensive to buy new, mainly because of the price of their batteries. To go below 15,000 euros, you have to look at mini-city cars. In this niche, the Dacia Spring is the cheapest with an entry ticket of 19,290 euros, an amount which nevertheless continues to climb over the inflation of raw materials and the shortage of semiconductors. Ecological bonus of 5,208 € deducted (it cannot exceed 27% of its value), the small car from the Renault group flirts with the more accessible price of 14,000 euros. But for this price, no miracle: it will be necessary to be satisfied with a battery capacity of 27 kWh offering it a range of 230 km in the WLTP cycle and an anemic power of 44 hp.

Despite its constantly rising price, the Dacia Spring still manages to stay below the 15,000 euros mark when new, bonus deducted. (Dacia)

For double the horsepower, Renault offers its Twingo E-Tech from 23,650 euros. She benefits from the full bonus of 6,000 euros, allowing her to finally go below 18,000 euros. Bad point for her, her tiny 22 kWh battery which only allows her a range of 190 km (WLTP cycle), but which can be enough for short daily trips.

To complete this trio of the cheapest “wattures” in new, Volkswagen management. The e-Up! is sold from €18,690 by subtracting the bonus. Relative strong point, its 32.3 kWh battery for a range of 260 km (WLTP).

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Finally, to stay just under the 20,000 euros mark, bonus deducted, we can move towards the, always crisp, Fiat 500e, in its battery version of 23.8 kWh (190 km of autonomy) and 95 hp .

Buy a second hand

To drive a more upscale car while staying under 10,000 to 15,000 euros, you have to turn to the second-hand market. The cars – registered for the first time more than two years ago – also benefit from an ecological bonus, reduced to 1,000 euros. A quick tour of second-hand sites reveals that the Renault Zoé are legion, at prices starting around 7,000 euros. Distrust, however, because the first generations are necessarily accompanied by the rental of batteries (between 70 and 130 euros monthly, depending on the annual mileage). Without battery rental, and at the same prices, come the twin sisters Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot Ion. But with only 16 kWh of batteries and a range of a hundred kilometers, they will thrill those who fear running out of juice. There are also some Bluecars around 6,000 euros, inherited from car-sharing systems, such as the Parisian Autolib. In unattractive bodywork conditions and with an even bigger flaw: the need, when parked, to leave them plugged in so that they don’t discharge.

PHOTO FRANCOIS DESTOC / LE TELEGRAM CAUDAN (56): Autolib Bluecar Bolloré electric car at the Autopuzz garage
Bolloré Bluecars sold at the Autopuzz garage in Caudan (56). (Francois Destoc Archives/The Telegram)

Finally, to drive offbeat, for a check of 10,000 to 13,000 euros, you can let yourself be tempted by a car that was, in the recent past, built near Rennes: the rustic but endearing e-Mehari!

Attempt the rental

Rather than dropping a big nest egg to buy an electric vehicle, the trend today is towards long-term rental (LLD) or rental with option to purchase (LOA). For Tesla Model 3 enthusiasts, however, it will cost a minimum rent of 600 euros per month in LLD, without contribution. An e-208, it will be negotiated from 149 euros per month but with a first rent of nearly 4,000 euros, instead of 25,290 € to be paid to become the owner. A Hyundai Kona is offered with a rent of 139 euros per month and after a deposit of nearly 3,000 euros. These prices take into account the ecological bonus and a premium of 2,500 euros to store your old diesel. The advantage of these formulas? Usage costs (warranty, maintenance, etc.) are monthly and the purchase price of the car at the end of the lease is known in advance. The customer can benefit from a new vehicle at the end of the lease by signing a new contract. Disadvantages: it is not the most economical formula there is, even if the offers are becoming more and more competitive thanks to the enthusiasm they arouse. Another weakness of these long-term rentals is their lack of flexibility: you sign for a specific duration and mileage. The bill can quickly climb if the distance is exceeded. Same thing if the car is not returned in excellent condition: the repairs must be paid for by the customer… Note that second-hand cars can also benefit from this type of leasing.

Or drive a car without a licence…

The most economical solution for riding in a four-wheeled vehicle powered by an electric motor is to switch to a quadricycle without a license… In this category, the Citroën Ami offers an unbeatable price level in new: from 6,490 euros, bonus deducted. You can even rent it for 20 euros per month, after a first rent of 2,200 euros…

If its silhouette of a cube on wheels divides, the concept of the Citroën Ami can appeal to motorists confined to the city.
If its silhouette of a cube on wheels divides, the concept of the Citroën Ami can appeal to motorists confined to the city. (Tip Productions)

Its use, from the age of 14, is however limited to the city with its 45 km/h maximum speed and a range of only 75 km…

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How to buy an electric car for not (too) expensive?