EV price vs range comparison

The electric vehicle market moves fast - much faster than the internal combustion one anyway. Models are updated with the regularity of smartphone launches, so Next Green Car has created its 'affordability' chart, tracking how much a mile of range costs for new EV buyers. We shall try to keep it as up to date as possible.

Within the past year or so, there have been new and higher capacity battery packs fitted to existing EVs in the shape of BMW's i3, the VW e-Golf, and Renault's Zoe. Hyundai entered the market with the Ioniq Electric, and it's less than two years ago that Nissan launched its Leaf 30 kWh.

The below table provides information on all new EVs available to buy in the UK, or confirmed for sale later in 2017/18. Details provided are official range, estimated real-world range, OTR price (including the Plug-in Car Grant), and the cost per mile of range - OTR price divided by official range.

Which EVs offer best value for money?

Model Official
range (miles)
Real-world
range (miles)
OTR price
(inc. PiCG)
Price per
mile (OTR / Range)
Renault Zoe Z.E. 40 250 200 £23,445 £94
Renault Zoe 149 103 £18,995 £127
BMW i3 94Ah 195 156 £27,830 £143
Hyundai Ioniq Electric 174 140 £24,995 £144
Volkswagen e-Golf 186 150 £27,370 £147
Smart fortwo ed 99 79 £16,420 £166
Nissan Leaf 30kWh 155 124 £25,790 £166
Citroen C-Zero 93 74 £15,995 £172
Peugeot iON 93 74 £15,995 £172
Nissan Leaf 24 kWh 124 99 £21,680 £175
Tesla Model S 75 Business Economy 298 238 £52,335 £176
Smart forfour ed 96 77 £16,915 £176
Kia Soul EV 132 106 £25,495 £193
Smart fortwo cabrio ed 96 77 £18,560 £193
Volkswagen e-up! 93 74 £20,780 £223
Nissan e-NV200 Combi 106 85 £24,407 £230
Mercedes Benz B 250 e 124 99 £28,875 £233
Tesla Model X 100D 351 281 £90,935 £259

Notes: Figures based on OTR of base models including the UK Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) at £4,500, and official EV range supplied from NEDC test cycle.

What is clear is that the Renault Zoe is even better value now that it was before - it led the table back in April when we first analysed the market. The combination of decent range and relatively low cost saw the original Zoe take first spot in the value for money table.

Now though, a hugely increased range and modest price rise have seen the Zoe ZE 40 break the £100 per mile barrier, beating the original 22kWh Zoe. Renault would actually take the top three places should we have included the Twizy in the table, with the cheap and cheerful quadricycle coming in the top three with a cost of £111 per mile - though that doesn't factor in mandatory battery hire.

It is worth noting that both Renault Zoe's listed above are calculated on an outright purchase cost, as are the Nissan Leafs. This is to keep comparisons as fair as possible since the majority of EVs are not available with a battery lease option.

Hyundai has done very well to come in a little behind the Renault Zoe's in terms of mainstream EVs. The BMW i3 manages to move up a place ahead of the Hyundai after some price changes, but with only a pound in it, the two models offer basically the same value in terms of price per range.

It is interesting to see how much the list has changed in a short amount of time, showcasing the rate of progress found in the EV market. Tesla has changed its model name line-up in the Model S more times than I can keep track of, while the Model X has joined the party too. Both Tesla models have seen their value for money improve significantly during that time, particularly with the launch of the 100 kWh battery variants. This has been tempered though with recent price rises.

Looking back at the original table - created on 5th April 2016 - the falling cost of EVs is clear to see. Back then, there was no new version of the Zoe, i3 or e-Golf, and the Ioniq Electric hadn't been launched yet. As such, the old Zoe came in first place, followed in joint-second by the heavily reduced models in the shape of the iOn and C-Zero. The Leaf 30kWh was third on the list, while it now sits seventh. The new versions of the i3, Zoe, and e-Golf - plus the entrance of the Ioniq - have moved the game on significantly in the space of 16 months.

The Zoe, e-Golf, and i3 have all been updated significantly too, within three or four years of launch. This is only achievable with electric powertrains and the advances made in battery capacities. The same basic packaging engineering remains in each model, it's just the battery efficiency is now 50% better than when those three models were first brought onto the market, such is the pace of change.

In the next year or so we will be seeing a true second generation of EVs coming along, ones with a new platform and therefore even greater range. The likes of the i3, Zoe, Leaf and Golf are all based on constraints that were designed half a decade ago or more, which is a huge amount of time in the electric automotive market. The new Leaf is due in September, with the clean sheet of paper likely to see its engineers get the Nissan right towards the top of the value-for-money table again.

Tracking Tesla - EVs analysed by price-per-mile

Tesla Model S & Model X

Because of the depth of Tesla's offering, we decided to put the best value Model S and Model X in the overall table rather than fill it up with another half dozen or more variants of the same vehicle.

We thought you might be interested to see how the various Tesla's perform against each other though, so below is the value-for-money rating for each model in the range. Because the line-up is consistently evolving, we will try to keep this as up to date as possible, but apologies in advance should you find the prices, battery sizes, or miles of range out of date.

Model Official
range (miles)
Real-world
range (miles)
OTR price
(inc. PiCG)
Price per
mile (OTR / Range)
Tesla Model S 75 Business Economy 298 238 £52,335 £176
Tesla Model S 75 298 238 £60,435 £203
Tesla Model S 75D 304 234 £65,135 £214
Tesla Model S 100D 393 314 £89,935 £229
Tesla Model X 100D 351 281 £90,935 £259
Tesla Model X 75D 259 207 £70,935 £274
Tesla Model S P100D 381 304 £127,335 £334
Tesla Model X P100D 336 269 £133,385 £397

Hopefully this simple guide will help if you are looking at EVs, though it is worth remembering that price-vs-range is only one aspect of choosing which EV is right for you. As new models become available, we will update the tables to reflect the changes they bring, keep checking back for more information.

Take a look at NGC's EV Buying Guide here

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:14th Aug 2017

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