Urban centers pulse with life and energy, but they also present their own set of challenges for drivers. Manufacturers are more and more positioning small electric cars as the perfect solution to navigate these bustling hubs.
In this article, we explore five exceptional small electric cars for cities. Some of the models below have already carved a niche for themselves. Others are new electric versions of old classics.
These electric cars combine practicality with style, tailored for the urban dweller yearning for sustainable mobility solutions. Electric superminis embody the essence of sustainability and mobility without sacrificing space. While driving through the urban jungle, these EVs show they can be graceful dancers on the concrete stage.
Affordability and Cost-Effectiveness: Driving Home the Savings
When it comes to car ownership, affordability is a critical consideration. Small electric cars, once thought of as futuristic dreams, don’t just save the planet—they also save your wallet. Long-term benefits are where these electric champions shine.
Bid farewell to the fuel pump; small EVs are powered by electricity, which is notably cheaper than traditional petrol. With a lower cost per mile, your wallet will thank you every time you breeze past a petrol station.
The affordability of small electric cars still raises eyebrows among skeptics. Among the common misconceptions is the belief that electric vehicles are costly. Unpacking these myths unveils a world where small EVs are not only economically viable but also financially prudent choices.
EU’s Push for Electric Transport
The urgent drive toward an eco-friendly world has cast a remarkable focus on sustainable transport. Urban areas that grapple with traffic jams and air pollution now lead the charge in the environmental movement. In turn, the demand for individual mobility solutions is undeniable. This is where small electric vehicles (EVs) come into play, ready to revolutionize city commuting and enhance our planet’s well-being.
The European Union’s landmark decision to ban new fossil-fuel cars by 2035 has sent shockwaves through the automotive landscape. Earlier this year, a new EU law ensured the building of fast-recharging stations along the EU’s main transport corridors. As a consequence, the call to embrace eco-friendly alternatives has truly gained urgency.
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New Fiat 500 Electric
With a legacy that stretches back over a decade, the Fiat 500 has firmly cemented its place as a timeless design icon. This compact city car is tailor-made for navigating urban environments where manoeuvrability is essential. The small EV’s light steering and impressive visibility lend a hand in avoiding those pesky car-park incidents that urban dwellers are all too familiar with.
The New Fiat 500, also known as the Fiat 500e, is a remarkable battery-electric car (BEV). Unveiled in Milan on March 4, 2020, the New 500 has become a beacon of eco-friendly innovation. Its price currently starts at € 28.800.
The New 500 boasts a robust 320 km (199 miles) range. This impressive range extends to 400 km (249 miles) on the urban cycle, a testament to its city-savvy design. A 42 kWh lithium-ion battery pack fuels its electric powertrain, ensuring efficient and emission-free urban journeys.
With its expanded dimensions—a 6 cm (2.4 inches) increase in length, width, and height, as well as a 2 cm (0.79 inches) longer wheelbase—the New 500 has evolved to offer enhanced space and comfort. This dedicated BEV model embraces a new platform, distinct from its 2007 predecessor.
The New 500’s availability includes a range of configurations: hatchback, cabrio, and 3+1. Two other models are featured on Fiat’s official website: La Prima and Red. The La Prima trimline, a limited edition two-door cabriolet four-seater, presents a distinguished starting point, while subsequent variants introduce a three-door hatchback and a unique four-doored hatchback with a rear-hinged passenger door. Notably, Fiat’s commitment to innovation is highlighted by the Red branded edition, featuring a 42 kWh battery and available in both hatchback and convertible styles.
In the pictures: New Fiat 500. Pictures Credit: Stellantis – Fiat Media
Promoting itself as an “Electric Family Car”, the Nissan Leaf boasts an iconic silhouette and a battery range that mirrors urban ambitions. The Leaf’s evolution includes a gradual increase in its range on a full charge, from an initial 117 km (73 miles) to an impressive 364 km (226 miles), as rated by the EPA. This advancement is particularly attributed to a larger battery pack and a series of minor enhancements.
Charging flexibility remains a hallmark of the Leaf, compatible with both regular 120-volt and 240-volt outlets. As a result, a standard DC fast-charging connection across all trims ensures efficient charging. While the Leaf S provides a 149-mile range from its 40.0-kWh battery, the SV Plus offers an impressive 215 miles of EPA-rated driving range courtesy of its larger battery pack.
The model held the title of the world’s top-selling plug-in electric car until December 2019, perhaps due to its affordability. With a starting price below € 30,000 and a strong emphasis on affordability, the Leaf captures attention. For those primarily driving within city limits with access to home charging setups, the Leaf presents a cost-effective entry point to the world of electric compact cars.
In the pictures: 2023 Nissan LEAF. Pictures Credit: Nissan’s Official U.S Newsroom.
Vauxhall/Opel Corsa Electric
The Corsa-E is a fully electric vehicle that provides a clean and exhilarating ride for urban and suburban journeys alike. The Corsa-E boasts instant power and agility with its 100% electric engine that propels the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 7.6 seconds. A unique feature, the regenerative braking system in B-mode, optimizes energy recapture during braking, channeling it back to the battery and contributing to range preservation.
The Corsa-E’s price tag is higher, starting at around € 34.170. However, the value is seen in its design, as its driving modes cater to varying preferences and requirements. Switching to Sport mode intensifies the excitement, while Eco mode extends the range, aligning with environmentally conscious driving.
Besides its impressive performance, the Corsa-E operates silently and emits no tailpipe emissions, promoting a cleaner and quieter driving environment. At the heart of the Corsa-E lies a 50 kWh lithium-ion battery. This powerhouse enables the Corsa-E to confidently cover distances of up to 222 miles on a single charge, embodying its capability as a versatile and dependable electric vehicle.
Celebrated on the global stage, the Vauxhall Corsa-E garnered the prestigious AUTOBEST “Best Buy Car of Europe 2020” award. Its recognition as a three-time AUTOBEST winner underscores its enduring impact and appeal.
In the pictures: Vauxhall/Opel Corsa Electric. Pictures Credit: Stellantis – Vauxhall Media.
Renault’s journey with the Zoe commenced with a series of concept cars, starting with the Zoe City Car in 2005, followed by the Zoe Z.E. electric concept in 2009 and 2010 under the Renault Z.E. banner. This five-door electric car represents a culmination of innovation and eco-conscious engineering, earning the model its place as a significant player in the realm of electric vehicles. A little more costly than the Corsa-E, consumers looking to get their hands on a Zoe will see price tags starting at € 36.250.
The Renault Zoe presents an exterior that maintains its classic appeal while embodying the latest advancements. The current iteration embraces a sleek design with additional air intakes that serve to streamline airflow and optimize range. In addition, the transformation extends to the LED brake lights, replacing the previous blue lens coating. Beyond its stylish aesthetics, the Zoe proves its mettle on the road.
Zoe’s appeal is undoubtedly due to its evolving battery technology, offering progressively extended ranges. It boasts an impressive travel range of up to 239 miles, with a full battery charge attained in three hours through a public 22 kW charger. In comparison, home charging via the standard 7 kWh setup takes just over nine hours. For those seeking rapid charging, a 30-minute session with a 50 kW fast charger offers an additional 90 miles of range. This fast-charging feature is available as an option on the base trim and is a standard feature on the top-tier version.
In the pictures: Renault Zoe. Pictures Credit: Renault Media.
The electric Jeep Avenger is a compact marvel that defies expectations. Only 4.08 meters long, it is a standout among little crossovers. The Avenger’s petite stature places it in the ranks of the original Willys, cementing its place in the lineage of true Jeeps. Additionally, its design effortlessly weaves together a tapestry of contemporary and classic Jeep elements, resulting in a progressive and striking appearance.
The Avenger boasts a practical feature: a protective layer of body armor that discreetly shields the lamps and painted sheet metal with a sacrificial plastic perimeter. This ensures resilience against minor impacts, whether navigating the wilderness or bustling city streets.
However, urban life is the Avenger’s true natural habitat. Its compact dimensions and modern design make it a seamless fit for bustling cityscapes. Its eligibility for various parking incentives and access to congestion-free zones further solidify its role as a city dweller’s dream.
Furthermore, the model features an estimated WLTP electric range of up to 250 miles combined or 340 miles in urban environments, and rapid charging at 80% in just 30 minutes using a 100 kWh DC fast charger. That being said, it is clear that the Avenger effortlessly balances city life and adventurous excursions, proving itself as a versatile and reliable electric companion.