My Urban Car

Electric city cars – the stars and the rest

What makes a star EV for MyUrbanCar?

Our stars are not just great cars in their own right, they should be able to fit into your life & manage a range of supposed EV challenges like a weekend away or visiting friends in Inverness. This means our star cars are

  • efficient – so they cost less to run & are quicker to charge
  • have good range- so you can do more trips without needing to charge. We look at official WLTP range and the more realistic estimates from EV-Database (EVDB)
  • can DC charge quickly when needed – So you can do long journeys. To keep charging stops well under an hour we’re looking for DC charging speeds of more than and ideally at double the battery size or quicker
  • we also consider the key feedback we here from motoring press, other EV evangelists and Youtubers

Outgoing Star!
VW e-up! / Skoda Citigo-e iV SE L / Seat Mii Electric 2020 to 2020

If you’re after a nippy good value city car these triplets from 3 VW brands are all essentially the same car although specs, design and price vary.

Originally fitted with petrol engines and an old electric version with a tiny range they were upgraded in 2020 to be electric only with a 37kWh battery giving 160-170 miles WLTP range. Charging is 40kW but that still means most charging would mean a stop of well under an hour.

Sadly the launch allocation of these Up siblings sold out quickly in 2020 and VW group seems to have decided stop making them. The best value Skoda & VW versions are probably now longer available but at the time of writing it looks like the Seat Mii is still available.

Auto Express review of the e-Up versus the Skoda Citigo-e

Rising star
Fiat 500e

While our 2020 star is fading there is only a short wait before our next city car is born. Initially only available in a “fully loaded” La prima launch spec the UK prices for the normal models has brought good news.

While not quite offering quite the ££ per mile of range value of the outgoing e-Up! The Fiat 500e counters by being an the all new replacement for the popular Fiat 500, an attractive all new model designed to be an EV from the ground with great specs. Being an EV you it should be much nippier than a piston model. The old petrol model will continue to be sold while there is demand.

Comparing the Fiat 500EV to the Mini electric
  • Fiat 500e 24kW 115 mls 50kW chrge £19,995😄
  • Mini 29kW 145 mls 50kW chrge £24,900!😕
  • Fiat 500e 42kW 199 mls 85kW chrge £23,495😁
  • Time for not so Mini price cuts at mini!🥳
  • Cheaper✅
  • longer range✅
  • quicker charging✅
  • a sub 20k option✅

The 42kWh version offers the most rounded ability with 199 miles of range and decent 85kW charging speed while the shorter range 24kWH version still offers fast charging when needed. Early UK reviews on the launch Prima models are due very soon.. we expect it to be good!

The rest

Mini Electric

Why it should be a star –
Reviews suggest it’s great fun to drive and because the battery is so small (33kWh) 50kW charging should keep most charge stops under half an hour.
Why it’s not –
Range is 145 miles WLTP and 115 miles EVDB. That fun runs out way too quickly at this price and underneath it all the tech is basically a BMW i3 in a heavier body

Autoexpress have compared the Mini electric vs Honda e here

Honda-e

Why it should be a star?
Honda was pushed kicking and screaming into EV’s to avoid CO2 emissions fines but when they decided to make one the fab result was clearly an EV to love. It has cute looks, a stunning dashboard (there’s even an aquarium) and an incredible turning circle. It could be a future classic
Why it’s not
Range is even worse than the Mini at 137 miles WLTP and 105 miles EVDB. Despite the 5 doors the boot is really really small. If the Honda got a slightly bigger battery (rumoured to be in the works) & a much lower price it could do well.

Smart for two

why it should be a star?

Well city cars don’t get much more compact and dinky than this & it is probably the cheapest EV on sale. We’ve seen them on sale at just under £15,500 as new Smart dealer stock here

Why it’s not

The official range is tiny, charging slow and by all accounts it’s a pretty bouncy noisy ride and pretty awful all round.. best that might be said is it might be fun as a city runabout but the EVDB reckon in reality that small battery will get you only about 60 miles. Compared to an up or a 500e it should really be even cheaper than it is!
The Whatcar? review is here

David Nicholson

David Nicholson Is the founder of Rivergecko Ltd & MyUrbanCar which provide consultancy and advice for drivers and fleets to speed the transition from dirty fossil fuel transport to clean vehicles powered by renewable energy on land water and air.

The @MyUrbanCar twitter feed is a source of news & reviews of electric & plugin cars and vans in the UK.
The @rivergecko twitter feed & www.myurbancar.com websites bring news and opinion on cleantech transport including cars, vans, buses, trucks, shipping, rail & aviation as well as autonomous vehicles & renewable energy, air pollution & motor industry news.

David Nicholson has worked as an underwriter at Lloyd's of London since the 1980's. His interest in technology goes back many years including interactive mapping, apps, green tech, boats, solar and cars.