My Urban Car

Small City EVs – 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

Fiat 500e Our star City EV

  • Fiat 500e 24kW – 115 mls WLTP range with 50kW charging £19,995✅
  • Fiat 500e 42kW 199 miles WLTP range with 85kW charging for £23,495✅
  • Compared to the Mini and Honda e the 42KW Fiat is Cheaper✅, has longer range✅, faster charging✅ and a sub 20k option✅
  • both versions have charging speed around 2x battery size so most 20-80% rapid charges will be under half an hour✅
  • ride a bit choppy on the top of range 17 inch wheels❌
  • not much rear passenger space for adults❌

The Fiat 500e is the all new replacement for the popular Fiat 500, and it’s designed to be an EV only model from the ground with great specs. Being an EV its much nippier than a petrol piston model which will continue to be sold while there is demand.

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 top spec cabriolet versions are now in. The reviews of the mainstream hatch versions should be available soon.

Sample reviews

The rest

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

  • Decent range of 160-170 miles WLTP✅
  • Small and nippy✅
  • 5 doors & surprising amount of space✅
  • Prices started at £17 to 19k✅
  • charging speed 40kW on a 37kWh battery so around an hour❌
  • these models were great value, sold out fast & then VW group went cold on making any more❌

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 details 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.

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

Mini Electric

Why it should be a star –

  • Looks like a Mini, drives like a Mini✅
  • Great fun to drive with excellent handling and performance ✅
  • Battery is so small (33kWh) that 50kW charging should keep most charge stops under half an hour
  • Nice interior✅

Why it’s not –

  • Starts at £25,500❌
  • Range is 145 miles WLTP and 115 miles EVDB. That fun runs out way too quickly at this price
  • underneath it all the tech for the Mini is basically a BMW i3 in a heavier body converted from the piston model❌
  • not much space❌

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 high tech dashboard (there’s even an aquarium)
  • An incredibly tight 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.
  • Expensive – over £27,000 after the Government grant❌
  • 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
  • For an old design it is fresh looking✅

Why it’s not

  • The official range is tiny❌
  • charging slow❌
  • although Smart is now an EV only brand current models are converted from what are now very old piston designs❌
  • 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. 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.