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Driving an electric vehicle (EV) in a city makes sense. Zero tailpipe emissions, a range that will handle most inner-city commutes, and a growing number of charging stations lend themselves to urban EV ownership. Still, for those who think a Tesla Model X is too large or expensive for city driving, these five electric cars promise to take on tight streets and precarious parking situations with ease, like the Chevy Bolt EV, Nissan LEAF, and the electric version of the Mini Cooper, the Mini Electric Hardtop.

These small electric cars can conquer city commutes with ease

While some large, luxury-oriented EVs have ranges that nearly cover road trip distances, these five small electric cars have enough range to handle inner-city drives. Moreover, their small sizes make negotiating urban landscapes a breeze. 

  • Mini Electric Hardtop
  • Chevy Bolt EV
  • Nissan LEAF
  • Fiat 500e
  • Smart EQ fortwo
A green Mini Electric Hardtop, the electric version of the Mini Cooper, corners in a city.
MINI Electric Hardtop | BMW Group

Of the small EVs, the Fiat 500e and Smart EQ fortwo are out-of-production as of 2019. However, the electric version of the Mini Cooper, the SE Electric Hardtop, will return for the 2024 model year. Moreover, the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Bolt EV are two of the most-driven electric cars of the last three years. 

What is the range of fully-electric Mini Cooper?

The 2024 Mini Electric Hardtop has a single-charge range of around 114 miles. While that might not open the Mini model up to road trip applications, the two-door EV has more than enough range to tackle urban commutes and look good doing it. 

How far can a Chevy Bolt travel on a full charge?

The 2023 Chevy Bolt EV and EUV will head out of production at the end of the model year, but not before it offers a versatile EV to budget-minded drivers. The Bolt EV can cover a commendable 259 miles on a full charge, more than a comparable Nissan LEAF. 

A Chevy Bolt EV, Chevrolet's smallest electric car, parks next to a garage.
Chevy Bolt EV | General Motors

What is the real-life range of a Nissan LEAF?

Nissan says the LEAF SV Plus will cover around 226 miles on a single charge. That’s more than enough to tackle city drives and shorter commutes. However, the LEAF’s sub-$30,000 starting point makes it a difficult value to beat in the electric car segment.  

A white Nissan LEAF electric car cruises on an empty road.
Nissan LEAF | Nissan

Is the Fiat 500e one of the best small electric cars for city driving?

The now-discontinued Fiat 500e offers the familiar and funky aesthetic of the trendy, gas-powered Fiat 500 hatchback. Moreover, at 142.4 inches, the 500e is one of the shortest EVs ever to sell on the American market. However, with just 84 miles of range, it’s no road-tripper. 

Still, the 500e will make a comeback for the 2024 model year. Better yet, Car and Driver says the upcoming model might have a range of 199 miles if it mirrors its European counterpart.  

What is the disadvantage of an electric Smart car?

The Smart EQ fortwo has the disadvantage of a short range compared to other EVs. Specifically, the EQ fortwo will cover just 58 miles on a single charge. However, the 2019 Smart EQ fortwo’s diminutive size makes it a top-tier urban commuter. 

Of course, other markets’ EVs and adorable, limited-run electric cars make a Mini Electric Hardtop look enormous. For instance, the now-discontinued Tango T600 is as wide as a touring motorcycle, but its astronomical price tag made it more of a niche vehicle than a city-conquering EV.


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