If you want to buy one of the cheapest electric cars, your options are very limited. Electric cars are already more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, and to make matters worse, automakers tend to work from the top to the bottom. So we see them focus on premium and luxury cars before moving on to cheaper segments.
It’s great if you want to ditch the gasoline and buy an electric car, although that depends on your ability to buy one. Buying a used electric car may expand your options a bit, but until then, it pays to know which one was the cheapest out of the spectrum already. So here are the cheapest electric cars you can buy right now, all with prices starting under $40K.
Chevy Bolt – from $25,600
The Chevy Bolt is currently the cheapest electric car on the market, before it even took into account the federal tax credit for electric vehicles. With the credits, however, Chevy still lags behind the Nissan Leaf. It looks like it will change by January 1, when the sales cap is raised and will likely give Bolt a chance to earn that discount.
Bolt already offers some amazing value at its current price. All thanks to 259 miles of EPA-rated range, 6.5 seconds of 0-60 times and 57 cubic feet of cargo space when the seats are folded down. None of them are record-breaking but in terms of cheap electric cars, Chevy offers a lot for a very low price.
There are downsides, of course. The Bolt doesn’t have SuperCruise, GM’s hands-free autonomous driver assistance system, and fast charging isn’t the best. In fact, it cruises at 54 kW, recovering 100 miles in 30 minutes and 160 mph. That’s not particularly fast, and it shows some caveats to buying a cheaper electric car.
But this should not discourage you. The Chevy Bolt has a lot to love, and while it won’t compete with Teslas in the world, the price point makes that more than palatable.
Chevy Bolt EUV – from $27,200
It’s a bit more expensive than the Bolt, but the Chevy Bolt EUV still delivers a lot of bang for your buck. Especially once the tax credit sales cap is raised in January, and it gives drivers the opportunity to save $7,500 on list price. Essentially a small SUV, it’s an electric vehicle with plenty of technology, solid performance, and an excellent range for its price.
You’ll be able to get up to 247 miles of the Bolt EUV, which is a bit less than the standard Bolt, but there’s a lot more to make up for. Like the fact that this electric vehicle offers SuperCruise, hands-free autonomous driving assistance, more interior space for passengers and 56.9 cubic feet of luggage space when the seats are folded down.
Of course, some of the major flaws in the Bolt EV are carried over to the Bolt EUV. For example, the time from 0 to 60 is worse, clocking in at 6.8 seconds, and the charging speed can be better. 95 miles in 30 minutes is pretty weak, when the likes of a Tesla Model 3 can get nearly twice that in half the time. The Bolt EUV also suffered as a result of a battery recall last year, which caused some big cracks in the Bolt branding – but things seem to be all right these days.
As we noted on our site Chevy Bolt EUV ReviewThis is a very capable passenger car and we are happy to drive it. It doesn’t matter what kind of roads you’re on, the Bolt EUV can handle them all. Especially with a range that should hold up fairly well against high-speed highway driving.
Nissan Leaf – from $27,800 ($20,300 with tax credit)
While it’s not as attractive as the cheaper Chevy Bolt or even the Bolt EUV, the low price and eligibility of the Nissan Leaf tax credit mean it’s worth your attention. But if money is tight, you’d better be okay with some incredibly modest range estimates. Because the cheapest Leaf models are rated for just 149 miles.
If you’d rather increase that number to 212 miles, you’d need to give away at least $35,800. Again, that’s not impressive, and either way you’ll need to deal with the fact that the car uses the CHAdeMO fast charger instead of the CCS that all other cars use. The Leaf certainly isn’t doing a great job selling itself these days.
The Nissan Leaf still has a lot to go by, provided you stick with local rides. As we noted on our site Nissan Leaf reviewIt’s surprisingly feature-rich for an entry-level electric vehicle, and it’s one of the few inexpensive cars that has always qualified for the federal electric vehicle tax credit. On top of that, I was able to squeeze in 41.5 cubic feet of cargo space, and some models even have Level 2 self-driving with the ProPilot.
The Nissan Leaf’s short range and CHAdeMO charger aren’t ideal, but there’s still plenty to love — especially if you just need a small car around town.
Mini SE – from $29,990
If you like Mini’s modern design, but like to drive on electric, this might be the EV for you. Although the iconic design is about everything this car has to offer, given its estimating range of 114 miles.
That’s the price you pay for something cheap and visually memorable. But, regardless of the range, the Mini SE has a lot of great things to do. There is a reason we have Mini SE review He has been called the “King of Compliance Cars”.
The Mini SE is small and capable, albeit limited to urban travel rather than long-distance road trips. It’s also a lot of fun to drive, which is part of what makes the Mini a Mini. While the 0-60 time is a pretty poor 6.9 seconds, it has a great go-kart feel to drive – perfect for winding back roads with plenty of corners. The small stature also makes standing much easier.
If you have a short trip, or you don’t plan on driving long distances, the Mini SE could be an excellent addition to your garage. Just make sure you have some kind of backup plan, should those pesky long trips become a necessity.
Mazda MX-30 – From $33,470
When it comes to cheap cars, there is usually a reason why the price is what it is. In the case of the Mazda MX-30, everything is crystal clear – often down to the car’s appalling 100-mile range. It’s also not particularly powerful, with a 0-60 time of more than nine seconds
In fact, the only major advantage the MX-30 has to offer is its design. The MX-30 certainly looks futuristic, and the crossover SUV’s configuration comes with many of the usual benefits this type of vehicle offers—a high driving profile and a safety bonus.
However, despite being pillarless, the MX-30 still lacks roomy interior space, with minimal room for rear passengers and just 41.3 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s slightly less than the smaller (and cheaper) Nissan Leaf.
If you can get past the poor range and limited interior space, it has been noted that the MX-30 can be a lot of fun to drive. It won’t be driving very far, or especially at speed, but if you want to make an electric car your “second car” for the home, Mazda is well worth a look.
Hyundai Kona Electric – from $34,000
The mid-range Hyundai Kona is one of those cars that is available with almost every type of engine: petrol, plug-in hybrid and electric. But the electric model is certainly noteworthy, with a range of 258 miles and a host of other cool things.
The Kona doesn’t look like much, can’t charge as fast as the flagship IONIQ 5 (10-80% charges in 47 minutes at speeds of 100 kW), and it lacks standalone features like automatic steering and cruise control. Then again, it’s cheap for a reason, and the dollar-to-range ratio is much better than the cheapest IONIQ 5 on sale.
Plus, you have all the basics you need to get out on the road. The Kona has an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ample interior space, reversing cameras, 45.8 cubic feet or cargo space (with the seats down) and optional extras like heated seats. So if you want an electric car on the cheap, this is definitely a car to consider.
Hyundai IONIQ 5 – $39,950
Hyundai IONIQ 5 is a fairly excellent electric car with a starting price of just under $40,000. Although, of course, the more expensive models get a few perks – the range in particular.
While the IONIQ 5 offers up to 303 miles of EPA-rated range, the cheapest model offers only 220. That’s roughly comparable to a 60 kWh Nissan Leaf, but still miles short of Chevy’s low-cost offerings. However, there’s still plenty to enjoy here, including 250kW superfast charging (10-80% in 18 minutes), 59.3 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down, 0.85 cubic feet for the truck and a spacious driver’s interior. And the passengers alike.
Adaptive cruise control and lane-centering technology are also standard, along with other safety features. Although some things, like the 360-degree cameras, are exclusive to the more expensive models. As we noted on our site Hyundai Ioniq 5 reviewAll this technology is one of the car’s main selling points – along with great design and great performance.
So if you want a taste of a more luxurious electric car, without necessarily spending Tesla money, the IONIQ 5 is worth checking out.
2022 Kia Niro EV – From 39,990 dollars
Rocking 239 miles of range and at $39,990, the Kia Niro EV might be the type of vehicle to consider if the Kia EV6 is a little too expensive for you.
Inside, there’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, Harman Kardon Premium audio, heated seats, and an SUV design that offers the best of this class. This includes 53 cubic feet of cargo space, with the seats folded down, and plenty of room for passengers. No good stuff, at least not in the 2022 model.
The best way to think of the Niro EV is that it’s more like a Hyundai Kona than the IONIQ 5 from the Kia EV6, it’s a basic car that lacks a lot of the high-tech luxuries you’ll get in the newer model, but still has all the basics you need to get around with electric power
Of course, a 2023 Niro EV is on the way soon, with a completely new design and many other changes. The car is rumored to cost around $40,000 in the US, but it’s not currently clear when we’ll find out specifics. Until then, the 2022 model is still available to order.
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