There are more inexpensive electric vehicles on the market than ever before — and they’re only getting cheaper.
EVs have burst into the mainstream market in recent years, and as an increasing number of car companies make ambitious pledges to ramp up sales, zero-emission vehicles have steadily decreased in price. This year, shoppers can choose from an array of more than a dozen EVs that cost less than $40,000, roughly the average price paid for a new car in the US.
But not all sub-$40,000 EVs are created equal. Estimated ranges for the cars listed below span 149 miles on the low end to more than 250 miles on the high end. Some are luxury offerings from Tesla, while others come from mass-market brands like Volkswagen and Nissan.
Only General Motors and Tesla have sold enough EVs that their offerings are no longer eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit that’s meant to spur sales of low-emission and zero-emission cars. This means that most of the vehicles below can be had for much less than their official MSRP, and why a few of the cars listed retail for more than $40,000.
Mini Electric — $29,900
BMW unveiled the Mini Electric back in 2019 and started selling it last year. It’s the lowest-cost electric car currently available in the US, and its eligibility for the $7,500 federal EV tax credit makes the deal even sweeter.
That low MSRP means that the Mini Electric only gets an estimated 110 miles of range, but it’s aimed primarily at people who live in cities and probably don’t drive long distances. And with a claimed 181 horsepower and a 0-60-mph time of under seven seconds, it’s pretty quick.
Nissan Leaf — $31,620
Introduced in 2010 and now in its second generation, the Nissan Leaf is one of the longest-running electric cars on the market.
The base model gets an EPA-estimated 149 miles of range, while pricier trim levels promise up to 226 miles along with a more powerful motor.
Chevrolet Bolt EV — $31,995
Like the Leaf, the Chevrolet Bolt EV was one of the first EVs to go mainstream. Chevrolet recently unveiled the revamped 2022 Bolt EV, which will retail for more than $5,000 less than the outgoing model when it hits dealers this summer.
The latest generation of the Bolt EV promises 259 miles of range across all its trim levels — just like the previous generation — but sports a much sleeker design all around.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric – $33,045
While the Hyundai Ioniq Electric’s base price is appealing — especially with the addition of a federal tax credit — the hatchback isn’t sold in every state and has less range than some of its rivals. It gets an EPA-estimated range of 170 miles.
There’s also a more expensive $38,615 trim level available with the same powertrain but an upgraded interior and tech features.
Chevrolet Bolt EUV — $33,995
The 2022 Bolt EUV is a brand new electric crossover from GM that shares its innards with the Bolt EV. Since it’s a little bigger than the hatchback, it has a slightly reduced range of 250 miles.
It affords a few inches more legroom to rear passengers than the Bolt EV and offers GM’s semi-autonomous driver-assistance tech, Super Cruise, as an option.
Tesla Model 3 — $36,990
Tesla recently dropped the price of the Model 3 by $1,000 to $36,990, making an already popular car even more attractive. The Model 3 offers some of the best range for the money, with the base Standard Range model delivering 263 miles on a charge.
The Model 3 Long Range, which costs $46,990, can go 353 miles on a charge, while the sportier Performance model retails for $55,990.
Hyundai Kona Electric — $37,390
The base 2021 Hyundai Kona Electric sports a 201-horsepower motor and a respectable EPA-estimated range of 258 miles.
This month, Hyundai revealed a refreshed 2022 Kona Electric (pictured above) with a sleeker design but no powertrain changes. It hasn’t said how much the new model will cost yet.
Kia Niro EV — $39,090
The Kia Niro EV shares a battery pack and motor with the Hyundai Kona Electric, which is no surprise given that both brands fall under the same umbrella. Specs are slightly different however, with the Niro EV getting an EPA-estimated range of 239 miles.
Tesla Model Y — $39,990
In January, Tesla unveiled a new base model of its popular Model Y crossover with a “standard” range. And this month, Tesla slashed the car’s price by $2,000, bringing it just below $40,000.
The Model Y Standard Range can travel 244 miles on a charge, according to the EPA, and can be optioned in five-seat or seven-seat layouts. The top-tier Model Y Performance costs roughly $61,000.
Volkswagen ID.4 — $39,995
Volkswagen’s first EV for the US market hits streets this year, with the first deliveries beginning in March. The vehicle promises a 250-mile range and a familiar crossover shape that’s all the rage right now, so it very well may give the Tesla Model Y a run for its money.
Nissan Ariya — $40,000
Another new entry to the electric-crossover market is the Nissan Ariya, the Japanese brand’s first major EV since it launched the Leaf more than a decade ago.
Details are still scant, as the Ariya isn’t set to go on sale in the US until late 2021, but we do know that the base model will start at around $40,000, there will be an all-wheel-drive option, and the longest-range model will travel up to 300 miles on a charge.
Ford Mustang Mach-E — $42,895
Since the 2021 Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first major electric car — and the Blue Oval hasn’t sold very many EVs yet — the vehicle is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, bringing its theoretical starting price to just over $35,000.
That starting price gets you an EPA-estimated 230 miles of range for the rear-wheel-drive model, and 211 miles for the all-wheel-drive version. There are also several other trims, including one with a 300-mile range and a high-performance model in the works that Ford claims will hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
BMW i3 — $44,450
BMW i3 buyers can still take advantage of the full $7,500 federal tax credit, since the carmaker hasn’t sold all that many of the quirky hatchback in the several years it’s been on the market. That knocks the i3’s starting cost to around $37,000.
But there are a few reasons that sales may have been sluggish. Aside from its unconventional looks and high price point, the base BMW i3 delivers just 153 miles of range, significantly less than more affordable options like the Tesla Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and Hyundai Kona Electric.
There’s also a pricier version that gets a range boost from small gas engine.