Affordable, all-electric: The 5 lowest-priced new EVs in the US (2023)

By and large, electric vehicles aren’t cheap, and EV affordability hasn’t made much progress in 2022. A surge in raw material prices has possibly put EV battery affordability gains on hold for a time. Cobalt prices in particular have caught the industry off-guard. And there’s inflation.

That’s led to a series of price hikes on popular EVs ranging from the Ford F-150 Lightning and Tesla Model Y to the Rivian R1T—all shocking price hikes of thousands of dollars and well beyond the typical yearly increases.

Supply vs. demand is especially out of balance with respect to the EV market, and the get-it-out-of-here deals EV shoppers would find up until a couple years ago on “compliance cars” have shifted to dealer premiums of thousands more.

EVs are expected to keep getting cheaper than combustion models—not just in overall ownership costs, but in up-front sales price.

Affordable, all-electric: The 5 lowest-priced new EVs in the US (1)

2023 Nissan Leaf

In the meantime, if you’re looking only for the lowest-priced new EVs on the market, without driving range a top priority, the options are surprisingly limited. But there are some very affordable EVs, and here we’re highlighting the half-dozen models that cost less than $40,000, including destination fees.

Somehow, the cheapest all-electric models in the market stand (mostly) as an exception to those hard-to-accept upcharges.

While some of these models are likely to qualify for a reconstituted $7,500 EV tax credit—eventually—do keep in mind that the Treasury Dept. still needs to issue guidance and you should not count on claiming that for purchases made over the rest of the year.

Here are the five cheapest new 2023 model year EVs (or 2022, if ’23s aren’t out yet), either already on the market or arriving very soon, based simply on sticker price. And beware that most but not all these models are available everywhere in the U.S.—we’ve indicated where that matters.

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Volkswagen ID.4
Price (including destination): $38,790
EPA range: 208 miles
Noteworthy features: Plug and Charge, 12-inch infotainment screen, 45-watt USB-C port good for laptops and tablets

Volkswagen has shifted production of the ID.4 to the U.S. for 2023, and with that a more affordable VW ID.4 Standard version joins the lineup—putting its starting price under the $40,000 mark for the first time, including destination. Although powered by the same 201-hp electric motor at the rear wheels as step-up ID.4 Pro models, the ID.4 Standard gets a smaller battery pack (62 kwh vs. 82 kwh) that amounts to an estimated EPA range of 208 miles, rather than as high as 275 miles with the larger pack. VW hasn’t skimped on the features, though; the Standard version gets a park-assist system, an extensive package of active-safety features, and a big 12-inch touchscreen. The ID.4 is pleasant to drive and it’s more spacious and comfortable than all the other models in this cohort; the glitchy interface has been one of our least favorite features here, but it’s getting better through over-the-air updates.

Affordable, all-electric: The 5 lowest-priced new EVs in the US (3)

2023 Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric
Price (including destination): $35,295
EPA range: 258 miles
Standard tech: Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Although Hyundai’s buzz-worthy Ioniq 5 EV might be getting all the attention, the smaller, still-stylish Hyundai Kona Electric will give many cost-conscious shoppers the fully electric shift they want—with enough driving range—at many thousands less. After it dropped the former Ioniq Electric from the lineup for 2022, Hyundai made the price of the Kona Electric far more attractive, shaving off about $3,000. The 64-kwh battery pack can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in just 47 minutes, according to Hyundai—more predictably than the Ioniq 5, we might add—and its real-world potential is close to its 258-mile EPA range. While 2023 pricing isn’t yet out, the Kona Electric was given a refreshed look for 2022 along with its price drop, with a revamped instrument cluster and upgraded 10.3-inch infotainment. Hyundai’s infotainment interfaces are among the best in this bunch. Also, however, keep in mind that the Kona Electric isn’t offered at all dealerships and all states—although Hyundai’s working on it.

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Affordable, all-electric: The 5 lowest-priced new EVs in the US (4)

2022 Mini Cooper SE

Mini Cooper SE
Price (including destination): $35,075
EPA range: 114 miles
Standard tech: Heated steering wheel, satellite radio, panoramic sunroof

The 2023 Mini Cooper SE doesn’t really have the range to be an only car, with its 114-mile rating, but this layout, which keeps the battery—and curb weight—on the light side compared to other EVs results in go-kart-like quickness that’s perfect for city driving. With its brand of quirky, we think the little two-door Cooper SE is a good match for commuters who already have bigger sedans or SUVs in the stable. Just beware that this model is very hard to come by. Due to supply-chain issues, Mini has already indefinitely dropped the value-leading base model, which started at $30,750. That leaves the next-up Signature 2.0 version, with its panoramic roof and appearance upgrades, at a less tantalizing $35,075. No word on when the real deal of the lineup will be back.

Mazda MX-30
Price (including destination): $34,645
EPA range: 100 miles
Noteworthy features: Gas models for weekend trips, with a loaner program

Mazda’s products have for decades been strikingly different in design and engineering, and the 2022 MX-30 EV is no exception. The company’s first EV for the U.S. has a small 35.5-kwh battery pack and only a 100-mile range—and it’s only California-bound at first. But Mazda has shown that it understands the front-wheel-drive EV’s sweet spot for commuters; with it there’s a MX-30 Elite Access Loaner Program, in which owners get 10 days of access to other Mazda models per year, for three years. The rear-hinged back doors promise more practicality than a coupe but instead deliver what amounts to rather odd, cramped interior packaging. And in case this still isn’t enough quirky for you, a rotary range extended version is also on the way.

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Affordable, all-electric: The 5 lowest-priced new EVs in the US (6)

2023 Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf
Price (including destination): $28,895
EPA range: 149 miles
Standard tech: DC fast-charging, 240V charging cable

Nissan applied a big price cut to the 2022 Leaf that helped make room for the Ariya crossover expected soon, and 2023 Leaf prices have only been raised a few hundred dollars. This founding member of the modern EV cohort still keeps it basic, with a single-motor, front-wheel-drive layout and a 40-kwh battery pack good for 149 miles, and a roomy back seat and comfortable ride still stand as strengths versus the other lowest-priced EVs. The Leaf Plus, at $36,895, upgrades to a 62-kwh pack with a maximum 212-mile range and quicker fast-charging—if you happen to find a CHAdeMO-format charger that can do more than 50 kw. All new Leafs include DC fast-charging, which was omitted on base models until a few years ago,

Affordable, all-electric: The 5 lowest-priced new EVs in the US (7)

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet Bolt EV
Price (including destination): $26,595
EPA range: 259 miles
Standard tech: Mobile 240V charge cord, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

The vast majority of electric cars have been given significant price hikes for 2023, but that isn’t the case for the Bolt EV family, which includes the longer-wheelbase Bolt EUV. GM had already dropped the price of the Bolt models for 2022 by about $5,000 across the lineup, while wrapping in improvements throughout that included a refreshed interface and better seats and materials. Then 2023 Chevy Bolt EV and EUV prices were lowered again, by $5,900 and $6,300, respectively, in the aftermath of a recall campaign that resulted in battery-pack replacement for many earlier Bolts. GM has even gone so far as to apply a retroactive discount to some buyers of earlier Bolt EV models bought new in 2022—all in the name of setting a price walk up to the upcoming $30,000 Chevrolet Equinox EV and $45,000 Blazer EV models due in a matter of months. Versus the Bolt EV, the EUV starts $1,600 higher and drops 12 miles of EPA range, but many shoppers will see it as a worthwhile tradeoff for the extra back-seat space. Also of note: The Bolt EV now includes an 11.5-kw onboard charger, which means you can make the most of any Level 2 charge points you find along the way.

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FAQs

What is the cheapest EV on the market right now? ›

Chevrolet unveiled the Equinox EV, a small electric SUV that will start at $30,000 and go on sale next year. The cheapest electric cars you can buy in 2022 include the Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevy Bolt EV, and Kia EV6. The cheapest model starts at $27,400, before factoring in the federal tax credit for EV purchases.

What is the cheapest electric car sold in America? ›

The cheapest electric car on the market is now the Chevy Bolt.

What is the cheapest EV with the longest range? ›

These Affordable EVs Have The Longest Range For A City Lifestyle
  • 8/10 Nissan Leaf (149 Miles)
  • 7/10 Hyundai Ioniq 5 (220 Miles)
  • 6/10 Polestar 2 (224 Miles)
  • 5/10 Kia EV6 (232 Miles)
  • 4/10 Kia Niro (239 Miles)
  • 3/10 Volkswagen ID. 4 (255 Miles)
  • 2/10 Hyundai Kona Electric (258 Miles)
  • 1/10 Chevrolet Bolt EUV (259 Miles)
24 Sept 2022

What is the least expensive electric vehicle in 2022? ›

EPA-rated driving range: 149 miles

The Nissan Leaf arguably invented the modern budget electric vehicle. Thus it comes with little surprise that the Japanese company's compact hatchback is the cheapest electric car for 2022. A mere $28,495 is enough to bring home a 2022 Leaf.

How long do EV batteries last? ›

“Today, most EV batteries have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years within the car – and a second life beyond.” It's also worth noting that EV battery technology is still evolving, so as tech develops we expect batteries' lifespan to increase – as well as becoming cheaper, smaller and even lighter.

What is the number 1 selling electric car? ›

#1 – Tesla Model Y

This compact SUV outsold the Model 3 and the company doubled production on the Model Y in 2022. The sure-footed sibling to the Model 3 is seriously quick, an electric sports car in a crossover body.

Which electric car is most reliable? ›

The 11 most reliable electric cars
  • Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present) Reliability rating: 89.1% ...
  • Renault Zoe (2013-present) Reliability rating: 89.4% ...
  • BMW i3 (2013-2022) ...
  • Nissan Leaf (2019-present) ...
  • Tesla Model 3 (2019-present) ...
  • Kia e-Niro (2019-2022) ...
  • Volkswagen e-Golf (2013-2020) ...
  • MG ZS EV (2019-present)
12 Oct 2022

Are electric cars worth it 2022? ›

In fact, over a 200,000-mile vehicle lifetime, an EV owner will spend roughly half as much on regular maintenance as they would for a gas-powered car, or an average of $6,276 vs. $12,285, according to Consumer Reports reliability surveys from 2019 and 2020. That's a win, even if gas prices correct to pre-2022 levels.

How much is a battery for an electric car? ›

Depending on the vehicle, a battery will cost between $3,000 and $18,000 for an electric car. Here are the costs of a battery replacement for some popular electric vehicles (EVs):

How long do electric cars last? ›

Both of the mandated warranty numbers (8 years, 100,000 miles) for EV batteries far exceed the average ICE vehicle drivetrain warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles.

Who can afford an electric car? ›

Clean Vehicle Assistance and most Clean Cars 4 All programs accept applications from residents with incomes at or below 400% of the federal poverty level — equivalent to $54,360 for an individual. (The U.S. Senate also appears poised to enact a $7,500 federal tax credit for individuals with incomes less than $150,000.)

Are electric cars cheaper to insure? ›

Electric cars tend to cost more to insure than a comparable petrol or diesel. That's because they have large batteries that are expensive to replace if the car is damaged.

What is the cheapest Tesla? ›

The 2022 Tesla Model 3 has an official starting price of $46,990 for its base rear-wheel drive (RWD) trim. This makes it the cheapest Tesla car currently offered. The Model 3 is Tesla's cheapest vehicle.

How long do electric cars last? ›

Both of the mandated warranty numbers (8 years, 100,000 miles) for EV batteries far exceed the average ICE vehicle drivetrain warranty of 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average lifetime mileage of an ICE vehicle is about 133,000 miles.

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