The 14 most-affordable EVs (electric vehicles) may convince you it’s time to buy

Can you afford to buy a pure electric vehicle?

Not too long ago that would have been a realistic question, when Tesla probably was the only brand many car shoppers could name and the price of the Model S reached $76,000.

Enter the 14 most-affordable EVs available – no hybrids or even plug-in models allowed. And by affordable we mean less than Kelley Blue Book’s average transaction price of around $36,500.

But there’s more to think about if you’re seriously considering an EV.

Kia Niro most-affordable EV
Photo: Kia via Newspress USA
The Niro is one of two Kias to make the list of 14 most-affordable EVs.

Except for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, you actually can afford a car priced about $44,000, because you are allowed to subtract up to $7,500 from the current year’s tax bill – if you owe that much or more. The federal government offers the tax break in the form of a credit to buyers from any carmaker that hasn’t sold more than 200,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids. That soon will exclude Tesla and General Motors, which provide $3,750 tax credits until June 30 and Sept. 30, respectively, and then $1,875 for six more months.

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You still must consider the mileage your EV would get between charges – and the availability of charging stations – to decide whether the vehicle will fit your driving requirements.

But at least there’s a range to fit most needs and more variety in design than in the recent past.

Hyundai Kona Electric most-affordable EV
Photo: Hyundai via Newspress USA
The Hyundai Kona Electric is one the 14 most-affordable EVs.

Most-affordable electric vehicles

Here are the 14 most-affordable EVs available from least to most expensive retail prices, their cost after applying the tax credit (if applicable) and their mileage range, based on data from plugincars.com:

  1. SmartForTwo Electric Drive – $23,800 retail price, $16,300 after-tax credit, 58-mile range
  2. Ford Focus Electric — $29,200, $21,700, 115 miles
  3. Hyundai Ioniq Electric – $29,500, $22,000, 124 miles
  4. Nissan LEAF – $29,900, $22,400, 226 miles
  5. MINI Electric – $30,000, $22,500, 200 miles
  6. Volkswagen E-Golf – $31,300, $23,800, 125 miles
  7. Fiat 500e – $33,000, $25,500, 84 miles
  8. Tesla Model 3* – $35,000, $31,250, 220 miles
  9. Kia Soul EV – $36,000, $28,500, 243 miles
  10. Hyundai Kona Electric – $36,400, $28,900, 258 miles
  11. Honda Clarity – $36,600, $29,100, 89 miles
  12. Chevrolet Bolt* – $37,500, $33,750, 238 miles
  13. Kia Niro EV – $39,500, $32,000, 239 miles
  14. BMW i3 – $43,400, $35,900, 114 miles

Overall, Kia and Hyundai each had two EVs in the top 14, with both Kia models over the 200-mile range, and the long-range champion was the Hyundai Kona Electric at 258 miles.

And then there are the long-distance winners, which still fall short of a typical gasoline-powered vehicle:

Nissan LEAF most-affordable EV
Photo: Nissan via Newspress USA
The Nissan LEAF is the most-affordable EV with a range over 200 miles.

Most-affordable over 200-mile range

  1. Nissan LEAF – $29,900, $22,400, 226 miles
  2. MINI Electric – $30,000, $22,500, 200 miles
  3. Tesla Model 3* – $35,000, $31,250, 220 miles
  4. Kia Soul EV – $36,000, $28,500, 243 miles
  5. Hyundai Kona Electric – $36,400, $28,900, 258 miles
  6. Chevrolet Bolt* – $37,500, $33,750, 238 miles
  7. Kia Niro EV – $39,500, $32,000, 239 miles

The Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt made both most-affordable lists although their tax credits will be phased out over the next few months, when the Bolt with its $37,500 price tag will fall off.

Tesla will remain on the most-affordable lists with its $35,000 price, despite the tax-credit phase-out.

Learn more about the vehicles that made our list of the 14 most-affordable electric vehicles at plugincars.com, which provides summaries of these and more-expensive electric vehicles. These include the overall long-range title holders Lucid Air, about $60,000, 400-mile range; Tesla Model S, $71,000, 315 miles; Tesla Model Y, $48,000, 300 miles, and Porsche Taycan, about $130,000, 300 miles.

* Tesla Motors and General Motors (including Chevrolet) are subject to the phase out of tax credits.

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