Table of Contents
- You don’t need to spend a fortune to make the switch to an electric vehicle.
- The cheapest electric cars you can buy include the Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevy Bolt EV, and Kia EV6.
- The cheapest model starts at $19,900, after factoring in the federal tax credit for EV purchases.
Looking to buy an electric car? Electric vehicles tend to cost more than gas-powered ones on the whole, but not all EVs need to break the bank.
In addition to some high-priced examples sold by Elon Musk, lots of 2022-model-year electric cars can be had for less than $35,000, particularly when you consider the federal government’s $7,500 tax incentive for EV purchases.
Sure, that’s not exactly cheap, but studies have shown that electric-car owners save big on maintenance, repairs, and fueling costs over time.
One big caveat: Electric cars are in short supply right now, so finding popular models for sale at MSRP is easier said than done. Some, like the Ford F-150 Lightning, are selling with huge dealer markups.
Retail price (with federal tax credit): $27,400 ($19,900)
Environmental Protection Agency-estimated range for base model: 149 miles
The Nissan Leaf launched in 2010 as one of the first mass-market electric cars. Now it’s the cheapest one you can buy. An extra $5,000 over the base price gets you a larger battery pack that provides 226 miles of range.
Mini Cooper SE Hardtop
Retail price: $29,900 ($22,400)
EPA-estimated range: 114 miles
Mini’s electric car offers an appealing base price, but that comes at the expense of range. Buyer beware: Mini is jacking up the price for the 2023 model.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
Retail price: $31,500
EPA-estimated range: 259 miles
Chevrolet refreshed the Bolt hatchback for 2022 with modern looks and a price cut.
A large recall over battery fires meant Chevy stopped making Bolts for several months, but now production has resumed and the company says it’s sorted out the problem.
Retail price: $33,470 ($25,970)
EPA-estimated range: 100 miles
For its first electric car, Mazda went all out with sleek styling and funky rear doors that swing backward. But it gave the MX-30 confusingly poor driving range, less than half that of some rivals.
Mazda is selling the MX-30 in California to start.
Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Retail price: $33,500
EPA-estimated range: 247 miles
The Chevy Bolt EUV is all new for 2022. It shares a lot with the Bolt EV but is meant to be a small SUV rather than a hatchback. You get a bit more interior space and ground clearance than the hatchback, but less range.
Good news: The Bolt EUV and Bolt EV are getting $6,000 cheaper starting with the 2023 model.
Hyundai Kona Electric
Retail price: $34,000 ($26,500)
EPA-estimated range: 258 miles
The electric version of Hyundai’s popular little SUV comes with excellent range and advanced safety tech like blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
Retail price: $39,950 ($32,450)
EPA-estimated range for base model: 220 miles
If you want all-wheel drive and longer range, you’ll have to pony up. But the Ioniq 5’s base model offers the same funky looks and spacious interior as pricier versions.
Ford F-150 Lightning
Retail price: $39,974 ($32,474)
EPA-estimated range for base model: 230 miles
The Ford F-150 Lightning Pro carries an MSRP just below $40,000, but it could be years before they’re readily available at that price. A combination of hot demand and low supply means dealers are slapping hefty markups on Ford’s first serious electric truck.
Kia Niro EV
Retail price: $39,990 ($32,490)
EPA-estimated range: 239 miles
The inconspicuous Niro EV is great for people who want a regular-looking electric car that doesn’t stick out, our reviewer wrote of the inaugural 2019 model. Stay tuned: the entire Niro lineup is getting a major redesign for 2023, introducing sleeker styling and more electric range.
Retail price: $40,900 ($33,400)
EPA-estimated range for base model: 232 miles
The Kia EV6 is new for 2022. In testing, we were impressed by its sporty handling and head-turning looks. Plunk down more money and you can get extras like all-wheel drive and up to 310 miles of range.