Here Are the Cheapest Electric Vehicles You Can Buy

Bidyu Contributor

 If you're in the market for a second car primarily for city use or commuting in high occupancy vehicle lanes, you might not need to invest in a top-tier EV with a 400-mile range. A 200-mile range vehicle could meet your needs perfectly. You might also be aware that by the time you finish paying off your new EV, the market will offer a broader selection of models with significantly advanced technology. Additionally, the unexpected high costs of installing a Level 2 home charger, which is almost essential for EV ownership, might have reduced your budget for the car itself.

Regardless of your reasons, there are currently affordable EV options available, though they generally remain pricier than comparable gasoline vehicles. It's important to note that the availability of EVs can vary; some are only sold in specific states, while others may require reservations and longer wait times for delivery.

Here, we've compiled a list of 11 of the most affordable EVs based on their starting prices (including destination charges). This list includes only all-electric cars, excluding plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell models. Prices do not reflect the federal tax credit or any state or local incentives. Note that the federal tax credit has undergone significant changes as of January 1st, with new guidelines regarding vehicle eligibility based on battery and materials sourcing. For more details, you can read our latest coverage. The IRS also provides a list of eligible automakers and vehicles for the current credit.

Nissan Leaf

Starting price: $29,280

EPA-estimated range: 149-212 miles

The 2024 Nissan Leaf is a compact four-door hatchback, notable for being one of the first fully electric vehicles available nationwide when it debuted in the U.S. in 2011. Since its introduction, the Leaf has seen enhancements in range and safety technology, and it gained a longer-range variant, the Leaf Plus, equipped with a larger battery. In 2023, the Leaf underwent minor styling updates and the lineup was streamlined to feature the standard-range Leaf S and the longer-range Leaf SV Plus. There are minimal changes for the 2024 model year.

The most affordable option, the standard-range Leaf S, comes with a 40-kilowatt-hour battery, a 147-horsepower electric motor, and an EPA-rated range of 149 miles. Its interior is basic but includes an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto as standard features. The Leaf SV Plus, on the other hand, is equipped with a 60-kWh battery, offering an extended range of 212 miles and a more powerful 214-hp motor, making it a more practical choice for longer drives.

Mini Cooper SE Hardtop

Starting price: $31,895

EPA-estimated range: 114 miles

Once the most affordable EV in America, the Mini Cooper SE Hardtop—a two-door, four-seat hatchback—has now been surpassed by the Nissan Leaf in terms of price. Although the Mini has one of the shortest ranges on this list, its 114 EPA-rated miles are sufficient for daily commuting. With its sporty design, engaging driving dynamics, and a 181-hp electric motor that accelerates from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, the Cooper SE Hardtop is an attractive option for those seeking a fun urban vehicle or a secondary car. Despite its limited range, the Mini's 32.6-kWh battery can be fully charged in about four hours on a Level 2 home or public charger with a 7.4-kilowatt AC capacity. 

For 2024, Mini has reintroduced the more affordable Classic trim for the SE Hardtop, lowering its starting price compared to the previous model. The SE Hardtop is also available in two higher trim levels and offers a range of personalization options.

If you’re interested in this model, now is the time to act—an all-new, all-electric version of the Mini Cooper is slated for 2025. This upcoming model is expected to offer a modest increase in range and include a performance-oriented John Cooper Works version, though it’s not yet confirmed if it will be available in the U.S.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Starting price: $34,050

EPA-estimated range: 200 (manufacturer-estimated)-261 miles (EPA)

This four-door subcompact SUV, the Hyundai Kona Electric, closely mirrors the gasoline-powered Hyundai Kona in styling and interior layout. It offers comfortable front seating, but the back seat and cargo area are more constrained. For 2024, Hyundai has redesigned the Kona Electric, making it longer, wider, and taller. The base SE trim features a 48.6-kWh battery pack and a 133-hp electric motor. 

The SEL and Limited trims come with a 64.8-kWh battery and a 201-hp motor. The long-range battery offers an EPA-rated range of 261 miles, while the smaller standard battery, although not yet EPA-rated, is expected by Hyundai to provide about 200 miles of range. Previously, the Kona Electric was sold only in states with zero-emission vehicle mandates, but its availability has now expanded to all states except Wyoming and South Dakota.

Fisker Ocean

Starting price: $38,999 (not including destination and handling fees, which vary by location)

EPA-estimated range: TBA; 231-360 miles (manufacturer-estimated)

The Fisker Ocean shows promise with innovative features like an optional solar-panel roof that charges the battery on the go, extensive use of recycled materials, and quirky elements such as console-mounted "taco trays." The most affordable model, the single-motor, front-wheel-drive Ocean Sport, boasts 282 hp and a range of 232 miles, according to Fisker.

 However, there have been reports of Oceans losing drive power and braking capability, along with significant software issues. Compounding these problems, Fisker has announced it may not have the funds to sustain operations through the end of 2024 and has paused production due to an inventory backlog of approximately 4,700 unsold units, as reported by Automotive News.

To clear this inventory, Fisker has slashed prices for the 2023 model-year Oceans, with the base Sport trim now priced as low as $24,999 (excluding delivery fees), making it cheaper than a Nissan Leaf. Although this list focuses on 2024 prices, the top-tier 2023 Fisker Ocean Extreme—a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive variant with 564 hp and a 360-mile range—now starts at $37,499 (excluding delivery fees), which is less than the base price for the 2024 model.

While Fisker has been working to resolve many of the Ocean’s software issues through over-the-air updates, potential buyers should exercise caution due to the existing problems and uncertainties surrounding the company's future. However, for those willing to take the risk, significant deals are available.

Hyundai Ioniq 6

Starting price: $38,650

EPA-estimated range: 240-361 miles

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a sleek, futuristic sedan offering great value, earning it the title of Best Value EV for 2024. It features cutting-edge 800-volt battery architecture, allowing it to charge from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes using a 350-kW charger. 

For the lowest price, choose the SE Standard Range trim with single-motor rear-wheel drive (RWD), which provides a 240-mile range. This trim includes an extensive list of standard features, such as driver-assist technologies like adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a heated, power-adjustable driver’s seat. 

While dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) is available for an additional $3,500 on other trims, it reduces the overall range.

Tesla Model 3

Starting price: $40,380

EPA-estimated range: TBA; 248-341 (manufacturer-estimated)

Tesla's entry-level sedan, the Model 3, received a subtle styling refresh for 2024, featuring a more angular exterior design and a significant change to the interior controls. The blinkers are now capacitive-touch buttons on the steering wheel, and the car's gear selections (Reverse, Park, or Drive) are made through the central touchscreen or a touch-sensitive strip on the ceiling near the rearview mirror. While these changes might be polarizing, the Model 3 remains one of the most affordable electric vehicle options available.

The EPA figures for the refreshed Model 3 are pending, following Tesla's adjustment of its range estimates in January due to customer feedback about shorter-than-advertised ranges. Tesla claims the base single-motor, rear-wheel-drive Model 3 achieves up to 272 miles of range in EPA-style tests, while the dual-motor all-wheel-drive Long Range model can reach up to 341 miles. 

As other automakers are adopting the North American Charging Standard plug for access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, the Model 3 comes equipped with the built-in charge port, eliminating the need for an extra converter.

Kia Niro EV

Starting price: $40,975
EPA-estimated range: 253 miles

The Kia Niro EV is an electrified-only hatchback that includes hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, all of which underwent a complete redesign for the 2023 model year. The 2024 Niro EV retains the architecture of its predecessor, featuring standard front-wheel drive (FWD), a 64.8-kWh battery pack, and a 201-hp motor. 

This setup provides an estimated maximum range of 253 miles. For the lowest price, buyers should opt for the base Niro Wind trim, while the fully loaded option is the Niro Wave.

Kia EV6

Starting price: $43,975

EPA-estimated range: 218-310 miles

The Kia EV6’s Light trim returns for 2024, reducing the model’s base price by nearly $6,000 and securing its place among the cheapest EVs. The most affordable Light RWD trim features a 167-hp drivetrain with a single motor on the rear axle, a 55.4-kWh battery, and an EPA-estimated range of 232 miles. The other trims in the EV6 lineup use a larger 77.4-kWh battery and more powerful motors, ranging from 225 hp up to 576 hp in the EV6 GT, though these enhancements come with a higher price. 

The Light Long Range RWD EV6 costs $3,350 more than the base model, while the dual-motor Light e-AWD model starts at $7,250 over the base trim's price. Although headroom might be a concern for taller drivers, the EV6 offers a comfortable ride and a more traditional interior compared to the Tesla Model Y.

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