The electric car market has exploded in recent years. And with gasoline prices at record highs, many consumers are considering purchasing an all-electric vehicle. Today there are more electric cars on the market than ever, and among them are relatively affordable options for consumers who want a zero-emission vehicle that won’t break the bank. 

While there are more new electric cars to choose from because many of these cars just came to market, there are also several used electric cars to choose from to provide even greater savings. 

The Cheapest Electric Cars: New Cars

There are currently 15 electric cars on the market that have starting MSRPs less than $50,000. Here is a list of the cheapest EVs:
The Cheapest Electric Cars: New Cars - iSeeCars
Rank Electric Vehicle Max EV Range Min EV Range Starting MSRP 
1 Nissan LEAF 226 150 $27,400
2 MINI Hardtop 2 Door 114 114 $29,900
3 Chevrolet Bolt EV 259 259 $31,000
4 Chevrolet Bolt EUV 250 250 $33,000
5 Mazda MX-30 EV 100 100 $33,470
6 Hyundai KONA Electric 258 258 $34,000
7 Ford F-150 Lightning 320 230 $39,974
8 Kia Niro EV 239 239 $39,990
9 Volkswagen ID.4 280 245 $40,760
10 Kia EV6 310 232 $40,900
11 Hyundai IONIQ 5 303 256 $43,650
12 Ford Mustang Mach-E 300 210 $43,895
13 Polestar 2 270 249 $45,900
14 Tesla Model 3 358 272 $46,490
15 Audi Q4 e-tron 250 250 $49,900
The most affordable electric car is the Nissan LEAF, with a base price of $27,400. With a range of 149 miles in its base model, its range improves on upper trims including 215 miles in the LEAF Plus trim and 226 miles of range in the S Plus trim. The compact hatchback is in the middle of the pack for range, but provides more than enough battery life for the daily commute. The second-most affordable is the MINI Hardtop 2 Door, which has the lowest range of the vehicles on the list, and it is also the smallest in size to make it ideal for city driving. 

A pair of electric Chevy models earn the third and fourth spots, the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback, and its new-for-2022 crossover version the Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Both the Chevy Bolt hatchback and the Bolt EUV earn respectable range and are praised for their driving dynamics and affordability. The Bolt offers DC fast charging capability and offers infotainment features including a 10.2-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

 

Rounding out the top five is Mazda’s first all-electric vehicle, the MX-30 compact crossover. The MX-30 features Mazda’s engaging driving dynamics but falls short with its electric range due to its small battery pack. The vehicle was introduced in California in 2021 and is set to become available in the rest of the U.S. in 2022.

Hyundai and Kia models are well-represented on the list, including the Hyundai Kona Electric, the Kia Niro EV, the Kia EV6, and the Hyundai IONIQ 5. The mechanically similar Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro have been available as all-electric vehicles since 2019, while the EV6 and IONIQ 5 electric SUVs just entered the market in 2022. The Kona and Niro are subcompact SUVs, while the EV6 and IONIQ 5 are compact electric SUVs offering more cargo and passenger space. Rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Ioniq 5 models feature a single electric motor with 225 horsepower, while all-wheel-drive (AWD) models feature two electric motors with a combined output of 320 horsepower. The Kia offers more powertrain options including a base engine with a 58-kWh battery pack and a single 167-horsepower electric motor. The upper trims feature a 77.4-kWh battery with the same output as the IONIQ 5. Though not luxury vehicles, the IONIQ 5 and the EV6 are critically acclaimed and draw comparisons to the Tesla Model Y.

The highly anticipated Ford F-150 Lightning all-electric pickup truck makes the list with its starting price falling just under $40,000. The Lightning offers an EPA-estimated 230 miles of driving range on a full charge in its entry-level base form with its 98-kWh Standard Range battery pack. ??The base Ford F-150 Lightning can tow 5,000 pounds when paired with its Standard Range battery and up to 7,700 pounds when paired with the Extended Range battery. A towing package can be added to improve these ratings to 7,700 and 10,000 pounds. The F-150 Lightning also comes with a suite of driver-assist features including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and adaptive headlights.

The Cheapest Electric Cars: Used Cars

For drivers who want even more affordable electric cars, there are many used versions to choose from. However, these vehicles were among the first EVs on the market, and do not benefit from the technological advances in battery range. Here are the cheapest five-year-old used electric cars you can buy:

The Cheapest Electric Cars: Used Cars
Rank Electric Vehicle Max EV Range Min EV Range Average 5-Year Old Used Car Price 
1 FIAT 500e 84 84 $13,909
2 Nissan LEAF 107 84 $16,665
3 Ford Focus 115 115 $17,779
4 Kia Soul EV 93 93 $18,862
5 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 87 87 $21,415
6 Hyundai IONIQ Electric 124 124  $21,514
7 BMW i3 114 81 $22,750
8 Chevrolet Bolt EV 238 238 $23,503
9 Volkswagen e-Golf 125 125 $23,875

With the exception of the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Bolt EV, each model on the list has been discontinued. The 2017 Nissan LEAF has about half the battery range of its newest version, and 2017 is the last model year for the previous generation. Used car buyers seeking longer ranges should consider LEAFs from the 2018 model year and newer. The 2017 Chevy Bolt has the longest range of 238 miles and boasts a price tag of under $25,000 on average.

The price of used electric cars can also vary by geographic area, so buyers should refer to the best and worst cities to buy used electric cars.

Other Considerations: Federal Tax Credit

Another consideration for buyers of new EVs is the federal tax credit. The EV tax credit is a federal incentive that encourages drivers to purchase a plug-in electric vehicle. This credit applies to all-electric and plug-in vehicles, but it phases out once an automaker reaches 200,000 sales of the qualifying vehicle. All Tesla models and the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV are no longer eligible for the tax credit. A list of qualifying vehicles can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, fueleconomy.org

Bottom Line

While electric vehicles tend to be more expensive than their gasoline counterparts, there are affordable EVs on the market for both new and used car shoppers. It’s also worth noting that along with fuel savings, electric vehicles tend to have lower maintenance costs because they don’t require routine maintenance like oil changes, and their regenerative braking improves brake life. Electric cars are also the future of transportation, as most automakers have pledged to fully electrify their fleets and to phase out gasoline cars. Additionally, the charging infrastructure continues to make significant gains and many EVs now offer DC  fast-charging ports to allow for faster charging times.

More from iSeeCars:

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