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Five Most Affordable Electric Vehicles

May 10, 2020
A decade ago, buying a fully electric vehicle was akin to buying a luxury car, at least in terms of price. Tesla was the biggest name in the EV world, but a base price of US$57,400 (or $49,900 after federal tax credits) for a Model S sedan made it unattainable for most. 10 years later, the average price of a new car purchased in the US is $36,718, already $1,000 more than in 2018. This is a figure unattainable for some and this trend is seemingly set to continue into the future. While this forecast may seem gloomy, the explosive rise of EV sales in the past decade has opened up many new segments in the EV market, all the way from the high-end likes of Tesla, Audi, and Porsche, to the affordable end offered by brands such as Kia, Ford, and Honda. In fact, there are quite a few electric vehicles under this $36,718 threshold, perfect for those on a tight budget wishing to experience an EV. If you find yourself in this position, consider the following five most affordable EVs on the market, arranged from lowest to highest in price.

1. MINI ELECTRIC (MINI SE) - $29,900

Starting off the list is a new offering from the venerable Mini brand, the upcoming Mini Electric (also referred to as the Mini SE). Based on the iconic Mini Hatch, Mini promises a starting price of just $29,900 before federal tax credits. Mini also promises an estimated 110 miles of range with a full charge, with the ability to quick charge the 32.6 kWh battery to 80% in just 36 minutes. Although this range isn’t impressive, it should be enough for city dwellers looking for a zippy Point A to Point B commuter.

2. NISSAN LEAF - $29,990

Ever so slightly undercut by the Mini Electric in price, the $29,990 Nissan Leaf responds with 226 miles of range and similar quick charging technology using its 62 kilowatt-hour battery. When fitted with the smaller 40 kWh battery, range drops to 150 miles. The Leaf is a staple of the EV market, with 2020 marking 10 years since its debut in its original iteration. Through nearly a decade of evolution, the Leaf has stood the test of time, becoming one of the highest-selling EVs in the world.


In recent years, the South Korean automotive giant that is the Hyundai Motor Group has been steadily unveiling a bevy of new vehicles targeting all segments of the automotive industry, and the affordable EV segment is no exception to this rule. Released in 2016, the Ioniq Electric is a compact five-door hatchback EV offering 124 miles of range courtesy of a 28 kWh battery. As with many modern EVs, quick charging is available: it takes just 33 minutes to charge the battery to 80%.

4. VOLKSWAGEN E-GOLF - $31,895

Unsurprisingly, the second-biggest automaker in the world has entered the lucrative EV market too. Based on the venerable Volkswagen Golf hatchback, the e-Golf maintains the form factor and practicality of the regular Golf hatch but pairs it with a 35.8 kWh battery. Paired with a 100 kW motor, this battery is good for 119 miles of range, which is competitive for its segment. Additional technology includes regenerative braking modes and of course, a DC fast charger you can even install at home.

5. FIAT 500E - $33,210

Last but not least is the little Fiat that could: the Fiat 500e. Its diminutive exterior size is carried over to its battery as well, with a small 24 kWh unit providing just 84 miles of range, far below its competitors. Additionally, in the US, sales of the Fiat 500e are presently limited to just the two states of California and Oregon. Despite its drawbacks, you may find that the 500e fits a specific niche: a small, zippy hatchback you can commute in and park anywhere, even in a crowded city.


Although these are just five of the most affordable EVs on the market, there are plenty more in a similar price range. Tesla’s Model 3, Kia’s Soul EV, and Hyunai’s Kona Electric are all excellent contenders in this segment and certainly worthy of your consideration as well. With federal tax credits, an EV’s MSRP can drop by thousands of dollars. Considering this, plus the abundance of available vehicle choices and a growing electric charging infrastructure, there is no better time to be an EV fan, even if you’re on a budget!
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