Editor’s note: This story was updated Sept. 20, 2022, to reflect current vehicle pricing and tax credit eligibility.
So you’ve decided to take a gamble on an electric vehicle, but you’d like to keep the ante down for getting into the game. There are lots of good reasons not to spend the kids’ college fund on the fanciest, six-figure EV — namely, sending them to college.
You might be just looking for an efficient second car for city use or commuting in high occupancy vehicle lanes, where it makes little sense to pay top dollar for 400 miles of range when a 200-mile EV would serve your needs. Or you might have figured out (accurately) that by the time your new EV’s lease or loan is finished, a wider selection of EVs with much improved technology will be available. Or the higher-than-expected cost to install Level 2 home charging, all but essential to owning an EV, might have shrunk your budget for the car itself.
Whatever your reasons, there are EVs available now that won’t break the bank, though they’re generally still more expensive than comparable gasoline vehicles. Note that availability can be relative for EVs. Some are sold only in certain states, while others require a reservation for delivery weeks or months later.
Below are 11 of the cheapest EVs you can buy, listed by starting price (including destination). The prices do not include the federal government’s plug-in tax credit — currently $7,500 for qualifying taxpayers on most electric cars — nor any state or local subsidies. (The federal subsidy has changed considerably; read our latest coverage here.) The list of qualifying vehicles will change again on Jan. 1, 2023. The eligibility statuses below reflect a vehicle’s current, not future, eligibility.