NEWS

Here Are the 11 Cheapest Electric Vehicles You Can Buy

202203-cheapest-evs-on-sale-now Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

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.

Related: Electric Vehicles: Understanding the Terminology

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 model-year 2022 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 run out for Tesla and GM because both have surpassed the EV sales cap for the credit.) There are proposals to raise the cap and tinker with it in other ways, but nothing has changed as of this writing.

Nissan Leaf

2022 Nissan Leaf 2022 Nissan Leaf | Manufacturer image

Starting price: $28,425
EPA-estimated range: 149-226 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

The 2022 Leaf is currently the most affordable new EV you can buy. The small four-door hatchback was one of the first fully electric vehicles available nationwide when it rolled out in the U.S. as a 2011 model. Over the years, it has improved with more range and added safety tech. It also got a longer-range sibling, the Leaf Plus, with a bigger battery. The standard-range Leaf has a 40-kilowatt-hour battery and modest 147-horsepower electric motor and 149 miles of range. The interior has few frills but does have a standard 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition to a price cut for 2022, Nissan also added a standard fast-charging port and portable 240-volt Level 2 charging cable to sweeten the deal.

The Leaf Plus, meanwhile, has a 62-kWh battery, a significant range boost and a more livable 214-hp motor. It comes in three trim levels, all with substantial price cuts for 2022 — they start under $40,000 — as well as a standard fast-charging port and portable 240-volt charging cable. The base S Plus has the longest range of the three at 226 miles; both upper trims have a range of 215 miles.

Mini Cooper SE Hardtop

mini-cooper-se-2022 2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop | Manufacturer image

Starting price: $30,750
EPA-estimated range: 114 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

Formerly the cheapest EV in America, the Cooper SE Hardtop — a two-door, four-seat hatchback — has been undercut for 2022 by the Leaf. The Mini has relatively limited range but plenty of miles for daily commuting use. With its sporty looks and driving manners, 181-hp electric motor (good for 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds) and small size, the Cooper SE Hardtop could appeal to shoppers looking for a fun urban runabout or second car. And while range is limited, Mini says the 32.6-kWh battery can be charged with 7.4 kilowatts of AC capacity in about four hours on a Level 2 home or public charger. The 2022 edition also shares the exterior, interior, tech and multimedia freshening that the conventional Mini Hardtop and Convertible models get. In addition to the base Signature trim level, the SE offers two higher trim levels plus a range of personalization options.

Chevrolet Bolt EV, EUV

chevrolet-bolt-euv-2022-oem-03-angle--exterior--rear--silver-.jpg 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV | Manufacturer image

Starting price: $32,495
EPA-estimated range: 247-259 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? No

For 2022, Chevrolet’s small electric hatchback got freshened looks and a big cut of more than $5,000 in starting price. Parent automaker GM also is offering to help buyers with the cost to install a 240-volt home charger — an added value proposition to help offset GM’s loss of federal credits that rival EVs can still get. The Bolt EV also got a new sibling for 2022, a slightly larger SUV-ish version that Chevy calls the Bolt EUV.

The biggest styling change for the 2022 Bolt EV is a more upright front end that has “high-eye” daytime running lights and turn signals with headlights lower down. Inside, it has new seats and a new instrument panel with a standard 10.2-inch touchscreen and available 8-inch gauge display. A new shifter design uses toggles and buttons. Most safety tech is standard, with a rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-degree camera system and adaptive cruise control optional. DC fast-charging capability is now standard, and the 2022 Bolt EV also comes with a new dual-level charge cord that can be used with a 120-volt household outlet or a more powerful 240-volt home outlet, such as what you might find for a clothes dryer. The Bolt powertrain carries over with a 65-kWh battery and 200-hp electric motor.

The Bolt EUV, meanwhile, shares the same platform and powertrain, but with about 6 inches more length, more space and slightly less range for a bit more money. Although the two Bolts look similar, Chevy says they share no exterior sheet metal. Interior styling and features are similar, but the EUV is the first Chevy to offer GM’s Super Cruise driver-assist tech for hands-free driving on compatible roads; it’s a $2,200 option and only available on the more expensive trim level, Premier. Like the Bolt EV, the EUV has a standard fast-charging capability and new dual-level charge cord. See the models compared.

Mazda MX-30

mazda-mx-30-2022-ev-oem-02-angle--exterior--front--white.jpg 2022 Mazda MX-30 | Manufacturer image

Starting price: $34,695
EPA-estimated range: 100 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

Mazda’s first full EV sold in the U.S., the MX-30, went on sale in California in October, with a national rollout in the works “over the coming years,” the automaker said. An SUV-like hatchback, it sports a coupelike roof design with rear-hinged half doors and minimalist interior. Inside, environmentally friendly materials include cork in the center console, animal-free upholstery and recycled plastic bottle fibers for the door trim. The electric motor makes 144 hp and 200 pounds-feet of torque, and draws power from a 35.5-kWh battery driving the front wheels; AWD isn’t offered. Overall range of just 100 miles is underwhelming even among affordable EVs like the Leaf and Bolts, but Mazda throws in a few other perks, such as a preset number of complimentary loaner vehicles for road trips and $500 in ChargePoint credits for public charging or toward the installation of a Level 2 home charger.

Hyundai Kona Electric

2021 Hyundai Kona EV 2021 Hyundai Kona EV | Manufacturer image

Starting price: $35,245
EPA-estimated range: 258 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

This four-door subcompact SUV is mostly similar in styling and interior layout to the gasoline Kona: It’s comfortable in front, but tight in the backseat and cargo area. The Kona Electric has a 201-hp electric motor driving the front wheels, a 64-kWh battery and DC fast-charging capability that can go from 10% to 80% charge in as little as 47 minutes. The Kona line has been freshened for 2022, and the Kona Electric got its own styling updates and wheels, plus interior changes that include a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a 10.25-inch instrument display and a redesigned center console with wireless charging capability. The Kona Electric is offered at dealers in a limited number of states, primarily those with required targets for zero-emission vehicle sales.

Kia Niro EV

kia-niro-ev-2021-exterior-front-oem 2021 Kia Niro EV | Manufacturer image

Starting price: $41,205
EPA-estimated range: 239 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

Kia’s Niro EV is part of a line of electrified-only hatchbacks that also includes hybrid and PHEV versions. The EV model shares a 64-kWh battery and 201-hp electric motor with the Hyundai Kona Electric (Hyundai and Kia are affiliated automakers), but the more family-friendly Niro has a larger backseat. The Niro was last refreshed for 2020 and has gone mostly unchanged since then. A full bundle of driver assistance tech is standard, and DC fast-charging capability is up to 100 kW.

Ford F-150 Lightning

ford-f-150-lightning-2022-01-angle--blue--exterior--front.jpg 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Starting price: ​​$41,669
EPA-estimated range: TBD; Ford-estimated 230-300 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

The only pickup truck to make this list as of this writing, the 2022 F-150 Lightning presents an intriguing choice for EV buyers with its combination of price, range and utility. With dual-motor four-wheel drive, the Lightning offers either a standard- or long-range battery pack. Power and range figures haven’t been finalized by the EPA, but Ford is aiming for 426 or 563 hp and 230 or 300 miles of range, battery type depending. Ford will also sell buyers a number of home chargers, including an 80-amp charging station (standard with the long-range battery) that — with some additional equipment — can be used with the F-150 Lightning to provide power to the home should traditional power sources fail. While we have yet to drive any version of the Lightning and deliveries haven’t begun, orders are currently open.

Volkswagen ID.4

volkswagen-id4-awd-pro-s-2022-01-dynamic-exterior-front-angle-red-suv 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Starting price: $41,955
EPA-estimated range: TBD; 2021 range is 240-260 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

The ID.4 is a small SUV that’s fairly roomy for its size. It’s also one of the more fun-to-drive and smooth-riding mainstream EVs, though the bar is pretty low on ride quality for EVs. City drivers also will appreciate a notably tight 33.6-foot turning diameter. The interior has a clean design and decent quality, though part of the design involves touch-sensitive controls we found frustrating to use. A 10-inch touchscreen is standard, with 12 inches optional. Cars.com’s independent testing of cargo capacity determined there’s 18.9 cubic feet behind the backseat, more than in the Ford Mustang Mach-E but notably less than in the Tesla Model Y.

Volkswagen says the 2022 model will have range improvements over the 2021, though those figures have not yet been made official by the EPA as of this writing. The base RWD ID.4 Pro has an 82-kWh battery and 201-hp electric motor, with modest acceleration (0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds) and an EPA-rated range of 260 miles for the 2021 model. The higher-level ID.4 Pro S trim pairs more standard features with the same battery and motor, but the extra goodies cut the 2021’s range rating by 10 miles. A dual-motor AWD option ($3,680) with 295 hp and up to 2,700 pounds of towing capability is available, though range also drops. DC fast charging up to 135 kW is standard, and buyers also get three years of free fast charging (in 30-minute increments) at Electrify America stations.

Kia EV6

kia-ev6-2022-05-exterior--profile--silver.jpg 2022 Kia EV6 | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Starting price: $42,115
EPA-estimated range: 232-310 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

The 2022 EV6 has both standard- and long-range battery packs, with single-motor RWD or dual-motor AWD powertrains. To achieve the longest estimated range, buyers will have to choose the long-range, single-motor RWD configuration. The most affordable EV6, however, is the base EV6 Light with RWD and the standard-range motor. With the ability to use 350-kW DC fast charging, the EV6 can go from 10% to 80% charged in less than 18 minutes, according to Kia. Buyers also get 1,000 kWh of charging with the purchase of an EV6, which Kia says is equivalent to 4,000 miles of energy for a long-range, rear-drive EV6. The EV6 also offers vehicle-to-load charging capabilities, allowing owners to plug in and charge electric devices, including another EV. Those less concerned with range or affordability and more interested in fun should wait until late 2022, when the 576-hp EV6 GT is expected to debut. Range estimates and pricing for the GT haven’t yet been announced.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 | Manufacturer image

Starting price: ​​$44,895
EPA-estimated range: 220-303 miles
Eligible for federal plug-in tax credit? Yes

Like its EV6 cousin (Kia and Hyundai are affiliated automakers), the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a newcomer to this list, and it shares similar specs with the EV6. That includes a similar choice of standard- or long-range battery packs and either RWD or AWD, though the Ioniq 5 has both slightly lower range estimates and a slightly higher price than the EV6. It, too, can use 350-kW DC fast charging and also includes vehicle-to-load capabilities. The Ioniq 5 is the more traditional-looking of the pair, with classic hatchback exterior styling (though Hyundai calls it an SUV). The purchase of an Ioniq 5 also includes two years of free 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America stations.

More From Cars.com:

Related Video:

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Latest expert reviews