The Least Expensive Electric Car Money Can Buy

by Nick Versaw Updated November 4th, 2021

Mom charges electric car

Think you can’t afford to get behind the wheel of a new EV? Think again. While all-electric luxury models like Tesla Model 3 can be expensive entries into the world of electric vehicles, there’s a wide variety of both all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that are a great fit for drivers on a budget.

Least Expensive Electric Car: 10 Options Ranked

From plug-in crossovers to all-electric SUVs, these 10 vehicles have all the horsepower and style you need with the low price tag and fuel efficiency you’re after. We’ll go in order of price, ending with the least expensive electric car.

10. Hyundai TUCSON Plug-In Hybrid

Hyundai TUCSON

Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP): $34,750
Electric vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid

Hyundai’s plug-in hybrid compact crossover SUV is a terrifically affordable and excitingly capable vehicle that will help you cut down on fuel costs and car payments. 

Critics and drivers have lauded the Hyundai TUCSON’s futuristic, stylish exterior design and sporty driving mechanics. The SUV’s powertrain consists of a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas engine that’s augmented by an electric motor. The accompanying standard all-wheel drive traction is an added perk for those who often encounter rain and snow in their commute.

9. Hyundai KONA Electric

Hyundai KONA Electric

MSRP: $34,000
EV type: All-electric

The Hyundai KONA Electric is one of the most affordable all-electric vehicles on the market today, and it’s not just its low price point that makes it a great value. The car’s battery pack features a liquid-cooling technology that adds to its longevity by reducing common wear and tear from frequent charging.

The car boasts impressive cargo specs for a vehicle with an all-electric powertrain. The KONA offers 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space with five passengers aboard. That space increases to a whopping 45.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. It’s that type of utility that makes the vehicle a great all-electric option for families with a lot of gear in tow.

8. Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Honda Clarity Plug-In

MSRP: $33,400
EV type: Plug-in hybrid

If you’re a commuting professional looking for an affordable, efficient vehicle, the Honda Clarity could be an ideal choice as the least expensive electric car (or at least one of them). The car’s 8-inch touchscreen display allows you to navigate both on-board audio and up-to-the-minute traffic with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Dual-zone automatic climate control helps make both driver and passenger comfortable no matter how long the trip is. The Honda Clarity also features push-button shifting which, although many critics claim takes some getting used to, is far more sleek in appearance than the center console shift most drivers are accustomed to.

7. Chevrolet Bolt EUV

Chevrolet Bolt EUV

MSRP: $33,000
EV type: All-electric

Chevrolet is among the first automakers to create its own class for its all-electric vehicle, dubbing it an “EUV,” or “electric utility vehicle.” And while it’s one of the cheapest EVs on the market, it’s also one of the most technologically savvy. 

One of the Chevy Bolt EUV‘s most interesting standard features is its “Super Cruise” system, which is available on over 200,000 miles of compatible roads in the United States and Canada. This new auto-drive technology permits hands-free operation of the car alongside adaptive cruise control technology and automatic braking.

The car also features a one-pedal driving system that, while it takes some time to master, offers uniquely responsive acceleration once you figure it out. One drawback, however, is that the car’s five-passenger seating capability is a little cramped compared to many competitors.

6. MINI Electric Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door

MINI Electric

MSRP: $29,900
EV type: All-electric

The legendary MINI two-door design is finally available in a zero-emissions, all-electric format. The car boasts a variety of changes that the automaker has implemented to its lineup with an eye toward the future. From newly designed wheels to standard LED headlights, the MINI Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door also features front “air curtains” to increase its aerodynamic capability.

Interior upgrades include a new dashboard design with touchscreen navigation controls and ambient lighting. MINI has a suite of active safety features such as pedestrian and front collision warning with city collision mitigation, which makes navigating crowded, hurried urban roadways a bit less frantic.

5. Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

MSRP: $28,220
EV type: Plug-in hybrid

An 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system and wireless smartphone charging are just some of the high-tech features offered by the stylish, efficient, and affordable Toyota Prius Prime. The EV that started it all remains one of the cheapest EVs available. 

Whether you’re taking a summer road trip, or simply looking for a fun-to-drive vehicle for everyday travel, the Prius Prime fits the bill. The car features multiple driving modes for drivers to customize the vehicle’s efficiency. Choose from zero-emission all-electric mode or hybrid mode depending on the distance and amount of electric power you’d like to use. It’s all a way to make your time away from the charging station as fun and efficient as possible.

4. Ford Escape SE Hybrid

Least expensive electric car: Ford Escape

MSRP: $28,030
EV type: Plug-in hybrid

While it might not be as stylish as its competitors, the Ford Escape SE Hybrid is affordable and efficient. The Escape offers impressive second-row legroom and a unique sliding back seat feature that offers more cargo space than previous model years. The base model comes standard with an automatic FWD but offers optional AWD with adaptive cruise control and lane centering, which frequent commuters may be interested in.

Those looking for an affordable, efficient, no-frills five-passenger vehicle will have no complaints when they make the Ford Escape SE Hybrid their new car.

3. Nissan LEAF

Least expensive electric car: Nissan LEAF

MSRP: $27,400
EV type: All-electric

Rapid acceleration and nimble handling are yours in one affordable package when you choose the Nissan LEAF, one of the most affordable all-electric vehicles available in today’s market. Critics and drivers have raved about the LEAF’s array of interior technology, as well as the comfort of the car’s interior space given its low price point.

Audiophiles will appreciate the standard Bose Energy Efficient series premium audio system that offers “concert hall” sound through a system of strategically spaced, lightweight speakers. Tired of cold hands while commuting? Just turn on the car’s heated steering wheel for added comfort after brushing the snow off the windshield.

2. Hyundai IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid

Hyundai IONIQ

MSRP: $26,700
EV type: Plug-in hybrid

The Hyundai IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid is not only the second least expensive electric car, it’s also one of the most stylish. 

Drivers looking for the least expensive electric car that’s as versatile as a commuter as it is as a family vehicle should definitely check out the Hyundai IONIQ. The car is a hatchback with a sedan-like stance that offers an array of standard safety features. Those who spend a lot of time driving will definitely appreciate all the IONIQ offers in a low-emissions package.

From lane keeping assist to blind-spot collision warning and smart cruise control technology, Hyundai has built a vehicle that’s as safe as it is efficient.

1. Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

Least expensive electric car: Kia Niro

MSRP: $24,690
EV type: Plug-in hybrid

The Kia Niro PHEV offers incredible cargo space and all-wheel drive performance, all packed into the least expensive electric car on the market.

Wireless phone charging, combination leather and cloth seats, and heated front seats are just a few of the high-end features on this surprisingly affordable hybrid vehicle. 

Critics and drivers have also praised the car’s stylish yet minimal exterior, complete with fog lights and alloy wheels, which can go toe-to-toe with vehicles that cost three times as much.

Additional Ways to Save

While the starting price for these new cars begins on the low end, drivers can also save more when they take advantage of state-based incentives and federal tax credit programs.

Don’t forget to check out EV savings opportunities in your particular state. States like California, for example, offer nearly $2,000 in rebates when drivers combine Clean Fuel Reward and Clean Vehicle Rebate programs together. That’s on top of potential federal tax credits. Looking to save even more when buying an all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle? Consider a used EV to maximize your savings while trimming your fuel budget.

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