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The Cheapest EVs You Can Buy for 2022

6 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

Key Takeaways

  • A growing number of car manufacturers are offering affordable electric vehicles.
  • The Nissan Leaf remains a popular budget EV choice.
  • Chevrolet and Mazda also offer affordable EVs.
  • Federal rebates can help offset the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle, so be sure to factor that into your decision-making process.

Electric vehicle technology is starting to mature, with the latest generation of vehicles offering better mileage and faster charging times than earlier models. However, the up-front cost of these vehicles can still be off-putting to some. Fortunately, a growing number of car manufacturers are launching relatively affordable electric options, making this green technology accessible to a greater number of people.

Why Choose an Electric Vehicle?

Electric vehicles (EVs) are quite affordable to run compared to diesel or gas vehicles and produce fewer carbon emissions. They also offer several benefits in terms of ease of driving, including quiet running and rapid acceleration, making them a fun alternative to traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

If you’re considering purchasing a new car, the lower cost per mile of running an electric vehicle makes it a logical choice for many motorists, especially if most of your journeys are shorter-range.


The Most Affordable Electric Vehicles on the Market in 2022

The most well-known low-cost electric vehicle is the Nissan Leaf, but there are other manufacturers that also offer affordable EVs. Mazda, Ford, Chevrolet and Hyundai are all good options, offering both city cars and compact SUVs.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to make the switch from a gas-guzzling vehicle to something more eco- and wallet-friendly, taking advantage of the currently available government subsidies is a good starting point. You can find a list of all of the qualifying makes and models on the IRS’ website.


1. Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is a popular and affordable electric vehicle. While the earlier models were hampered by relatively short ranges, newer versions offer better range, fast charging times and more reliable batteries, making them a practical option for people who are looking for a beginner-friendly EV.

The Leaf is compact, attractive and well-equipped, while still being easy on your wallet. The most basic model is available now for just $28,040, or potentially $20,540 after the $7,500 federal EV tax credit.

Source: Nissan

2. Mazda MX-30

The Mazda MX-30 EV Crossover is Mazda’s first entry into the world of electric vehicles. With a starting price of $33,470, it’s quite an affordable option, especially for the power and specs. The battery charges quickly, promising an 80% charge in just 36 minutes. If you regularly make longer journeys, this impressive battery performance could come in handy, especially when combined with an average 100-mile range.

The high ride height and impressive cabin size make the MX-30 popular with families as well as older drivers who may struggle to get in and out of lower vehicles.

Source: Mazda

3. Chevrolet Equinox EV

Chevrolet’s Equinox EV is the company’s first electric SUV and has an MSRP of $30,000. It offers a range of up to 300 miles on a full charge and can deliver up to 70 miles on ten minutes of charging.

Chevrolet is planning several trims for the Equinox EV, although some of the trims will not be available until 2024. Chevrolet is taking orders for certain models already, though, with deliveries starting next year.

Source: Chevrolet

4. Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford’s F-150 Lightning is available now. It’s a powerful all-electric vehicle with a starting retail price of around $39,000, with up to $7,500 in government tax credits available.

This light-duty truck may appeal to people who want something a little more powerful and rugged than the average electric vehicle. If you’re looking for a workhorse you can use for all your outdoor adventures, the F-150 Lightning is a great option.

Source: Ford

5. Hyundai Kona Electric

Promising a range of up to 258 miles on a single charge, the Hyundai Kona Electric is a dependable electric vehicle with a starting price of $37,390. It qualifies for the federal tax credit, and Hyundai can advise on any state-specific rebates that may also be available.

This stylish and efficient EV includes many safety features and driver assists such as forward-collision warnings and blind-spot assistance. Apple Car Play and Android Auto options are available for in-car entertainment and navigation.

Source: Hyundai

6. Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is available now from Hyundai dealers, although supply is limited. The vehicle offers a range of up to 303 miles and has a base price of $39,950. The ultra-fast charger means drivers won’t have to wait around for too long, even on the longest of journeys.

In-car entertainment, driver assists and safety features vary between models, but even the basic model is well-equipped with digital instruments and touch-screen navigation features.


7. Mini Cooper SE Hardtop

Even classic brands such as Mini are getting in on the electric action. The Mini Cooper SE Hardtop is a fun yet affordable vehicle with prices starting at $35,075 for the base specs of the 2022 edition.

The range on the Mini Cooper SE Hardtop is just over 130 miles on a single charge, which is lower than many rivals. However, the battery charges very quickly, and the fast acceleration makes this a fun vehicle to drive, especially for shorter commutes.

Source: MINI

8. Volkswagen ID. 4

Volkswagen’s ID. 4 is assembled in Chattanooga, TN. It is available for a starting price of $37,495, and it has a lot to offer for that base price, including a spacious and luxurious interior. All-wheel drive options are available for an extra fee, offering superior handling for people who drive in more difficult conditions.

Touch-screen controls and an intuitive auto start that detects when you get into the driver’s seat with your fob make for a futuristic driving experience while ensuring you always feel in control.

Volkswagen ID.4Source: Volkswagen

9. Kia Niro EV

The Kia Niro EV is an electric crossover SUV with an affordable price tag. The basic model is available for $36,590, and motorists benefit from some impressive features, including speed limit and lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.

Families that need a big car to transport kids around and those that want something that can handle a little off-roading will find the Kia Niro EV to be a great choice. Domestic charging can be a little slow, but the DC Fast Charger is capable of up to 100KW.

Source: Kia

10. Kia EV 6

Kia’s EV 6 is available from $42,695 and offers a variety of options and specifications, including RWD or AWD and a long-range battery pack option. The vehicle’s 350KW fast-charging feature can take the standard battery from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes, which should be more than enough for the average user going on the occasional long road trip. Estimated ranges vary from 206 to 310 miles depending on the options chosen.

Kia provides drivers with 1,000 kWh of charging credit with the purchase of an EV 6, which they claim is the equivalent of about 4,000 miles for the long-range version of the vehicle.


Claim Federal Rebates to Reduce Costs Further

Federal tax credits can offset the cost of electric cars, helping motorists make the switch from ICEs to EVs. In addition to the federal incentives, some states offer their own discounts or rebates to encourage people to purchase a new (or used) electric vehicle. Not all states have incentives available, but many do, and these can save motorists thousands of dollars.

When considering the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle, it’s worth factoring these incentives into your budget as well as the reduction in running costs. Charging a vehicle is far more cost-effective on a per-mile basis than using fuel. In addition, you may find an electric vehicle has lower maintenance costs, which will help the vehicle pay for itself over a period of several years.


Lesley Harrison


Lesley Harrison is a technical writer and open source software enthusiast with a passion for all things "data". In her spare time she coaches youth sports and loves exploring the English countryside.



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