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The 4 Most Affordable EVs You Can Buy Right Now

Most people associate EVs with expensive premium vehicles like a Tesla or a Rivian. But, the truth is that EV manufacturing is becoming more and more affordable, and you can currently purchase a well-rounded EV that won’t break the bank.

As mainstream auto-manufacturers flood into the EV sector, more cost-effective choices are being presented to consumers. This article will explore the most affordable choices when shopping for an EV, dispelling the notion that an EV has to be an absurdly expensive option compared to a conventional vehicle.

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1. Nissan Leaf

According to Nissan, you can purchase a 2023 Nissan Leaf S for as low as $20,300 after the federal tax credit. Many people aren’t aware that you can purchase an EV at this price point, which is why this article is a must-read for anyone in the market for a new vehicle, especially if they weren’t considering EVs due to their price.

The Nissan Leaf isn’t an EV you should tow a trailer with, you’ll need one of the best EV pickups for that, but it is efficient. The Leaf S can travel 149 miles on a single charge, while the Leaf SV Plus can go 212 miles on a single charge.

The great thing about the Leaf is that it’s actually equipped with a decent range, and it’ll get you to most places you want to on a single charge while also being quite affordable in terms of an EV.

The Leaf is available with two battery options, a 40 kWh battery and a 60 kWh one. Most people using the Leaf as a frugal city car will be perfectly fine with the smaller battery option. The Leaf is also practical, especially considering it sports a hatchback body style that affords it superior utility over a sedan.

2. Mini Cooper Electric

The 2023 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop Electric is awesome in that it looks almost identical to the regular Mini. Most casual observers will most likely mistake your EV for a normal gas-powered Mini, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the Mini is a great-looking vehicle.

The electric Mini Cooper will set you back $34,225 to start. It’s more expensive than the Nissan Leaf but looks way sportier and upmarket than the Nissan. The electric Mini is also an affordable performance EV with its 6.9-second sprint to 60 mph, courtesy of its 181 hp motor.

The Mini can also be considered somewhat of a city car with its 110-mile driving range, although the proliferation of fast chargers is quickly eliminating any problems associated with traveling long distances in your EV. The Mini Cooper Electric is an amazing option for someone who wants a slightly more stylish vehicle than a Nissan Leaf and wants their car to perform better than the aforementioned.

The only downside is that the Mini is more expensive, but compared to most EVs, it’s an affordable alternative.

3. Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona Electric is another vehicle that can be easily confused with its gasoline-powered variant. Unless you carefully inspect the grille-less front end, there are very few giveaways that this Kona is electric-powered. The regular Kona is a relatively handsome vehicle, so the Kona Electric either slightly improves these looks or slightly worsens them, depending on your taste.

The Kona Electric is an amazing financial deal, especially compared to the Mini Cooper Electric, which starts at around the same price but has less than half the range of the Kona. The Kona Electric features a range of up to 258 miles on a single charge, substantially more than the Mini and the Leaf.

Power is also adequate at 201 hp. According to Hyundai, the Kona Electric is currently only sold in a few states, including California and New York.

4. Mazda MX-30 EV

The MX-30 EV is basically an honorable mention on this list. Mazda only sells the MX-30 EV in California for the US market, so this car is more of a niche vehicle. But, if you live in California and are in the market for a cheap EV, the MX-30 might be exactly what you’re looking for.

The MX-30 EV offers 100 miles of range, so it’s not the best choice for long cross-country road trips, but is still a great option for the daily commute. Mazda states they designed the MX-30 with the specific needs of Americans in mind, and because Mazda estimates the typical American drives approximately 30 miles each day, the MX-30’s 100 miles should be more than enough.

Whether you buy into Mazda’s marketing hype or not, one thing that is clear is that the MX-30 is an affordable full EV. The electric Mazda starts at $33,470. The MX-30 EV also qualifies for a federal tax credit, so it’s possible to lower the price even further. Mazda also throws in $500 worth of charging at public ChargePoint stations across the country.

In terms of styling, the MX-30 is a tad awkward, the proportions aren’t the most flattering, and the overall appearance is uninspiring. Considering that Mazda is a company renowned for great design and that other EVs in this price point actually look great, it’s a bit of a letdown that Mazda didn’t try to go all out with the styling.

More Affordable EV Options Are on the Way

The current selection of affordable EVs is quite stout, but in the coming years, EVs will continue to drop in price. Once battery technology adoption becomes completely mainstream and the cost of building EVs goes down, many more affordable EVs will flood the market. The great news is that you don’t have to wait forever to buy an affordable EV—the current crop looks great and performs just as well as their more expensive counterparts.

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