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Most Affordable Electric Cars [2023]

With the U.S. moving away from ICE vehicles (or internal combustion engine vehicles) and states like California mandating electric vehicles by 2035, many consumers are looking to trade their cars for an EV. Unfortunately, many EVs still carry high price tags, with some luxury cars like the Tesla Model s with a price tag starting at over $130,000. Unfortunately, the average driver doesn't have a few million lying around to buy a new car, so what should you do when looking for the best affordable electric cars?

Best Affordable Electric Cars for 2022 and 2023

If you want to find the best affordable electric cars currently on the market, a good place to start is with more traditional automakers. With brands like Chevrolet, Mazda, Nissan, and Ford vying for their EV market share, manufacturers are willing to offer better deals to help gain more customers. Of course, you can still get affordable EV cars from brands like Tesla, but the starting prices could be hundreds or thousands more than less-popular automakers.

Chevrolet Bolt EUV

Chevrolet, for example, currently has a very affordable option in the Chevy Bolt EUV. The Bolt EUV is an excellent option for new EV drivers, with a range of 247 to 259 miles, a 65 kWh battery, and (depending on where you buy the car) the offer of a free 240-volt at-home charging system. The new model doesn't change too much from previous years,) with the 2023 adding daytime running lights and different placement for turn signals. The 2023 Bolt EUV also has the option of new seats, a new shifter design, and a 10.2-inch touchscreen. While the 2023 model isn't eligible for the federal plug-in tax credit, which can help make electric cars more affordable, Chevy has offset this by setting the vehicle at a very affordable starting price, making it the least expensive electric car on the list at $27,200.

Nissan Leaf

Another affordable electric car to check out would be the 2023 Nissan Leaf, a fully-electric vehicle that features a 40 kWh battery with a range of 149-212 miles (depending on whether you choose the Leaf S or Leaf SV Plus.) The Leaf S comes with a 147 hp motor and 149 miles of range, while the Leaf SV Plus features a 62 kWh battery, 214 horsepower motor, and 212 range. Like the Chevy Bolt EUV, Nissan hasn't tweaked too much between the 2022 and 2023 models besides minor design changes. In addition to being eligible for the federal plug-in tax credit, the 2023 Leaf has a great starting price of $28,895.

Mini Cooper SE

Look no further than the 2023 Mini Cooper SE for a more compact ride. With a range of 110 miles (with some tests reaching as high as 150 miles), the Mini Cooper SE features new front and rear bumpers, a revamped instrument panel, and an 8.8-inch touchscreen. In addition, this EV uses a 28.9 kWh battery that powers a 181 horsepower engine, which can get the vehicle up to 60 mph in just under 7 seconds. While the vehicle is not eligible for the federal plug-in tax credit, it does start at the low price of $29,900.

Mazda MX-30

If you are looking for something with a distinct SUV vibe (while still being a hatchback), the Mazda MX-30 is an excellent choice. The 2023 model has a stripped-down interior created with sustainable materials, including upholstery free of animal products, recycled plastic door trim, and a cork-inlay for the console. The vehicle features a 144 horsepower motor 35.5 kWh battery and can travel 100 miles on a single charge. The 2023 Mazda MX-30 has a starting price of $34,695; while this isn't quite as low as some of the other models on this list, Mazda also provides certain perks. If you go through an official dealership, you may be eligible to get free Chargepoint credits or a discount on a level 2 home charge, which can save you hundreds of dollars.

Tesla Model 3

For some buyers, the only EV brand they'll consider is Tesla. So what is the cheapest Tesla Model? As of 2022, the most affordable Tesla is the Model 3. Though the Model 3 experienced a price increase this year, making it far from the cheapest electric car, it's still being sold for the reasonable price of $46,990. Of course, you'll also have to pay for a charging connector, which should be factored into your budget. While the price tag may be a bit higher, the Model 3 does offer a high level of performance and safety. The vehicle is 5-star NHTSA rated, winning the IIHS Top Safety Pick award. It can reach speeds as high as 162 miles per hour and go from 0 to 60 in 3.1 seconds. It also features a 50 to 82-kWh battery (depending on what trim you choose) capable of propelling the car for 220-258 miles.

Where Can I Get More Information About
Cheapest EV Cars?

To find the least expensive electric car, you'll need to do plenty of research beforehand. If a deal seems too good to be true, it very well may be; unscrupulous sellers will often set lower prices to offload bad vehicles quickly. Unfortunately, these enticing offers can lead to you buying an EV that has recently been in an accident or one that has a bad battery. By the time you figure out something is wrong, the seller could be long gone, leaving you with a huge bill and a non-functioning vehicle.

The best way to do this research is by using tools like vehicle history reports. These tools can show you numerous valuable details about any available EV, including its accident history, number of previous owners, and whether it has recently been repaired. You can also use a VIN decoder to see manufacturing details about a vehicle, which can help you determine whether you qualify for a tax credit.