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Cheapest Electric Cars

Most Affordable EVs for 2022
March 22nd, 2022

Cheapest Electric Vehicles & Plug-in Hybrids

Over a decade ago, when the Nissan Leaf appeared as the first widely available mainstream electric car, the only drivers genuinely interested in buying one were early adopters with short commutes. Saddled with only about 100 miles of range and a new consumer phenomenon later dubbed "range anxiety," the Leaf had limited appeal.

But in the ensuing years, advances in battery design and packaging unlocked many more miles per charge, broadening the acceptance of electric vehicles. Gradually, more buyers could envision using an EV around town or even on a road trip. Today's EVs range from pokey and basic to fast and luxurious, with price tags to match. But if you don't absolutely need the longest range available, some of today's top electric vehicles can be had for the price of a typical crossover SUV, or possibly less when you factor in federal and state incentives.

We've gathered up the most affordable electric vehicles you can buy today, including both mainstream and luxury picks. We even cover plug-in hybrids in case you're not quite ready for the full EV experience. If you've been hesitant to dip a toe in the electric waters (irresponsible metaphor aside), there's never been a better time to give it a try.


Cheapest Electric Cars

  1. Starting price:
    $27,400
    EV Range:
    149 miles

    2022 Nissan Leaf

  2. Starting price:
    $29,900
    EV Range:
    114 miles

    2022 Mini Cooper SE

  3. Starting price:
    $31,000
    EV Range:
    259 miles

    2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

  4. Starting price:
    $33,470
    EV Range:
    100 miles

    2022 Mazda MX-30

  5. Starting price:
    $34,000
    EV Range:
    258 miles

    2022 Hyundai Kona Electric

  6. Starting price:
    $40,900
    EV Range:
    232 miles (Light trim)

    2022 Kia EV6

  7. Starting price:
    $41,995
    EV Range:
    280 miles (Pro S RWD)

    2022 Volkswagen ID.4


Cheapest Luxury Electric Cars

  1. Starting price:
    $42,895
    EV Range:
    247 miles (base RWD)

    2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E

  2. Starting price:
    $45,900
    EV Range:
    270 miles (RWD)

    2022 Polestar 2

  3. Starting price:
    $46,990
    EV Range:
    272 miles (base RWD)

    2022 Tesla Model 3


Cheapest Plug-In Hybrids

  1. Starting price:
    $26,800
    EV range:
    29 miles
    Hybrid mpg:
    52

    2022 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid

  2. Starting price:
    $28,220
    EV range:
    25 miles
    Hybrid mpg:
    54

    2022 Toyota Prius Prime

  3. Starting price:
    $29,590
    EV range:
    26 miles
    Hybrid mpg:
    46

    2022 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid

  4. Starting price:
    $33,075
    EV range:
    37 miles
    Hybrid mpg:
    40

    2022 Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid

  5. Starting price:
    $34,900
    EV range:
    33 miles
    Hybrid mpg:
    35

    2022 Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid


Fuel Cost: Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars

Comparing the costs of electricity required to run an electric car versus the costs of gasoline to power a regular car is still an arcane science with many variables. Charging at home overnight, for example, allows you to charge at off-peak hours, reducing your costs. If you charge during the day, you'll see those rates jump. If you often charge at work or an outside charging station, you'll need an account with one of the growing numbers of electricity providers. Generally speaking, electricity costs less than gasoline and its pricing is more stable. But there's a learning curve to understanding when it's cheapest to tap into the grid to top up your EV.

Fully Electric Cars vs. Plug-In Hybrids

Electric cars are just that: cars powered solely by electricity stored in a battery pack. Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, use a regular gasoline engine paired with a battery pack and electric motor. The battery pack can be recharged from an electrical outlet or charging station, but it can also store energy recaptured during braking. Usually the battery pack on a plug-in runs out of electricity within 20-40 miles, at which point the gas engine takes over, so you never need to worry about running out of juice. Full EVs require more thought, route planning, and an evolving knowledge of the location of charging stations. (Most onboard navigation systems can help locate stations and eliminate the guesswork in unfamiliar areas.)

Next Steps

For many buyers, an electric car makes perfect sense. Even drivers with average commutes can often make it through a full workweek on a single charge. Electric cars offer a clean commuting alternative and are usually eligible to use HOV lanes with a single driver. And today's electric cars range from mainstream compact picks to vehicles with luxury-grade sport and comfort, so there's something for every budget. For drivers not quite ready to take the all-electric plunge, plug-in hybrids are an excellent alternative. When you're ready to explore the world of plug-in and electric cars, Edmunds can help you research EVs and find a great deal in your area.


Best Electric Vehicles for 2019 and 2020

Best Electric Vehicles for 2019 and 2020

We're rounding up the best electric cars and SUVs that have undergone our extensive hands-on testing. Elana Scherr and Will Kaufman run down what makes these EV cars worth your attention. Whether you're new to the electric vehicle space or you're an EV owner looking to upgrade, Edmunds has the ratings and reviews you need to pick the right EV for you and the tools to make sure you get the best deal.


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