The 10 cheapest EVs in the U.S. right now

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Electric vehicles have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, with their sales breaking industry records last year. However, sales are starting to cool in the U.S. at the same time that China’s market is offering increasingly cheaper and smaller EVs. 

Chinese automaker BYD just released an electric car called the Seagull for a mere $12,000. By comparison, the cheapest models in the U.S. are about $30,000—and even at that price point, the options are fairly limited, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The recent explosion of low-priced Chinese EVs has caused concern in Detroit about how the vehicles could ultimately affect the U.S. economy. The Biden has administration responded with hefty tariffs; on Tuesday, it announced that the tax rate on imported Chinese EVs will hit 102.5% this year.

Chinese companies like BYD can technically sell their cars in the U.S., but the tariffs make it prohibitive for consumers—and likely not in the automakers’ financial interest to try to crack the U.S. market. Last year, BYD told the AP that it’s “still in the process” of deciding whether to sell its cars here. 

And while tax credits can bring the price of an EV down, the number of cars that qualify is limited. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act aimed to boost domestic EV production, but in order to qualify for the incentive, battery components can’t be made by “foreign entities of concern.” Currently, there are just 13 EV models that meet the requirements for the full $7,500 tax credit.

The U.S. EV market is constantly shifting, and automakers are continuing to roll out models at different price points. (Volvo is set to release a compact SUV for $35,000 this summer.) But as things stand now, here are the cheapest electric vehicles on the market, as sourced from Car and Driver and Cars.com.

[Photo: Nissan]

1. 2024 Nissan Leaf — $29,280

The Leaf has been around since 2011 and was one of the first fully electric vehicles available in the U.S. It comes in at just under $30,000, compared to the average cost of all new cars at $48,334, according to Kelly Blue Book. The 2024 Leaf also qualifies for up to $3,750 in federal tax credits. However, the car has a relatively low range of 180 miles and is slower to charge than other offerings.

[Photo: Mini]

2. Mini Hardtop Cooper SE Classic — $31,895

The counterpart to the gas-powered Cooper, the electric version includes the signature exterior and design details. However, the Mini Hardtop has a very low range of 114 miles, even less than the Leaf. If you have a short commute and are routinely able to plan out your trips, this could be a great affordable option. Otherwise, the range may be a serious drawback.  

[Photo: Hyundai]

3. Hyundai Kona Electric — $34,050

With about 200 miles of range for the entry-level model, this vehicles is one of the best battery-powered values, according to Car and Driver. The 2024 redesign also includes a larger interior in addition to the longer battery life. Upgrade models have an even better range: 261 miles on a single charge. 

[Photo: Hyundai]

4. Hyundai Ioniq 6 — $38,650

Hyundai has released multiple models of the Ioniq over the years. Both the Ioniq 5 and the Ioniq 6 made this list, the Ioniq 6 comes in at a more affordable price. It’s less spacious than the Ioniq 5, but has 20 miles more range at 240 miles. Named Cars.com’s best value pick for EVs in 2024, this model claims it can go from 10% to 80% charged in 18 minutes using a hyper-fast charger.

[Photo: Tesla]

5. Tesla Model 3 — $40,380

The most infamous name in electric vehicles, Tesla’s entry-level sedan takes the number five slot. Tesla claims this model achieves 272 miles of range and the company says it’s 20% quieter than previous models. This model is also available for a full tax credit of $7,500. 

[Photo: Kia]

6. Kia Niro EV — $40,975

Across its 15 models, the Niro is Kia’s cheapest electric vehicle. With a 253-mile range, the Niro EV is a cheaper alternative to Kia’s popular EV6, which has a starting price point of $43,975 and a range that’s only marginally farther. 

[Photo: VW]

7. Volkswagen ID.4—$41,160 

New upgrades are making the ID.4 a more user-friendly affordable EV option. The 2024 model offers a larger touchscreen and backlit sliders drivers can see at night. While the standard version only offers a 209-miles range, the upgraded Pro has 291 miles in range. The ID.4 is also available for a full $7,500 tax credit. 

[Photo: Fisker]

8. Fisker Ocean Sport— $41,437

The 2023 model of the Fisker Ocean Sport came under fire for losing drive and braking power in the middle of the road, but the 2024 model has so far remained unscathed. Most other Ocean models cost around $50,000, so this is a reasonable alternative—plus it offers about 231 miles in range. However, Fisker has currently paused production due to dwindling funds, so it ‘ unclear how long supplies will last.

[Photo: Ford]

9. Ford Mustang Mach-E—$41,890

Ford’s ‘Go Further’ slogan holds true with the 2024 model of the Mustang Mach-E. It it offers 250 miles in range and has faster charging speeds than previous models. It also boasts quick acceleration and “sporty handling,” according to Edmunds, positioning this as a top pick.

[Photo: Hyundai]

10. Hyundai Ioniq 5—$43,175

The Ioniq 5 has a slightly longer range and a lower price point than its Kia counterpart, the EV6. It has routinely made Car and Drivers’ EV of the Year list, which the publication attributes to its attractive style, value, and price. In addition to this, the Ioniq 5’s charging times are some of the quickest out there on a DC fast charger. 

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