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Nine Outstanding Electric Vehicles Cheaper than a Tesla in 2022

With consumer prices on the rise, from fuel to groceries to vehicles, more people are considering EVs. According to cars.com, electric vehicle searches were up 173% in March. The only problem is the prices of EVs are also rising. Tesla recently announced an increase of as much as 10% on all of its vehicles, with the base Model 3 now starting at $46,990 for the RWD. Teslas are also not eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. The Model 3 was one of the cheapest electric vehicles when it was initially released, but now with the federal tax credit out of the picture and other manufacturers rolling out new models, there are many more affordable options.

If car shoppers are looking to save money by purchasing an electric vehicle, it’s hard to justify spending nearly $50,000. In general, EVs will cost more than gas-powered cars upfront, but you save throughout the life of the vehicle on maintenance and gas. Luckily there are still many EV options for cars and SUVs under $40k with tax incentives and rebates. Below is a list of the cheapest electric vehicles in 2022.

Nissan Leaf (Starting at $27,400)*

The Nissan Leaf tops our list of most affordable EVs, starting at $27,400. The 2022 Nissan Leaf comes in 5 different trim levels with ranging features, batteries, and performance, all available for under $40k. Nissan EVs are also eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, making it even more affordable amongst all of the cheapest electric vehicles. All Nissan Leaf EV trims are Front Wheel Drive.

TrimPrice StartingRangeHorsepower
Nissan Leaf S$27,400149mi147
Nissan Leaf SV$28,800149mi147
Nissan Leaf S Plus$32,400226mi214
Nissan Leaf SV Plus$35,400215mi214
Nissan Leaf SL Plus$37,400215mi214
*Prices don’t include a $7,500 eligible federal tax credit

Chevy Bolt Car and SUV (Starting at $31,995)

The 2022 Chevy Bolt is offered as a car (EV) or SUV (EUV), with prices starting at $31,995 for the EV 1LT. Aside from the slight difference in range and acceleration, both versions are very similar. Each vehicle seats five and has the same cargo capacity. The SUV can tow a bit more, weighs in about 100 pounds heavier, and offers more premium features. The Chevy EVs are not eligible for the federal tax credit, but if you are on a budget, all options are available for under $40k, making it still one of the cheapest electric vehicles in 2022.

TrimPrice StartingTypeRange0-60 mph
Chevrolet Bolt EV 1LT$31,995Car2596.5 seconds
Chevrolet Bolt EV 2LT$33,995Car2596.5 seconds
Chevrolet Bolt EUV LT$35,195SUV2477 seconds
Chevrolet Bolt EUV Premier$38,495SUV2477 seconds
Chevrolet EVs are not eligible for a federal tax credit

2023 Mini Electric Hardtop (Starting at $29,900)*

The 2023 model year Mini Electric Hardtops are now available and come in three trim levels, Signature, Signature Plus, and Iconic. Each promise an estimated battery range of 110 miles with 181HP and 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. All Mini Electric Hardtops are eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, bringing the effective starting price down to $22,400 for the Signature model. The primary difference in trims comes down to features and cosmetic upgrades such as paint color, moonroof, or upholstery. If you include the tax credit, the Mini Electric Hardtop is one of the cheapest electric vehicles on the market today.

TrimPrice Starting*Panoramic MoonroofCustom PaintChoice of 16″ or 17″ wheels
Mini Electric Hardtop Signature$29,900
Mini Electric Hardtop Signature Plus$33,900Y
Mini Electric Hardtop Iconic$36,900YYY
*Prices not including $7,500 eligible federal tax credit

Hyundai Kona Electric SUV (Starting at $34,000)*

The Hyundai Kona Electric is the cheapest SUV on our list, with the base trim (SEL) starting at $34,000 and eligible for the federal tax credit, giving it an effective price of $26,500. The tax credit makes this SUV even more affordable and a great option for families. This SUV is cheaper than the Chevy Bolt EUV, even without the tax credit.

Both vehicle options offer all of the same battery and performance capabilities (range, charge time, acceleration, etc.) Other than some minor exterior differences like LED headlights, the biggest difference between the SEL and Limited is the Limited comes standard with more premium infotainment and interior features. This makes the Kona Electric SEL a great all-around electric SUV option at under $30k, without sacrificing performance or battery capabilities.

TrimPrice Starting*Range0-60 mphTop SpeedDrive Type
Hyundai Kona Electric SEL$34,000258mi7.6 sec104 mphFWD
Hyundai Kona Electric Limited$42,500258mi7.6 sec104 mphFWD
*Prices not including $7,500 eligible federal tax credit

Kia Niro EX SUV (Starting at $39,990)*

The Kia Niro EX SUV price starts just under $40k, but with the federal tax credit, it brings it down to $32,490. The Niro is Kia’s cheapest EV option and sacrifices a bit on performance compared to the EV6 models. One benefit is that it is AWD and gets a respectable 239-mile battery range with a top speed of 96 mph and 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds. The Kia Niro EX is definitely not the fastest or most powerful Electric SUV, but it still receives great all-around ratings for what it offers at a more affordable price range.

Volkswagen ID.4 SUV (Starting at $41,230)*

The Volkswagen ID.4 is offered in Pro and Pro S trims, with each available in RWD or AWD. As with most other EVs under $50k, you’ll get better performance with AWD but slightly less range. The Volkswagen EVs are still eligible for the federal tax credit, so the ID.4 Pro will cost only $33,250 if you include the rebate.

The Pro S offers more premium features like panoramic roof, power liftgate, interior ambient lighting, power-folding door mirrors, leatherette seating surfaces, and a 2″ larger display. If these features aren’t as important, then the Pro is a well-rounded electric SUV and one of the cheapest electric vehicles available.

TrimPrice Starting*RangeDrive Type
Volkswagen ID.4 Pro$41,230260miRWD
Volkswagen ID.4 Pro AWD$44,440249miAWD
Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S$45,730250miRWD
Volkswagen ID.4 Pro AWD$48,940240miAWD
*Prices not including $7,500 eligible federal tax credit

Hyundai Ioniq 5 SUV (Starting at $43,650)*

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the beginning of Hyundai’s new EV series. The Ioniq model is available in 3 trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited. All 3 trims are available as either RWD or AWD. The Ioniq 5 SE is the entry-level trim, with an effective price after a $7,500 federal tax credit of $36,150. You can save more by opting for the RWD option that gets better range but sacrifices performance.

The higher-end trims start to become more expensive and above our ideal affordable price range, but are included for comparisons. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE RWD is a great electric SUV option, especially for families, with its ample cargo space, a 300+ mile range, and under $40k after federal tax credit.

TrimPrice StartingRangeDrive Type0-60 mph
Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE$43,650303miRWD7.3 sec
Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE$47,150256miAWD5.1 sec
Hyundai Ioniq 5 SEL$45,900303miRWD7.3 sec
Hyundai Ioniq 5 SEL$49,400256miAWD5.1 sec
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited$50,600303miRWD7.3 sec
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited$54,100256miAWD5.1 sec
*Prices not including $7,500 eligible federal tax credit

Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD SUV (Starting at $43,895)*

The 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E price ranges all the way up to nearly $70k for the most premium models. But, if you are on a budget and still want a piece of the brand-new Ford Mustang EV, the entry-level model Mach-E Select – Standard Range – RWD can be purchased for just $43,895 before federal tax credit. The $7,500 federal tax credit would bring the effective price under $40k, at $36,395.

Performance rates as average, with a 0-60 mph acceleration at 5.8 seconds and 266 Horsepower. The battery range is similar to the Polestar 2, with an estimated 247 miles EPA. The effective price tag under $40k allows the Ford Mustang Mach-E to make our list of cheapest electric vehicles in 2022.

Polestar 2 Single Motor (Starting at $45,900)*

The 2022 Polestar 2 comes in Sigle Motor or Dual Motor, both All-Wheel Drive. Polestar is the EV branch of Volvo, so its branding may be familiar to fans of Volvo’s performance division. The Polestar 2 Single Motor is the entry-level version with a 265-mile range, starting at $45,900 and eligible for the $7,500 federal tax rebate. This gives it an effective price of $38,400, making it one of the cheapest electric vehicles in 2022. The dual-motor version offers better performance but less range at 249 miles and a steeper price at $49,900.

TrimPrice Starting*Range0-60mphTop Speed
Polestar 2 Single Motor$45,900265mi7 seconds99 mph
Polestar 2 Dual Motor$49,900249mi4.5 seconds127 mph
*Prices not including $7,500 eligible federal tax credit

Conclusion

It is an exciting time in the electric vehicle industry, with more and more models coming out every year. As a result, that means more options for buyers to compare and research. If you are still unsure of where to start in your EV search journey, give our Vehicle Search tool a try, and we’ll offer personalized EV recommendations based on your specific needs.