8 Cheapest Electric Vehicles For Sale In The U.S.

Cheapest BEVs


If price is the ONLY consideration, how do the current battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) available in the U.S. stack up?

It’s important to point out that you’ll be hard-pressed to find many other publications putting out lists like these for electric vehicles. There are very obvious reasons for that, but it warrants some explanation for those that are unaware. It can be time-consuming and frustrating to track down detailed pricing information, model year changes, specific state-related availability, etc. for plug-in cars.

For this reason, InsideEVs has decided that it’s going to make a newfound effort to provide our readers with the most up-to-date information in the form of LISTS for your education and convenience. Remember, we constantly update our COMPARE EVs tab at the top of the home page, so all of this information is at your disposal indefinitely.

Read Also: Top 6 Plug-In Hybrids Ranked By Electric Range

We need to spend some time pointing out a number of disclaimers. Otherwise, we’re looking at hundreds of potentially negative comments saying, “Wait this car is only available in Cali,” or “You can’t even get this car, there’s no stock,” or “This is a compliance car,” or “This car isn’t even priced, it’s only available as a lease,” etc.

So, without further ado, here’s our list of the cheapest BEVs, with plenty of disclaimers, so as not to upset the Feng Shui of our environment, amidst our concerted attempt to assist EV advocates in their future pursuits.

Keep in mind that all of these vehicles qualify for the $7,500 U.S. federal EV tax credit (see after-credit pricing here). However, you MUST have the tax liability in order to qualify for it (if you don’t owe the feds more than $7,500, you’re likely out of luck, and if you choose to lease, it’s up to the manufacturer and/or dealership to determine how much, if any, rebate will be applied to your deal).

Chevrolet Bolt

8) Chevrolet Bolt – $36,620

The Bolt EV is the most expensive car on this list, however, it’s available in all U.S. states, and decent inventory assumes anyone in the U.S. should be able to get one immediately. Depending on your location, you may be able to secure a pretty good deal. Let’s not forget that as far as affordable BEVs go, you can’t top the Bolt EV’s 238-mile range.


7) Fiat 500e – $32,995

Many call the Fiat 500e a compliance car, and that comes as no surprise since it’s only available in a few CARB states, added to that fact that CEO Sergio Marchionne has asked that you please don’t buy this car, or it will cause his company to lose money. With all of that aside, it’s a blast to drive and relatively inexpensive. It gets an EPA-rated 84 miles of range.


6) Kia Soul EV – $32,250

The Kia Soul has claimed a plethora of awards due to its immense amount of space and versatility. It’s basically a compact car that should be classified as an SUV/CUV. There are no other vehicles in its class that offer such expansive passenger and cargo volume, not to mention an industry-leading warranty and a low price tag. So, the BEV variant seems like a no-brainer, right?

Honestly, if we could buy one tomorrow with no hassle (in Michigan or Florida), it’s likely that we’d partake, especially when an updated model with more range arrives. But ugh, again, it’s not an option outside of California. However, we’ve been apprised that with a little bit of effort, you may be able to get one delivered to a dealership in your area, and there is some stock in other CARB states and even outside of such states, but it’s limited and rare. The latest iteration of the Soul EV returns 111 miles of real-world range.


Cheapest BEVs

5) Volkswagen e-Golf – $30,495

The Volkswagen e-Golf made a name for itself in our 2017 scorecard recaps as that “jacka**” of the year, via Jay Cole! But, we all agree wholeheartedly. VW is one of the most impressive and best-selling brands across the globe. However, there’s nothing positive about offering a fun-to-drive, super-popular, tried-and-true VW Golf in the EV variety, and then failing to stock it or update it. Nonetheless, if you can secure one, it’s a great hot hatch at a reasonable price. But, even with the now-bigger battery, you’ll only get 125 miles of range.


cheapest BEVs

4) Nissan LEAF – $29,990

The all-new 2018 Nissan LEAF is really a no-brainer, and truly our top pick in terms of range, performance, passenger and cargo capacity, and price. Yes, it falls in the middle of this list, but that’s not a true representation of the LEAF’s quality and success. The current base LEAF will get you 151 miles of EPA range. And it is, and always has been, available nationwide.

Many of our readers and visitors continue to dog on the LEAF’s lack of a thermal management system for the battery pack. That fact that it superficially degrades the battery pack is old news and not so much a reality today. We have in-house experience over years and years of use that proves otherwise.

However, it continues to plague the LEAF, but Nissan has assured us that their new battery tech accounts for this and it’s really not at all what many of us have seen/listened to/observed over the years. Lesson learned (whether or not you choose to accept it): The LEAF’s lack thereof shouldn’t be a major factor in your buying decision. This is honestly no different from the multitude of comments about the Tesla Model 3’s fit and finish issues. While there may be isolated instances, it’s just not validated on a grand level.


Cheapest BEVs

3) Hyundai IONIQ Electric – $29,500

The Hyundai IONIQ Electric commands 124 miles of EPA-estimated electric range. It looks like a “normal” car, offers decent room for four adults, and plenty of space for cargo. Sadly, Hyundai can’t keep up with demand, so inventory is generally quite low. It’s also only available in California.


Cheapest BEVs

2) Ford Focus Electric – $29,120

The Ford Focus Electric will carry you 115 miles on a charge. It’s nearly a carbon copy of its ICE stablemate, seating five with a cramped rear seat, and offering respectable cargo capacity if you opt for the hatchback. However, the Focus Electric hatch has almost 10 less cubic feet behind the rear seats than the ICE Focus, making the utility of the hatchback variant almost non-existent compared to a compact car with a trunk (it’s basically the same amount of space as the ICE Focus’ small trunk). Once again, this is a limited-production vehicle that’s only available at dealerships in CARB states, however, you can order it nationwide and it can be serviced at most Ford dealerships.


Cheapest BEVs

1) smart fortwo ED – $23,800

C’mon, it’s way cheap, especially when you knock off the $7,500 rebate …

It’s really not all that cheap for what you’re getting. A two-seat city car with 58 miles of range and a top speed of 81 mph! You’d think Mercedes-Benz could do better. This thing should have more miles than most cars on our list. However, it is MB, and the German automaker has not proven it has a knack for popular, long-range EVs. Regardless of how we feel about it, there’s definitely a place for such vehicles, and based on the criteria (cheapest BEVs), it comes out ahead of the rest and it’s available nationwide, though stock is always low.


Cheapest BEVs

*Honorable Mention: 2017 Honda Clarity Electric – *as low as $199 per month (California and Oregon/lease only)

This is a fantastic car. The fact that’s it’s a Honda speaks volumes, unless, of course, you only buy American, which is increasingly challenging in this day and age. Not only did the Clarity PHEV arrive and smack down the Toyota Prius Prime in all-electric range (47! vs. 25), the only plug-in to date to even tread close to the Chevy Volt), the 89-mile BEV variant undercuts most all range rivals when price is the primary factor. At $199 per month with only about $800 down, it’s hard to beat. However, again, this is essentially a city car. 89 miles of range won’t be your friend if you have a long commute or plan on road-tripping.


Herein lies the rub with these type of LIST posts …

Being that you can’t get some cars nationwide, and some vehicles don’t offer a reasonable range per price point, you may rank these cars differently. But, the point is, these are the cheapest BEVs on the U.S. market today, regardless of any other factors. Your job is to situate your priorities, location, tax situation, range needs, and overall brand commitment, and use this list as a reference to make the best decision going forward.

After considerable research, in terms of nationwide availability and the best bang/range for your buck, InsideEVs picks the 2018 Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Bolt. However, neither car tops our list of today’s cheapest BEVs.

Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Categories: Buying Advice, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lists, Nissan, Smart, Volkswagen

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57 Comments on "8 Cheapest Electric Vehicles For Sale In The U.S."

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The 2017 Focus Electric was stocked (slightly) outside of CARB states, but it looks like the 2018 one will only be stocked in CARB states.

Anyways, you can get one serviced at most Ford dealers, unlike the Volkswagen, Kia, and Hyundai compliance cars listed here.

Only the Bolt and Leaf are widely available.

The Soul EV is also technically stocked outside of some CARB states. Texas got at least 5 of them last year lol. Like the Focus EV, you can get certain Kia dealers to order you one but they rarely if ever stock them.

For the Smart ED and Fiat 500e there are dealers across the US that can service them. Spark EV dealers are around nationwide as well. So buying a used one of these 3 would work if you have a dealer near you that is certified.

In Arizona I’ve seen and leased a KIA SOUL EV but the batteries have all failed. The only service center was back in California so they have had to be trucked back and batteries replaced that takes over a month. They also don’t have any Electric loaners so you are stuck using a gas car or trying to find an electric.
They just don’t have a good design. Liquid cooling is required on every car.

Your experience is typical with the air cooled version. My batteries failed in moderate Southern California after 2 1/2 years. I think any level 3 charging really harmed the batteries quickly. The new ones will be liquid cooled but they apparently will be without battery heaters to save money.

I have a Focus Electric, bought primarily for price.

I also just learned my state and all surrounding ones are CARB states. Had no idea. (PA/DE/NJ/NY/MD)

And how many of these are available outside California or a CARB state.

Not many.

The Leaf, Bolt, and leftover 2017 Focus are available nationwide, and the 500e is sold used by many Fiat dealers.

Could you update the list to show $ per mile of range?

Oh, and you should probably explain why you left off the Model 3 before getting flamed by Tesla fans. Which is I assume because you can’t yet get the $35k version.

People dont buy cars for $ on the miles they buy for value and looks, which besides the looks the 3 is not affordable car

$/mile is part of the value proposition.

I agree on the value but not looks. I bought a Soul and didn’t like the looks much and now a Bolt although coming from an anti Chevrolet background. I think EVers are more likely than most to put aside biases and buy with their heads not their hearts.

Top 3 EV for me now
1 Nissan Leaf
2 VW E-Golf
3 Ford Focus Electric ( great deals and know my dealer very well)

Also, of note, is the Chevy Bolt has the worst national lease deal in recorded history.

It’s just too bad the Spark EV didn’t get an updated range and another year or two of life. 🙁

It was a great car at a great price!

I agree, 100 110 miles range. 70 in the winter. I would have brought it at 24k

nuts to you.
6ft 4 inch 280 lbs
spark is a coffin on wheels
leased a kia soul ev
im in ny , dont need miles

“added to that fact that CEO Sergio Marchionne has asked that you please don’t buy this car”

All the more reason to buy a Fiat 500e and make Marchonne suffer. Mehehe.

Outside of Cali, check to see if your local Fiat dealer is certified to work on the 500e. There are quite a few around the country. Two of them near me in Texas.

The rumor is that any dealer certified for the Pacifica Hybrid can also service the 500e, so check for PacHy listings.

The Fiat 500e is a blast to drive. It’s a little pocket rocket up to 60mph. Granted, the range is getting outclassed by more capable machines, but for the price, it puts the Smart EV to shame yet remains balanced, tossable and easy to park.

Also check out this site for good EV deals: http://ev-vin.blogspot.com

+1! The author should at least add in parentheses, the real-life price one can expect to get, according to the nationwide averages posted here: http://ev-vin.blogspot.com/2017/02/current-discounts-on-selected-evs.html
The averages are updated about once per month.

The Bolt comes out much cheaper this way.

Also, small pedantic tidbit: the Leaf was not “always” available nationwide. Until mid-2012 it was only available in markets Nissan deemed more EV-friendly (12 major metro areas or so).
That’s why it took until May 2012 to detect the “wilting Leaf” in hot weather phenomenon, because the first Leafs in Phoenix were delivered spring 2012, whereas the first in California were delivered late 2010.

And as usual, is already enjoying discounting (e.g. https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/726735702/overview/).

The difference in price between the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Nissan Leaf is $6,630.-

In The Netherlands the difference is almost €13,000.- (between Opel Ampera-e and Nissan Leaf).

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is produced in the US, so we have higher prices due to transport costs and import tariffs.

If cheap is what you are looking for, The Fiat 500e seems to be popping up for sale on the used market all over the country. I recently bought one here in Dallas for $7,500 from a dealership just as a 3rd car for our household. Sure, the range is not great, but at least it has battery thermal management. Unlike a used Leaf from the same year (2014) this car still has 95% of its range.

Why do you guys keep saying Soul EV is only in Kalifornia?

I was just at Aloha Kia Maui, yesterday they had 3 sitting on the lot. Soul EV’s have been onsale here in Hawaii for the last 2 years.

The author did note this:

“owever, we’ve been apprised that with a little bit of effort, you may be able to get one delivered to a dealership in your area, and there is some stock in other CARB states and even outside of such states, but it’s limited and rare.”

I would categorize availability outside CARB states as super rare. They’re technically sold here in Texas too. But not really. There are a handful of dealers that keep one or two in stock at a time. If you want one, you’ll need to go to one of these rare dealers and special order it.

My wife and I have been driving EVs since 1991 – a CRX conversion, 2 EV1s (one after the other), 2 RAV4-EVs (one after the other), a Leaf, and now a Model S that I picked up used. Current fleet: 2013 RAV4-EV, 2012 Model S. The RAV4-EV is great around town, but at this time only Tesla has a only practical long distance EV in the US *because* of their extensive L3 charging infrastructure. The CCS infrastructure makes it hard to drive long distances. While you *COULD* drive a Bolt from LA to Vegas, it’s a real PITA. There is *1* CCS plug that has to be working and not in use that you have to use to make the trip and you really should stop in Prim to top off at a J-Plug. In a Tesla there are 4 SuperCharging locations over the same stretch, each with at least 8 plugs (the one in Baker has 40). And the SuperChargers charge at least 2x the speed of a CCS. Part of the cost of every Tesla is put back into the SuperCharger network — it may not be the least expensive to purchase, but it’s still the most practical… Read more »

There is no “L3” charging standard. Tesla’s Superchargers use a proprietary charging protocol. Other North American EV’s with DC fast charging capability can use DC Level 1 or DC Level 2 chargers.

There will likely be a DC Level 3 charging standard at some point, so let’s not cause confusion by describing DC fast charging as “L3”.

The technical specifications really don’t matter. In our advocacy we really should stop using those terms, as it just confuses folks who are unclear on the designations. I’ve taken to using names that match the function of the charger regardless of its technical specifications. For example the type of charger you are currently discussing is a “travel” charger. It’s sole purpose is to refill a BEV as quickly as possible for travel purposes. So it really doesn’t matter if it’s 100 kW, or 350 kW, or CCS, or a SuperCharger. It’s function is recharging for long distance travel. Chargers for long term parking situations are “overnight” chargers. Yes you can use them during the day. But the point is to eliminate the expectation that you’ll pull up to one and expect to get an appreciable recharge in a short amount of time. The emerging market is “opportunity” charging. It’s the missing link. It’s charging at destinations where the primary purpose is for the driver to do another activity such as eat, shop, or entertain while the BEV is parked. This type of charging is current filled by “overnight” chargers, which are misallocated for the task. These “opportunity” chargers need two… Read more »

Separate note, gawd I really hate buying a car in America through a dealer. I feel like I need to shower after speaking to a dealer, generally they all seem to try and say anything “to get the deal”, and honesty is not a word they use or practice. The fact that US manufacturers inflate MSRP so these dealers can screw some customers who don’t know better is just icing on the cake.

It is almost enough to make me want to buy a tesla.

It is a shame they don’t sell the Honda Clarity BEV at a huge discount compared to the PHEV, which is also a great buy. Since it has only a trivially larger battery, with none of the ICE complication, I’d expect the ‘outright sale’ price to be very low.

Might have been interested to pick up a third EV for around town, saving the other cars for the high mileage trips.

The Clarity itself is a fine car in any of its 3 versions. I just wish it wasn’t a lease only.

leasing is the only correct way to get an ev. you can always buy the car or extend the leaae. RESIDUAL VALUE SUCKS IN ALL EV’S. all
fed state credits are in a lease price. you get to buy the vehicle for the residual value price. my 2017 kia soul ev, $ 188 monthly payment/ 36 month includes down payment. End of lease purchase price $ 8,950 ! THATS WITH A FULL WARRANTY. Think about it. do the math.

In the past I’d have to agree. The leases I’ve had didn’t allow an extension though and the buy back price far exceeded the used car price of the same vehicle. In the Fiats case the buy back was 11K and I bought a identical used one for 7K. Early on we didn’t know how fast the technology would grow but now I think we’ve got a pretty fair idea.

fed state credits are in a lease price. you get to buy the vehicle for the residual value price. my 2017 kia soul ev, $ 188 monthly payment/ 36 month includes down payment. End of lease purchase price $ 8,950 ! THATS WITH A FULL WARRANTY. Think about it. do the math.

Or you could buy an off-lease CPO for ~1/2 the original selling price and get the warranty with it (I did this on a 2YO model). Even if you buy an extended warranty to cover extra years/miles, you would still be money ahead of a lease. The sacrifice is not having the latest model year.
Let someone else pay for the depreciation (the lesssee).

I love my Clarity PHEV and if I could, I would pick up a BEV of the same on that lease deal. Hopeful it will be available in more states soon.

Noting your disclaimers and hence not meant as any sort of criticism of the article: reading this from outside the US, not a single one of those is available for purchase where I live. Not a single one.

Where? Australia. Lagging the rest of the developed world yet again.

Any one with Honda clarity PHEV, can you advise if the engine warms up initially , every time you start cold ?
If the Gas engine is always ready to output power , i would guess it need to warm up and be ready ?

You should ask in the forum if you haven’t already. There are lots of Clarity PHEV owners that are very active there.


Agreed, go check out the forum, but for the sake of those who won’t bother it does not. You can drive most days and in nearly all conditions in EV only.

The 2019 Ford Focus is going through a complete redesign. There are a lot of rumors about what’s going to happen with the Focus Electric. One of the rumors is that the Focus is going to continue as a triple propulsion platform (HEV, PHEV & BEV) like the Ioniq.

The 2019 Focus is going to be a couple of inches longer than the current Focus. The redesigned longer Focus could carry the battery pack completely under floor instead of having half the pack in the trunk like the current model. It’s also rumored that the 2019 Focus Electric could get a 50 kWh battery pack giving it a 200 mile range.

The FFE already has some very nice features. With a quality redesign and some decent marketing by Ford the FFE could be a competitor among EVs again. We should find out at least by early next year whether the Focus Electric will live on through the redesign.

Let’s hope so. It’s a great car and could stand to do very well. It’s already one of the top on our cheapest list. With some more range, better availability, and increased capacity, you’d think it could sell really well. The FFE along with the Kia Soul EV could both truly be highly competitive if the automakers chose to go that route. Fingers crossed for sure.

GM put a 60 kWh battery pack in the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

60 kWh Nissan Leaf is coming in 2018.

Why can’t Ford do the same?

Ford is supposed to come with a couple of dedicated long range BEV models in the next couple of years. The Model E and a 300 mile BEV SUV have been reported. The point is that some of the most popular Ford models, the Mustang, the F150, and the Focus, are also moving towards multi propulsion platforms to support electrification and some like the Focus might even get an all electric variant.

I might also point out that Ford keeps their cards very close to their vest in terms of new models. My 2017 FFE was actually manufactured and leased in September of 2016 but the official production run didn’t start until March of 2017. The new Ford models may already be in production before we even find out they exist.

I guess you are only counting the Bolt EV and the Leaf. The Focus Electric and the Soul EV are also available nation wide through factory orders. You will also find lot of new FFEs and Soul EVs are sitting on dealer lots outside of compliance states if you take the time to look.

The reason I got interested in the FFE in the first place was that I test drove a new one here in Texas. In 2016 there were a lot of new FFEs sitting on dealer lots but now they only occasionally show up and they soon disappear. The FFE really doesn’t sell that well but that doesn’t mean you can’t get one anywhere in the country if you don’t mind waiting for delivery or if you don’t mind paying shipping costs from a dealer that has one sitting one his lot.

The post I was responding to disappeared. I guess the moderators though it was too bias.

Why settle for 150 miles when 240 is better. And built in the USA.

Thought they updated range on the Smart this year as well as a refresh

leased a kia soul ev in NY ! EZ, $ 188 per month includes down payment etc. Its an intense EV ! very efficient ! the car is huge. i crawled out of a CODA into this car. the coda was excellent yet no warranty. bought for $ 12,ooo after federal rebate.
put 51,000 miles on vehicle was still running great. The price on the soul ev was a no-brainer !

It’s not on the list, but if you can find one , the Spark EV is also very inexpensive, new or used. About 81 miles of rated range, but you can usually get more, especially in city driving. We have one more year on our lease of one, and we have had zero problems so far. Kinda ugly but a great little car. Best part is that with the rebates we got where we live, the 3-year lease cost us less than $0; we actually made a little money on it.

If Bolt inventory is available through out US , why is it not crushing Model 3 already in terms of sales numbers. ? I read somewhere recently that there is huge waiting time for Bolt , since GM does not want to really sell it’s loss making Bolt

Bolt for the Win, IMO.

Thank you for defending the Leaf. 🙂

You forgot the electric motorcycles. Motorcycles are vehicles too.

I don’t see why a top speed of 81 mph is bad. The speed limit is 65 where I live. Why would I possibly need to go faster than 81? Now, if we were talking about a standard gasoline engine, top speed of just 81 would imply that it feels underpowered at 55 or 65. But that’s not the case with electric motors. The top speed of 81 is electronically governed, not based on power output. Remove the governor and I’m sure it could go a LOT faster than 81. But why would you need to?

If you’re one of those people who drives 100+ in a 65 zone, maybe saving fuel isn’t your biggest goal.

Why are electric cars so expensive in US? I see small electric cars in Alibaba , China starting at $2200. I would expect to pay more in US for better quality and service, but not 10 times more. In US, I see electric skate boards cost almost that much.

Still waiting on a discussion of CHARGING. It’s way more important than the car. For example, why doesn’t the industry work to standardize batteries so that instead of waiting to charge, we can just sign up for an exchange program where we come in, flash a card, get a freshly charged battery, leave our spent one, and go?