U.S.’ Most Affordable BEVs Per Mile Of Range: Comparison

Chevy Bolt EV

SEP 17 2018 BY MARK KANE 56

Today’s low is approximately $160 per mile of range.

Decreasing battery prices and competition on the all-electric car market leads to a more and more attractive ratio of price (MSRP + destination charge) per mile of EPA range.

Data coming from our Compare EVs card indicates that today’s benchmark for a long-range BEVs is at around $160 per mile (before the federal tax credit is applied and below $130 per mile after the federal tax credit).

The king of both comparisons is the Chevrolet Bolt EV ($158/mile), although the Tesla Model 3 Long Range (RWD) almost matched the Bolt EV at $162/mile.

Models that are not long-range due to smaller battery capacity got worse marks – Nissan LEAF with 40 kWh battery (2/3 of Bolt EV) is above $200/mile.

We are very interested in the Hyundai Kona Electric, which can drive up to 258 miles (EPA) – 20 miles more than the Bolt EV, but U.S. pricing isn’t available yet, so we can’t toss it in the mix.

The fanciest of BEVs, high-end or ultra-short-range, can cost you $450-$500 per mile of range.

BEVs price (MSRP + DST) per mile of EPA range comparison – some models estimated

Categories: BMW, Buying Advice, Chevrolet, Comparison, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Kia, Nissan, Smart, Tesla, Volkswagen

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56 Comments on "U.S.’ Most Affordable BEVs Per Mile Of Range: Comparison"

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While obviously more effort to chart, the average transaction cost of the lowest price model would be the better metric to use. The base price less typical discount would be a close approximation.

And based on the “8-months away” article from last week, the Model 3 SR will never get the $7500 credit. So best case it’s $32,200 right?

I really don’t care that the SR M3 is still not available. It’s a good business decision by Tesla to keep making the more expensive models as long as there is demand. But including it in this chart or any other as if it were available (it never will be with the $7500 fed rebate) is misleading at best, purposely deceiving at worst, and does a disservice to the adoption of electric cars in general. It makes EV (and particularly Tesla) fans seem like they are spreading their own FUD. Even publishing a chart with this on this web site gives anti EV/Tesla trolls ammunition.

I don’t understand why Chevrolet didn’t just fully electrify the Volt? It’s an aesthetically pleasing car and doesn’t have the stereotypical compact, stubby look of an electric car like the Bolt does. I think if Chevy made a 100% electric Volt, they would blow Tesla out of the water.

I say this because I tend to agree with your wife. The Bolt looks like a technological marvel, but I’m not crazy about the way it looks. For better or for worse, this plays into the public perception of EVs.

A pure electric needs more room for the battery and less room for the engine — so naturally it will look different.

Naturally different like the Model S, X and 3 right?

Kia didn’t have a problem offering both EV and ICE Souls with same body. The IONIQ, Kona, Niro, Fiat 500e, etc are further examples that offer ICE/Hybrid, PHEV and EV variants

I think because the market was beginning to tilt towards taller vehicles – CUV’s, SUV’s, trucks, etc. But I agree – they could have made the Volt just a little taller, while keeping its streamlined shape.

Or just increase the rear headroom and add about 12″ to the length would make it a true family hauler.

and make it RWD or even better AWD.

Not including the standard range Model 3 wouldn’t have changed the chart in a meaningful way, though — so I don’t think it really matters.

I agree that the “real life price” would be a more accurate metric for many people, perhaps including myself, but … but prices will differ from dealership to dealership, and from one day to another, and will depend on all kind of irrelevant to the subject factors, like trade-ins, special incentives, inventory status, group/loyalty discounts etc.

In other words, the “real life price” may be just too volatile to work with.

Also, some people would say – correctly – that they get 300 and not 238 miles out of the Bolt, others may say – also correctly – they get only 180 miles … to sum up, to avoid mess, you kind of have to go with the MSRP and the EPA range 🙂

Tesla Model 3 standard does not yet exist. I think it should be noted somehow. You can’t get one.

Chevy Bolt, amazing car. If it had been released even a couple years earlier..

It definitely is an impressive car easily the best current BEV for my needs. Too bad they hadn’t put just a little bit more thought into the styling and comfort. I love the way mine drives (better than our XC60 PHEV) and how functional the space is. My wife is having a hard time warming up to it because of the exterior looks and the plastic feel of the cockpit. I probably would have jumped at a M3 with a HATCH in a heart beat (AWD, better range, charging, more refined), but the non-practicality of the current layout made it a non starter.

Still amazing, I think.

What? It was the first affordable long-range EV. It’s a great car. Still some issues….they need to up that DC-fast-charging rate from the current 54KW maximum rate. But it’s the best affordable pure EV with a good range (Tesla doesn’t qualify yet as affordable since the cheapest Model 3 is still $49K.)

I did say it was great- I actually used the word ‘amazing.’ Unfortunately, the Model 3 is just better. And also has a Supercharging network. But the Bolt is great enough that I will still look long and hard at the lease return market in a couple years to potentially pick one up as the family backup.

Going to have to agree with the others on this one. A 28,700 Model 3, does not exist and never will, by the maker’s own admission.

Nope. Last statement by Tesla was deliveries start in Q4 (although not volume).

Nope, last statement was 8 months out just a couple weeks ago. That takes us into early next year. There will never be a 35k – 7.5k model 3. Maybe 35k – 3.75k.

I wonder why nobody is buying the i3…….lol BMW needs to move to our universe soon.

I saw one dead on Interstate 80 near ghetto Vallejo last month.

I did a poll a few years ago on the Tesla owners forum to determine what $ value Tesla owners placed on the Tesla Supercharger network… the poll results was $5,000 to priceless with several saying that they would not own an EV without access to a fast charge network. Not a single respondent said whey placed no value little value on the Tesla Supercharger network.

Reason I point this out is that there is no doubt that the Tesla Supercharger network is playing a big value-add factor in consumers choosing Tesla over alternative EVs that may have near $/e-mile comparative value (example: Chevy Bolt vs Telsa Model 3).

It will likely be 3+ years before a combination of fast charge network initiatives are installed able to compete against the existing Tesla fast charge network… which will be double in size in 3 years.

The traditional car makers have made a huge miscalculation allowing Tesla to continue to maintain an exclusive on access to a robust convenient and reliable fast charge network for those occasional long distance trips. I’ve come to the conclusion that a consortium of electric utility companies will need to solve the EV fast charge network challenge.

Yes, the SC network is a must for cross country travel or at least for trips over 3 hrs one-way where the battery gets drained. the 128 kW SC power is just barely acceptable, i.e., the delay to your trip is low (added 1 hr to a 7 hr trip), which you might be able to absorb in a lunch or bio break. 8 kW destination chargers (220V @ 40 A) are great for when you are spending the night somewhere. At this point, I’d say that the 320 kW chargers of the future would truly be fast, meaning very little if no delay to a trip. Anything under 50 kW would add time. We are early in the game/roll out. I hope that in 10 yrs, the charging scenario will be amazing.

What’s worse is that Tesla is offering others to join the Supercharger network if they contribute to costs, but nobody has.

Literally no other charging network (or fuel station!) works this way.

Every other network allows the consumer to “join” by “contributing to costs.” This includes all the CHAdeMO and J1772 networks that Tesla EVs use with adapters. Requiring automakers to join is a strategic decision designed to create the appearance that Tesla is being open; Tesla is aware that that no automaker has any interest in funding third-party charging networks, for exactly the same reason that Tesla doesn’t “contribute to costs” for ChargePoint, Bl!nk, EVgo, or any of the other charging networks that operate the CHAdeMO stations Tesla made an adapter for.

It’s theater. Tesla doesn’t want other EV drivers using the SC network, for obvious reasons: why would they throw away their market advantage?

The fact that no other charging network works that way (strategic investment by car makers to maximise customer utility, rather than operator revenue), is precisely why Tesla’s network works so much better.

So you’re saying that Tesla’s network works better because it’s set up to prevent non-Tesla customers from paying for their own access?

I mean, I think that’s true, but probably not in the same way you do.

No, that’s not what I said, obviously. Stop twisting my words.

I’m saying that financing a charger network primarily by usage fees, creates the wrong incentives. Tesla doesn’t do that, and this is why their network is good.

I guess every other refueling network in the world is wrong, then!

Probably Tesla has not offered anything of value to other makers, the SC is a moat and Tesla values that, others will have to get to work on their own charging system as Tesla is far ahead in this important area. I check my SC every day, especially looking for 3’s, they are very rare despite my proximity to Ca.

Utility companies appear to want no part of a charging network, and the margins for anyone who isn’t a utility company are small.

Tesla is in a unique position, in that they a) are selling exclusively to upmarket customers and b) can afford to build & operate SC stations without expectation of direct profitability on them. That’s not to say the SC network isn’t a big advantage! But the idea of building out a massive DCFC charging network is pretty much limited to startups right now, because any other company would be hamstrung by the lack of profitability in it.

I mean, gasoline is (and has been) far more profitable than electricity, and yet after a century of ICE dominance, we still don’t see Ford or GM gas stations.

I don’t like this metric for a number of reasons. The biggest is when we model the extremes. A EV with zero mile range is useful to no one. Even if it were free, no one would buy it. Similarly, a vehicle will a million mile range would be great. But if it had a price tag of a million dollars, no one could afford it. Despite its $1 per mile rating, it is priced out of 99.9% of budgets. Even if we assume ubiquitous fast charging, EVs are most economically efficient when sized for their average drive cycle. Knowing a Model 3 LR is cheaper per mile doesn’t help if you never need more than what the IONIQ provides.

Hehe, your “if it were free, no one would buy it” reminds me of “because it’s so crowed, no one goes there anymore”.

Way to go GM. Having a car that is number one in the ranking in affordability per mile in purchase cost, but showing no effort to actually sell it in large scale while the tax incentive still applies, or even produce some for export (despite the price increase, there is high demand in Europe, but I guess that will change a bit once the Model 3 arrives.

You can go to any Chevy dealership and have the keys to a brand-new Bolt in your hand, if not immediately, then in less than a week. The problem is not that GM doesn’t want to sell Bolts; the problem is that right now, EV demand is concentrated in the ultra-luxury segment.

GM had a decision to make: did they want to produce an EV Corvette to compete with Tesla, or produce the Volt/Bolt to compete with the Prius? Time will tell which was the correct option.

No Tesla vehicle available right now is “ultra-luxury”; and a $49,000 (minus incentives) Model 3 most certainly isn’t.

The average selling price of Tesla’s low-priced, “mass market” car is $60k.
The average selling price of their next cheapest car is $90k.

Now, maybe you personally define “ultra-luxury” as exclusively the domain of $200,000 Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. In that case, would you prefer the term “super-luxury”? Because these are definitely selling for more than “luxury” Cadillacs and Acuras.

Unlike you, I’m not inventing personal definitions here.

Seems that it would be pretty difficult for you to declare which cars most certainly aren’t “ultra-luxury” if you don’t even have a definition for what “ultra-luxury” means.

I said I have no *personal* definition, since I prefer to use the terms the way others do, rather then making up my own.

The $49K per se wouldn’t be “luxury” for a 9-seater SUV, or a heavy-duty pickup truck that tows a large horse trailer. But, as we know, the TM3 is a compact sedan, size-wise comparable to the new Cruze or CIvic, which start below $20K .. so the $49K definitely earns the epithet “luxury-plus” 🙂

I understand your though process, but both Volt and Bolt are unlike the Prius.

The Volt is a short range, but suitable for daily use BEV – with a large range extender. The Bolt is a long range pure BEV. By contrast, the Prius is a quintessential hybrid, period – even the plug-in (“Prime”) version, because its electric range is too tiny (20-something mi) to be used even as a short-range BEV.

Also, the Bolt was intended to be a technology testbed and a prototype platform for the upcoming generation of the GM electric cars.

The technology is different, but ultimately the Volt/Bolt are aimed at Prius customers, just as the Prius was different technology aimed at Civic (and Corolla, I suppose) customers.

He was pointing out that the Bolt is *not* readily available everywhere — at least not outside the US.

But I’m not sure what your point is supposed to be anyway. That there might be low demand in a segment lacking compelling offers? Well, duh.

Emphasis added: “showing no effort to actually sell it in large scale while the tax incentive still applies” That sentence pretty clearly indicates that the subject is (at least primarily) the US. Unless you would like to suggest some other tax incentive that’s about to expire? If we’re discussing foreign markets this discussion doesn’t even make sense, as Nissan has delivered far more Leafs outside of the US than anything Tesla offers. Your claim that the downmarket segments “lack compelling offers” would be easier to accept had the Volt and Bolt not each won a raft of awards. From a critical reception standpoint, the Volt was literally the best car GM has ever made. It was also the most awarded car in U.S. automaker history until the Model S came along a couple of years later and unseated it. I guess that must mean the Volt was always trash. Tesla is quite popular among the very wealthy; that’s an enviable position to be in, as they have established a strong brand in that market segment. But it’s pretty clear that at a price point where you have to make more sacrifices in what features you get, the general public is… Read more »

Are you just arguing for argument’s sake? Nothing here contradicts what I actually said — you are just going off on tangents.

If your point is that the Bolt is not readily available outside the US… well, duh. But no one was talking about foreign markets (including the person I responded to, who was talking about expiring US tax incentives).

If your point is that only Tesla makes compelling products… well, it’s a lot easier to consistently offer “compelling products” when the average price of cars that have rolled off your lot is north of $70 grand.

As for me, I’d like to see EVs adopted by the middle class, not just the wealthy few.

Maybe reread the original comment? He explicitly mentioned non-US sales as well.

My point is that the Bolt is not readily available everywhere. Nothing more, nothing less. I never claimed anything else in this thread.

I had high hopes for the Bolt as a potential mass-market EV, but it’s become apparent that GM is treating this first gen Bolt more as a test-bed/trial balloon to build expertise while limiting risk of spending too much money developing and producing a flop.

Great little car, it just needs to be priced competitively with other hot hatches: $25,000 base price, not $30k, would make a big difference, IMO.

Congratulations to IEVs to FINALLY, at this late date, realize the Bolt ev is the Low Cost Leader.

“FINALLY, at this late date”??

Um, I guess you missed this story from Dec 3, 2016, before the first Bolt was ever sold. How much earlier do you think they should have been?

“All-electric cars are becoming more and more affordable in terms of price per mile of EPA range, which is really the best proof of progress and market maturation for the segment.

This December brings once of the most crucial moments for this metric, with the arrival of the first of the 2nd generation EVs in the form of the Chevrolet Bolt EV – which at $154 MSRP per mile of EPA range ($126 including $7,500 tax credit) sets a new, and very low bar”


22k miles on my Bolt.
Love it. 3 kids in back, space for stuff, fits in my 100 year old garage
Wish it had adaptive cruise control as an option (like Cadillac SuperCruise).

In some parts of the country, your 100 year old garage would be a designated landmark😂.

feelin’ pretty good about my 2018 Leaf : )

The $4500 off MSRP was nice and the 0% for 72 months deal works out to about the same net benefit (~$5000) vs having paid cash instead.

Also getting $15,000 in gov’t discounts on top of that so my cost will be ~$50 per mile of EPA range (backed out the $3000 in taxes I, err NMAC, paid).

$50,000 car comes with a $250/mo opportunity cost yo

Well I’m proud of GM for making the cheapest EV per mile of range. Also I test drove the Bolt and it was enjoyable. Then again, I’d probably enjoy driving any BEV.