Here Are The Cheapest Electric Cars Available In The U.S.



One of the barriers to electric vehicle ownership for many eco-curious buyers is price. Assuming battery technology continues to advance with costs falling precipitously, experts predict that an average EV might be priced on a par with conventionally fueled vehicles by 2024, and could even become cheaper after that. In the meantime, however, most EVs command higher sticker prices than comparable vehicles that pack an internal combustion engine.

But they’re not all as expensive as one might think.

With the average price of a new vehicle in the U.S. currently at around $35,000, we found six new electric cars that fall below that threshold, and cost much less when one factors in the one-time $7,500 federal tax credit. If you qualify for it, the credit effectively drops the starting price for the absolute cheapest EV on the market to just over $17,000. That’s about the cost of a 2019 plain-vanilla subcompact gas-fueled car. And that’s not counting the incentives doled out by a handful of states that can sweeten the deal even further.

Unfortunately, models from General Motors and Tesla are effectively seeing a price hike during 2019 because the $7,500 tax credit granted to EV buyers is being phased out for those brands. The credits are set to expire during the calendar year after an automaker sells 200,000 battery-powered models (this includes both EVs and plug-in hybrids).

Tesla hit that mark last July, which means the federal credit for the Model 3, Model S, and Model X dropped to $3,750 for vehicles on January 1, will fall to $1,875 on July 1, and will be eliminated on December 31. To help soften the blow, Tesla has subsequently cut the price of each of its three models by $2,000.

With GM having reached the 200,000-unit mark at the end of 2018, credits on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, and the soon-to-be discontinued Volt will begin phasing out on April 1, 2020. However, there’s a chance Congress may extend, revise, or even repeal the EV tax credits in the months ahead, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we’re featuring the six cheapest electric vehicles in the U.S. for the 2019 model year in the accompanying post. We’re noting the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the base model in each line and its effective cost after taking the $7,500 federal tax credit. All prices include the automaker’s destination charge, but not options, fees, or taxes.

If any of these rides are still too rich for your budget, be sure to check out the extensive listings of used electric vehicles being offered for sale here on, the Internet’s totally free marketplace for EV buyers and sellers.


Base MSRP: $34,945 ($27,445 after federal tax credit). With a significantly updated and upgraded version coming for 2020, the current Kia Soul EV compact crossover carries over for 2019 as one of the year’s most affordable electric vehicles. It’s estimated to run for 111 miles on a charge and get the electric equivalent (“MPGe”) of 124/93-mpg city/highway. Sales are limited to California and a handful of other states.

Fiat 500e

5. FIAT 500E

Base MSRP: $34,240 ($26,740 after federal tax credit). This electric Italian is both stylish and fun to drive, though it’s cramped quarters inside and it’s only available in California and Oregon. The 500e is estimated to run for just 84 miles on a charge, but it gets a steadfast 121/103 MPGe.

Volkswagen e-Golf


Base MSRP: $31,390 ($23,890 after federal tax credit). The compact Volkswagen eGolf’s is not a big seller, and its days may be numbered as the automaker prepares a new line of ID-branded EVs for 2020 and beyond. Sales are limited to California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington D.C. In the meantime, the eGolf’s battery pack enables a 125-mile operating range, while the electric motor delivers a frugal 126/111 MPGe. (Prices are for 2018 models, but are current as of this writing.)


Base MSRP: $30,885 ($23,385 after federal tax credit). The Nissan Leaf is the 2019 EV that arguably delivers the most bang for the buck. The Leaf can run for an average 150 miles on a full charge and it’s rated for energy efficiency at 124/99 MPGe. Though it will surely be costlier, Nissan will be “turning over a new Leaf” when it introduces an upgraded e+ version that promises a 226-mile range later in 2019.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric


Base MSRP: $30,700 ($23,200 after federal tax credit). The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is a small battery-powered four-door hatchback that’s at the core of the EV market for 2019. It edges out the Nissan Leaf by just a few bucks in price, and approaches that model in terms of its operating range at 124 miles. It beats the Leaf in terms of energy efficiency, however, at 150/122 MPGe.


Base MSRP: $24,650 ($17,150 after federal tax credit). The cheapest electric vehicle for 2019 is also the smallest battery powered ride, seating just two passengers with scant cargo space. To its credit, the renamed Smart EQ ForTwo comes wrapped in funky styling and is the only EV among this year’s models that’s available as a convertible. Though it’s operating range is a paltry 58 miles on a charge, that’s sufficient for an easy-to-park and cheap-to-run urban vehicle, or one for getting to and from a commuter rail station. It’s only sold in California, New York, and a few other states with zero-emission-vehicle mandates. It’s rated at 124/94 MPGe. (Note: Prices are for 2018 models, but are current as of this writing.)

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47 Comments on "Here Are The Cheapest Electric Cars Available In The U.S."

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There are some updated for Feb. lease deals from individual dealers now too:

And New Inventory/Used cars from Tesla:

Also this for new EV purchase deals

CA deals seem to be drying up…and moving to E.

For January 2019, Hyundai sold 34 Ioniques and VW sold 164 e-Golfs (0 Kia Souls?? — 1,134 for 2018).

Nissan’s taking the affordable-ish normal-car BEV segment by default right now.

No credits unless the car sells in all 50 states and sells more than 20,000 units in a calendar year. Stops the gaming the system.

How many electric cars were sold in Alaska last year?

I’m not sure about last year’s sales, but at the beginning of last year, there were about 6000 plug-ins registered in the state. Alaska isn’t a bad place for EV’s because most trips that are longer than an EV’s range are made with a plane or boat anyway.

Slightly fewer than were sold in Pennsylvania.

Would be nice if the author had also tried to pull in the different state incentives, as well as current lease deals, etc. For pretty much all mfg other than Tesla, MSRP is not a good baseline, as it’s rare to actually pay MSRP. For example, I have seen fully loaded Bolt Premier (MSRP above $40k) listed at $32k before state and federal incentives in California. That puts its near $22k. And would easily make this list.

Adittionally, while they mention limited availability by state for some of the cars on the list, nothing is mentioned about the limited availability of The Hyundai IONIQ EV.

Same deal is currently available in Oregon for Bolt EVs—-all are advertised at $6-$7k under MSRP before the tax rebate. The Bolt EV will be the best deal on an EV until at least April of this year.

Which dealer? I call BS on most of those type of extreme deals. Good luck to anyone actually getting that price. Usually requires many incentives and discounts for which most people don’t qualify. The Bolt still has some very good legitimate deals available to anyone but those typically top out at $6-7K off msrp here in So Cal.

Possibly based on MSRP. Not actual selling price.

I can show you my invoice if you like. Otherwise, these prices are advertised at most of the big auto dealers in Oregon…a simply Google search e.g., Kendall Auto, Capitol Chevy in Salem, etc.

The smart is a 10k Ice that sell for 25k USD as a BEV. No wonder no one buys it. Recall Tesla is 80% of US BEV market. Without Tesla the BEV market in the US would practically not exist.

So many articles assume price is the most important factor. There just aren’t many people that are going to put down $37k for an oddball economy car when $44k gets you the prestige of driving the most popular luxury car in the country, and the less expensive low range EV’s just aren’t convenient enough.

Naturally the oddballs will get incentives (7500 USD) that Tesla will not have by next year. However, next year Tesla will sell a 35k USD Model 3 and then it will easily outsell the oddballs at 37k USD with 7.5k incentives. It is that simple. So I expect Tesla’s dominance of the US BEV market to continue.

I won’t let the government choose what company I buy a car from, any no one else should either; It’s totally unethical.

“The smart is a 10k Ice that sell for 25k USD as a BEV.”

Smart Fortwo MSRP started at 12.5k, more like $16k with features included on the BEV.

Your point is a good one, though. A competent BEV has a $12k fuel tank and saves 25-50% on the drivetrain. This math simply does not work for econocars with $2k drivetrains. Nobody wants to pay $25k++ for a $15k car.

A $75k performance sedan with a $10k+ drivetrain is a different story. You can offset a meaningful chunk of the battery cost with drivetrain savings, and there’s enough fluff in the $75k MSRP that you can hide the rest.

Tesla figured this out in 2010. Jag and the Germans are finally coming around. GM, Ford, etc. are not in the game.

While that’s true GM and Ford don’t sell many $75k vehicles.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The smart doesn’t have DCFC. In the United States of Single Phase, that’s the real deal-killer.

Cheapest are also the poorest for battery life. The LEAF and SOUL don’t have liquid cooling. They die 100% like rocks in the Southern USA. Here in the Phoenix area all LEAF loss 10-20% a year in capacity. Our SOUL EV even shut down twice when the controller overheated in rush hour traffic. So if you must have a Cheap car only lease or your stuck with a dead car.

It’s too made Chevy stopped making the SPARK EV. It was a best buy and the most affordable. My 2016 still has 98% battery capacity after 3 years and 20K miles. The Bolt is very good but over double the price.

My 2014 Spark EV with ~40k miles is down about 20%. But it’s hard to tell for sure, as I can’t find a reliable source for how much useable KWh the battery is.

But based on the battery percentage read out, I have about 16kwh left.

“Here in the Phoenix area all LEAF loss 10-20% a year in capacity.”

The reality is bad enough; why do you feel the need to wildly exaggerate the problem? Wouldn’t sticking to the truth be better?

“Sticking to the truth” is a reality that some choose to EVade!

Yes, Southern Leafs will have potential battery wilting (degradation) problems, but the Nissan battery degradation warranty (8 yr. / 100k mi. to 70% of capacity) is not bad, considering the ICE OEM EV price point equivalents and alternatives.

Per “To help soften the blow, Tesla has subsequently cut the price of each of its three models by $2,000.”, Only in the USA, where it lost just $3,750 benefit. In Ontario, Canada, where we lost $14,000, it doesn’t seem to have been dropped, at all!

I could be wrong, and may have missed some corporate price drop here, but no story on anything like that, surfaced, here!

Maybe you will get the credit back when FOrever RetarDed gets voted out.

Tesla doesn’t set prices at sub-country levels. Your national incentives didn’t change, did they?

Besides of the Leaf, these are all compliance cars or vaporware outside of CARB states. GM still has full tax incentive until end of March 2019, and Bolts and Volts are heavily discounted, easily in the price range targeted here. They are available in all states.

“Besides of the Leaf, these are all compliance cars or vaporware outside of CARB states.“

As you state the Bolt is available in all 50 States, and not a CARB compliance car.

So why didn’t InsideEV list the Bolt here ?

No 6 is under $36k msrp…do you even know what is Bolt’s msrp?

No one pays MSRP. Except Tesla buyers.

What nonsense. There were lots of Chevy dealers, especially in rural areas, putting a surcharge of up to $5000 on the Bolt EV during its first several weeks, or few months, of sales. So some buyers paid well above MSRP to get their car.

The trend is for actual selling prices at auto dealerships to start high, when models are new, and to drop over time as the months pass. Rinse and repeat for each new model year.

Thank goodness Tesla doesn’t play that game!

I paid $7K off MSRP in Oregon on a 2019 Bolt Premier….so….there’s that fact.

That’s not the purpose of this top…do you seriously not get that?

I haven’t seen a Bolt on a dealership floor on Pennsylvania yet.

Average price Median price
The median price for a new vehicle in the US is probably below $30,000.

Why don’t you do a google search…and find out it’s not below.

Sure they’re cheaper than a comparable ICE when you factor in the incentives but keep in mind a few things (1) taxes, registration, and insurance are based on your MSRP, which is still higher. (2) your depreciation is far greater because those incentives aren’t available to used buyers. (3) Many of these lower range EVs still have a relatively high battery replacement cost that makes long term ownership a concern, especially in lower range models. Before everyone criticized me for being anti-EV, I’ve owned 3 electric vehicles. I thought I was getting a killer deal on my 2015 Leaf, which cost $18000 after taxes and incentives. Sold it used in October for $8500, so there’s your depreciation. My 2017 Focus Electric is a lease but will cost me $15400 all in (lease payments, buyout, taxes, incentives) if I decide to buy it at lease end. I expect the resale to be quite low by then but a far better deal than my Leaf. My 2018 Clarity plug in was $25000 all in taxes and incentives. I’m sure it will depreciate a bit as well but the gas engine means that I’m less impacted by battery degradation. Buy/lease at your own… Read more »

“Here are the cheapest electric cars available in CARB states”

There, I fixed it for you.

I was actually thinking this morning what an interesting proposition a used Smart EV is. It seems like they can be had for dirt cheap. Like $6k USD for a used one that is just a few years old with very low mileage.

Anyone know if a trailer hitch can be fitted to them?

Why? You can find the 500e and even the Leaf for close to $6k…the Smart is not worth it.

I LOVE my 2014 Smart Electric Cabrio! It had 8k miles and I got her for $7k. Never had more fun driving any car I’ve owned. My commute is 15 miles. It’s a great 2nd car! The wife has her ICE mom-mobile for long family trips. These cars are a steal used. Can’t recommend enough. Especially in sunny states.

Great To see such a defined article with MSRP and $ and tangible numbers behind EV, but what gets me is the range. It’s an Average. I own a 2016 Soul EV+ with everything on it except the whole vehicle glass sunroof. Fantastic build quality and a great driving experience.
Truth be told and awareness be built, my Average range is EPA rated at 93 miles. The range varies by as much as 50% from 125 miles in 80F to as low as 64 miles in 8f polar vortex’d. In NY we have 4 seasons and yes the average of 90 miles is pretty correct but a deviation of 30+/- miles is significant, given the temperature fluctuation of my geography. The Low end of that number is what people need to know. If your daily commute is 30 miles one way or 60 round trip. you are good to go.

The “middle class” needs a $25,000 EV to really hit the mass market. We can put a good face to it, but the disappearance of the incentives really cut the number of potential EV buyers.
Someone should build an up to par in safety, but otherwise stripped EV with 200 mile range. Forget glass tops, electric windows and cup holders if it needs to be. What we need is VW for the masses. (It was Hitler’s only good idea.)

Watch out! The Chinese will do just that! Remember the first Toyotas and the Hyundai Pony? Get ready for the Chinese EV.

You forgot to mention Electromeccanica. One of their car models is around $15,000.

I’d recommend putting the picture after the number. I had to double look to see if it was that car and luckily knew the brands