As the remaining 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUVs leave dealer lots, the sub-$30,000 EV market is rapidly dwindling. Today, the only EV with a sub-$30,000 tag is the $29,235 ($25,485 with tax credit) Nissan Leaf. While the Nissan Leaf is still a decent electric car, the 40-kilowatt-hour version is a bit of a bore and has been virtually unchanged since 2018. So this leaves a question that only automakers can answer: will there be more affordable EVs? With a recent incentive from Hyundai, the answer is a resounding "yes."

Ending April 30, Hyundai is offering $7,500 off the purchase price of a 2024 Kona Electric. This offer is valid on all trims and provides a notable discount as the credit makes up a hefty percentage of the vehicle's price. The Kona Electric SE now runs $26,550, just $1,065 more than a Nissan Leaf with the IRA tax credit.

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The race to a more affordable EV

More and more automakers are chasing affordability with their next generation of EVs, ideally making them under $30,000 to target a new wave of buyers. But making those cars profitable is a unique challenge, since EVs represent new technology and huge changes to the supply chains needed to make cars.

There is a case for paying more for the Kona thanks to its liquid-cooled battery pack and more modern SUV-esque body style. Nevertheless, the now $26,550 Kona Electric SE is a solid deal.

Previously, the Kona Electric was only a so-so value proposition with a starting price of $34,050. At that price, it is hard not to consider that a 2024 Tesla Model Y RWD is just $37,130 with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) EV incentive. At $3,080 more, the Model Y is faster, offers many more features and space, charges quicker, and goes further. Simply put, with its 133 horsepower powertrain and 200-mile range, the Kona Electric has no business being in the $30,000 range. 

For some lucky buyers, it won't be.

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric64

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric SE

  • Incentivized Price: $26,550
  • 133 horsepower
  • 48.6 kWh battery
  • 200-mile EPA range

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric SEL

  • Incentivized Price: $30,550
  • 201 horsepower
  • 64.8 kWh battery
  • 261-mile EPA range

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited

  • Incentivized Price: $34,920
  • 201 horsepower
  • 64.8 kWh battery
  • 261-mile EPA range

For the 2024 model year, Hyundai introduced a new body style to the Kona lineup and a new EV battery option. Historically, Hyundai offered the Kona Electric with a single powertrain option: a 64.8 kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled battery paired with a 201 horsepower electric motor. For 2024, Hyundai introduced an entry-level option featuring a smaller 48.6-kilowatt-hour battery and a somewhat insignificant 133-horsepower motor. SEL and Limited feature the larger pack and can travel 261 miles, per the EPA. The SE has the little battery option, reaching 200 miles on a single charge. 

Hyundai improved the DC fast charging speed to 100 kilowatts, meaning a 10 to 80 percent charge will take around 45 minutes. It's by no means as fast to charge as the pricier Ioniq 5 and 6, but it's a step up from the Chevrolet Bolt, whose hardware is comparatively old school. 

The Kona Electric SE, which starts at $26,550 with the incentive, offers a decent repertoire of standard features, including wireless Apple CarPlay, a six-way power driver's seat, and adaptive cruise control. At $30,550 is the Kona Electric SEL, which comes with a bigger battery and a beefier electric motor. The SEL features heated front seats, roof rails, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, among others. The top-trim Limited version goes for $34,920 with the discount. It comes with Hyundai's Digital Key, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power tailgate, Bose Audio and more. 

While buying a Kona Electric outright is much more affordable, leasing could be a better route for some, thanks to the $7,500 leasing incentive. For those interested in leasing, Hyundai is also offering some compelling deals. 

Gallery: 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric US

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric SE

  • Lease: $169 per month for 24 months with $1,999 due at signing
  • Total price: $6,055 for 24 months

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric SEL

  • Lease: $199 per month for 24 months with $1,579 due at signing
  • Total price: $6,355 for 24 months

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric Limited

  • Lease: $242 per month for 24 months with $1,999 due at signing
  • Total price: $7,807 for 24 months

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The race for an affordable EV

Many automakers are racing toward more affordable EVs, ideally under $30,000 to reach new a new wave of buyers. But making those cars profitably is its own challenge. 

Despite the relatively sizeable trim-related price bumps for buying, leasing higher trim-level options is a bit peculiar as the SEL is a mere $300 more than the SE. For an extra $12.50 a month, lessees can have access to 61 additional miles of range, 68 more horses, and additional comfort features. In that lens, leasing an SEL makes the most sense. 

Regardless of whether one was to lease or purchase the Kona Electric, the new prices make the Kona Electric look much more intriguing to buyers. The Kona Electric is by no means a world-beating electric car, but for less than $27,000 out-the-door, it's certainly worth looking into. 

Note: The Hyundai Kona EV is available in every state except for South Dakota, Wyoming, and South Carolina.

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