Top 8 Quickest, But Still Affordable, Plug-In Electric Cars


Sure, there are lots of plug-in electric cars that are quick, like the Tesla Model S P100D that zips from 0 to 60 MPH in 2.5 seconds or less, for example, but at $135,000 it isn’t even close to affordable.

Here we present quick (0 to 60 MPH) plug-in electric cars that are priced at or below the average new car selling price, which is $35,444, according to the latest Kelley Blue Book data.


That $35,444 ceiling is very restrictive when it comes to the current crop of plug-ins sold in the U.S., so to make the list a bit broader, we’re looking at EVs with an after-tax-credit price that’s below the average new car selling price threshold.


Let’s take a look at the 8 quickest (based on automaker published and/or documented test results) plug-in electric cars for under $35,444 (after tax credit, which varies based on battery kWh – see actual tax credits for each vehicle here).

8. Hyundai IONIQ Electric

The IONIQ Electric scoots from 0 to 60 MPH in 8.1 seconds and at $29,500 plus destination, or $22,885 after the tax credit, the IONIQ Electric easily makes our price cut off.


7. Ford Fusion Energi

The Fusion Energi hits 60 MPH from a standstill in 8 seconds, according to outside testing. At $31,400 plus destination, or $28,268 after the tax credit, the Fusion Energi is a solid deal.


6. Nissan LEAF

The new Nissan LEAF improves acceleration over the last generation and now, according to outside tests and estimates, goes from 0 to 60 MPH in 8.0 seconds. Priced from $29,990 plus destination, or a steal at $23,375 after the tax credit, the new LEAF is an excellent choice. We bumped it ahead of the Fusion Energi simply because it’s cheaper, despite the identical 0 to 60 MPH times.


5. Ford C Max Energi

It’s not often the C Max Energi gets mentioned around here these days, but it does make the list with a tested time of 0 to 60 MPH that varies from 7.6 to 7.9 seconds. It checks in at $27,120 plus destination, or $23,988 after the tax credit.


2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

4. Chrysler Pacific Hybrid

Woah…big ‘ol minivan makes it high up the chart. It’s tested 0 to 60 MPH time is 7.5 seconds. It’s rather expensive among this list though at $39,995 plus destination, or $33,590 after the tax credit.


Chevrolet Volt

3. Chevrolet Volt

The Volt has a test 0 to 60 MPH time of just 7.4 seconds. The Volt comes in at $33,220 plus destination, or a reasonable $26,595 after the tax credit.


2. MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4

The plug-in hybrid Mini is the first on the list to crack into the 6s with a 0 to 60 MPH time of 6.7 seconds. It’s quick, but expensive. Price from $36,800 plus destination, or $33,649 after the tax credit, this MINI barely makes our price cut off.


1. Chevrolet Bolt

And the winner is…with its 0 to 60 time of just 6.5 seconds, the Bolt captures the crown in this affordable, yet quick comparo. Price from $36,620 plus destination, or $29,995 after the tax credit, there’s no competition for the Bolt in this comparo. Oh, it goes 238 miles per charge, too.



Tesla Model 3

Honorable Mention – Standard Range Tesla Model 3

Though not yet available, this version of the Model 3 would meet our price criteria (provided Tesla sticks true to its promised price) and it’s expected to go from 0 to 60 MPH in 5.5 seconds, but you can’t buy it, so it doesn’t make our cut.



0 to 60 MPH times are but one parameter for measuring performance. In the real world, 0 to 30 MPH might matter more.


Or maybe, off-the-line quickness doesn’t matter at all to you. If that’s the case, then perhaps you’ll find the slowest EV (which happens to be the cheapest too) on the U.S. market right now, the Smart fortwo ED, perfectly suitable for you with its 0 to 60 MPH time of nearly 12 seconds.

Categories: Buying Advice, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Lists, Mini, Nissan

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41 Comments on "Top 8 Quickest, But Still Affordable, Plug-In Electric Cars"

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Top 8 plugin hybrids.

People are confused enough.

Top 8 Plug-ins

4 are Hybrids.

They are plug-in hybrids, not just hybrids.

They are a good choice for someone who can drive using battery power only for 80 percent or more of their daily driving needs, but wants a gas powered backup for the other 20%.

They also a good choice if the tax credit makes them cheaper then the non plug-in, hybrid version.

They also come in a larger vehicle which is important for many folks.

4 are not electric but rather hybrids.

The thread title is the problem.

Plug-in hybrids.
Only the Volt can post the advertised 0-60 time in EV only mode.

a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.
dogmatist, purist, literalist, formalist, doctrinaire, …

I thought there were a handful of pedantic sorts lurking on the site today, then I realized almost all the posts were by Clive.

And then?

And then Clive realized that a PHEV is an electric car and came to the conclusion that complaining about PHEV’s being in an electric car list is kind of pointless.
The End.


Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough.

Just because you see the world from your perspective doesn’t make it so. Cool story bro.

Maybe get over yourself!

Nah. How is my pointing out that a story on Inside Electric Vehicles dot com that compares various types of electric vehicles, both BEV’s and PHEV’s, is appropriate, whereas you were saying that it should only show BEV’s. Do you want to start your own website, call it “InsideBEVs” maybe?
Because that is what you are saying.
The title of the website indicates that the articles are going to be about both types of EV’s, both BEV’s and PHEV’s. So complaining about what the website is dedicated to is kind of pointless, even if you prefer one to the other.

Actually, 3 electrics and 5 plug-in hybrids.

I’m not confused, are you?

Why do you keep finding ways to EXCLUDE the By Far, Better BMW i3 REX, and the BMW i3 Sport REX?

Is it that BMW seems to have capped US sales at around 700 a month?

Because it is not affordable. BMW (broke my wallet)

Maybe do top 8 Electric

And top 8 Hybrids

Who cares about how fast they accelerate when they’re not fully electric. Are you at InsideEVs encouraging people to burn more gas in their plug in hybrids? You sure have to think about the partnership with Motor1. I think there is an conflict in interest.

The BMW has a high “list price”.
Come on guys, work the system. Go thru a buying service, and you can lease a BMW i3 for less than a Volt or a Bolt.

I think the Volt is great, but if you need rear seat adult room and like the excellent BMW suspension, it’s the car to get. Especially if you drive into cities much, because it’s hands down the Best EV to drive in a city. Those tall tires roll over bumps with much greater smoothness than your typical car. And it’s extreme nimbleness make it a pleasure to drive.

If you “code” the car, you decide when the REX engine turns on, and no range anxiety.

On the east coast, even in cities, charging stations are typically 20 miles apart. If one is disabled, you could be stuck with a pure EV on a long trip.

The REX is the Perfect Solution for the current build state of charging infrastructure.

I don’t know anyone who drives a BMW i3 and doesn’t have a smile on his/her face.

Actually, the i3 MSRP is only about $1500 over the price criteria of this story.
Yes, the advanced CFRP construction, RWD architecture alone should be more than worth the price premium over the other cars mentioned in this story.

Taking into account the very conservative ratings of BMW Vs. Optimistic ratings of GM in regards to HP and acceleration numbers, the i3 is every bit as quick as the Bolt.

I’m not going to file an official protest but the BMW i3 advertised 7.9 and 7.0 as tested by Autobytel seems worthy of an honorable mention. Presumably it was DQ’d as not affordable but in light of the recent utility co offers of an additional $10k off that puts the net cost below that of the unavailable TM3.

You get nothing on a Model 3, but 10k on an i3. So with a discount range like that, they could have included the i3 as well. At least as a honorable mention.

Because other than the Model 3, you can go out and buy an i3, for less than 35k right now.

Also, in many European countries the i3s is cheaper than the Ampera-e (Bolt).

I guess the BMW i3 didn’t make the list because of it’s somewhat high price. But what about the Fiat 500e? I’m pretty sure it’s faster than the Ioniq.

Per EV obsession the 500e is/was 8.7 seconds which would not be in top 8.

Check out our Compare EVs tab on the top of the homepage. All the 0-60 times are listed there.

David those were replaced w quasi electric cars

There also is/was the Spark EV at 7.2 seconds.

I wouldn’t count any of the plug-in hybrids except the Volt because they require the ICE to post their 0-60 times. In EV only mode, the Ford Energi twins have a 15 second 0-60, or something ridiculous like that.
Bolt #1….WOOO!


+ 1000 for Brosef

In some previous articles you arranged EVs as range/$ and in keeping with that I would have preferred this list to be acceleration based by 0-60 times i.e. seconds x $.
So my list would be:
1. Ford C Max
2. Hyundai Ioniq
3. Nissan LEAF
4. Chevrolet Bolt
5. Chevrolet Volt
6. Mini Cooper Countryman
7. Ford Fusion Energi
8. BMW i3
9. Chrysler Pacific

And if included, Tesla Model 3 would be 1.

Awesome article– very interested to see where the EV markets will be in 10-20 years. I know a long way out, but Tesla sure has catalyzed R&D in this space and all of the big manufacturers are diving head first. Very cool to see. I wonder what vehicles will have Tesla logos on them in 10 years…

In 10 years they might say Apple on them instead.

Nope! The supposed “Apple” electric car would cost over $40,000, and not even Steve Wozniack , the Apple co-founder, will buy it! He is very happy with his 2017 Chevy Bolt EV!

0-60 mph isn’t everything. I like a car that has decent acceleration but it also has to handle well and be fun to drive. It should make me smile on runs to the grocery store but not tempt me into stop light drag races. IMHO the Volkswagen eGolf balances those qualities nicely.

You should test drive the Bolt. It’s a blast to drive.

The Bolt is surprisingly fun, just wish it looked better…

I’m surprised the C-Max Energi is on the list since it has been discontinued and no longer for sale. Also, I’m surprised the Fiat 500e is not on the list. I’m not sure what it’s time is but I have one and it feels every bit as fast as my Volt.

The FIAT 500e has an 8.9-second zero-to-60-mph time.

Our Compare EVs tab on the top of the homepage should have 0-60 times for all BEVs and PHEVs on the market.

As Tesla & BMW are the only companies offering fully electric cars in Australia at present this is for US consumption only. We do not even have any dates for the 2018 leaf. I think I will unsubscribe as most of the information in INSIDE EVs will probably never apply to Australia.

M3 Owned- Spark Leased - Niro EV TBD

Had Fiat 500e and Spark EV and now the Model 3. All fun driving off the line. All three comparable straight line 0-30.
30-60 Model 3 separates clearly with Spark edging the Fiat with highway merging effort.

Highway passing. Model 3 hands down.

Handling? Not even close. Model 3 is a sports sedan. Spark and Fiat are EV pocket rockets and fun to drag straight line and quick corner starts, but any real fun is lost with the OEM tires losing grip and squealing away. Through on real tires and these guys don’t go further than 60 miles on a charge.

Will we miss our super cheap fun 500e and Spark? Yes. They were essentially free local commuter cars.

Do we LOVE our Model 3? Absolutely. It’s our old Audi A3 performance again with space of our Infiniti G37.

What about the Kia soul ev? Why is it not on your list. It gets up to 147 miles to the charge, with many other advantages. Curious why it is not on your list.

It has a 9.2-second 0-60-mph time. The cutoff for this article was around 8 seconds since it’s about “quickest” plug-ins. That doesn’t mean the Kia Soul EV isn’t a great car. I love it. It is on some of our other lists and the next generation will be even better.