10 Cheap Electric Cars To Buy in 2023

Hyundai Ioniq 6

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Chevy Bolt EV

Following the Leader

Electric vehicles are poised to take over the world, with the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute estimating that EVs will surpass two-thirds of global car sales by 2030. Even today, EVs have entered the mainstream, meaning that not everyone has to fork over $42,000 for the no-frills entry-level Tesla. Take the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV, for example. After you factor in the $7,500 tax credit, it's cheaper than, say, a Honda Civic with a traditional gas engine.

We’ve stacked a list of similarly affordable electric vehicles based on price, listing the cheapest trim's MSRP along with helpful details like range and tax credit eligibility. Our guide also includes a wealth of information about electric cars more generally, including how to find the best deals and the right EV for you.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV

1. The Cheapest Electric Car: The 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV 1LT

Base MSRP: $26,595

Federal Tax Credit: $7,500

Body Style: Subcompact hatchback

Combined Mileage: 120 MPGe

Range: 259 miles

Where They're Made: Orion Township, Michigan

A favorite among critics and consumers, Chevy's 2023 Volt is the perfect entry-level electric vehicle. Not only is it the cheapest EV on the market, but it boasts a spacious interior, fast-charge capability, and a respectable 259-mile driving range. It's no surprise, then, that its departure was met by dramatic eulogies after General Motors Co. announced that it was discontinuing the nameplate. "GM killed the Chevy Bolt — and the dream of a small, affordable EV," one headline reads. 

But then the Bolt came back from the dead, with Chevy walking back its statement in July. The company would continue producing the Volt, upgrading it with a new battery platform called Ultium. The only bad news is that you'll have to wait until 2025 for the new model, according to Car and Driver. For now, you can still find the 2023 EV and larger EUV model (with driver-assist) on lots with MSRPs of $28,595 and $28,795, respectively.

2024 Nissan Leaf

2. 2024 Nissan Leaf S

Base MSRP: $28,140

Federal Tax Credit: $3,750

Body Style: Compact hatchback

Combined Mileage: 111 MPGe

Range: 149 miles

Where They're Made: Smyrna, Tennessee

The best thing about the Leaf is its starting price. Other than that, critics say that Nissan's cheap, gasoline-free hatchback has a frustratingly short range and a slow fast-charging time. But that might not be a problem for city-dwellers who are looking for a small electric car on a tight budget. Plus, this thing is deceptively spacious and comfy, with Car and Driver calling its seats "La-Z-Boy comfortable." The standard infotainment system is also decent, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2024 Mini Cooper SE Electric

3. 2024 Mini Cooper Electric Classic

Base MSRP: $30,900

Federal Tax Credit: N/A

Body Style: Subcompact hatchback

Combined Mileage: 108 MPGe

Range: 110 miles

Where They're Made: Oxford and Swindon, England (Zhangjiagang, China in 2024)

Like the Leaf, the electric Mini Cooper Electric Classic is a nice vehicle for running around urban areas. But its range of 110 miles rules out most road trips — unless you’re OK with frequent stops to recharge. Despite its drawbacks, MotorTrend says the small EV is "an affordable electric runabout with typical Mini charm" thanks to its iconic design and fun-to-drive handling. 

And if you must have a Mini but need a larger battery pack, you can wait until the company releases its all-new 2025 Cooper Electric, which could hit lots as early as next spring. According to Car and Driver, the new Mini Cooper E should have about 200 miles of range per charge.

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric

4. 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric SE

Base MSRP: $35,000

Federal Tax Credit: N/A

Body Style: Subcompact crossover SUV

Combined Mileage: 120 MPGe

Range: 200 miles

Where They're Made: Ulsan, South Korea

“The newest iteration of the Hyundai Kona Electric is meant to turn heads. And it will,” Car and Driver says of this medium-sized SUV that offers a 133-horsepower electric motor with a range of 200 miles on a charge. That's because the 2024 model is the first of a new generation of the Kona Electric, which is bigger, more futuristic, and has an impressive DC charging feature that takes the battery from 10% to 80% in 43 minutes.

2022 Mazda MX-30
Mazda North American Operations

5. 2023 Mazda MX-30

Base MSRP: $34,110

Federal Tax Credit: N/A

Body Style: Subcompact crossover SUV

Combined Mileage: 92 MPGe

Range: 100 miles

Where They're Made: Hiroshima, Japan

Mazda's first all-electric vehicle may be its last — at least for the near future. As Car and Driver reported in July, Mazda announced that would discontinue the MX-30 after 2023, instead focusing its efforts on plug-in hybrids like the CX-90 and CX-70. Although Car and Driver praised the CX-30 for its sleek design and playful handling, the medium-sized car's dismal 100-mile range made it impractical for most consumers. That (and the fact that it was sold exclusively in California) mean that this model was, as Car and Driver writes, "doomed from the start."

2024 Kia Niro EV

6. 2024 Kia Niro EV Wind

Base MSRP: $39,600

Federal Tax Credit: N/A

Body Style: Compact crossover SUV

Combined Mileage: 113 MPGe

Range: 253 miles

Where They're Made: Seoul, South Korea

The Kia Niro EV is somewhat affordable and has a decent range at a hair over 250 miles. But is that enough for Kia's cheapest EV to stand out? MotorTrend says no. While the publication praises the medium-sized SUV's redesign, it says competitors charge faster and are more affordable. "We are fans of the Niro and its EV variant, but its rivals have advanced more rapidly," MotorTrend writes.

Volkswagen ID.4

7. 2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Standard

Base MSRP: $41,000 (estimated)

Federal Tax Credit: $7,500

Body Style: Mid-size sedan

Combined Mileage: 97 MPGe

Range: 275 miles

Where They're Made: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Edmunds calls Volkswagen's ID.4 "the people's electric vehicle." While we wouldn't go that far — it's still over $30,000, even after the $7,500 federal tax credit — it's relatively affordable compared to other medium-sized competitors in its class. Apart from its price, the American-made ID.4 earns plaudits for capacious cabin and storage, which Edmunds calls "genius." The front cabin in particular shines with its "configurable center console area with removable cupholders and partitions." In other words, this is an EV for families.

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Tesla Model 3

8. 2024 Tesla Model 3 RWD (Standard Range)

Base MSRP: $42,000 (estimated)

Federal Tax Credit: $7,500 (likely reduced to $3,750 in 2024)

Body Style: Mid-size sedan

Combined Mileage: 113 MPGe

Range: 272 miles

Where They're Made: Fremont, California

Tesla’s medium-sized entry-level sedan with a top speed of 140 mph is the least expensive of its current lineup. Since Teslas will likely no longer qualify for the full federal tax credit in 2024, they lose some of their competitive edge in pricing. What's more, the car still has a few quirky idiosyncrasies, like its near-complete lack of physical controls. Other manufacturers have also had time to catch up to the electric car pioneer, with Car and Driver writing that BMW i4, Hyundai Ioniq 6, and Polestar 2 provide similar packages with "fewer compromises."

Related: She's Going the Distance! Report: The 23 Longest-Lasting Cars On the Market

Hyundai Ioniq 6

9. 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE (Standard Range)

Base MSRP: $40,000 (estimate)

Federal Tax Credit: N/A

Body Style: Mid-size sedan

Mileage: 114 MPGe

Range: 260 miles

Where They're Made: Asan, South Korea

While Hyundai's electric sedan has the same powertrain and battery platform as the Ioniq 5, this aerodynamic auto can travel 15% to 20% farther because of its streamlined shape, according to MotorTrend. The publication goes as far as calling it a "benchmark sedan" in its preliminary review, applauding everything from the medium-sized car's stunning design to its cutting-edge tech. "From the way it looks, to the way it drives, to the advanced technologies it can put at the disposal of its drivers and passengers, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a sophisticated and intelligent electric vehicle, easily outclassing mass-market EVs from the likes of Volkswagen and Toyota and Ford," MotorTrend writes.

Related: Hummers, Cadillacs, and More of the Biggest Cars Ever Made

Hyundai Ioniq 5

10. 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE (Standard Range)

Base MSRP: $41,650

Body Style: Compact crossover SUV

Combined Mileage: 113 MPGe

Range: 220 miles

Where They're Made: Ulsan, South Korea, and Cikarang, Indonesia

Hyundai's Ioniq 5 is far from the cheapest EV, but the extra cash may be worth it, as this car receives stellar reviews from critics. Car and Driver named the medium-sized crossover the Best Electric SUV, highlighting its lightning-fast charging speed, spacious back seat, and striking design. MotorTrend was similarly smitten with the Ioniq 5, with the publication calling the model a Tesla-killer: "The Ioniq 5 is cheaper than its Tesla counterpart, but charges faster, has more feature content, is quieter, has a nicer interior, and can go just about as far on a charge."

Related: The Most Popular Used Cars and Trucks in America

Young woman holding mobile phone while waiting for electric car to charge

What Are the Pros and Cons of Owning a Cheap Electric Car?


  • Cheap to Maintain: Electric cars have fewer moving parts, and thus require less maintenance than gas-powered vehicles.


  • Unethical Mineral Mining: Electric cars require rare minerals, many of which are the product of unethical mines where there is severe exploitation.

Electric Car Charging At Power Station

How To Choose the Right Cheap Electric Car for You

  • Set Your Budget: You can immediately narrow down your search by figuring out how much car you can afford. Experts recommend that you spend less than 10% of your take-home pay on your car payment and less than 15% to 20% on your vehicle's expenses, such as insurance, maintenance, and fuel.
  • Investigate Local Charging Infrastructure: If your area or home lacks charging infrastructure, then a fully electric vehicle won't be practical. You can use the U.S. Department of Energy's website to explore charging station locations in your area.
  • Consider Range: Urbanites who only drive to the grocery store and road trippers will have different needs when it comes to EVs. Think about how far and how much you drive to help guide your purchase.
  • Compare Alternatives: EVs aren't the only environmentally friendly cars. Depending on your budget, driving habits, and local infrastructure, a plug-in hybrid, traditional hybrid, or efficient gasoline car might be a better fit for your lifestyle.
  • Check Reliability: A car isn't worth buying if it's going to break down all the time. Check sites like Consumer Reports and RepairPal, and make a list of EVs that will last.

Woman working remote while typing on her laptop and holding her smartphone sitting on a sofa in a bright living room. One focused young hispanic female with glasses at home using modern technology

Tips for Saving Money on a Cheap Electric Car

  • Consider Hybrid and Plug-In Cars: These vehicles bridge the gap between electric and gasoline power, often at lower prices and with fewer tradeoffs.
  • Look at Used EVs: Save by purchasing a used electric vehicle, but ensure you research its history, including battery health. Well-maintained, low-mileage used EVs can offer significant savings compared to new models.
  • Compare Charging Costs: Evaluate charging costs based on local electricity rates and charging options. Consider long-term savings on fuel, too.
  • Choose a Cheap, Reliable Model: Prioritize reliability when choosing an electric car to reduce repair costs and ensure peace of mind. Research reliability ratings and reviews to select a dependable model from well-established manufacturers.

Charging stations for electric cars at a parking lot
Marcus Lindstrom/istockphoto

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I claim the $7,500 EV tax credit?

To claim the federal EV tax credit, which awards consumers up to $7,500, you file Form 8936 during tax season. Since the tax credit is nonrefundable, it can reduce or eliminate your tax burden but will not result in a refund. However, the federal government will make changes to the incentive program in 2024, including an option to earn the discount at the point of sale.

Are electric cars cheaper in the long run?

That's a complicated question. The short answer is that it depends, though it's possible that an electric car will be cheaper to own in the long run. Variables like energy usage, tax credit eligibility, depreciation, and maintenance costs will all factor into such a calculation.

Will EV prices go down in 2024?

EV prices are expected to drop as batteries get cheaper and manufacturers scale up production. According to one recent study, full-electric models could reach price parity with traditional cars in 2026. Tesla's price cuts alone have driven EV prices down more than 20% year over year.

A young man buys a new car

The Bottom Line

Think realistically about if an EV makes sense for you, as they come with quite a few tradeoffs. Most road trippers and consumers strapped for cash should steer clear. That said, for the right person — usually city dwellers who have money to spare, for example — buying an electric car could be good for your pocket book and the planet. In any case, you should do your research and try to get the best deal possible by leveraging tax incentives and buying an efficient, reliable vehicle.

Related: 18 Most Reliable Cars You Can Drive Into the Ground