Here Are the 10 Most Affordable Electric Cars for 2024
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as gas prices skyrocket. In fact, automakers plan to pivot to largely electric lineups in the coming decade, in response to ongoing climate concerns.
For more than a decade, brands like Nissan and Chevrolet have offered affordable electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Spark EV, but their gas-powered subcompact and compact counterparts were always more affordable.
While that’s still true today — especially as brands like Tesla market electric vehicles (EVs) like the Tesla Model S starting in the six-figure range — the price gap between gas cars and electric cars has become much narrower. Federal tax credits can even make an electric car cheaper than a similar gas-powered model.
At the same time, automakers have made tremendous strides to address range anxiety; most of the electric cars featured below can go at least 200 miles on a single charge (MINI is the only exception).
But what’s the most affordable electric vehicle, and how do tax credits affect the price? Check out our list of the cheapest electric cars below.
10 Cheapest Electric Cars in 2024
We’ve rounded up the most affordable EVs in the U.S. based solely on their MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price).
Some new electric vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit, but the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 changed the guidelines — and they’ll continue to get stricter in future years. For most of 2023, new EVs were eligible for:
- A $3,750 tax credit if at least 50% of the battery’s components were produced in North America.
- A $3,750 tax credit if at least 40% of the critical minerals for the battery were extracted or processed in the U.S. (or in a free-trade agreement partner of the U.S.); alternatively, the IRS will award the credit if the minerals were made from materials recycled in North America
The short version? Some new EVs may qualify for the full electric car tax credit, some may qualify for a partial credit and some may not qualify at all — and this is likely to get more rigid in 2024 (and again in future years). Once you’ve narrowed down your list of affordable EVs, do some research to
Without further ado, here are the 10 most affordable electric cars of 2024:
1. 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Starting MSRP: $27,495
EPA-estimated range: 259 miles
With changes to the federal EV tax credit law, the Chevrolet Bolt EV may be eligible for a rebate once again. (Chevy had previously been eliminated for consideration because its EV sales had surpassed the now-removed 200,000 sale threshold).
That means the 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which is the cheapest electric vehicle for 2023, may be even more affordable after tax credits. And it’s cheaper than the outgoing 2022 model by several thousands of dollars.
Tax credits aside, the Bolt EV is reasonably priced and has great range. The entry-level trim (1LT) that starts at $27,495 promises up to 259 miles of range, wireless smartphone integration and advanced Chevy Safety Assist features. If you spring for the 2023 Bolt EV 2LT (starting at $30,695), you’ll get leather-appointed seats and additional safety tech.
The 2023 Chevy Bolt EV seats five but suffers from a crowded feeling in the back. That said, the Bolt is a great find: standard safety tech, wireless phone capability and a 0-to-60 sprint in 6.5 seconds. Plus, Chevy foots the bill for your home charging setup.
2. 2024 Nissan Leaf
Starting MSRP: $28,140
EPA-estimated range: 149 to 212 miles
The Nissan Leaf was the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle and has been around since 2010. While it hasn’t topped the list of the cheapest electric cars every year, it’s always been among the most affordable electric vehicles. This year, it yields first place to Chevrolet, but it still comes in under $30K (but as of right now, it’s not eligible for any tax credits).
For the low price of $28,140 (a slight increase over the 2023 model), you’ll get a compact hatchback offering 121 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) with a 149-mile range. If you want that max 212-mile range, you’ll need to get the Leaf SV Plus with the long-range battery. The Leaf S Plus starts at $36,190.
While you can fit five passengers in the Leaf, the rear seat is a little tight for adults (but it can be done!). Up front, passengers have access to a wide range of amenities, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. And don’t let its status as an economy car fool you; the Leaf comes standard with the Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes active safety tech like Lane Departure Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection.
3. 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Starting MSRP: $28,795
EPA-estimated range: 247 miles
The Chevrolet Bolt EUV is in its second year and builds upon the work done by the Bolt EV, one of the world’s most popular electric cars. You’ve got more options with the Bolt EUV — four trims instead of two, from the standard LT to the premium Premier Redline with sporty red accents and luxury features.
What we like about the EUV over the EV is the more spacious cabin — we tall people appreciate every extra inch of legroom an automaker will throw at us. The Chevy EUV is also available with the GM Super Cruise system (the hands-free autonomous driving system that gets us one step closer to the inevitable robot takeover). As of now, the Bolt EUV is still available for the full tax credit.
4. 2024 MINI Cooper SE Electric Hardtop 2 Door
Starting MSRP: $30,900
EPA-estimated range: 114 miles
If you’re drawn to the iconic styling of Mini Coopers, you won’t be disappointed by the SE Electric. But it also gets just enough personality of its own that differentiates it from other Coopers (look at those wheels).
Where you will be disappointed by the new hardtop model is in the range. At 114 miles per charge, the 2023 Mini Cooper SE Electric Hardtop 2 Door has the lowest range of any of the 10 most affordable electric cars on our list. It’s the only EV on our list not to crack 200 miles on a single charge; it barely cracks 100.
5. 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric
Starting MSRP: $33,550
EPA-estimated range: 258 miles
The 2023 Hyundai Kona may have the fiercest styling of any vehicle on our list — that wheel design is especially attractive, and on base-level trim models, you can go with a two-tone paint job. Inside, wireless connectivity and comfy seating make the Kona a standout.
And at 258 miles of range on all three trims, the Kona Electric is one of the better options for longer trips; Level 3 quick charging isn’t so quick, however. It’ll take you 47 to 64 minutes, depending on the DC fast charging equipment.
For those keeping score, the price of the Kona Electric actually went down for 2023 by $450.
6. 2023 Volkswagen ID.4
Starting MSRP: $38,995
EPA-estimated range: 275 miles
In past years, the Volkswagen ID.4 claimed the 10th spot on our most affordable EVs list. But a considerable price drop (from more than $41,000) has bumped the current model up.
That’s not all that dropped, however: Range for the 2023 model is 275 miles — not bad at all, but the 2022 model managed 280. Even so, with fast charging, you can get 220 miles of range in roughly 30 minutes.
In recent years, waiting lists abounded for new cars, especially electric vehicles. And while many EVs on this list took a while to get, the Volkswagen ID.4 was a standout, at times commanding more than four-month waits from order to delivery.
7. 2023 Kia Niro EV
Starting MSRP: $39,600
EPA-estimated range: 253 miles
Sleek crossovers are a dime a dozen, but add the electrification of the Kia Niro EV and its impressive range of 253 miles, and you’ve got something truly special. The current model’s range climbed 14 miles per charge over the outgoing variant, yet its price dropped by roughly $500.
Despite its single electric motor, the Niro EV is no slouch, cranking out 201 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque and launching from 0 to 60 in 7.1 seconds. Plus, the electrified crossover offers standard driver-assist safety tech, a premium sound system, and DC fast charging that adds more than 200 miles of range in just 45 minutes.
While the Niro EV doesn’t qualify for the tax credit as of 2023, dealerships are offering an equivalent $7,500 lease bonus to qualified lessees.
8. 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 5
Starting MSRP: $41,450
EPA-estimated range: 220 to 303 miles
The 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 5 is an EV to watch. MotorTrend named it the 2023 SUV of the Year, and in 2022, it earned three separate World Car of the Year Awards. Notably, its premium trim level earns up to 303 miles of driving range — but it costs $52,600, which is a lot steeper than the $41,450 starting price. Another downside? The IONIQ 5 doesn’t qualify for the federal tax credit at present.
At the $41,450 price point, you’ll get the base IONIQ 5 model, which still offers an impressive 220 miles of range. The base model sits on sporty 19-inch alloy wheels and offers ultra-fast charging.
On the other end of the trim spectrum are features like the Blind-Spot View Monitor, vision roof and Premium Head-Up Display with Augmented Reality.
9. Tesla Model 3
Starting MSRP: $40,240
EPA-estimated range: 272 miles
For a long time, Tesla made only luxury electric cars, but the Tesla Model 3 brings electrification to the masses with one of the most affordable electric cars of 2024. The sleek Model 3 hits a top speed of 140 miles per hour and launches from 0 to 60 in just 3.1 seconds (depending on trim).
It’s also available for the full tax credit as of now, but its future is less clear as we get into 2024. Don’t let the low price and tax credit fool you, however. You’ll have to pay to add on premium features, like $12,000 for the full self-driving capability for which Tesla is well known.
10. 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6
Starting MSRP: $41,600
EPA-estimated range: 240 to 361 miles
Only slightly more expensive than the 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 5 sits the sleek 2023 Hyundai IONIQ 6. And while it’s 5 sibling may have earned the World Car Awards in 2022, it was the IONIQ 6 that snagged the recognition in 2023, winning World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle, and World Car Design of the Year.
Unfortunately, the IONIQ 6 isn’t eligible for the federal tax credit, but Hyundai offers a complimentary Level 2 home charger and up to a $600 installation credit when you buy or lease the EV.
Its entry-level trim offers ultra-fast charging and a built-in navigation system with display, but opting for the Limited trim — a much more expensive investment — gets you the higher range, a wide sunroof, Bose Premium Audio and the latest advanced safety technologies.
A Note on the Most Affordable EVs of 2023
Our list of the 10 cheapest electric cars for 2024 only includes both 2024 and 2023 model year vehicles, as automakers roll out 2024 models at different times over the stretch of about 18 months. In the first half of 2024, you may be able to find cheaper EVs on dealer lots by looking for remaining 2023 inventory as more of the 2024 versions arrive on dealer lots.
Finally, note that some models on our list have limited availability, meaning you may only be able to purchase them in select states.
How Electric Car Tax Credits Work
Back in 2010, the federal government introduced a program awarding customers $7,500 in tax credits for purchasing electric vehicles. The goal was to incentivize buyers — whose major hesitations were price and range — to give EVs a shot.
So if a new electric vehicle cost $50,000 and came with a $7,500 tax credit, EV buyers could think of it as a $42,500 purchase.
Of course, customers had to pony up (or finance) the whole $50K when making the purchase, but when filing taxes, drivers could add a one-time tax credit to their return.
Previous federal tax credit legislation limited automakers to 200,000 EVs before their tax credits went away. The Inflation Reduction Act eliminated that threshold — but added a lot more (confusing) eligibility requirements, some of which were implemented at the start of 2023.
To be eligible, you’ll need to fall below certain adjusted gross income thresholds (based on your filing status). Vehicles have even more hoops to jump through to qualify, including having critical battery materials sourced in specific locations (i.e., the U.S. or countries with which we have free trade agreements).
The IRS was not able to implement all the revisions to the tax credit on Jan. 1, 2023, as originally anticipated, so you’ll need to keep up with tax credit updates as you plan to purchase a new electric vehicle. For instance, the IRS implemented more stringent regulations in April 2023 and will likely implement more at the start of 2024.
Military Discounts on Electric Cars
Many automakers offer military discounts on their entire lineup, including EVs, which makes it easier for active duty members of the military, veterans and their immediate family to find affordable fully electric vehicles.
Though the programs vary, they typically entail a $500 rebate or bonus cash.
If you’re a member of the military exploring electric mobility, check out one of these automotive military discount programs:
- GM Military Discount
- Ford Military Appreciation Program
- Toyota Military Rebate
- Nissan Military Program
- Mazda Military Appreciation Bonus Cash
- Hyundai Military Program
- BMW Military Incentive
- Mercedes-Benz Military Program
- Volkswagen Military Bonus
How Much Does It Cost to Own an Electric Car?
New electric vehicles are about $10,000 more than gas cars if you just look at sticker price. But that’s comparing apples to oranges. For a better comparison, factor in the full cost of ownership, from maintenance and insurance costs to federal tax rebates
When calculating how much you’ll spend on — and how much you’ll save with — an electric car, include these considerations:
Federal Tax Credits
Some EVs are eligible for up to $7,500 in tax credits, though new restrictions imposed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act may actually make it more challenging for EVs to qualify.
EVs are famously less expensive to maintain because they don’t require oil changes or air filter replacements. In a given year, you could save hundreds or thousands on routine car maintenance.
That said, when electric cars need to be repaired (or the battery needs to be replaced), the work is considerably more expensive. Battery replacements can cost several thousand dollars, even more than $20K. That said, most new EVs come with an extended battery warranty that may cover your first replacement, depending on the timing.
Because electric cars are more expensive to repair, car insurance premiums tend to be more expensive. According to ValuePenguin, EV insurance policies typically cost 25% more.
Gas cars require, well, gas — and it isn’t cheap. Electric cars, on the other hand, are powered by, well, an electric motor. And recharging that electric motor at home is much more affordable than buying a tank of gas. Sure, your monthly utility bill will go up, but the cost is negligible compared to what drivers are spending each month on fuel.
You should, however, factor in the installation of a charging station at your home when considering a new or used EV purchase. Depending on your setup, expect to spend $1,000 to $2,000 on your at-home charging station — but some automakers (like Chevy) will pay the cost for you.
Contributor Timothy Moore is a writer and editor in Cincinnati, Ohio. He focuses on banks, loans and insurance for The Penny Hoarder. His work has been featured INSIDER, USA Today, Forbes, Lending Tree, LendEDU, WDW Magazine, Chime and SoFi.