General Motors recently released images of the still-in-development 2024 Chevy Equinox. Planned for dealer floors by fall 2023, the car giant asserts that this will be an EV that everyone can afford, beginning “around $30,000.”
“We have every intention to build and sell the vehicle that will start in that price range,” Scott Bell, vice president of global sales at Chevy, said during a briefing with reporters. “That is critical to the success of what we’re doing at Chevrolet — building an EV for everyone.”
Historic inflation and supply chain constraints have not curtailed GM in its pursuit for an affordable, entry-level EV. While the price remains aspirational, there are a number of cheaper electric cars on the market around or under a $35,000 MSRP that you don’t have to wait for. Here you can compare prices and features before you hit the showroom floor to join the club saving at the pump.
Starting Price: $25,600
EV Range: 259 miles
Chevy’s Bolt is the most affordable EV on the market and a great deal for the price. A roomy interior, smooth ride, and long battery range offer a solid bang for your buck. The Bolt offers a 259-mile driving range on a single charge and can be fully recharged in 7 hours with a standard, Level 2, 240-volt home charger. Level up to a Level 3 DC fast-charging station (as an added option) and add up 100 miles of charge in 30 minutes.
The 2022 Bolt’s popularity already has hit the federal tax credit volume limit, but GM baked in a $5,900 discount to the 1LT original starting price of $32,495 (which includes a $995 freight delivery charge). Customers can upgrade to the 2LT for $3,200 to add leather upholstery, machined aluminum wheels, heated exterior mirrors with turn signals, a 360-degree camera system, and adaptive cruise control (hands-free) on eligible roads for $375.
Staring Price: $27,800
EV Range: 149 miles
After being released in 2011, the Nissan Leaf is one of the original EVs on the road. As such, Nissan now sports several Leaf models including the affordably priced 2022 S and SV standards models beginning at $27,800 after the EV tax credit. With quick acceleration and quality handles, this year’s model also has expanded options to go with the Leaf’s useful 149 miles of range in the base model.
The Leaf has always featured limited storage and back seats that don’t fold flat, but these are small quibbles that go hand-in-hand with saving you money.
Plus S, SV, and SL models include a larger 62-kWh unit and 160 kW electric motor that can go about 212 miles on a full charge. With added driver-assist tech, cell phone app connections, and other add-ons, the Plus Leaf is much more of a leap at a $33,495 base price.
Starting Price: From $29,900
EV Range: 114 miles
If its something more sporty you’re in the market for, the Mini Cooper SE offers the original rally car ride for the road. The go-cart-like Mini is traditionally more expensive than most mainstream rivals, but the 2022 Mini Cooper SE is an exception as one of the most cost-friendly EV models.
Starting at $30,750 (tacking on an $850 freight fee), the Mini Cooper SE features the same frisky handling and signature style as its 61-year-old, original petroleum-powered British forebearer. In 2022, Mini Cooper updated the car’s front and rear bumpers, added a standard digital instrument panel, and a larger standard touchscreen.
The catch is that this EV only carries an EPA-estimated 114 miles of range — a good deal less than its competitors. If you live in a small or close-knit area, the Mini SE can handle quick commutes and is small enough to squeeze between tight city spaces.
Starting price: $33,470
EV range: 100 miles
Mazda’s first full, U.S. EV is now sold out at dealers. If you are to get your hands on one, it will have to be in the secondary market. The SUV, hatchback hybrid might be worth seeking and is definitely worth waiting for 2023 models if you’re looking for an upscale interior created with sustainable materials and cargo space for hauling adventure equipment.
The MX-30’s sporty, futuristic design matches well with rear-hinged half doors and a minimalist inside space featuring environmentally friendly materials like cork in the center console, animal-free upholstery, and recycled plastic bottle fibers for the door trim.
A 35.5 kilowatt hour electric motor only generates about 144 horsepower and 200 pounds-feet of torque, which leads to a tortoise-like 9 seconds to 60 miles per hour. The MX-30’s 100-mile range also leaves quite a bit to be desired, especially among its price-level competitors. Mazda does, however, toss in a few perks to make up for its EV’s shortfalls — complimentary loaner vehicles for road trips and $500 in ChargePoint credits either for public charging or to go toward installing a Level 2 home charger.
Starting price: $35,245
EV range: 258 miles
The Korean car maker Hyundai is all-in on EVs and green goals. The promise of innovative platform upgrades is driven by Hyundai’s mission to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. This drive is apparent in the sporty, stocky Kona Electric.
The four-door subcompact SUV is at the top of its price class with 258 miles of EV range, and a large 64 kilowatt-hour battery. DC fast-charging capabilities can go from a 10% to an 80% charge in as little as 47 minutes. A 201-horsepower electric motor powers the front wheels, making the Kona quick, nimble and fun to drive. In addition to a rugged, toned exterior, Hyundai also refreshed the 2022 model’s interior, and added a number of added features. This includes a long list of standard equipment such as its 10.25-inch touchscreen, a 10.25-inch instrument display, and a redesigned center console with wireless charging capability.
This is still a small car, though, so rear legroom can be tight, cargo space limited, and availability isolated only to certain states (primarily those with required targets for zero-emission vehicle sales). An $8,500 upgrade to a limited model will get buyers all the trim in addition to adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.
2023 model EV models will begin to be available in just a few short months. This means the window is closing for picking up 2022 models before prices rise and EV tax credits become much more restrictive.
Make sure to do your homework before joining the club to save hundreds of dollars a year while protecting the planet sans gas fill-ups. With battery life, charging time, and accessibility rising with each coming day, buying an EV is likely a decision you won’t regret.
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