Most affordable electric cars for 2020

Tesla Model 3

Electric vehicles are normally more expensive than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but that’s changing. Every year, more and more affordable EVs are hitting the market, and, with the help of local, state, and federal tax incentives (if available), some can cost almost as little as a hybrid or even a gas-powered vehicle. Also, EV prices should only drop in the future because of the quick advancement of electric technology. 

Below, we compiled a list of the nine most affordable EVs for 2020 (ranked from cheapest to most expensive). Interestingly, there are four Korean models, two American models (including a Tesla), two European models, and only one Japanese car. Keep in mind, the EPA-rated driving ranges are estimates, and driving habits greatly affect range. Lastly, the prices below do not include taxes or destination fees. 

2021 Mini Cooper SE

2021 Mini Cooper SE

How much does it cost? $29,900 (Signature), $33,900 (Signature Plus), $36,900 (Iconic) 

What is the driving range? 110 miles

The most affordable EV on the list also has the shortest driving range. But if you can live with the range, the new Mini Cooper SE offers something else the rest don’t: Fun driving dynamics and cute styling. It’s also the only two-door on the list. The 32.6-kWh battery pack zaps a 181-horsepower electric motor. Tech features are ample (with the exception of Android Auto, which is missing) but the SE lacks some driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control. If you don’t drive far or have another car with more range, this cool little EV could be right for you

Standard tech and driver-assistance features: 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, 5.5-inch digital instrument cluster screen, forward collision alert, emergency automatic front braking, and DC fast-charging capability.  

Available tech and driver-assistance features: 8.8-inch touchscreen, Harman Kardon audio system, wireless phone charger, head-up display, self-parking system, and front and rear parking sensors.

2020 Nissan Leaf 

2020 Nissan Leaf

How much does it cost? $31,600 (S), $34,190 (SV), $38,200 (S Plus), $39,750 (SV Plus), $43,900 (SL Plus

What is the driving range? 149 miles (S, SV), 226 miles (S Plus), 215 miles (SV Plus, SL Plus) 

The Nissan Leaf offers more standard equipment than any vehicle on this list, including a long list of driver-assistance features. On the downside, America’s second-cheapest new EV doesn’t have a long driving range unless you opt for the more expensive Plus model that gets up to 215 or 226 miles of range depending on the variant. Regardless of the model you pick, you’ll get equipment like rear automatic braking and a USB-C port, two features the rest of the cars detailed here don’t have. You can also opt for ProPilot Assist, Nissan’s advanced driver-assistance system that can steer, brake, and accelerate for drivers under certain conditions. The base model comes with a 40-kWh battery pack and a 147-hp motor, while the Plus gets a 62-kWh battery pack and a 214-hp motor. 

Standard tech and driver-assistance features: 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster screen, three USB ports, one USB-C port, SiriusXM satellite radio, forward collision alert, emergency automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, emergency automatic rear braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, high beam assist, traffic sign recognition, and rear parking sensors.

Available tech and driver-assistance features: Advanced driver-assist system (ProPilot Assist), Bose audio system, adaptive cruise control, driver attention warning, surround-view camera system, and DC fast-charging capability. 

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

How much does it cost? $33,045 (SE), $38,615 (Limited)

What is the driving range? 170 miles

What the Ioniq Electric lacks in driving range and power, it makes up for in standard and available features. Refreshed for the 2020 model year, the Ioniq’s 38.3-kWh battery pack is now connected to a 134-hp motor. That’s less than the base Leaf and the Cooper SE, but its driving range is longer. Standard features like adaptive cruise control and lane-centering are nice but the Hyundai also offers a large 10.25-inch touchscreen and a highway driving assist system. If the range isn’t a factor, the third cheapest EV on the list offers a lot for the price.

Standard tech and driver-assistance features: 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster screen, USB port, SiriusXM satellite radio, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, emergency automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, lane centering, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, and DC fast-charging capability. 

Available tech and driver-assistance features: 10.25-inch touchscreen, Harman Kardon audio system, wireless phone charger, additional USB port, highway driving assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear-cross traffic alert. 

2021 Kia Soul EV

2021 Kia Soul EV

How much does it cost? $36,000 (est. starting price)  

What is the driving range? 243 miles 

The new Kia Soul EV was supposed to launch in 2020 but it has been delayed until the 2021 model year. Pricing and specifications haven’t been released yet, but it’s safe to assume it will be a little bit cheaper than the Niro EV while offering a comparable suite of standard and optional equipment. It’s built on a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery pack which delivers up to 243 miles of range, and its motor channels 201hp to the front wheels. And, the Soul’s boxy body gives it more interior space than the other cars on this list

Standard and available tech and driver-assistance features: Standard and available features haven’t been announced as of this writing but they will likely be similar to the Kia Niro EV (detailed below). 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt 

2020 Chevrolet Bolt

How much does it cost? $36,620 (LT), $41,020 (Premier) 

What is the driving range? 259 miles

Chevrolet’s Bolt is one of the oldest on the list, and it was one of the first affordable long-range EVs to hit the market. Don’t let its age fool you, though. It has more standard driving range than any car on this list, it’s spacious, and it comes with a long list of tech features, including a 10.2-inch touchscreen and an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster. The 60-kWh battery pack sends electricity to a 200-hp motor. However, unlike most of the cars on this list, the Bolt does not come standard with any driver-assistance features; it offers many as optional equipment.

Standard tech and driver-assistance features: 10.2-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster screen, two USB ports, SiriusXM satellite radio, OnStar capability, and a rearview mirror camera. 

Available tech and driver-assistance features: Bose audio system, two additional USB ports, wireless phone charger, forward collision alert, emergency automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, surround-view camera system, and DC fast-charging capability. 

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

How much does it cost? $37,190 (SEL), $41,800 (Limited), $45,400 (Ultimate)

What is the driving range? 258 miles

The Hyundai Kona Electric rides on the same platform as the Kia Niro EV and the Kia Soul EV, and it uses the same basic drivetrain. It puts 201hp under the driver’s right foot, but its driving range is slightly higher than its Kia-badged sibling’s. It offers a comprehensive list of standard and optional equipment, but its starting price has crept up, and it’s close to the Tesla Model 3’s. If you want all of the bells and whistles, the top Ultimate trim offers features like a head-up display, but it starts at $45,400, a figure which pegs it well into luxury car territory

Standard tech and driver-assistance features: 7.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster screen, two USB ports, SiriusXM satellite radio, forward collision alert, emergency automatic front braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, driver attention warning, and DC fast-charging capability. 

Available tech and driver-assistance features: 10.25-inch touchscreen, Infinity audio system, head-up display, wireless phone charger, adaptive cruise control, emergency automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist, and rear parking sensors. 

2020 Tesla Model 3 (Standard Range Plus) 

2020 Tesla Model 3 (Standard Range Plus)

How much does it cost? $37,990

What is the driving range? 250 miles

The entry-level Tesla Model 3 is called Standard Range Plus, and it’s priced competitively. Even when you add an option the company calls Full-Self Driving (which doesn’t make the car autonomous by any stretch of the imagination), it’s still priced close to upmarket variants of some of the other cars on our list. Like every Model 3, the rear-wheel-drive Standard Range Plus model offers a sporty handling. And, don’t forget Tesla’s impressive Supercharger network, plus neat features like Dog Mode and in-car arcade games

Standard tech and driver-assistance features: 15.4-inch touchscreen, four USB ports, two smartphone docks, Bluetooth media streaming, and Autopilot (including lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, automatic braking, and blind-spot monitoring).

Available tech and driver-assistance features: Satellite maps with live traffic, in-car internet, video streaming, Caraoke, Full Self-Driving Capability (including automatic lane changes, Summon, Traffic Light and Stop Sign control, plus Autopark). Note that Premium Connectivity requires a monthly subscription

2020 Kia Niro EV

2020 Kia Niro EV

How much will it cost? $39,090 (EX), $44,590 (EX Premium)

What is the driving range? 239 miles

Like its two stablemates above, the Kia Niro EV offers good range, 201hp, and plenty of standard and available features. The main difference is the price; this Korean EV starts at almost $40,000, mostly because it comes standard with more equipment. The top trim takes the price to almost $45,000, which is about the same as a well-equipped Model 3 Standard Range Plus. However, every driver-assistance feature offered comes standard

Standard tech and driver-assist features: 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster screen, two USB ports, SiriusXM satellite radio, adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, emergency automatic front braking with pedestrian detection, lane centering, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, driver attention warning, and DC fast-charging capability. 

Available tech and driver-assist features: 10.25-inch touchscreen, Harman Kardon audio system, wireless phone charger, and rear parking sensors.

2020 BMW i3

2020 BMW i3

How much will it cost? $44,450, $47,650 (s), $48,300 (with range extender), $51,500 (s with range extender)

What is the driving range? 153 miles, 200 miles (with range extender)

The BMW i3 is a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s the oldest EV on our list (it was truly ahead of its time when it made its debut in 2013), it has a short driving range, it offers the least amount of tech and driver-assistance features (if you exclude the cheapest EV on the list), yet it’s the most expensive. Also, its interior is one of the smallest on the list, though it wasn’t designed as a family car. And, if you order the optional range extender, you can’t claim you drive a zero-emissions vehicle. But, it does have a cool carbon fiber monocoque like the now-dead BMW i8 plug-in hybrid and an innovative interior made with recycled components.

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