You might be inclined to think “cheapest EVs of 2022” is an oxymoron. After all, EVs have their share of positive attributes, but an affordable price tag typically isn’t one of them. Research has shown that over the lifetime of a vehicle, the cost of EV ownership is nearly the same as a comparable gas-powered car. Still, the upfront cost has been a leading impediment to widespread EV adoption.
But this doesn’t mean there aren’t any affordable electric vehicles available. In fact, we found six of the cheapest EVs of 2022 that boast starting prices below $35,000. Take a look and decide which might be right for you.
In an exceedingly rare turn of events in today’s car market, the Hyundai Kona Electric is cheaper than it was last year. The 2022 model received styling and mechanical upgrades while simultaneously undergoing a $3,000 price reduction. The aesthetic changes include alloy wheels, improved LED headlights and a more streamlined design. Inside, drivers will find a new 8-inch touchscreen, ambient cabin lighting and a redesigned center console capable of wireless charging. A recalibrated suspension on the mechanical side makes for better handling and a smoother ride. Add in nearly 260 miles of driving range and you have an all-around impressive EV.
Before doing your homework on the Mazda MX-30, know that it’s currently only available in California. The carmaker plans to roll it out nationwide in the coming years.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at Mazda’s first EV. The hatchback has its share of positive attributes but one conspicuous drawback. Its 100-mile range is among the lowest of any available EV. Speaking of which, the MX-30 is more about comfort than performance. Its rather paltry horsepower and torque precludes it from keeping up with other cars in its segment.
But all is not lost. Like other Mazda models, the car comes with a stylish cabin and excellent handling, as well as cargo space that tops most others on this list. The vehicle also features rear-hinged, half doors, creating a pillarless entry to the front and back seats. To make up for the lack of driving range, Mazda offers buyers complimentary loaner cars to take on long-distance trips.
Starting Price: $29,900
Like the Kona, the Chevrolet Bolt EV got a makeover for the 2022 model year and a significant price drop (more than $5,000). While the stuff under the hood remains mostly unchanged, the interior and exterior styling has been improved significantly. Other new features include a 10.2-inch touchscreen, more comfortable front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless compatibility, and a suite of standard safety features. Maybe most impressively, the Bolt EV has a 259-mile driving range. In terms of cost versus range, you won’t find a better deal. For comparison, the best-selling Tesla Model 3 has a 334-mile range but is almost twice as expensive.
The Bolt EUV is a new Chevy offering for 2022. Longer in length than its sister model, it boasts more interior space than most other affordable EVs. This includes a roomier back seat, ideal for families often carrying passengers. Despite its larger size, the Bolt EUV has nearly the same range as the EV.
But nothing is perfect, and that’s true for both models. Because Chevy’s parent company GM has sold 200,000 electric vehicles, the federal tax credit is not available for either.
Starting Price: $29,900
Among the cheapest EVs of 2022, only two sport sub-$30,000 starting price tags. The first is the Mini Cooper SE. If you’re looking for a sporty commuter car that won’t break the bank, this is the vehicle for you. The Cooper SE can zip around town with a motor capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in just six seconds. The two-door EV also comes with standard features such as an 8.8-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and lane-departure warning.
On the flip side, the hatchback has a rather paltry 114-mile range, as well as limited cargo and cabin space. You may want to skip the cross-country treks and stick to short trips.
Starting Price: $27,400
The cheapest EV of 2022 is the Nissan Leaf. Don’t be fooled by its price tag, however – the four-door hatchback offers quite a bang for the buck. Even at the lowest trim level, the Leaf comes equipped with 150 miles of driving range, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an iPad-sized center console touchscreen, remote keyless entry and cabin preconditioning. The Nissan model also provides motorists with a suite of driver assistance and safety features, including automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist.
There are, of course, some cutbacks that come with being the cheapest electric car. Most notable is the lack of cargo space and rear leg room. But in the grand scheme of things, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value amongst EVs than the Nissan Leaf.
AAA’s Recommendation: Whether you own an electric vehicle or a gas-powered car is up to you – and you should consider lots of factors in making that choice. No matter what type of vehicle you’re choosing, we recommend visiting a dealership, test driving one, and asking as many questions as possible to make an informed decision.