Thinking about buying an electric vehicle to help save the environment and to save money (equally important to families)? If yes, then check out my list of Cheapest 2020 Electric Vehicles below.
Most people assume that electric cars are too expensive to buy and I did too prior to doing more extensive research and analysis. If you factor in the federal income tax credit (max $7,500) and state rebate if applicable (max $2,000 in California), they become much more affordable than you think.
Note, your federal income tax credit amount will depend on your individual income tax scenario, so you should talk with your income tax professional to verify. And, your state’s rebate amount may depend on your income level and your electric vehicle’s eligibility. If you live in California, check out the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for more information, click here.
If you factor in the annual gas and maintenance cost savings, ownership of an electric car becomes effectively cheaper. I calculated about $2,700 in annual gas and maintenance cost savings ($3,000 gas/maintenance for gas vehicle – $300 electricity for an electric car) when comparing our previous gas car to our new electric car, the Nissan Leaf SV Plus. For more information about my decision making process for buying an electric vehicle, see my article Buying an electric vehicle: 3 tips.
And, if you’re able to negotiate a lower price than the MSRP, then an electric car becomes even cheaper. I was able to negotiate around $7,700 less than the stated out-the-door price (MSRP + Tax/License/Destination fees) for the Nissan Leaf SV Plus we purchased. See my article Get the lowest price for your new car: 5 tips for more information about how to get the lowest price for your new car.
So, after you factor in negotiating a lower price ($5-$10k), the federal credit and state rebate (max $9-$10k in California), and the lower annual fuel/maintenance costs ($2,700 in my scenario)…these electric vehicles become much more affordable than people realize.
Electric vehicle manufacturers are increasing electric vehicle range every year. I believe the original 2011 Nissan Leaf only had 73 miles of range, but the 2019 Nissan Leaf has 149 miles of range. I bought the 2019 Nissan Leaf SV Plus and it has 215 miles of range. So, the Leaf’s 215 miles of range alleviated my and my wife’s range anxiety. We typically don’t use up more than 60% of the battery capacity on our heaviest use days. And, we plug it in at night, so it’s at a 100% the following day and ready for the daily drive. It’s great not having to go to the gas station once a week and we get to use the carpool lane on the freeway.
The Leaf comes in first in terms of price if you’re considering the base model. The base model Leaf gets 149 miles of range. If you consider the higher priced Plus model, your range would be between 215-226 miles of range, but the Plus model MSRP would then be the third cheapest electric vehicle behind the Ioniq and the Bolt EV. Below is a video review of the Leaf.
Starting MSRP: $31,600
EPA Estimated Range: 149 miles
I like the price I was able to negotiate on my Leaf SV Plus, the effective price after federal credit and state rebate, the annual gas/maintenance savings, the instantaneous torque, the one pedal driving, the pro-pilot assist feature and the small footprint (easy to park). But, the drawbacks are the lack of inside storage, no telescoping steering wheel, no automatic hatchback, glitchy software and too many creases in the design (makes it harder to wash and dry the car).
The Ioniq is the second cheapest of the electric vehicles, but for me the 170 mile range wasn’t enough to alleviate my range anxiety, but you may feel differently. Below is a video review of the Ioniq.
Starting MSRP: $33,045
EPA Estimated Range: 170 miles
I don’t know how it is to negotiate for the Ioniq, but I remember test driving the Hyundai Kona Electric. Hyundai was producing them in limited numbers, so the dealership was adding a $5k-$10k premium to the starting MSRP of $37,000, so the Kona was out of the question for me. I don’t know if the Ioniq is the same.
The Bolt EV is the most expensive of the “cheap” electric vehicles discussed here, but it has a range of 259 miles. The Leaf Plus MSRP is more expensive than the Bolt EV, but you may be able to negotiate down the Leaf Plus price like I did. Note, you may be able to negotiate the Bolt EV price down too. I’m partial to Japanese car brands because of my past good experience with them, so I never considered the Bolt EV. Check out the video review below.
EPA Estimated Range: 259
I hope you’ve learned something new from my article Cheapest 2020 Electric Vehicles. Happy electric car shopping!