Electric vehicles have long had a reputation for being expensive, but that perception is quickly changing. As battery costs decrease and more automakers enter the EV market, there are now many affordable electric car options available.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the cheapest EVs you can buy new in 2024. Whether you want a compact city runabout or a practical family crossover, there is likely an electric vehicle that fits your needs and budget.

Overview of the Cheapest Electric Cars in 2024

Here is a quick overview of the most affordable EVs available this year, ordered from lowest to highest starting MSRP:

Make & Model Base MSRP Range (mi)
Nissan LEAF $29,135 149-214
Mini Cooper Electric $31,895 114
Hyundai Kona Electric $34,010 197-260 (est.)
Fiat 500e $34,095 149 (est.)
BYD Dolphin $26,140 211-265
MG4 EV $26,995 200-281
Vauxhall Corsa Electric $26,895 222
Mazda MX-30 $31,250 124
Volkswagen ID.4 $40,290 209-291
Hyundai Ioniq 5 $42,985 220-303

As you can see, there are now several EVs available with starting MSRPs below $35,000. Federal tax credits can lower the effective cost even further.

In the sections below, we will take a deeper look at each of these affordable electric cars.

Cheapest All-Electric Car: Nissan LEAF

Base MSRP: $29,135
Range: 149-214 miles

The Nissan LEAF is currently the cheapest all-electric car you can buy new. The base LEAF S starts at just $29,135 and offers a range of 149 miles from its 40 kWh battery pack.

While the range is limited, the LEAF S provides an incredibly affordable entry point into EV ownership. It comes decently equipped with features like:

  • 7" touchscreen
  • Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic high beams

For about $5,000 more, the LEAF SV Plus increases range to 214 miles courtesy of a larger 62 kWh battery. However, even the base model offers enough range for in-town commuting and errands.

With its low starting price and federal tax credit eligibility, the Nissan LEAF is hands-down the most affordable way to go all-electric in 2024.

Cheapest Electric Car with 300+ Mile Range: Hyundai Ioniq 5

Base MSRP: $42,985
Range: 303 miles

If you need a longer driving range but still want maximum affordability, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is your best bet.

The entry-level SE Standard Range model offers 220 miles of range. But upgrading to the SE Long Range bumps range up to 303 miles while keeping the starting MSRP under $45,000.

The Ioniq 5 Long Range comes with a 77.4 kWh battery pack and a 174 hp rear motor. All-wheel drive is available for improved cold-weather traction.

Along with its excellent range, the Ioniq 5 provides a modern, tech-focused interior with features like:

  • 12.3" digital gauge cluster
  • 12.3” touchscreen with navigation
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Over-the-air software updates

It also charges incredibly fast, with the ability to replenish 210 miles in just 18 minutes at an 800V DC fast charger.

For buyers wanting range comparable to a gasoline car without breaking the bank, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the top choice right now.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Cheapest Electric Car Under $30,000: Nissan LEAF

Base MSRP: $29,135

As mentioned above, the Nissan LEAF S has the lowest base MSRP of any EV at just $29,135. Adding the $7,500 federal tax credit drops the effective cost below $22,000, an incredible value.

The main trade-off is range, which is just 149 miles for the base model LEAF. However, if your daily driving needs are modest, the LEAF provides unbeatable affordability in an all-electric package.

Standard features include:

  • 7” touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Rearview camera
  • Automatic high beams
  • Heated front seats

While best suited to local commuting, the LEAF can still meet many buyers’ needs while keeping purchase costs at a minimum. The savings over higher-end EVs can be put towards home charging installation or reserved for future range upgrades.

Most Affordable Electric SUV: Hyundai Kona Electric

Base MSRP: $34,010

Crossover SUVs are incredibly popular, and the Hyundai Kona Electric is currently the most affordable electric SUV on the market.

The base SE model is estimated to start around $34,010 and provide an EPA-rated range of 197 miles from its 48.6 kWh battery pack.

Compared to other affordable EVs, the Kona Electric offers more passenger and cargo room thanks to its SUV shape. Key features include:

  • 8” touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • Rear occupant alert

The new Kona Electric also introduces a 10.25" digital gauge cluster for 2024. A 201 hp motor provides torquey acceleration while one-pedal driving allows for easy range maximization.

For buyers who need SUV practicality but don’t want to pay luxury EV prices, the reasonably-priced Kona Electric hits a sweet spot.

Longest Range for Under $40,000: Hyundai Ioniq 5

Base MSRP: $42,985
Range: 303 miles

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 once again stands out as the EV under $40,000 offering the most driving range.

The mid-level SE Long Range trim offers an EPA-rated 303 miles from its 77.4 kWh battery pack. All-wheel drive only minimally reduces range to 282 miles.

Such robust range from an affordable electric car provides tremendous flexibility. Whether commuting, running errands, or even making the occasional road trip, range anxiety becomes minimal.

And with fast 800V charging capability, the Ioniq 5 Long Range can replenish 210 miles in just 18 minutes. Overall, it sets a new standard for accessible long-range EV driving.

Cheapest Electric Car to Insure: Nissan LEAF

According to insurance industry data, the Nissan LEAF is the cheapest electric vehicle to insure.

Average annual insurance rates for a LEAF are:

  • $1,736 for full coverage
  • $1,084 for liability-only

For comparison, the Tesla Model 3 costs over $400 more per year to insure on average.

There are a few reasons why the LEAF is so inexpensive to insure:

  • Low base price: Insurance rates are partially based on the vehicle's value. The LEAF's low starting MSRP brings rates down.
  • Safety features: The LEAF comes standard with driver assistance tech like automatic emergency braking. This improves crash avoidance, lowering premiums.
  • Low risk profile: Data shows LEAF drivers tend to have fewer accidents and claims than many other vehicles. This results in lower risk premiums.

The LEAF provides both cheap upfront costs and affordable insurance rates, making it very economical overall. The savings add up, allowing buyers to keep more money in their wallet while driving electric.

Best Affordable Electric Crossovers and SUVs

In addition to the Kona Electric mentioned earlier, there are a few other affordable electric crossovers and SUVs coming onto the market.

Here are the models to look for with MSRPs under $50,000:

Hyundai Ioniq 5

  • Base MSRP: $42,985
  • Range: 220-303 miles

Volkswagen ID.4

  • Base MSRP: $40,290
  • Range: 208-291 miles

Volvo XC40 Recharge

  • Base MSRP: $49,750
  • Range: 223 miles

Ford Mustang Mach-E

  • Base MSRP: $45,995
  • Range: 247-294 miles

Nissan Ariya

  • Base MSRP: $47,125
  • Range: 240-300 miles (est.)

Any of these electric SUVs offer good practicality and tech for budget-focused buyers. The Ioniq 5 stands out with its range and charging speed. The ID.4 and XC40 start closer to $40,000 while the Mustang Mach-E and Nissan Ariya appeal to those wanting more performance.

Used EVs: Should You Buy New or Used?

With some affordable new EVs now available, you may be wondering if you should consider a used model instead. Here are some pros and cons to help decide:

Benefits of a Used EV:

  • Lower upfront cost
  • Wider selection of models
  • Vehicles already on dealer lots

Drawbacks of a Used EV:

  • No tax credits or incentives
  • Higher interest rates if financing
  • Battery degradation concerns
  • Less warranty coverage

In general, buying new is advisable if you plan to keep the vehicle at least 5 years. Tax credits, lower rates, and battery warranties offer significant savings that used EVs can't match.

However, used EVs with batteries in good condition can be a great value. Focus on certified pre-owned vehicles with comprehensive battery testing. Thoroughly inspect or test drive any used EV before purchasing.

5 Tips for Finding the Best Cheap Electric Car

If you're shopping for an affordable EV, keep these five tips in mind:

1. Get pre-approved for financing - Explore loan rates and pre-approval before visiting dealerships. This gives you maximum negotiation leverage.

2. Review tax credit eligibility - Make sure to review which vehicles qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit to maximize your savings.

3. Compare total cost of ownership - Look at factors like insurance, maintenance, charging costs, and resale value, not just MSRP. An EV may save money long-term even with a higher purchase price.

4. Check charging infrastructure - Ensure there are enough public chargers in your area to fit your driving needs. Apps like PlugShare can map local stations.

5. Don’t neglect lower-range EVs - Cars like the Nissan LEAF can work very well for local commuting while providing the lowest upfront cost.

Following this advice will help you identify the most affordable electric car that truly fits your budget and lifestyle.

The Outlook for Cheaper EVs Moving Forward

While EV costs are dropping, certain factors suggest prices should continue falling over the next 5-10 years:

  • Improving battery tech - New lithium-ion formulations will increase range and lower battery production expenses. Solid-state tech is also on the horizon.
  • Simplified EV designs - Automakers are developing dedicated platforms rather than converting ICE vehicles to EVs. This reduces complexity and manufacturing costs.
  • Increased production scale - As EV sales ramp up into the millions per year, economies of scale will bring down component costs across the board.
  • New market entrants - Major investments in EVs by new players like Rivian, Lucid, and Chinese automakers will increase competition and choice.
  • Expiring tax credits - The phase-out of credits as automakers hit sales thresholds will force downward price adjustments to drive demand.

While EVs may not reach full price parity with gas cars for a while still, expect to see far more sub-$30,000 options arrive over the next few model years. The trend towards more affordable electric mobility is picking up speed.

So if you don't find the perfect EV in your price range today, chances are that EV will exist very soon.

Fiat 500e

Top Takeaways on the Cheapest EVs

  • The Nissan LEAF provides the absolute lowest-cost entry point into EV ownership, with the base model starting around $29,000.
  • Upcoming models like the Dacia Spring and Citroen e-C3 promise to bring sub-$20,000 EVs to market soon.
  • The Hyundai Ioniq 5 combines an affordable price with 300+ miles of range, critical for mass adoption.
  • Crossovers like the Hyundai Kona EV and Volkswagen ID.4 offer practical EV transportation without luxury brand prices.
  • Used EVs can provide value but may lack tax credits and warranty protections.
  • Cost reductions driven by battery tech, economies of scale, and expiring credits will continue to reduce EV pricing.

Hopefully this guide has provided a helpful overview of the cheapest EVs available in 2024. Let us know if you have any other questions!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest electric car with 400+ mile range?

Currently, there are no affordable EVs that offer 400+ miles of range. The Lucid Air starts around $87,400 and offers up to 520 miles of range. The Tesla Model S offers up to 405 miles of range but starts at around $99,990. Longer range EVs all still fall in luxury price territory.

Are Chinese budget EVs like the BYD Dolphin safe to purchase?

Chinese auto brands are still establishing their reputation in North America and Europe. While the BYD Dolphin meets all regulatory safety standards, long-term reliability remains unproven compared to models from legacy brands. Extended warranties can provide more peace of mind.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Charging an EV at home costs around $0.17 per kWh on average, equal to about $5 for a full charge on a vehicle like the Nissan LEAF. Charging on the road at DC fast chargers can range from $0.30-0.50 per kWh based on the charging network and membership fees. Overall EV fuel costs are about half as much per mile compared to gas vehicles.

Should I buy new and get the tax credit, or go used for the lowest price?

It depends on your budget flexibility. Going new provides maximum value if you can leverage the full $7,500 tax credit, which used EVs are not eligible for. However, used EVs often have significant depreciation making them worth considering if you have a firm budget cap and lower vehicle usage needs.

What upcoming affordable EVs should I look out for?

Exciting upcoming models to watch include the Tesla Model 2, Chevrolet Equinox EV, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Ioniq 3, Volkswagen ID.2, and Nissan Leaf replacement. More established automakers are investing heavily in new affordable EVs arriving soon.