Switching to an EV will eventually save you money, but be patient — considering the upfront cost of going green, electric cars can take a while to pay for themselves.
According to the most recent data from Kelley Blue Book, the average new EV now costs $64,249, compared to $48,281 for new vehicles, in general.
See: 4 Reasons You Should Cancel Amazon Prime
Learn: 3 Ways Smart People Save Money When Filing Their Taxes
The good news is that not all electric cars come with a Mercedes E-Class sticker price. There are a half-dozen battery-powered vehicles new for 2023 that start at less than $40,000 — two for less than $30,000. On top of that, some of them are eligible for the recently revised federal tax credit, which can cut another $7,500 off your costs.
If you’re looking for an EV on a budget, these six vehicles are a good place to start — but remember that MSRP is just one factor.
“Do your homework on real costs — including insurance, charging, monthly payments and tax credits — before making a decision on which electric car,” said Lauren Fix of Car Coach Reports. “Deciding to lease versus buy could impact your tax credit. The rules are changing in March.”
Secondary costs aside, choosing an EV that you can actually afford to finance is a good way to start saving money. Here’s the best of the bunch for 2023.
- Starting MSRP: $38,995
The new eligibility requirements for the $7,500 federal tax credit require final assembly to take place in North America; and, while the ID4 has a German nameplate, it’s cobbled together in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A sleek and stylish SUV, the ID4 has a range of 275 miles, and a DC public fast charger will take you from 10% to 80% in about a half-hour — 36 minutes, tops. Available features such as all-wheel drive and a glass roof can add both form and function, but even the standard package delivers impressive tech, advanced driver-assist features and a stylish interior.
Take Our Poll: What Are Your Financial Priorities in 2023?
Mini Cooper SE
- Starting MSRP: $34,225
The two-door hardtop Mini Cooper SE is fettered by an unenviable 114-mile range. The good news is that its 181 horses are more than enough for the average commuter — and despite 6.9-second 0-60 acceleration that’s just OK, it’s as fun to drive as any model in the Mini stable.
Level II home charging delivers 20% per hour, and 36 minutes will buy you 80% at a Level III DC fast-charging station.
The interior is flush with impressive tech and driver-assist features, and the outside is unmistakably 100% Mini — big, round eyes for headlights and all.
- Starting MSRP: $34,110
Like the Mini Cooper SE, Mazda’s first electric car is not built for distance. With a range of just 100 miles and underwhelming power, it’s mostly limited to those looking for a commuter car or short-jaunt city vehicle.
The tradeoff is an upscale cabin crafted from premium sustainable materials and fast charging that can turn 20% into 80% in a little over a half hour. Drivers also get the reliable Mazda name and the peace of mind that comes with a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Hyundai Kona Electric
- Starting MSRP: $33,550
With 201 horsepower, the Kona Electric has plenty of muscle, and thanks to features like standard 17-inch wheels, you can tell it’s a rugged vehicle just by looking at it — and a full charge can take you 258 miles.
Inter tech includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on an 8-inch touchscreen — a huge 10.25-inch display is available. Drivers can use compatible smartphones to control their car through Hyundai Digital Key, and you can go from 10% to 100% in a little over nine hours on a level II at-home charger.
- Starting MSRP: $28,040
The world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf has more than a dozen years of industry innovation under its belt, dating back to 2010.
Still the everyman’s EV, the Leaf is one of just a couple on the market with a sub-$30,000 price tag — and cost is only part of the reason that Leaf loyalists have clocked a collective 2 billion-plus miles. Its 212-mile range is complemented by its 60/40 split fold-down rear seats and a bevy of convenience and safety tech comes standard.
Chevrolet Bolt EV
- Starting MSRP: $26,500
The trusty Chevy Bolt EV remains the most affordable electric car on the market, and it’s even cheaper for 2023. With the full federal credit, its starting price is in the teens, making it one of the cheapest new cars on the road, gas or no gas. If you prefer it in SUV form, the Bolt EUV starts at under $28,000.
The Bolt’s 259-mile range would be impressive even if it costs thousands more, and with 200 horsepower and a 6.5-second 0-60 vault, it’s as fun to drive as it is practical.
More From GOBankingRates