9 cheapest electric car models in the U.S. in 2022 [Update]

Update: ‘VW ID.4’ updated.

The price of zero-emission vehicles is bound to fall as their adoption expands this decade. But there are some good options out there already. If you’re in the American market for an EV in 2022, we explore some of your choices in this story. The prices mentioned here are not inclusive of government or federal subsidies. Here are the 10 cheapest electric car models in the U.S. car market in 2022.

Chevrolet Bolt ($25,600)

Chevrolet Bolt EV
It could be the end of the road for the Chevrolet Bolt EV in a few years if sales don’t improve considerably. Image: Chevrolet

Chevrolet had removed the Bolt EV models from the market in the second half of 2021 due to a fire risk-related recall. Its production and dealer dispatches resumed in early April 2022.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV uses a 65 kWh Li-Ion battery pack that has an EPA-estimated range of 259 miles. The permanent magnetic motor outputs 200 hp and 266 lb-ft enabling the electric hatch from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. With a Level 2 charger, 39 miles could be added to the range in just 1 hour. With a Level 3 charger, it takes 30 minutes to add a range of 100 miles.

The Chevy Bolt EV boasts a decent list of features like an 8-inch instrument display, 10.2-inch Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 10 Airbags, rear camera, TPMS with tire fill alert, cruise control, brake energy regeneration, electronic stability control, and traction control system among others. This is Chevrolet’s cheapest electric car model.

The Bolt EV is America’s cheapest electric car in 2022. It is available in a 1LT trim for a price of USD USD 25,600 (plus USD 995 destination fee) and a 2LT trim for a price of USD 28,800 (plus USD 995 destination fee).

Chevrolet Bolt EUV ($27,200)

Chevrolet Bolt EUV
The Chevrolet Equinox EV, arriving in 2023, could be a worthy alternative to the Bolt EUV. Image: Chevrolet

Chevrolet resumed manufacturing the Bolt EUV in Orion, Michigan in April 2022. It is currently shipping to dealers after GM took it off the market as part of a recall in 2021 to fix the issue of battery fires.

The Chevrolet Bolt EUV uses the same battery pack as the Bolt, a 65 kWh unit with an EPA-estimated range of 247 miles. With a Level 2 charger, 37 miles of range can be added in 1 hour. With a Level 3 charger, 95 miles of range can be added in 30 minutes. The electric motor produces 200 hp and 266 lb-ft output. A 0-60 mph sprint takes 7 seconds.

The Chevy Bolt EUV features a 10.2-inch infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 8-inch driver’s display, and more. The safety package includes 10 Airbags, a rear camera, LATCH system, automatic emergency braking, a rear park assist, and all-around collision prevention assists with warnings.

The 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV costs USD 27,200 (plus USD 995 destination fee) in the 1LT trim and USD 31,700 (plus USD 995 destination fee) in the 2LT trim. The 2023 Bolt EUV LT costs USD 28,195 (incl. destination charge) and the 2023 Bolt EUV Premier costs USD 32,695 (incl. destination charge).

A new Redline Edition package is available optionally to give the electric SUV a sportier styling. Priced at USD 495, it adds a red accent decal on the ORVMs, 17-inch black alloy wheels with red accents, and Jet black leather upholstery with red stitching.

Nissan Leaf ($27,800)

2023 Nissan Leaf facelift front three quarter
Though sales have fallen in recent years, the Nissan Leaf is amongst the most popular EVs in the world. Image: Nissan

While its future is in question, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular EVs in the world and its second-generation model has received a facelift for MY2023. The 2023 Nissan Leaf features a new grille, new alloy wheels, an illuminated Nissan logo, and other minor cosmetic changes.

The new Nissan Leaf is available in two grades: S and SV. The S grade has a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that delivers an EPA-est. range of 149 miles and an electric motor that propels the front wheels with 147 hp of power and 236 lb.-ft. of torque. It supports DC fast-charging, most likely at up to 50 kW.

The SV grade uses a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that allows a longer EPA-est. range of 212 miles and a higher-output front motor that generates 214 hp of power and 250 lb.-ft. of torque. It supports higher-capacity DC fast-charging at up to 100 kW.

Basic features like an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Nissan Safety Shield 360, automatic headlights, etc. are standard in the 2023 Leaf. For LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, 8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with 2-way lumbar support, ProPILOT Assist, 360-degree camera system, and other additional or better features, customers need to opt for the SV grade.

The new 2023 Nissan Leaf is now on sale in the U.S. and its prices start at USD 27,800 (excluding USD 1,095 destination and handling). With the potential federal tax credit on Nissan LEAF EVs, the starting MSRP would come down to $20,300 (excluding USD 1,095 destination and handling).

Hyundai Kona Electric ($34,000)

Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona EV offers an adequate range of 258 miles of range on a single charge. Image: Hyundai

At times it’s hard to tell the difference between a gas-powered Kona and an electric Kona. Fortunately, there’s a simple hack—Just look for the blanked-out grille! With that sorted, we can reveal that it is among the cheapest electric car offerings from the South Korean brand.

The Hyundai Kona Electric comes powered by a 64 kWh Li-Ion polymer battery pack with an EPA-estimated 258-mile range. The e-motor churns out 150 kW (201 hp) and 291 lb-ft (395 Nm). The standard 7.2 kW onboard charger tops up the battery in 9 hours 15 minutes. Fast-charging from 10-80% SoC takes 64 minutes with a 50 kW Level 3 charger and 47 minutes with a 100 kW Level 3 charger.

On the features front, the Kona Electric comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, 6 speakers, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, Bluelink remote charging access, automatic climate control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, rearview monitor with guidelines among others.

Within a couple of months, the 2023 Kona Electric with small changes is likely to go on sale in the U.S. The second-gen model is likely to arrive as an MY2024 product in North America in the second half of 2023.

MINI Electric ($34,225)

Mini Electric
The Mini Electric is the third most affordable electric hatchback in the U.S. Image: BMW

The next car on this list is British-made. The 2022 Mini Electric SE Hardtop 2 Door is the second cheapest electric car in the U.S. Prices start at USD 34,225 (excluding USD 850 destination and handling).

The electric hatch has a 32.6 kWh battery pack that offers an EPA-estimated range of 114 miles. The fast charging can top up the battery to 80% in 36 minutes at 50 kW. The AC home charging can fill the battery in 4 hours. The electric motor powers the front wheels and produces 135 kW (181 hp) and 199 lb-ft (270 Nm). A 0-60 mph sprint is achieved in just 6.9 seconds. 

The base Signature Trim comes equipped with features like heated front seats and steering wheel, touchscreen navigation, carbon black leatherette upholstery, 8.8-inch infotainment system, LED headlights with cornering function, rearview camera and park distance control, comfort access with keyless entry, forward collision, and pedestrian warning and advanced braking technology.

As we write this, MINI is developing an all-new three door hatch. Expect the 2024 MINI Cooper electric, with all-round improvements, at American dealers in late 2023.

VW ID.4 ($37,495)

VW ID.4 rear cheapest electric car
Looks are a matter of personal preference, but the VW ID.4 certainly ranks among the more attractive EVs on this list. Image: VW

The 2023 VW ID.4 costs USD 37,495 in its base configuration, which makes it the most affordable electric SUV in its segment. Unlike the MY2021 and MY2022 units, future units will come from Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga (Tennessee) plant. The U.S.-built units of the compact electric SUV will start arriving at dealers in a few weeks.

Volkswagen offers the 2023 ID.4 with 62 kWh and 82 kWh battery pack options and 201 hp single-motor and 295 hp dual-motor powertrain options. The single-motor powertrain consists of a rear motor, while the dual-motor powertrain uses an additional, front motor, effectively converting the EV’s drivetrain layout from RWD to AWD. Volkswagen expects the 62 kWh battery pack to deliver a range of 208 miles and says that the 82 kWh battery pack provides an EPA-est. range of up to 275 miles.

The 2023 VW ID.4 features an updated interior, one of the main highlights of which is a revised center console designed as per the needs of American consumers. There are various equipment changes in the 2023 model, one of which is that the 12-inch Discover Pro Max touchscreen infotainment system is a standard feature. As for the exterior, Volkswagen offers new wheel and color options.

Also new on the 2023 ID.4 is Plug&Charge functionality, which is part of the standard equipment. Moreover, the new model allows DC fast-charging at 170 kW, which is a significant upgrade from the previous model’s 135 kW.

For an electrified vehicle to be eligible for the new Clean Vehicle Credit incentive, the final assembly must take place in North America. The 2023 VW ID.4 checks this requirement, but it doesn’t yet qualify for the new incentive, as per the list issued by the U.S. Department of Energy. Perhaps as U.S. production has just begun, work is in progress to get it listed among the qualifying models.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 ($39,950)

Hyundai Ioniq USA
The neo-retro Ioniq 5 borrows design cues from the Hyundai Pony classic car. Availability of the Ioniq 5 in the U.S. is extremely limited at this time, according to the official website. Image: Hyundai

While its available only to reservation holders, the Ioniq 5 is certainly one of the cheapest electric car models in the U.S. market today. A symbol of a new era for Hyundai Motor Group, the Ioniq 5 is the company’s first electric car developed from scratch.

Hyundai offers the U.S.-spec Ioniq 5 in three variants, but it is the Standard Range RWD (SE Standard Range) which is the cheapest model at an MSRP of USD 39,950. It comes with a 58 kWh battery pack and a rear electric motor generating 125 kW (168 hp) and 258 lb.-ft. The car offers an EPA-est. driving range of 220 miles.

Kia Niro Electric ($39,990)

2022 Kia Niro EV front image
The crossover EV from Kia is yet another addition to this list of cheapest electric car models in the U.S. Image: Kia

The Niro EV comes powered by a 64 kWh Li-Ion Polymer (LIPO) battery that powers the electric motor resulting in a peak output of 150 kW (201 hp) and 291 lb-ft (395 Nm). The charging time with the 7.2 kW on-board charger is 9 hours 30 minutes, with a 50 kW DC fast charger is 1 hour 15 minutes (0-80%) and with a 100 kW DC fast charger is 1 hour (0-80%). Niro has an EPA-estimated range of 239 miles.

On the features front, the Kia Niro EV comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Kia Connect, wireless charging, 8 -speaker Harmon Kardon audio, 10-way adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, and more. On the safety front, the Niro EV comes with traction control, TPMS, hill-start assist, etc.

This fall, the 2023 Kia Niro Electric will reach dealers across America. Showcased at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, the redesigned, second-generation model gets improved space, advanced features, and a new interior. Kia is targeting an EPA-est. range of 253 miles (14-mile improvement) for the 2023 Niro EV.

Kia EV6 ($41,400)

US-spec Kia EV6 front three quartersjpg
Kia EV6 MSRP ranges between USD 41,400 for the base RWD version to USD 56,400 for the range-topping AWD model. Image: Kia

The EV6 is Kia’s modern mass-market electric crossover, and it shares its underpinnings with the Ioniq 5. However, the two crossovers boast starkly different design directions. While the Ioniq 5 is a fine blend of traditional and modern outlooks, the Kia EV6 is sporty and futuristic. In the United States, the EV6 is offered in three RWD trims and two AWD trims.

Kia offers the EV6 in the U.S. in three configurations. The base configuration has a 58 kWh battery pack and a 167 hp/258 lb.-ft. rear motor. It delivers an EPA-est. range of 232 miles. The maximum charging it can accept is 10.9 kW (AC)/180 kW (DC). Level 2 charging (10-100%) takes 5 hours 50 minutes and Level 3 charging (10-80% SoC) takes 18 minutes.

The mid-range variant has a 77.4 kWh battery pack and a 225 hp/258 lb.-ft. rear motor. It returns an EPA-est. range of 274 miles. The top-end variant has the same battery pack, but it sports two motors, one at the front and one at the rear. The two motors generate a combined power of 320 hp and a combined torque of 446 lb.-ft. The EPA-est. range of the top-end variant is 274 miles.

Both mid-range and top-end variants can accept charging on alternating current at 10.9 kW and direct current at 240 kW. Level 2 charging (10-100%) takes 7 hours 10 minutes and Level 3 charging (10-80% SoC) takes 18 minutes.

Prices of the Kia EV6 in the U.S. start at USD 41,400 (excl. destination fee) or USD 33,900 (excl. destination fee) if factoring in the federal tax credit.

Featured image source: VW