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

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 11 cheapest electric car models in the U.S. in 2022.

Nissan Leaf ($27,400)

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

While it’s future is in question, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular EVs in the world and its second-generation model is on sale. At this base price, it is also the cheapest electric car in the U.S. The 2022 Nissan Leaf comes with a 40 kWh battery pack that powers its electric motor. The power output stands at 110 kW (147 hp) with an EPA-estimated driving range of 149 miles. With the potential federal tax credit on Nissan LEAF EVs, the starting price would come down to $19,900.

The 2022 Nissan Leaf comes with a range of safety features even in this S base trim. This includes e-Pedal, blind spot intervention, rear cross-traffic alert, rearview monitor, TPMS with easy-fill tire alert, front airbags with dual-stage supplemental front airbags with seat belt and occupant classification sensor, etc.

Other features of USA’s cheapest electric car include Automatic Temperature Control, 6-way manual adjustable driver’s seat, 4-way manually adjustable passenger seat, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, AM/FM audio system with 4 speakers, NissanConnect 8-inch collar display with multi-touch control, a 7-inch infotainment display, 3 USB ports, and 1 USB-C port.

This summer, a new 2023 Nissan Leaf (facelift) will replace the car that is currently on sale. The updated Leaf features a new grille, new alloy wheels, an illuminated Nissan logo, and other minor cosmetic changes. It will be available with the same motors as the current model and two battery pack options: 40 kWh and 60 kWh.

Chevrolet Bolt EV ($31,500)

Chevrolet Bolt EV
It could be the end of the road for the Chevrolet Bolt EV in a few years. Image: Chevrolet

Chevrolet had taken the Bolt EV models off the market in the second half of 2021 due to a fire risk-related recall. In early April 2022, GM resumed production and dealer dispatches.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV uses a 66 kWh Li-Ion battery pack that has an EPA-estimated range of 259 miles. The permanent magnetic motor outputs 150 kW (200 hp) and 266 lb-ft (360 Nm) enabling the electric hatch from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. With 11.5 kWh charging, 39 miles could be added to the range in just 1 hour. With DC fast charging, it takes 30 minutes to top up the range of 100 miles.

The Chevy Bolt EV boasts a decent list of features like an 8-inch instrument display, 10.2-inch infotainment, 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.

There are rising speculations of the Bolt EV and EUV not going beyond this generation. GM’s upcoming electric models, like the Chevrolet Equinox EV, for example, based on the BEV3 architecture, are far more advanced than the Bolt EV, at a similar price point.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric ($33,245)

Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Hyundai Ioniq Electric is among the cheapest electric car models in the U.S. market. Image: Hyundai

Hyundai Ioniq Electric could cost as low as $25,745 after the federal tax credit to become one of the cheapest electric car models in the U.S. market. The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is the entry-level product in Hyundai’s Ioniq series of EVs. It carries a 38.3 kWh battery powering a PMSM that produces 100 kW (134 hp) and 218 lb-ft (295 Nm). The company-claimed 170 miles range is decent for this price point. The 100 kWh fast-charging takes the battery from 0-80% in just 54 minutes. 

The Ioniq Electric comes equipped with a range of standard features like a 7-inch driver’s display, an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluelink connected car service, SiriusXM audio, and more. Safety equipment includes a rearview camera, smart cruise control, TPMS, and Traction Control among others. With with the federal tax credit of USD 7500, the Ioniq Electric can be purchased for as low as USD 25,745.

Mazda MX-30 EV ($33,470)

Mazda MX-30
The Mazda MX-30 only has a 100-mile EPA-certified range. Image: Mazda

We also have a Mazda on the cheapest electric car list. The Mazda MX-30 EV is powered by a 35.5 kWh Li-Ion battery with an EPA-estimated range of 100 miles and is only available in California. The e-SKYACTIV electric motor produces 107 kW (143 hp) and 200 lb-ft (271 Nm). The standard 120 V AC charging takes 13 hours 40 minutes to top up the battery from 20-80%, 240 V AC charging does it in 2 hours 50 minutes and the DC fast charging takes 36 minutes.

The Mazda MX-30 comes with an 8.8-inch touchscreen, 8-speaker audio, cruise control, frameless auto-dimming IRVM, heated front seats with 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, 10 airbags, traction control, rearview camera, LATCH child safety, blind-spot monitoring, and driver attention alert among other features.

Chevrolet Bolt EUV ($33,500)

Chevrolet Bolt EUV
The Chevrolet Equinox EV could be a worthy alternative to the Bolt siblings. 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 EV, a 66 kWh unit with an EPA-estimated range of 247 miles. With a 240 V, 48 Amp charging unit, 37 miles of range can be added in 1 hour. With DC fast charging, 95 miles of range can be added in 30 minutes. The electric motor produces 150 kW (200 hp) and 266 lb-ft (360 Nm) output with 0-60 mph sprint in 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 Bolt EUV is currently an MY2022 EV, and soon, it will be available as the 2023 model year, including a sporty ‘Redline’ Edition. GM will release information on the 2023 models in a few weeks.

Mini Electric ($33,900)

Mini Electric
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. After the potential federal tax credit, an additional $7,500 benefit is available on the EV.

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 late next year.

Hyundai Kona Electric ($34,000)

Hyundai Kona Electric
The Hyundai Kona EV offers an impressive 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.

Applying the federal tax credit benefit to Kona Electric, the price starts at $26,500. 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. The 50 kW fast charging enables a 0-80% in 64 minutes and the 100 kW fast-charging takes only 47 minutes.

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.

Hyundai has listed the 2023 Kona gas model in Canada, and could release the 2023 Kona Electric this summer. The U.S. launch should happen around the same time. The 2023 Kona Electric should be an updated first-generation model, and the second-gen model is likely to arrive as an MY2024 product in North America in the second half of 2023.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 ($39,700)

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 39,700. It comes with a 58 kWh battery pack and a rear electric motor generating 125 kW (168 hp) and 258 lb.-ft. (to be confirmed). The car offers an EPA-est. driving range of 220 miles.

Kia Niro EV ($39,990)

2022 Kia Niro EV front image
The Niro EV’s design appears rather outdated compared to the Kia EV6. Image: Kia

The crossover EV from Kia is yet another addition to this list of cheapest electric car models in the U.S. With the federal tax credit, the starting price for the Kia Niro EV goes down to $32,450.

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 EV 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.

VW ID.4 ($41,230)

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

After the federal tax credit, the entry-level VW ID.4 would cost $33,260. The ID.4 has a 77 kWh battery, and its e-motor produces 201 hp and 229 lb-ft with 0-60 mph time of 7.7 seconds. The EPA-estimated range stands at 260 miles. Apart from the AC on-board 11 kW charger, there is the option of 135 kW DC fast charging as well. VW is planning to launch a more affordable variant of the ID.4, one that will be manufactured in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from fall 2022. More information on the 2023 VW ID.4 should be available in a few months.

The 2022 VW ID.4 comes loaded with features including a digital driver’s display), a 10-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, heated front seats and heated steering wheel with audio controls, SiriusXM with a 3-month trial subscription, lane assist, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, among other features.

Kia EV6 ($40,900)

US-spec Kia EV6 front three quartersjpg
Kia EV6 MSRP ranges between USD 40,900 for the base RWD version to USD 55,900 for the range-topping AWD model. Image: Kia

The EV6 is Kia’s modern mass-market electric crossover. The EV6 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.

The base RWD version comes with a 58 kWh battery that provides 232 miles of range (EPA) and can be charged from 0-80% in about 63 minutes using a 50 kW DC charger. Its electric motor produces 167 hp and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm). The range-topping GT-Line AWD version comes with a 77.4 kWh battery which provides upto 274 miles range (EPA) and recharges from 0-80% in 73 minutes using a 50 kW DC fast charger. Its dual electric motors produce 320 hp and 446 lb-ft. Prices for the Kia EV6 start at USD 40,900, excluding the federal tax credit.

Featured image source: VW