If you are in the market for a new electric car or even a used electric car, it can be hard to narrow down which EV is right for you. If you wanted an EV in the past, you didn't really have too many options. Now that modern markets are favoring this new powertrain, there are tons of options out there for you – many that are even affordable. There are still budget options of electric cars for those of us that don't have the money to spend on a brand new Tesla Model X.
We've taken into account vehicle range, after tax-credit vehicle pricing, used vehicle pricing, and capabilities to assemble a short list of the best electric cars for your money.
Chevy Spark EV - $14,995
[Image Source: M 93/Wikimedia Commons]
Range: 83 miles
The Chevy Spark EV makes this list because it is available for the cheapest amount of money right off the lot. In some states, after tax credit, you can pick up a new Spark for as low as 14,995 USD, but finding one under $20K is no problem. This car doesn't have great range, sitting at 83 miles battery only. However, when you consider that the cost is nearly half of other "budget" electric vehicles on this list, then it seems pretty worth it.
The Chevy Spark EV seats 4 and this small size is part of what allows it to get the range it does for the price. The EPA has given the car a relatively impressive 119 MPGe and GM plans to release a supercharger device to allow the vehicle to be charged in a matter of a few hours. If you don't have much money to spend and just need something to get you to and from work, then this car might be for you.
On a side note, if you don't want to purchase the car, leases are available for as low as $139 a month.
Tesla Model S - $60,500
[Image Source: Jeremy/Wikimedia Commons]
Range: 315 miles
Why on earth did the Tesla Model S make the list of budget electric cars? Because for what you get, it's a pretty great deal. This car was named the "Car of the Century" and has the highest rating in history from Consumer Reports. Everyone love the Model S, except for those of us who can't afford it. You can get one new for as low as $60,500, but on the used market, you could pick one up for under 50 grand. Even still, this car is expensive, but due to the included features and the constant updates and support from Tesla, shelling out the extra money might be worth your effort.
This car boasts the longest range on the list at up to 315 miles on a single charge. Coupled with Tesla's supercharging capabilities and your life with this EV will be the smoothest of any on the list. When considering which EV is the best "bang for your buck" and if you have the money, purchasing a Tesla is the best right now. Per dollar, Teslas grant you the most luxury, the most range, the most cargo capacity, and not to mention the most speed.
BMW i3 - $34,900
[Image Source: TTTNIS/Wikimedia Commons]
Range: 114 miles
Part of why the i3 made this list, despite it being nearly double the price of the Chevy Spark EV having only slightly more range, is because of what you can pick one up on the used market for. A brand new BMW i3 is going to set you back $34,900 after the US federal tax credit which makes it relatively expensive for many. Some examples of the i3 are available used for under 20 grand with many being $25,000 or less. For these prices, you get an excellent EV from a well-respected brand. It should be noted that 2016 and older models only had a range of 81 miles due to recent battery upgrades, so you might have to compromise there.
The BMW i3 is the best bang for your buck if you want something a little more luxurious and cool than a base Chevy Spark, but can't yet afford a Tesla. While the i3's styling isn't for everyone, I personally think it has one of the coolest, most futuristic, looks on this list, which gives it points in my book.
Nissan LEAF - Less than $15,000
[Image Source: Tennen-Gas/Wikimedia Commons]
Range: 107 miles
When it comes to styling and desirability, the Nissan LEAF is probably the lowest on your list of electric cars. The leaf isn't anything special when it comes to range, with low trims only getting 84 miles and high trims getting 107 miles. The styling is rather dull, and the capacity of 5 people is decent for the EV space. This car doesn't stand out in many ways, but when it comes to how much you can purchase one for, it shines like a budget diamond.
Certain US states are currently offering insane incentives for purchasing a Nissan LEAF which brings the price down to $11,500 for a brand new one. Getting a brand new car for under 12 grand is a little unheard of in the states, so this is quite the deal. Due to the incentives on the new vehicles, depreciation has rocked the used market bringing them down to crazy low prices. On the used market, you can get good examples of past LEAF models for under 7 grand. For many, picking up a LEAF for under 7 grand means you could afford to have an EV as your second our third car.
The Nissan LEAF with incentives or on the used markets is perhaps the best EV for your money, simply because you could buy 10 of them for the price of one Model S.
Written by Trevor English