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Edmunds: the most affordable EVs for 2023


The drive for new, attractive electric vehicles has taken off in recent times. A roll-out will take place in the coming years…

The drive for new, attractive electric vehicles has taken off in recent times. In the coming years, electric cars will be rolled out in every popular car segment, with increasing competition and falling prices. At the moment, however, the development costs of all-electric vehicles remain high and most new additions are priced well above comparable gas-powered models.

That means the list of fuel-efficient EVs isn’t extensive yet, but there are a handful of cars starting at less than $40,000. Edmunds has put together a selection of five affordable options for 2023, sorted by price. Some of these models further qualify for federal tax credits that now require U.S. assembly and parts procurement.

CHEVY BOLT EV The 2017 Chevy Bolt EV helped pioneer the mass-production EV landscape, addressing range and affordability fears in a practical package. The updated version introduced last year adds a more attractive interior ambience while maintaining a competitive range and spirited performance.

The Bolt EV isn’t perfect, with a firm ride and small cargo space, but it’s now the cheapest EV for 2023 thanks to a massive price cut. We also proved that the Bolt EV can travel 278 miles on a single charge, surpassing the EPA estimated range by 30 miles. If the hatchback body isn’t appealing, Chevy also offers an SUV-style version, the Bolt EUV, which has more interior space. Bolt models purchased before March should qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit. Starting price: $27,495

NISSAN LEAF The first-generation Nissan Leaf was a quirky short-range car that attracted early adopters and those hoping to cash in on incentives, but the current model is much easier on the eyes and has a respectable range.

We like the Leaf for its quiet, comfortable ride and many standard features. Fast charging isn’t always possible thanks to the Leaf’s less popular port design. The entry-level S trim is also limited to a range of just 150 miles. But Edmunds’ real-world test of the SV Plus model with a larger battery resulted in a usable 237 miles. Nissan Leaf models purchased before March should qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit. Starting price: $29,135

MINI COOPER SE The Mini Cooper SE is a fully electric version of the regular Cooper Hardtop 2 Door. Being based on a regular Mini offers some advantages. It’s fun to drive and a cinch to fit into tight parking spaces. It’s also chic as only a Mini can be. But there are also disadvantages. Most importantly, the Cooper SE has a small trunk and rear seat, making it the least practical EV on our list.

Shoppers should also be aware that Cooper SE has a fairly limited range. The EPA-quoted range of 114 miles is a fair bit less than some competitors, though Edmunds managed to get 240 miles off it in practice. If space and distance aren’t major constraints, the Cooper SE’s day-to-day driving entertainment could make it all worth it. Starting price: $35,220

HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC The Kona Electric is one of Edmunds’ favorite small EVs. With a well-appointed cabin, nimble dynamics and a composed ride, the Kona Electric makes a great value play for under $35,000. We were also pleasantly surprised by the Kona EV’s real-world range of 308 miles, surpassing its EPA rating by about 80 miles.

Downsides include cramped rear seats and a lack of availability in all 50 states. But backed by a long warranty period and excellent build quality, Hyundai’s electric crossover is an easier sell than some of its competitors. Starting price: $34,885

VOLKSWAGEN ID.4 Volkswagen’s first fully electric car will enter its third model year for 2023. Regardless of model or battery size, the ID.4 offers impressive cargo and passenger space, convenient standard driver assistance functions and a smooth ride. However, buyers may find the ID.4’s in-cab controls frustrating and sufficiently plastic to feel cheap.

The new entry-level S trim has a range of 209 miles, and the rear-wheel-drive variant with the longest range is rated at 275 miles. Our real-world test of the rear-wheel-drive model returned 287 miles on a single charge. Thanks to new production in the US, 2023 ID.4 models purchased before March should be eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. Starting price: $40,290

EDMUNDS SAYS: EV prices should fall in the coming years as parts and development costs begin to fall. This will lead to increased competition and greater adoption of this nascent technology.


This story was provided to The Associated Press by the Edmunds car website. Miles Branman is a contributor to Edmunds and active Twitter

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.