Affordable Electric Dreams: 2024’s Budget-Friendly EV Options
Over a decade after it began, the electric vehicle boom is showing no signs of slowing. In fact, with engineering and efficiency improving year after year, and with a growing body of incentives driving sales, EVs are set to be the transportation of the future.
While EV costs are still beyond many drivers’ budgets, there’s good news: Increasing emphasis on EV production and a growing used EV market is slowly but surely bringing prices down across the board. So, in 2024, going electric doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Here are a few top picks for the year’s most budget-friendly EVs.
The Cheapest EVs of 2024
Mini Cooper SE
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP): from $30,900
Many car makers that are looking to cash in on the growing enthusiasm for EVs release electric versions of existing models with modified bodywork and styling to distinguish them. The Mini Cooper SE cuts against the grain by retaining the classic Mini look and remains just as responsive, agile, and speedy as the original.
This two-door, four-seat hatchback is ideally suited for in-town driving, with mileage clocking in at an estimated 119 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) in the city or 100 MPGe at highway speeds. The Mini Cooper SE doesn’t offer many drawbacks, but one of the few is its range, at around 114 miles on a full charge. However, if you plan on sticking to city streets and can easily access an EV charger, that should be plenty.
Moreover, the Mini Cooper SE is one of the most reasonably priced EVs currently on the market. For just over $30,000, you get efficiency, comfort, classic design, and the peerless driving experience Cooper is known for.
Chevrolet Equinox 1LT
MSRP: from $29,495
EV lovers everywhere were shocked to learn that Chevrolet’s successful Bolt EV and the Bolt EUV would be discontinued after 2023. While plans have been announced to revive the Bolt EUV in 2025, that leaves the Equinox as the lowest-priced option in Chevy’s 2024 electric car lineup.
The Equinox is set to debut in the first quarter of 2024 with the Launch Edition, a fully loaded premium EV offering plenty of extras starting at $49,000. Mid-year, however, will see the release of the 1LT. Priced at 29,495, the 1LT will come with the same range of 319 miles, the same onboard charging capability, and the same advanced safety features as the premium model.
A range of up to 250 miles, an AWD option, and a 288-horsepower motor make the Equinox a great choice for longer trips. You could even save yourself a few charging stops along the way, since Chevrolet claims the onboard charging system will add 34 miles of range per hour of charging.
MSRP: from $28,140
The latest entry in Nissan’s bestselling EV model line, the 2024 Leaf comes in two trim packages, the S and the higher-priced SV Plus. Starting at $28,140, the Leaf S offers a limited but useful range of 149 miles on a single charge. The SV, priced at $36,190, is slightly longer-lasting at a range of 212 miles.
As for efficiency, the S is the clear winner, offering 123 MPGe in the city and 99 on the highway for a combined range of 111 MPGe. The EPA estimates the SV’s efficiency at 121 MPGe in-town, 98 on the highway, and 109 altogether.
The late-model Leaf is perfect for use as a second vehicle or for short trips around town. While it can’t compare to some competing options for comfort or range, the price makes it a great way to get into all-electric cars on a budget. Plus, since it’s built in Tennessee for the U.S. market, you can knock a big chunk of the price off come tax season.
MSRP: from $41,000
Earlier generations of EVs were almost exclusively designed for performance and style, reflecting their inaccessible prices for most drivers. Volkswagen’s ID.4 five-seat electric crossover is proof that not only are prices decreasing, but manufacturers are designing EVs for comfort and reliability over speed and appearance.
The ID.4 comes in five trim levels, with an MSRP starting at $41,000 for the Standard or Base model. With RWD and a 62 kWh battery, the Standard ID.4 comes with a range of 209 miles. On city streets, it features 107 MPGe, or 99 MPGe on the highway.
All trim levels come with quality materials for the interior, roomy seating, plenty of cargo space, and comfortable steering and handling built for cruising on long road trips. And while the lower-priced Standard and Pro packages are easier on the budget, you can always go for the higher levels, equipped with 82 kWh batteries, if you want the option of AWD and towing.
Wrapping It Up 2024’s Budget-Friendly EV List
EV costs can be the biggest barrier to ownership. But as automakers look for ways to make their products available to more drivers, you can expect to see prices dropping and a growing list of options when it comes to affordable EVs.
If you find a vehicle with a lower MSRP that is eligible for federal and state EV incentives, you could be within reach of paying bottom dollar for a cleaner ride. And while you shop for your next EV, follow evee Life to catch up with all the latest EV news, trends, and tips.
Eveelife is an eco-oriented lifestyle platform that helps consumers make more purposeful choices about how they live and what they consume. We do it by curating content and products that help them make more conscious, carbon-free choices while amplifying their EV ownership experience.