Most Affordable Fall 2020 – Tesla Model 3 vs. the Rest


The Tesla Model 3 is the hottest electric vehicle in the world. But there are many cheaper alternatives. This includes used electric vehicles and a cheap electric vehicle manufactured by a GM joint venture.

According to data from Cox Automotive, the average price of electric cars was $ 55,600 in 2019, up from $ 64,300 in 2018.

Still out of reach for most Americans but going in the right direction.

Battery technology is the key to cheaper electric vehicles. Elon Musk recently announced his goal of a Tesla of $ 25,000 in three years. This could happen if the battery prices drop below $ 100 / kilowatt hour = cheaper batteries = cheaper EVs.

Until that happens, used electric vehicles offer a cheap alternative in the U.S. Chevy Bolts, for example, can be bought for well under $ 20,000 with a range of 238 miles. (Used Teslas tend to be relatively expensive, on the other hand.)

There are also new, cheaper electric vehicles, like the 150 km range version of the Nissan Leaf.

It should be noted that GM sells, through its joint venture with SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co, the best-selling electric vehicle in China, even beating the Tesla Model 3. Price is an important factor. The Hong Guang Mini EV costs around $ 4,200 to $ 5,700 and offers a range of up to 106 miles.

Here are four cheaper EVs with EPA-rated battery range over 200 miles available in the United States:

Tesla Model 3 – base model: $ 37,990 for the Standard Plus range. Autopilot, which allows the car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians, is included in the price. Note that there is no longer a federal tax credit for Model 3.

Chevy Bolt EV – one of the best bangs for the EV money: used bolts (see table) and new bolts can be a bargain. GM is offering hefty intermittent discounts on the new Bolts (the 2020 Bolt increases range to 259 miles from 238 miles in previous years). But the used bolts listed on sites like CarGurus are worth a look. Remember that the Bolt is still a relatively new electric vehicle – its first model year was 2017. However, the Chevy Bolt lost its federal tax credit.

Hyundai Kona EV: this SUV garners a lot of good reviews. This comes with the full federal tax incentive of $ 7,500, although it’s not the aggressive Chevy Bolt discount.

Kia Niro EV: although not included in the table above, the EV version of the Kia Niro hatchback has an MSRP of around $ 39,000 and an EPA rated range of 239 miles. It is also eligible for the full federal tax credit of $ 7,500.

Tax credits:

Federal tax credit: See the guide to federal tax incentives for all EVs. The guide shows which EVs are no longer eligible and which are active. Basically, long-established EV manufacturers like General Motors and Tesla have seen the incentives expire, while automakers new to the EV market are eligible.

State tax credits: some states offer additional credits. For example, California offers discounts ranging from $ 2,000 to $ 4,500 for pure EVs.

Baux: Leases are very popular for electric vehicles.



(1) Fast charge or DC quick charge is also referred to as level 3 charging. This should not be confused with the much slower level 2 chargers that you often see outside of stores in malls. Tesla can use DC fast chargers through an adapter. Tesla also has its own extensive network of superchargers which is only available for Tesla cars.

(2) The 2021 Chevy Bolt is expected soon with pre-orders possibly as early as this month.

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