What’s the Cheapest New Electric Vehicle in the U.S.?

Gas prices are way up, so you’ve decided you want to ditch the gas guzzler for a cheap electric vehicle. But you want a new one. Used EVs aren’t easy to find, anyway. But it has to be the cheapest one around. If that’s your story, then you’ll be in the market for a Nissan Leaf.

The Nissan Leaf is the cheapest EV

2023 Nissan Leaf
2023 Nissan Leaf | Nissan

Yep, the Leaf is the cheapest EV in the U.S. Not the world, where there are some incredibly cheap EVs like China’s Wuling Mini-EV. It sells for a bit over $5,000. 

How compromised is the Leaf with a price of $28,475? Somewhat, but what do you expect from a cheap EV? But not so much that it’s a deal-breaker. The range is one of the biggest factors when buying an EV, and the Leaf is somewhat limited.

What is the range to expect from the cheapest EV?

2023 Nissan Leaf
2023 Nissan Leaf | Nissan

With the entry-level Leaf S has only a 149-mile range. Bumping up to the Leaf SV Plus, the range improves to 215 miles between charges. This is because it comes with a larger battery. It also comes with a bigger price tag at $36,425. Oh, and these are the only two models available. 

The standard Leaf S features a 147-hp electric motor and a 40.0 kWh battery pack. With the SV Plus, the electric motor is the larger 214 hp version, along with a larger 62.0 kWh battery. Both can be charged from an existing 120-volt or 240-volt connection, and are front-wheel drive. 

Using a 240-volt charge, either model can be completely recharged in seven hours. A downside is the Leaf’s CHAdeMO connector is not compatible with all public charging stations. The EPA-rated economy number is 94 MPGe. 

Does the Leaf cabin look cheap?

2023 Nissan Leaf
2023 Nissan Leaf dash | Nissan

While you might be expecting the cabin to be plastic fantastic, you are only partially correct. Yes, black plastic abounds inside of the Leaf. But the design, as well as the uniform texture doesn’t seem like a plastic factory. 

The gauge cluster is analog, housed next to a centrally-located eight-inch digital screen. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are there, with an optional navigation function. Either the standard six-speaker or optional Bose seven-speaker system is available. 

Safety features with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 system come standard with any Leaf model, which belies the cheap EV assumption. An optional ProPilot Assist feature affords semi-autonomous driving. Safety Shield 360 includes automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

What’s new for 2023?

2023 Nissan Leaf
New style 2023 Nissan Leaf wheel | Nissan

The front seats have been praised in numerous reviews, and the back seat is roomy enough for adults. With the back seat folded down, there is an incredible amount of cargo room. 

For 2023, the Leaf gets a revised grille, front bumper, and exterior lighting. There are also new wheel choices, and the Nissan badge is now illuminated. 

While you might feel that you’re being gypped not having the choice of buying a Wuling Mini-EV, keep in mind that it may look cute, but it has drawbacks. Like its parts are mostly off-the-shelf consumer-grade components, not the expected automotive-grade variety. That indicates things will be wearing out much faster. The good thing about the Nissan Leaf is that being the first commercially-available all-electric car, gave Nissan years to sweeten the package. It’s been fully sussed. 

RELATED: The Cheapest Electric Vehicles by Miles of Range