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The world is going electric, and the more it does so, the more electric vehicles (EVs) join the used car market. Outrageous new EV costs have kept much of the population from considering electrification. However, shoppers can buy one of the cheapest electric cars and skip the bloated price tag. So what if you don’t want a Prius? What if you want to go fully electric like a Nissan Leaf? These two vehicles could be your ticket to owning an EV or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) without breaking the bank. 

A used Nissan Leaf is one of the cheapest electric cars you can get

The Nissan Leaf is one of the 2 of the cheapest electric cars you can buy
A Nissan Leaf charges | John Walton, Getty Images

Nissan’s trendy little EV hatchback is a great way for potential buyers to get into EV ownership without going broke. Although the Leaf is affordable, with examples selling for as little as $12,000 or so, it does have its faults. Specifically, the Leaf had a range of fewer than 100 miles, and the fast charging technology is nearly obsolete. Still, owners could potentially use the Nissan Leaf for daily driving applications and rent a Tesla for trips. 

Chevrolet’s Bolt is now discontinued, but there are used examples out there that you could buy for less than $20,000 

Buying a used PHEV is a great way to take advantage of the fuel savings and environmental benefits of electrification without committing to a fully electric car.  A used Chevrolet Bolt seats four comfortably and will cost you less than half as much in fuel costs as a comparable gas-powered Honda Civic. Given the affordability, the Bolt is one of the cheapest electric cars you can buy, and the PHEV function is practical. Furthermore, the Bolt affords owners the capability of driving out of town and beyond, unlike owning a Nissan Leaf. 

If you compare the savings to a reliable little gasoline-powered car, the fuel savings are plainly apparent

CleanTechnica compared owning the Leaf EV, Bolt PHEV, and the internal combustion engine-powered (ICE) Honda Civic. The comparison addressed factors like insurance, maintenance costs, repairs, taxes, financing, and other running costs over a five-year period. Also, CleanTechnica’s metrics took average depreciation into account when comparing the three different kinds of cars. 

The Nissan Leaf is one of the 2 of the cheapest electric cars you can buy
A newer Nissan Leaf on Electric Avenue | Charlie Crowhurst, Nissan

Despite the widely held belief that owning an EV is more expensive than alternatives, the figures favored the Nissan Leaf. The only category where the Leaf was more expensive than the comparable Honda Civic was the insurance costs. Car and Driver reports that EVs are typically more expensive to insure than gas-powered vehicles due to the initial cost and cost of repairs. 

Should you buy one of the cheapest electric cars or PHEVs? 

Depending on your needs and where you live, you might be better off with an EV like a Nissan Leaf. However, if you live somewhere where charging infrastructure isn’t up to city standards, you might want to consider a PHEV. With a PHEV, owners can take advantage of a cheaper, cleaner commute and the engine for longer trips. These two are some of the cheapest electric cars available, and cheaper to run than a Civic. Scroll down to the following article to read about things to consider before buying an EV. 


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