Which Affordable EV Has the Best Range for the Money?
With the introduction of the upcoming Hyundai IONIQ 6 last week, much was made of the impressive 361-mile range of the new Korean EV. But with a price tag hovering around $43,000 and that long-range model priced higher, it got us thinking: which affordable EV has the best range for the money? We dug through the pricing and range targets for a host of EVs at $45,000 and under to determine which model gives you the best range for the price.
1. Chevy Bolt – 259mi range, $25,600 MSRP
Sure, the Chevy Bolt is small. Comically so, when compared to the other EVs on this list. But when strictly considering the base price and expected range, the Chevy Bolt is an impressive overall value. The basic ratio is less than $100 per mile of full-battery range, making it by far the best value for electric vehicle range. It’s just 13 miles off of the expected range of the longest-range model on this list, while the estimated MSRP is nearly $18,000 less. That makes it the best affordable EV range for the price.
2. Chevy Bolt EUV – 247mi range, $27,200 MSRP
The Bolt EUV gives you a bit more comfort and cabin space while retaining a great balance of base price and range. Nearly 250 miles between charges for just over $27k gives us a $110 ratio of cost to range. That’s well off of the smaller Bolt, but still an impressive value overall. It’s important to note that the Bolt EUV offers an extra three inches of both front and rear legroom, while the cargo space is similar. It also has a higher ride height than the standard Bolt, but no all-wheel drive option means that capability is largely similar between the two.
3. Hyundai Kona EV – 258mi range, $33,500 MSRP
There is a significant price jump from number two to number three on this list, but the Hyundai Kona EV also offers quite a bit more inside than the two Chevy models. As the third-best affordable EV, a range ratio of $129 puts it comfortably behind the two leaders. Still, it’s firmly ahead of fourth and fifth on the list as well. With 19.2 cubic feet of cargo space, it has three more cubes than either Chevy EV. Meanwhile, front and rear legroom is slightly smaller than both models, especially the spacious Bolt EUV.
4. KIA Niro EV – 253mi range, $39,450 MSRP
The 2023 KIA Niro looks better than ever, and that’s before factoring in both the range and the base price. The cost-to-range ratio is a good bit behind its Korean cousin above, but at $155 it’s not a bad shout either. Plus, it is subjectively the best-looking vehicle on this list, and it offers an impressive cabin space with its new design. It may not be the most affordable EV, but range is respectable and it will turn heads.
T-5. Hyundai Ioniq 6 – 270mi range, $43,000 est. MSRP, Tesla Model 3, 272mi range, $43,400 MSRP
We have to start this one with a bit of a disclaimer. The Hyundai IONIQ 6 has no official price range as of this writing, though we do know that the much-ballyhooed 361-mile range will cost considerably more than the base price. That said, the lowest range 270-mile model is expected to cost roughly $43,000. That gives us a cost-to-range ratio of $159, but the Hyundai 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty is a point in the Hyundai’s favor.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s Model 3 has come down in price, giving us 272 miles of range for just over $43,000. That gives us the same $159 cost-to-range calculation, though this figure is more concrete than the estimate given to the Hyundai.
EVs are getting better, but pricing is still an issue
Perhaps most troubling is that there are still just two EVs under $30,000 that are good for more than 240 miles. While we’re happy to see more moderately priced EVs hit the market, it is clear that both range and affordability are still issues facing widespread EV adoption. We hope to see that change in the future, but for now, these are the best options we have available.