The best EVs under $50,000 are more capable than ever before. But that doesn’t mean that they’re equally suited for the diverse needs of today’s drivers. Whether you’re hauling a family or looking for your next ridesharing car, these are the best EVs under $50k that are available now.
2023 Volkswagen ID.4
To qualify for federal EV incentives, ensure you purchase a Tennessee-built VIN.
Price:$37,495 – $53,995
Range: 208 – 274 miles
Charging Speed: 130 kilowatts (standard) to 170 kilowatts (Pro); Add 200 miles of range in 28 minutes
Tax Credit: The U.S.-built ID.4 qualifies for at least half of the new EV tax credit. Make sure yours is built at the Chattanooga, Tennessee factory! See full details here.
Did You Know? The 2023 VW ID.4 includes three years of free 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America. For those who travel often, this incentive could be worth hundreds of dollars.
The new IONIQ 5 may have stolen the show, but the Kona EV is thousands of dollars cheaper. It’s one of the best EV values well under $50k.
Price: $33,550 – $41,550
Range: 258 miles
Charging Speed: 100 kilowatt max (180 miles added in 47 minutes)
Federal Tax Credit: In August of 2022, the new revisions to the EV tax credit took away this incentive from the Kona EV. See full details here. State incentives may apply.
Did You Know? The all-new Hyundai IONIQ 5 has stolen the show with more range, MUCH faster charging, and better looks. Although MSRP starts closer to $45,000, dealer markups make it hard to find one under $50,000. More on that below.
Polestar is the fully-electric brand backed by Volvo. This car looks unmistakably Nordic, yet not as minimalist as a Tesla. Pricing is right under $50k, but direct-to-consumer sales means no dealer markups.
Price (front-wheel drive): $49,800 with destination fees, but there’s no haggling with Polestar’s pricing
Range: 270 miles
Charging speed: 150 kilowatt max charging (adds 160 miles of range in 25 minutes)
Federal Tax Credit: In August of 2022, the new revisions to the EV tax credit took away this incentive from the Polestar 2. See full details here. State incentives may apply.
Did You Know? The Polestar 2 is the closest competitor in terms of size, price and specs to the Model 3 rear-wheel drive.
2023 Kia EV6 (base trim)
If you can go without the bells and whistles, a lower-trim EV6 brings ultra-fast charging and longer range to buyers willing to get close to $50,000.
Price: $41,400 – $56,400; Light and Wind trims are most likely to fall under $50k.
Range: 232 – 310 miles
Charging Speed: 235 kilowatt max at a DC fast charger (adds 200 miles of range in about 18 minutes)
Federal Tax Credit: In August of 2022, the new revisions to the EV tax credit took away this incentive from the EV6. See full details here. State incentives may apply.
Did You Know? The Kia EV6 is based on the same e-GMP electric platform as the Hyundai IONIQ 5. If the looks of the EV6 are too much for you, maybe the IONIQ 5 is up your alley. The EV6 comes with 1,000 kilowatt-hours of free charging at Electrify America. That’s about 15 charging sessions from 10% to 80%.
In 2019, market analysis and research firm Deloitte predicted that electric vehicles would reach price parity with combustion-powered counterparts in 2022. One year later, General Motors Chief Technology Officer Matt Tsien shared his optimism about EV prices. Cost parity between EVs and conventionally powered vehicles “will come sooner than many people think,” he said during a keynote speech at a Society of Automotive Analysts event. Skip forward to the second half of 2022, and EV prices are running away from ICE cars. The latest analysis from iSeeCars.com reveals just how much more expensive used EVs are, and recent MSRP hikes are driving new EV prices even higher.
Used Electric Car Prices Up 54.3% In One Year
Used car prices are dropping rapidly at the wholesale level, however buyers have yet to see any significant price drops at the retail level. Over the past eight weeks, used car prices have dropped nearly 5 percent at dealer auctions. Could the car price bubble be finally coming to an end? If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid, we’re far from it.
According to data from iSeeCars, used electric car prices saw an increase of 54.3% from July of 2021 to July 2022. Over the same period, gas-powered cars were up just 10.1%. Number crunchers at iSeeCars analyzed the prices of over 13.8 million 1-5 year old used cars sold between January and July of 2021 and 2022 to determine the price growth of electric cars compared to ICE vehicles.
As gas prices reached new records this spring, the demand for EVs rose in parallel. However, a closer look at the data reveals that the few affordable electric cars on the market saw the greatest price increases, and by a long shot.
At a time when the average EV transaction price is over $66,000, the future of electric mobility is riding on the success of more affordable options. The number of sub-$40,000 EVs seems to be shrinking by the day.
Are Affordable EVs Going Extinct? It Appears So
iSeeCars found that America’s two most affordable electric cars saw prices increase the most. Used Chevrolet Bolt prices were up 29.3% since 2021, and used Nissan Leaf prices were up 45%. For the Leaf (which starts at $27,800 new), this massive price spike translates to an average sale price of $28,787 in July 2022. The average used Chevy Bolt sold for $28,291 last month. Considering the specs of the Bolt (notably charging capabilities), that’s a lot of money for a used EV.
With DC fast charging times typically around 45 minutes to one hour to add 200 miles of range, both of these electric models are likely to see drastic depreciation as much faster charging EVs become more commonplace. This is especially true for the Leaf, which lacks the decent range of the Bolt.
The Kia Niro EV seems to be the outlier here. With 239 miles of EPA-rated range and 77 kilowatt DC fast charging capability, it almost seems like a good deal with used Niro EV prices ‘only’ increasing 15.7% year-over-year. At the time of writing, used Kia Niro EVs are priced between $35,000 and $43,000.
Another Day, Another EV Price Hike
New electric vehicles are seeing price hikes, too. Just last week, Ford announced that the 2023 Mustang Mach-E was getting a massive price increase. The base Select trim now starts at $48,195 (up $3,200). The rear-wheel drive option was eliminated, effectively canceling the most affordable Mustang Mach-E. The most popular trim, the Premium AWD Mustang Mach-E, now starts at $56,175 before the $1,300 destination fee. That’s a $6,075 increase from earlier in 2022.
When Ford reopened F-150 Lightning orders in August, the news was accompanied by a $6,000 to $8,500 price increase. The most affordable F-150 Lightning now starts at $46,974. Most buyers will want the XLT with extended range, and that option now starts at $80,974. Will Ford lower the price by $1,000 to qualify for the new EV tax credit? We’ll find out soon enough.
Tesla prices are up over 20% since early 2021. The Model 3 is now 27% more expensive, and the most popular EV in America, the Model Y, now costs 30% more with a starting price of $65,990. Rivian made headlines when they canceled the most affordable configuration of the Rivian R1T electric truck. Anyone with basic math skills (or a calculator) can see that new and used EVs alike are becoming more expensive.
When Will EV Prices Go Down?
This right here is the question we’re all doing our best to answer. Still, it’s hard to tell. Here’s what needs to happen before EV prices will go down:
EV production and inventory must increase
For that to happen, supply chain constraints must ease
Battery suppliers must continue to meet demand
Automakers need to commit to affordable models rather than luxury EVs
More EV competition may drive prices down
Is there any good news? It depends on which EVs you’re interested in, and your buying timeline. The new EV tax credit is the first to ever offer a used EV tax credit and future rebate, however strict eligibility requirements for both are causing an uproar. For some, buying an EV may soon be thousands of dollars cheaper. For others, federal EV incentives vanished when President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law. See which new EVs and used EVs qualify for the revised incentives.
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After four months of electric vehicle ownership, my perspectives about the mass transition to electric vehicles have evolved. I no longer think that everyone should run out and buy an EV right now (besides, that’s not possible). I have a greater understanding of the skepticism that accompanies the push to EVs. All-in-all, I feel that I now understand the arguments from both sides: electric vehicles are amazing, better for the planet (in the long run) and fun to drive, however EVs are not even close to being ready for mass adoption.
Automakers have committed well over half a trillion dollars to electric vehicle research and development, marketing and most importantly, charging infrastructure buildout. But the grid isn’t ready, charging providers aren’t ready, and the American public has a LOT to learn before making the switch. EVs could still fail, and bring down the automotive industry with them. We’d hate to see that. These are 5 things that must happen in this decade to prepare the world for electric mobility.
EV Cost Parity: Electric Cars Are Much Too Expensive
The average price paid for an EV surpassed $66,000, on par with the overall luxury segment.
For years and years, I touted the coming cost parity that would finally make EVs just as affordable as any other car. Industry experts always told us that EV price parity would come when battery costs dropped below $100 per kilowatt-hour. Just as that milestone arrived, the world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global factory shutdowns disrupted the supply chains that all automakers rely on, and most notably those related to semiconductor chip production. Without the parts to make the cars, electric vehicle growth was held back just as the public warmed up to them. Raw materials used in both vehicle and battery manufacturing increased in cost by over 100%, and many automakers have passed the premiums on to consumers.
Today, electric vehicles cost more, and inventory is slim. Kelley Blue Book’s June 2022 car price data shows that the average EV transaction was $66,000, $18,000 over the overall car market average of $48,000. One year ago, the average EV transaction was $52,486, or 10.8% less than it was in June of 2020. In short, EV prices are headed in the wrong direction just as automakers are getting serious about making them.
Monthly Payments Are ALREADY Out of Control
In the age of record smashing, here’s one that will give pause: In June, the estimated average monthly payment increased to $730, which is a new record high. A new car monthly payment now costs as much as rent in many parts of the country. We’re seeing more and more car payments over $1,000 a month. The insane records don’t end there.
More cars are being repossessed as more auto payments are going past-due. With the way things stand today, either EVs will have to become more affordable, or their luxury pricing will soon risk worsening the auto loan crisis.
Avoid the Next Shortage: Batteries Will Be the New Oil
Earlier this year, Rivian CEO and Founder RJ Scaringe predicted that battery shortages would be the next disruption that the automotive industry would face. In fact, automakers are already rationing the batteries they have, and those they have lined up. Ever wondered why there are so few electric full-sized SUVs? Building those at scale would require a lot more batteries.
The average EV contains $8,255 of raw materials according to CNBC. That’s more than double the amount in combustion-powered counterparts. President Biden has even authorized use of the Defense Production Act to aid the situation by increasing domestic EV production and related supply chains.
For the most part, automakers don’t make their own batteries. They rely on contracts with battery manufacturers like Panasonic, LG Chem, and CATL to supply what their lofty plans for electric vehicles will need. That’s changing little by little. Tesla has started to produce small quantities of its new 4680 battery cells next to Giga Austin.
General Motors just received a $2.5 BILLION dollar loan from the U.S. Department of Energy for manufacturing the Ultium battery in Tennessee. Slowly but surely, some OEMs are taking control of their own battery supply chains. This will be key to avoiding battery shortages.
Over 62% of Americans support building out a nationwide charging network, and 39% of American drivers are considering buying an electric vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car. Frugal drivers are welcoming the fuel savings, albeit at a higher upfront cost. At current residential electricity rates, charging up is equivalent to spending about $1.00 per gallon of gas. The most expensive public chargers may approach $2.50 per gallon equivalent.
However, many Americans live in a charging desert. What good is the EV revolution if there’s nowhere to charge? Most EV drivers plug in at home, but not everyone can do that. From apartment dwellers to rural residents, owning an EV simply isn’t viable if there aren’t chargers for road trips, family visits and work transportation needs. When it makes sense for consumers, electric vehicles offer plenty of benefits. Cheaper fuel, less maintenance, sporty performance and no tailpipe emissions to name a few. But EVs risk remaining a symbol of luxury and impracticality if it doesn’t get a lot easier to charge up in America.
2021’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act included $7.5 billion for the build-out of a national charging network. In summary, federal funding is supposed to get the ball rolling, and the private sector will take it from there. EV charging stations, particularly DC fast chargers, are really expensive to install. On top of upfront costs, America’s electrical grid is not ready for the demand that would be generated by mass adoption of EVs.
The deadline is nearing for states to submit their plans for how they will spend their allocated funding for EV charging. Will they use the funding to install reliable, standardized fast charging stations along major transportation corridors and rural areas alike? We’ll soon find out.
Public Education: Tell the World What It’s Like to Drive Electric
The following are all things I’ve encountered at Electrify America charging stations:
A driver standing in pouring rain for five minutes trying to charge
Using the wrong connector type on a $60k car
Many, many Chevy Bolts, Audi e-trons and VW ID.4s using the 350 kilowatt stations, despite their cars only accepting half of that.
We need to do better to educate EV buyers and prospective EV buyers about how to drive electric without the hassles. We can’t blame the consumer, EVs bring a very different ownership experience. But whose responsibility is it to educate drivers? The dealership? The automaker? The driver themself? Guys like me?
In reality, it will need to be all of the above. General Motors is leaning heavily on the success of what they call affordable EVs to dominate sales by the end of this decade. In the first real sign that OEMs might be taking their newfound responsibility seriously, Chevrolet just launched a great live chat and immersive experience on their website that is entirely devoted to educating the public about their EVs, with an emphasis on the ownership experience. We need more of that, and soon.
The woman I met who arrived at a charging station with 0% state of charge and no A/C should, in my opinion, be upset with her Kia dealer. She loved the car, but no one had explained to her how to plan for interstate travel in an EV. Dealers sell most vehicles in America, but the dealership sales model is under serious threat from the rising popularity of direct-to-consumer sales. Everyone wants to be Tesla. If legacy automakers are to stand a chance in the EV race, more OEMs need to prepare their dealer networks for the public education that comes along with selling EVs.
Don’t Forget the Power of Innovation
Does the lack of affordability, charging infrastructure and public awareness mean the electrification of the auto industry is doomed for failure? No, not at all. That’s because there’s still time to right wrongs, and to build out the nation’s charging infrastructure the right way. EVs are still under 6% market share in the U.S. (See the latest EV market share numbers here.) If these same problems persist when we exceed 15%, that will be real cause for concern.
It’s true that the electrical grid isn’t ready for mass adoption of EVs, but it’s getting there. Grid-scale battery megapacks (also pioneered by Tesla) are already being deployed to provide grid stability in times when the supply of electricity is not keeping up with demand. The sun only shines in the day, the wind is intermittent, but grid-scale batteries store and supply power from these renewable sources whenever they are most needed. Now, it’s like the sun is shining at night. These changes take time. Plus, the push for grid-scale battery storage could throw a wrench in EV battery supply chains. Nothing is certain, but things are moving in the right direction.
5 Innovations On the Way
These are some innovations that have the potential to make electric vehicles more affordable with longer ranges, faster charging and improved safety. These innovations also make EV supply chains less damaging to the environment and less harmful to vulnerable communities worldwide.
Solid-state batteries are expected to enter mass production in just a few years. They promise higher energy density, lighter weight, and less rare earth metals for production.
Cobalt-free batteries are entering production now, reducing the need for this element that is too often associated with child labor and environmental degradation
Newer battery technologies are more energy-dense, meaning that more range is powered from the same-sized battery. In reality, automakers are likely to keep range figures around 250-350 miles, but they’ll require fewer batteries to get there.
EVs burn through tires quickly. Michelin, Goodyear and others are designing EV-specific tires that will have longer lives on the road.
Battery recycling and reuse efforts have recently received more attention as automakers and environmental health agencies work to avoid batteries ending up in landfills.
How can the nation as a whole get to where it needs to be by, say, 2025? I’ll leave you with my own suggestion for legacy automakers and policymakers: don’t be afraid to learn from Tesla. A seamless, almost hassle-free EV ownership experience already exists in America, from plug-and-charge, reliable fast charging to the peace of mind that comes with the vast Supercharger network. I encourage all policymakers and engineers to learn from Tesla’s successful growth strategies. Will automakers and politicians have the courage to consult Elon Musk’s Tesla, or will they try to figure it all out on their own? What do you think?
As drivers warm up to the idea of going electric, every electric vehicle recall is sure to turn heads, regardless of severity. 2022 is a huge year for automakers unveiling their next generation of electric vehicles. With over half a trillion dollars invested in EVs, there’s a lot riding on the success of these new arrivals. Several electric vehicle models have already been subjected to recalls. Fortunately, most of them do not directly involve electric powertrains. These are the EVs facing recalls in 2022. We’ll update this page as future recalls are inevitably announced.
October 2022 – Rivian recalled every vehicle it has produced, including all R1T electric trucks, R1S electric SUVs, and EDVs produced for Amazon. The vehicles were recalled because of concerns that a bolt in steering assemblies wasn’t sufficiently tightened.
No accidents have been reported, but the recall is still causing massive headaches for the young automaker. The recall fix is already available, it’s as simple as tightening a (very important) screw. However, the challenge lies in the limited locations of Rivian Service Centers. For example, the state of Texas has one service center in Houston. There are just 5 Rivian service centers on the entire East Coast. Most locations are in California. See the full list of locations.
Fortunately, Rivian has mobile service technicians, but they’ll surely have their hands full. See additional details on the Rivian recall here.
Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra Recalls
June 23, 2022 – The Toyota bZ4x and Subaru Solterra are EV siblings co-developed by the two Japanese automakers. Just a month into deliveries, the two models have been recalled globally due to an issue with their wheel hub bolts that could in fact cause the wheels to fall off. Fortunately, the issue does not involve Toyota and Subaru’s brand-new electric powertrain.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall notice warns owners not to drive their vehicles until they are repaired. This isn’t a good look considering the significance of Toyota’s first all-electric vehicle. A bZ4X and Solterra recall remedy is currently under development according to the US NHTSA.
“The cause of the issue and the driving patterns under which this issue could occur are still under investigation,” the notice says.
June 27, 2022 – The electric F-150 Lightning is the most-anticipated new model making a debut this year. Ford Motor is recalling 2,906 F-150 Lightnings because of a software issue that could result in a failure to provide low tire pressure warnings. The 200,000 F-150 Lightning reservation holders are certainly relieved to find that this recall is not related to Ford’s all-new electric powertrain.
In this particular recall, simple human error is at fault. Ford says that the recommended tire cold inflation pressure was incorrectly set to 35 psi instead of 42 psi. No accidents have resulted from this F-150 Lightning recall, but it’s the fix that’s noteworthy. The recall gives Ford a publicized opportunity to show the world that the F-150 Lightning is OTA capable. Over-the-air updates, first implemented on a large scale by Tesla, are no easy feat. Plenty of automakers can update navigation and infotainment via OTA update, but few are capable of firmware OTA updates that tinker with the powertrain.
F-150 Lightning Recall Fix: Those who wish to receive the recall fix immediately may head to a Ford dealership service center immediately. Otherwise, Ford says the over-the-air update will be available to download via home WiFi within a few weeks. Check to see if your F-150 Lighting VIN number is impacted by the recall at Ford’s official recall page.
Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6 Recalls
May 13, 2022 – As an IONIQ 5 owner myself, I was not thrilled to see the first manufacturer recall coming in one month into ownership. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Hyundai and Kia have announced a recall for select VIN numbers of the 2022 model year Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6.
The IONIQ 5 and EV6 share Hyundai Motor Group’s new e-GMP electric platform. The recall is for the potential for disruptions to the vehicle’s parking actuator system when the vehicle is off. Sudden voltage fluctuations may occur while the vehicle is off, potentially causing the parked vehicle to disengage from ‘Park’ momentarily. If this occurs while the vehicle is parked on uneven terrain, vehicle rollaway is possible.
IONIQ 5 and EV6 recall fix: A fix is already available, but you’ll have to visit your Hyundai or Kia dealership service center. I just got the recall fix done at my local Hyundai dealer. They had never seen an IONIQ 5 before, and one employee asked if I was coming in for an oil change. Nevertheless, I was in and out of the dealership in about 30 minutes.
June 14, 2022 – Ford is recalling all 50,000 Mustang Mach-E electric crossovers because of the risk of power loss. The possible power loss could occur while the vehicle is in motion or parked.
The recall is due to problems with the Mustang Mach-E’s battery contactor, which is a switch that determines which vehicle components the battery sends power to. Interestingly, the power loss is more likely to occur when putting the pedal to the metal for maximum acceleration, according to Ford. If power loss occurs, a powertrain malfunction warning light will illuminate on the dashboard, and the vehicle will display “Stop Safely Now’ in the gauge cluster behind the steering wheel. Clearly, it’s time to pull over immediately with a message like that.
Ford Mustang Mach-E recall fix: Ford has pursued Tesla in more ways than one. In addition to ending EV lease buyouts and going for direct-to-consumer sales via Ford Model e, Ford has brought over-the-air updates to its lineup. Ford says that Mustang Mach-E owners will receive an over-the-air update sometime in July to install a software remedy for the recall. Until then, a stop-sale is in place.
Several hundred automotive recalls happen every year across vehicle classes and powertrains. There will surely be more to come. What we’ll be keeping an eye on is how the latest electric powertrains are performing. Luckily, most of the EV recalls to date have been for components other than the electric powertrain. However, we all remember how the Chevrolet Bolt recall and fire hazard tarnished GM’s reputation. Check back for the latest updates!
Outside of warranty, electric car battery replacement costs range from $2,000 – $8,000 in a hybrid or plug-in hybrid all the way to $12,000 – $20,000 in a fully-electric vehicle. It’s true that batteries should be much more affordable a decade from now, but that’s a lot of money on the line. To protect your wallet, EV manufacturer warranties should be a top consideration for drivers looking to go electric.
Federal law requires automakers to warranty EV and hybrid batteries for at least eight years or 100,000 miles. California requires a 10-year, 150,000-mile warranty on EV and hybrid batteries. Still, EV battery warranties vary considerably, especially when it comes to degradation.
These are the best electric vehicle warranties in 2022. The top of the list was unexpected to say the least!
The Best EV Battery Warranty
Rivian (8 years or 175,000 miles)
Surprise! The best EV warranty is offered by Rivian for the all-new R1T electric truck and R1S electric SUV. Coverage includes all components inside the high-voltage battery and 70% or more of the battery capacity for 8 years or 175,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Drivetrain components are also covered for 8 years or 175,000 miles. It can be unnerving to purchase a vehicle from a startup like Rivian, so at least they’re offering the best battery warranty there is. Learn more about Rivian’s warranty here.
Tesla Battery Warranty
Tesla’s electric powertrain warranty is split into two tiers.
The Tesla Model S (starting at $99,990) and Tesla Model X (starting at $114,990) have 8 year or 150,000 mile electric powertrain warranties. Battery capacity retention is guaranteed to be at least 70% under warranty.
The Tesla Model 3 Long Range and Performance and all Tesla Model Y’s get an 8 year or 120,000 mile powertrain warranty.
The most affordable Tesla today is the Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive, which gets an 8 year or 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
The Best Battery Warranty For Affordable Electric Cars
Hyundai and Kia (10 years or 100,000 miles)
For electric cars under $65,000, you can’t beat Hyundai and Kia’s 10 year/100,000 mile EV warranty. The Hyundai EV warranty covers batteries, motors and powertrain components. There’s also the guarantee of at least 70% battery capacity retention. “While all electric-car batteries will experience degradation over time, ours will not degrade more than 70 percent of the original capacity during the warranty period.”
Hyundai’s warranty was a big consideration when I decided to purchase a 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 for my family. Learn more about the IONIQ 5, and the ups and downs of my own EV shopping experience.
Learn more about Hyundai’s electric vehicle battery warranty. You can find Kia’s EV warranty details here.
The Rest of the Gang: 8 year/100,000 Mile Battery and Powertrain Warranty
In 2022, it looks like the industry standard for EV manufacturer warranties is 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. This manufacturer warranty applies to the following electric vehicles in 2022:
Ford Mustang Mach-E (70% battery capacity retention guarantee) see the details
Ford F-150 Lightning (70% battery capacity retention guarantee) see the details
I’m surprised that GM is continuing to settle for last considering their much-publicized push to electrify their entire lineup quickly. The Chevrolet Bolt and GMC Hummer EV have 8 year/100,000 mile battery warranties with a notable catch. The battery retention portion of the warranty will replace the battery if it falls below 60% of the original capacity under coverage. See the full details here.