Sales manager using an electric car's charger in front of client.

8 Of Most Affordable Electric Cars On The Used Market

Hanna Kielar5-Minute Read
PUBLISHED: February 23, 2022 | UPDATED: December 12, 2022


While starting prices for electric vehicles (EVs) are typically higher than their equivalent gasoline-powered counterparts, a Consumer Reports study found that affordable EVs could save owners $4,700 or more in the first 7 years of ownership.

Why? Buying a fully electric car will undoubtedly save you money on gas, which has gone up an average of an entire dollar since January 2021. But that’s not the only economic advantage.

The government incentivizes EV purchases with a $7,500 federal tax credit on some models, but only if purchased new. Still, fully electric vehicles depreciate 74% of their original value in the first 5 years and 100,000 miles. So, buying a used EV makes sense because it will have already depreciated and will cost far less upfront. Plus, they still offer the advantage of having significantly lower maintenance costs compared to gasoline-combustion vehicles.

That means when it comes to EVs, buying used over new gives you the economic advantages of savings on purchase cost, gas and maintenance. Let’s explore the most affordable electric cars that will ultimately save you the most money over time.

Table Of Contents

    What Matters Most For Budget Electric Cars

    We based our picks for the most economical electric cars on the used market based on a number of factors including price, ownership cost and standard range. Then, we referenced and compiled key insights and lauded features for each vehicle from real-world users of EVs, automotive journalists, and industry experts such as IIHS Safety, NHTSA, U.S. News and World Report and Kelley Blue Book.

    You should know that the Kelley Blue Book values listed are for purchase prices through a dealer and for base model vehicles in good or better condition with 12,000 miles per year. Model years and included technology will vary and will be noted. The MPGe listed for electric vehicles is the miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent. The combined MPGe is based on an assumption of 55% city miles and 45% highway miles. Manufacturers will share fast-charging times at 50kW stations for up to 80% of the vehicle's range because batteries will slow charging time thereafter to protect the battery.

    Here are the most affordable electric cars on the used market for 2022, ranked from high to low cost.

    8. 2019 Hyundai Kona EV

    Best for: Advanced technology

    Driving range: 258 miles

    Combined MPGe: 120

    Fast charging time: 75 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book value: $23,261 – $26,520

    Hyundai Kona is classified as a subcompact SUV, making it one of the more affordable EVs for its size. All trims are known for their advanced safety and technology features. It’s equipped with heated front seats, wireless device charging, and a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system paired to six speakers. The Ultimate trim in 2019 models and newer have what’s called a Heads Up Display (HUD) that projects key information into the driver's sight. If you go with a Kona, you’ll have plenty of driver aids to help with safe driving, along with the most innovative tech.

    7. 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

    Best for: Long-distance driving

    Driving range: 238

    Combined MPGe: 119

    Fast charging time: 30 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book value: $18,579 – $20,832

    A used Chevy Bolt will get you farther on a single charge than our other top contenders. With spacious back seats, the Chevy Bolt EV makes for an excellent road trip vehicle. Combined with the fast charging time, this subcompact car brings together convenience and performance.

    6. 2017 BMW i3

    Best for: Luxury

    Driving range: 114 miles

    Combined MPGe: 118

    Fast charging time: 30 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book value: $14,742 – $17,493

    In 2017, “range anxiety” was commonly felt among the pioneer drivers of electric vehicles. Since then, technology (and driving range) has vastly improved. One solution BMW implemented was to install a range extender – a small 2-gallon fuel tank that begins to power the engine once the battery charge goes below 6%.

    The 2017 to 2019 BMW i3m models all come with heated front seats, rear-parking sensors and an impressive 36.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

    5. Volkswagen e-Golf

    Best for: Roomy interior

    Driving range: 125 miles

    Combined MPGe: 119

    Fast charging time: 60 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book value: $14,395 – $17,273

    The benefit of the e-Golf is that it doesn't differ too greatly from its gasoline-powered counterpart in terms of driving experience or appearance, but the savings in fuel are enormous. Compared to the traditional Volkswagen Golf, the e-Golf can save you an estimated $1,686 per year.

    The e-Golf has one of the roomier interiors for its size, both for your comfort and storage needs. The bottom of the center console features a compartment with USB ports that can charge your devices while it hides messy cords.

    4. 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

    Best for: Daily drivers and families

    Driving range: 124 miles

    Combined MPGe: 119

    Fast charging time: 23 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book value: $13,394 – $15,717

    The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is a midsize EV powered by a 100-kW electric motor that delivers an impressively high MPGe rating. The 2021 model year delivers the most significant increase in driving range from 124 miles to 170 miles. This car is a good consideration for families, since it offers sizable back seats and 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space, making it a roomier option than other EVs.

    3. 2017 Ford Focus Electric

    Best for: Interior tech

    Driving range: 115 miles

    Combined MPGe: 107

    Fast charging time: 30 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book value: $12,928 – $14,969

    The Ford Focus Electric is known for its touch screen infotainment center and ambient lighting that allows drivers to customize the color of the cabin’s interior. Its driving experience is lacking in acceleration capabilities, though it maintains its feel as a sporty car as you hug those tight turns.

    2. 2017 Kia Soul EV

    Best for: Cargo capacity

    Driving range: 93 miles

    Combined MPGe: 105

    Fast charging time: 30 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book value: $12,597 – $14,882

    The 2017 Kia Soul EV has one of the lower driving ranges in our lineup. Still, it beats many in its class for its maximum cargo capacity of 49.5 cubic feet. For reference, our top pick, the Nissan LEAF, has 30 cubic feet. The Kia Soul EV won’t disappoint for what its interior function can do for you – from hauling gear to its standard long list of advanced safety features, including driver attention warnings, blind spot detection, anti-lock braking systems and more.

    Cheapest EV: Nissan LEAF

    Best for: Value

    Driving range: 248 miles

    Combined MPGe: 112

    Fast charging time: 30 minutes

    Kelley Blue Book Value: $10,283 – $12,584

    The Nissan LEAF first generation was introduced in 2010 as the world’s first fully electric car mass-produced for the public. It has a manufacturer warranty up to 100,000 miles but is expected to last even up to 150,000 miles. If you find an older model LEAF with low miles, you can expect 124 miles of range. LEAFs produced in 2012 onward include Vehicle-to-Home charging systems that allow this small electric car to feed energy back to your home during peak electricity cost times.

    The second generation 2017 LEAF now offers almost 250 miles of driving range, along with an e-pedal that allows drivers to begin regenerative braking by simply easing off acceleration. You can’t go wrong with any model year. Just be sure you’re aware of how far you plan to go for each trip and look for a LEAF that will meet your driving needs.

    The Bottom Line: Low-Cost Electric Cars Are Used Cars

    If you’re considering an electric vehicle, remember that buying used will save you a small fortune compared to buying new. Instead of spending thousands of dollars in gas or on the depreciation value of a new car, you can save that money for your other financial goals while enjoying your new-to-you EV.

    Hanna Kielar

    Hanna Kielar is a Section Editor for Rocket Auto℠, RocketHQ℠, and Rocket Loans® with a focus on personal finance, automotive, and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.