Is demand for affordable EVs low?
Look at the surge of interest over future models like the Chevy Equinox EV and its more than 200,000 “hand-raisers,” or the Fisker Pear or Volvo EX30, all of which are due to start well under $40,000, and you’d be mistaken to say that electric cars are by nature a premium-price market, or that sub-$40,000 EVs can’t be profitable.
EV sales this year have made up more than a third of the U.S. luxury market, while they add up to less than 2% of the non-luxury vehicle market, according to a recent survey by the U.S. EIA pointed out, referring to data from Wards. There’s a “missing mass market” that’s keeping likely EV buyers away, J.D. Power pointed out recently. This is a choice by automakers, because it’s simply harder to create lower-priced, money-making EVs with lasting appeal.
2022 Mazda MX-30 EV
Yes, you can go electric without paying huge sums more than an equivalent gasoline model. There aren’t many choices now, but there will be more soon. See this list of the five lowest-priced new EVs in the U.S. for a sample of what’s here right now (except for the Mazda MX-30 EV that’s already folded its cards), and then take a look at what’s coming very soon in 2024 and a little farther down the road in 2025.
In multiple instances over the past several years, automakers have balked to offer the EV price leaders that they initially built hype over. Examples include Tesla’s elusive $35,000 Model 3—eventually delivered—and the Volkswagen ID.4, which was supposed to be priced vs. Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester).
Will the following examples arriving over the next couple years potentially deliver what they’ve teased and in some cases confirmed?
Prices include destination fees where possible and don’t yet include any potential tax credits or rebates.
Affordable EVs arriving in 2024
2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV
Chevrolet Equinox EV
With a base price of $34,995 and an expected EPA range of around 300 miles in its base form, the Chevy Equinox EV is shaping up to be quite the deal. And that’s even before the $7,500 tax credit amount that’s expected to apply by later in the year. Those angling for the best deal may need to wait months more anyway, as the “well-contented” 2RS versions that arrive first start at $48,995 with front-wheel drive and $53,395 with all-wheel drive.
2024 Fiat 500e
After several model years focusing on Europe, the Fiat 500e is returning to the U.S. market in the first quarter of 2024. With a curb weight just over 3,000 pounds, the two-door, four-passenger 500e keeps it lean and zippy—and that includes no more battery than you might need for big-city commutes. Its 42-kwh battery pack allows 149 miles of EPA-rated range, and you can get from zero to an 80% charge (120 miles of range) in 35 minutes, so you might seek out other vehicles for big road trips.
2025 Mini Cooper electric hatch
Mini Cooper Electric
Mini hasn’t yet released U.S. details for the new generation of its electric Mini models, expanded to include a choice between electric versions of the Mini Cooper hatchback and Mini Countryman crossover. Both are expected to arrive later in 2024 as 2025 models, with more range, somewhat more interior space, and a completely new interface with a circular screen. Until then, the current 2024 Mini Cooper SE continues to be a great deal at $31,895, if two doors and a 114-mile range fits the bill just fine.
2025 Volvo EX30
Yes, Volvo has one of the most affordable EVs for the U.S. market, and deliveries begin by mid-year 2024. In U.S. form, with a 275-mile EPA-rated range, the 2025 Volvo EX30 starts at just $36,245, and all versions of the EX30 get a robust suite of active-safety items. Top versions with Harman Kardon audio, a panoramic roof, and upgraded wheels barely tick over the $40,000 mark, and AWD Ultra versions top out the lineup at less than $48,000.
Affordable EVs arriving in 2025
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Chevrolet Bolt EUV
GM’s top-selling EV, its most affordable one, and a vehicle its dealers had less than a 10-day inventory of for much of the year, has been canceled. And it’s not coming back for more than a year, before an updated (and likely, more profitable) version arrives in calendar year 2025.
The outgoing Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are no longer in production, but at the time of writing there’s still ample dealership supply for at least the next month or two. Meanwhile, the new-generation Bolt EUV will be the first U.S. GM EV to pair its Ultium propulsion suite with a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry.
Fisker has teased much more than the typical small-car package with its upcoming Pear EV, a compact crossover that will offer five- or six-passenger layouts (the latter with a front bench seat), a flat-folding lounge mode, a “Houdini trunk” that slides downward into the floor to make loading easier, and a huge 17.7-inch infotainment screen. Fisker targets a base price of $29,900 before incentives, with base versions offering a range of about 180 miles and versions with the larger pack offering a 320-mile range. It’s likely to be built in Ohio.
Kia EV3 concept
Kia EV3 concept
Kia EV4 concept
Kia EV4 concept
Kia EV3 and EV4
Kia already sells the Niro EV, and while it’s a good compact EV for the city with an impressive 253-mile (EPA-rated) driving range, it’s definitely not cheap or a particularly strong value. The 2024 Niro EV starts at $40,925 and isn’t eligible for the EV tax credit.
However, Kia made clear in October that it hasn’t forgotten about affordable EVs, and it previewed, in concept form, stylish EV3 hatchback and EV4 sedan models. Kia showed both recently at the LA auto show, and it said that at least one of them will be U.S.-bound, but it hasn’t dropped further hints of which model that might be.
Nissan Chill-Out concept – December 2021
A next-generation Nissan Leaf is coming, and it’s one of several new EVs arriving in 2025. While the next-generation Leaf, likely inspired directly by Nissan’s Chill-Out concept, will go a little more upscale in its look and feel, and possibly become a little more of a crossover, expect it to remain affordable.
$25,000 Tesla teased for 2023 – Battery Day
Tesla Model 2
The Texas-based EV maker has gone back and forth on a smaller, more affordable Tesla—sometimes referred to as the Model 2—so many times that it’s difficult to remember which side of the messaging cycle we’re on.
That said, the most assurance came last year, when Martin Viecha, the company’s head of investor relations, walked through Tesla’s plans for the next five years and underscored that a more affordable Tesla was necessary for it to become a high-volume global automaker.
Whether the Model 2 actually arrives in 2025 could depend heavily on a couple of things—whether Tesla pushes ahead with its tentative plans for a Mexico factory, and whether it manages to find a way to implement the revenue-generating, appreciating-in-value robotaxi the company has touted while sharing some of the costs.
Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept
Toyota bZ Compact SUV
Toyota hasn’t officially announced a new affordable EV below its bZ4X, which starts around $43,000. Although with the bZ Compact SUV Concept it showed at the LA auto show last year, Toyota’s dropped some hints that a smaller, sportier, and likely lower-priced EV is in the works. Although still strictly a maybe for the 2025 timeline—and unconfirmed for the U.S.—an updated Urban SUV Concept just shown for Europe earlier this month suggests that development continues through the global automaker’s pipeline.
Vinfast lineup for CES 2024
Vinfast VF 3
Vietnam’s Vinfast has opted to kick off its U.S. lineup with the upscale VF 8 crossover and three-row VF 9 SUV. But with the experience not yet in alignment with its premium prices, it might be getting a lot more positive attention if it were to go after a high-value area of the market that’s just not well-represented today—like subcompact SUVs. With the VF 3 electric SUV, Vinfast has channeled the exterior of a Suzuki Samurai (Jimny) or Geo Tracker while making the interior far more car-like.
If it’s any hint, Vinfast has said that it will be showing the VF 3 at CES next month. At a price of around $20,000 or less, would you entertain the idea?