A decade ago, when the Nissan Leaf appeared as the first widely available mainstream electric car, the only drivers genuinely interested in buying one were early adopters with short commutes. With only about 100 miles of range and a new consumer phenomenon later dubbed “range anxiety,” the Leaf had limited appeal.
But in subsequent years, advances in battery design and packaging meant more miles, broadening the acceptance of electric vehicles. Gradually, more buyers could envision using an EV for trips to and from work or for errand runs around town. Today’s EVs range from pokey and basic to fast and luxurious, with price tags to match. But if you don’t need a lot of range, some of today’s top electric vehicles can be had for the buying price of an average sedan, and for even less when you factor in federal and state incentives.
We’ve gathered up the most affordable electric vehicles you can buy today and tip you off about some notable options on the horizon. If you’ve been hesitant to dip a toe in the electric waters (irresponsible metaphor aside), now is a good time to produce a relatively low-risk leap.