If you’re looking to reduce your car-related costs, and/or are an environment enthusiast, an electric car is unquestionably what you should go for. The problem is that a few years ago, most of the popular electric cars used to come at a hefty price, which wasn’t affordable for the average people. But with the advent of lithium batteries (especially the cheaper and better ones over time), electric vehicles have started to gain popularity and today, they’re considered as the most eco-friendly vehicle option that you can find. Still the question is - how are electric vehicles going to help the environment if they’re unaffordable to everyone except for the society’s upper crust? Today, purchase of an electric car is quite difficult to afford even for the middle class.
But you need not worry too much as there’s some good news. You will find some oddball electric cars already available in the market and they’re absolutely cheaper than the popular ones. Here, we’ve outlined a comprehensive list of some of the most affordable electric cars available in the global market for you to consider.
Smart Fortwo is an ultra-compact electric car offered by the house of Daimler. Though some find it a bit expensive (especially when it comes to comparing it with Chinese electric cars), it isn’t much surprising as we all know that cars from the German auto industry come at a higher price point. Though the model hasn’t experienced terrible sales and may not be able to meet the needs of some buyers living within urban environments, the ultra-compact design can prove to be hugely advantageous for those living within old cities, where large cars can be difficult to maneuver safely. The fourth generation model features a real-world range of 99 miles per full charge, a 17.6 kWh battery pack, 118 pound-feet of torque and 81 horsepower.
Conversion to EV format of the regular Kia Soul has made the car visually enhanced with its own dedicated characteristics like EV-specific alloy wheels, an interior fitted out with pale gray and white materials, a re-profiled nose section etc. The Soul boasts of features like DAB radio, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera, 8-inch touchscreen with sat-nav and climate control. Though there’s less rear legroom and boot space compared to the regular Kia Soul, it offers a good 132-mile range per complete charge, which will take around 10-14 hours to recharge on a regular domestic mains setup.
The latest version of this car may seem to be a little expensive (especially when compared to other cars in the cheapest category) but the additional money brings you more technology, more space, more range, and more power. ePedal – a single pedal that acts both as a brake and an accelerator, is one of its most interesting features. You release it for mild braking and press it to accelerate. The conventional brake pedal is also there, in case you need to pull over suddenly. The Leaf gives a real-world range of about 150 miles per full charge and it takes 40 minutes to charge from empty to 80% if you use a 50kW fast charger. However, it will take 7.5 hours to recharge it completely when you use a 7.5kW home charger.
Moving on, we’ve the BAIC EC-Series, which is one of the best-selling cheapest electric cars presently available. It hasn’t gained a huge popularity across the globe and many people mayn’t have even heard of it because the company doesn’t yet sell this offering elsewhere except China. If you’re based outside China, the cost of owning this car can be significantly high when various import tariffs get added to it. However, with a range of about 125 miles per full charge, the BAIC EC-Series seems to be a good option for urban dwellers. And if you consider the overall aspect of the car – from the range to the relatively normal styling to cargo capacity to interior space, it seems like a good deal for every cost-conscious electric car enthusiast.
Next up is Zhidou D2 EV – one of the most popular and affordable electric cars across the globe. Though the car is pretty much only available to buyers in China, it’s quite closer to the ultra-compact electric cars of the Western world – the Renault Twizy, the Smart Fortwo etc. With limited interior space, a battery pack limited to only 12kWh of capacity, and a range of around 75 miles per full charge, it can prove to be a good purchase for everyday people. Also, the price of Zhidou D2 EV isn’t dissimilar from the prices of the Renault Twizy and the Smart Fortwo in their home markets.
If you’re based in Britain, Renault Zoe is perhaps the cheapest electric car you can buy here. However, it’s important to note that the attractive price of this car isn’t inclusive of the battery pack. It means you’ll have to make a separate arrangement for it that would include a standard additional cost depending on the annual mileage and length of the agreement. Renault Zoe comes with an array of attractive features like clever on-board technology that recuperates energy when braking or slowing, inclusion of faster-charging wall box (domestic) that can reduce the time of a full recharge to only 3-4 hours, LED tail lights, and slender headlights, among others. This safe and spacious 5-door hatchback also boasts of a 5-star Euro NCAP crash rating. Key specifications include cruise control, remote-operated climate control, 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
An electric car pioneer, the Citroen C-Zero was on sale 8 years ago and was among the first mainstream battery-powered cars. The design as well as the looks of Citroen C-Zero can certainly be considered old, especially when there’re lots modern rivals available today. In addition, its real-world range of about 60 miles and small interiors leave it much behind in the competition with its peers. However, all these disadvantages bring significant discounts to the buyers, and at the final buying price, C-Zero surely makes good sense for small city commuting.
The tiny two-seater is capable of traveling up to 155 km per full charge (takes 7.5 hours to get juiced up), which can be an excellent choice for urban daily commutes. The E100 offers a maximum speed of 100 km/h and comes with comfortable seating for two adults. It boasts of impressive safety features like parking sensors, electric power steering, a pedestrian alert system, and anti-lock brakes with electronic breakforce distribution, among others. Its key features include Wi-Fi, a 7-inch infotainment screen. The premium variant comes with added features like keyless entry, air filter, touchpad etc.
Compared to some other newer electric cars, advancement of technology can be clearly seen in this car. Though Peugeot Ionis relatively new to enter the league of electric cars, it comes with certain specifications that can be hard to find in a car with a range of only 93 miles on a full charge (it’ll take 7 hours to recharge). Its key specifications include privacy glass, climate control, 15-inch alloy wheels, electric windows and automatic headlights.
Next up is the Renault Twizy, owning which would mean you often have to take the battery packs on lease. Though this little two-seater isn’t a family car, it is a lot of fun to drive and meets most driving needs adequately. It mayn’t seem to be able to offer smart electric drive but it’s also important to note that in 2013, the Twizy was the 15th best selling electric car across the globe and 10th best selling electric car across Europe.
The e-Up is the electric version of the petrol-powered Volkswagen Up car. This 4-seater, 5-door car ensures a positive ride and handling attributes with energy recovery technology. The e-Up may seem to be on the pricey side but batteries are included in the package, which helps to eliminate its pricey tag to some extent. Key higher specifications include sat-nav, heated seats, cruise control, parking sensors, electrically-heated windscreen, and climate control.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve gained good knowledge about some of the most popular and affordable electric cars. However, a significant number of improvements still need to be made in terms of better performance and lowered prices. Prices of these affordable electric cars may seem to be higher than traditional non-electric cars, but if you factor in the total cost of ownership, some electric cars are cheaper than gas cars with seemingly lower price tags.
When it comes to the total cost of ownership of an electric car, it’s also important to note that the time when you charge it can let you save. For instance, charging only during off-peak hours would bring down the electricity costs. Apart from this and the benefit of cutting tailpipe emissions, lots of other advantages too are offered by affordable electric cars that will translate into big savings. Though there’re maintenance and insurance costs that you’d need to bear, the cost of owning an affordable electric car looks significantly lower than the cost of owning a conventional car. And perhaps this is the key reason behind the huge adoption of EVs across the globe.
If you also want to learn about " What are the ten best electric cars on the market? ", read our another article written about this.
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