- The EV market is rapidly expanding, with vehicles offering greater range, faster charge times and more impressive horsepower.
- EV vehicles provide benefits such as low emissions, cost savings on fuel and maintenance and powerful torque.
- Many automotive brands are introducing EVs under $40k to appeal to drivers looking to enter the EV market.
As range goes up and cost comes down, more EVs are added to the market every year. EV owners can also take advantage of federal tax credits and state incentives to help bring down purchase costs.
If you’re looking to purchase an EV, this article lists some of 2022’s most affordable options under $40k, as well as highlights, drawbacks, and redesigns to help you compare and decide.
Why Drive an EV?
Approximately 1.8 million drivers have made the switch to EVs, and 39 percent of surveyed U.S. adults said they’re likely to consider an EV for their next vehicle purchase.1
EVs offer many attractive benefits, the main being the cost savings and lower emissions compared to conventional gas-powered vehicles. In addition to saving on fuel costs, EVs typically have fewer maintenance costs to help you save more over the vehicle’s lifetime.
With improved driving ranges and conveniently available charging stations, there’s no need for range anxiety. The engines also deliver a quiet ride, smooth acceleration, and improved handling. Since electric motors can provide power directly to the wheels, EVs have much more torque and horsepower than conventional vehicles.
1. 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
A brand-new model as of 2022, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV is an SUV-inspired version of the regular Bolt. It offers more cabin room but less cargo space, comfortably seating five passengers. Its rugged exterior design provides a more mainstream but still distinctly Bolt EV look and is available in metallic shades.
The Super Cruise technology offers semi-autonomous driving for all Bolt EUV models on up to 200,000 miles of compatible roads. The Bolt EUV can travel an estimated 247 miles on a full charge and has 11.5-kilowatt level-two charging capability. The starting MSRP is $33,500.2
2. 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV Redesigned for 2022
Despite its small size, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV is a roomier hatchback than it appears. Like the Bolt EUV, the Bolt EV offers Super Cruise driver-assist technology, and it can travel an estimated 259 miles on a full charge.
The 2022 model also sees a full redesign. The exterior features futuristic sheet metal and modernized lines, while the interior provides an upscale design with better materials and a fully digital gauge cluster.
Capable of zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds and up to 200 horsepower, this small EV packs a punch. The MSRP starts at $31,500.3
3. 2022 Nissan LEAF S
Offering a modern and roomy interior, the 2022 Nissan LEAF S includes great cargo space and fold-down rear seats. Drivers can also enjoy high-tech features such as semi-autonomous driving, door-to-door navigation, voice recognition and Android and Apple compatibility.
Despite originally trailblazing the path for EVs, the LEAF has fallen behind and provides only 149 miles of estimated range and 147 horsepower.
Despite lacking power and range, the LEAF S maintains its appeal with a low-price tag. The starting MSRP is only $27,400.4
4. 2022 Nissan LEAF S Plus
The 2022 Nissan Leaf S Plus is an upscale trim option from the basic LEAF S. It offers the same standard interior equipment, including an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and automatic climate control.
The S Plus has a more powerful 214-horsepower motor and 250-pound-feet of torque capabilities. The driving range is also more practical for the price at 226 miles. The 2022 Nissan LEAF S Plus starts at $32,400.
5. 2022 Nissan LEAF SL Plus
The premier option of the 2022 Nissan LEAF trim lineup, the LEAF SL Plus has a starting MSRP of $35,400. The interior is more luxurious than other trim options, with leather-appointed seats, a premium Bose speaker system, ProPilot Assist, and removable cargo cover. The LEAF SL Plus offers the same interior technologies as the other LEAF trims, including door-to-door navigation and an eight-inch infotainment system.
Like the S Plus, the SL Plus motor delivers 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. With a 62-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, it has a 215-mile estimated driving range.
6. 2022 Mazda MX-30 EV
The 2022 Mazda MX-30 EV marks Mazda’s entry into the EV market. With a modern exterior and stylish and sustainably sourced interior, this EV is an eye-catching newcomer. It offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability on an 8.8-inch display.
The driving range is disappointing at just 100 estimated miles on a single charge, but it can charge in only 36 minutes with a level-three DC. The MX-30 is only capable of 143 horsepower and as such delivers a poky driving experience. The starting MSRP is $33,470, and this vehicle is currently only available in California.5
7. 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
The 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric is an EV spin on the original gasoline-powered Kona. Although it doesn’t offer AWD, the Kona Electric delivers an estimated 258-mile driving range, 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque. It’s capable of charging as fast as 47 minutes with a 100-kilowatt charging station.
It provides features such as an eight-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a clean and modern interior cabin. The starting MSRP is $34,000.6
8. 2022 Volkswagen ID.4
Some consider the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 to be the electric successor to the original Volkswagen Beetle. The ID.4 delivers a smooth ride with a sleek and roomy interior design, 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system and intuitive technology.
With 201 horsepower and up to 280 miles of estimated driving range, the ID.4 is as practical as it is stylish. It can also charge 70 miles in just 10 minutes at a DC fast charging station. The starting MSRP is $41,230, but the ID.4 qualifies for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits to bring the overall cost below $40k.7
9. 2023 Mini Cooper SE Electric Hardtop Signature
The 2023 Mini Cooper SE Electric Hardtop is one of the most affordable EVs on the market at only $33,900 MSRP. It’s refreshed with new technologies such as an intuitive steering wheel and driving assistance and a standard premium exterior with LED headlights and Union Jack taillights.
With a 114-mile estimated driving range and 181 horsepower, this EV is more about entertainment than practicality. It’s ideal for drivers looking for an electric go-kart to drive around town rather than a long-distance commuter.8
10. 2022 Kia Niro EV
The 2022 Kia Niro EV delivers a comfortable crossover driving experience complete with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display and split-screen capability. The modern exterior design and blue interior accents result in a futuristic aesthetic, and the interior offers 53 cubic feet of cargo space.
With up to 239 miles of driving range, 201 horsepower, and 291 pound-feet of torque, the Kia Niro EV is a competitive option for drivers wanting a more robust EV experience. The starting MSRP is $39,990.9
11. 2022 Audi Q4 40 E-Tron Premium
Audi has introduced several EV vehicles in the last few years, including the all-new 2022 Audi Q4 40 E-Tron Premium. With touch-sensitive controls, a toggle-switch gear selector and 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, this EV offers a luxury experience consistent with Audi vehicles. The Q4 40 also comes with driver assistance technology features such as adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking.
This EV delivers 295 horsepower and zero to 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds. The 82-kilowatt-hour battery can provide up to 241 miles of estimated range for both high performance and a practical ride. The starting MSRP is $49,900, but the $7,500 federal tax credit and other incentives can bring it below $40k.10