Cheapest Electric Cars to Buy in 2022 as Gas Prices Hit Record Highs

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author
By

May 24 2022, Published 12:15 p.m. ET

Driving a car has never been this expensive in absolute terms. Rising crude oil prices have catapulted gas prices to record highs. Shifting to an electric car could help you dodge high gas prices.

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The regular maintenance costs for EVs (electric vehicles) are also much lower than their ICE (internal combustion engine) counterparts. However, some car buyers shy away from electric cars. While aspects like range anxiety are also to blame, the high initial buying price for electric cars also plays a dampener. Here are the cheapest electric cars that you can buy in 2022 amid soaring gas prices.

The Nissan Leaf tops the list of the cheapest electric cars.

The Nissan Leaf is the first mass-produced fully-electric car globally. Despite being available for over a decade in the U.S., its sales volumes haven't gained traction. The car is still eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. The credit starts to taper down once an automaker sells over 200,000 vehicles. So far, only Tesla and General Motors have reached the limit.

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The starting MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) for the Leaf is $27,400 which falls to $19,900 with the federal tax credit. The car comes in multiple models. The Nissan Leaf S features a 40-kilowatt-hour battery and has a range of 149 miles.

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The higher models, which are pricier, have a bigger battery and the maximum range is 226 miles, which is good enough for city driving.

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The Mini Cooper SE Electric Hardtop is also a good pick.

The Mini Cooper SE Electric Hardtop is also among the cheapest electric car options in 2022. The 2023 model has a starting price of $33,900 and it's also eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. However, the model’s range is only 110 miles once fully charged.

The Chevrolet Bolt is GM's budget EV model.

The Chevrolet Bolt is the budget EV model from General Motors (GM), which is the largest U.S.-based automaker. The model has been around for a while and was expected to take on Tesla’s mass-market Model 3. However, the sales haven’t kept up to the hype.

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While Bolt is a hatchback model, GM has launched what it calls a EUV (electric utility vehicle), which has SUV-like looks. The Bolt EUV has a starting price of $33,500. Unfortunately, like other GM electric cars, the model doesn't qualify for the federal tax credit. The model claims an EPA range of 247 miles on a full charge, which looks decent enough.

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The Mazda MX-30 EV is a good price, but has a lower range.

Mazda MX-30 is also an option for those looking for cheap electric cars in 2022. The model starts at $33,470 and is also eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. The Premium Plus model starts at $36,480. However, the MX-30's range is only 100 miles which could be a deterrent if you're looking for an electric car with a high range.

What's the cheapest Tesla car in 2022?

Model 3 is Tesla’s cheapest car. The Rear-Wheel Drive Model has a range of 267 miles and has a starting price of $39,640. However, the price includes the California Clean Fuel Reward of $750 and another $7,350 in potential incentives and gas savings.

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Automakers including Tesla have had to increase car prices multiple times over the last two years. The prices for inputs like steel, aluminum, copper, nickel, and cobalt have spiked over the last year, which prompted automakers to increase car prices. However, the price hikes are also helping automakers post strong profits even as they make EVs pricier at a time when gas prices have also been running through the roof.

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