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March 7, 2023

Cost-Efficient EV Choices

Are you looking for a cost-efficient way to transition to electric cars? Look no further than our guide to electric cars under 30k. We've scoured the market to find the best options that won't break the bank.

An electric vehicle under 30k charging
Written by

Matthew Oliver

Cost-efficient electric cars under 30k

Things to think about

An electric vehicle charging

The average cost for a new EV by the final quarter of 2022 was $61,488, compared to $49k for a gas-fueled car. But prices are going down: “The tipping point when electric vehicles become as cheap as or cheaper than cars with internal combustion engines (ICE) could arrive this year for some mass-market models and is already the case for some luxury vehicles,” The New York Times recently speculated


To take advantage of recent legislative incentives that could total up to $7,500 off the cost of an electric vehicle, you’ll have to qualify. The car you purchase must be from a qualified manufacturer and have an MSRP less than 55k for cars, or 80k for vans and sports utility vehicles. You’ll need to use it mostly in the US and purchase it to use, not resell. Your income also will determine if you qualify. Check with the seller or dealership of the new EV to see if you meet the eligibility requirements.  

Used vs. new

A really excellent way to get a good quality EV for less than the MSRP of a new car is to look into a used car. Check out our recent used EV buying guide for tips on navigating the world of used EVs. Even a car two years old can be thousands of dollars cheaper than a new car. And if you know what to ask for, you can find an individual EV that has been driven gently and whose battery is still in top form. 

However, if you purchase a used vehicle, you will not be eligible for the $7,500 incentive from the government.  

Maintenance and repair

Owners of ICEs plan to do a certain amount of repair work each year. Tires, headlights, oil leaks, filters and oil changes are all common repairs. On average, car owners spend $1,200 on repairs alone, not counting the cost of gas. But EVs don’t have all the moving parts that internal combustion engines have. Electric vehicles just have a battery. So the average yearly maintenance and repair cost is about $900 for an EV. That’s $300 you’ll save yearly. 

Cost of fuel

JD Power and Associates estimates that Americans spend between $150-$200 on gas every month. But electric car owners, on average, only spend $56 per month to charge their car at home according to Kelley Blue Book. That’s 1.7k in annual savings, and might make a higher initial price more feasible. 

Most cost-efficient EV choices list

We looked at electric cars under 30k to help find out where you might find a cost-efficient option that works for you and your family. 

Chevrolet Bolt

MSRP: $26,500 

Used (2017-2022): $16k-35k

The Chevrolet Bolt ranked high on our list of Best EVs of 2023 because of its affordability and range. A new Bolt fits the requirements for incentives, too, so you could end up only paying 19k for a brand-new car. A used Chevy Bolt can be more affordable. At the time of writing, we found options at 16k for a 2017 Bolt. Even 2017s had a range of 238 miles. 

Nissan Leaf

MSRP: $28,040

Used (2013-2022): $3k-27k

The Leaf used to be a great affordable option, and if you’re looking for used EVs and don’t mind a short range, that’s still true. But with other EVs that offer greater range and similar pricing, a new Leaf doesn’t make much sense. Earlier models of the Leaf only had a 75-mile range, but for a four-digit price tag, you may not mind. 

Mini Cooper SE

MSRP: $29,900

Used (2020-2022): ~$25k

Mini Coopers are cute, and they handle turns well, but they only have a 114-mile range. If you live in a city and see charging stations at many of your local spots, they might be a fun investment. Used Mini Coopers can be found for a little less than new. 

Hyundai Ioniq Electric 

MSRP: $23,600

Used (2017-2022): $17k-27k 

The Hyundai Ioniq is a nimble car. models before 2020 only had a 124-mile range, which Hyundai boosted to 170 miles with a bigger battery for more recent models.

Kia Niro 

MSRP: $39,000

Used (2019): $23-29k 

A new 2023 Kia Niro might be too expensive, but you might be able to find a good quality vehicle for $23k. The 2019 model is a good option for those looking for a quality car for a more affordable price. They have a range of 239 miles, too, so you won’t be scrambling for a charger quite as often as other affordable options. 

Used Ford Focus Electric

Used (2015-2018): $10k-24k

Ford started its journey producing electric vehicles with the Focus, but discontinued that line and started selling an electric truck, utility van and, of course, the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Still, you can find a used electric Ford Focus that gets about 75 miles. 

Still looking at options?

If you’re looking to lower your monthly payments on your next car payment, there are a lot of ways to find an affordable option. 

But you don’t have to wait to buy a new car to get a lower monthly payment. RateWorks can help you refinance what you have so that you can save and plan for the car you want. Ask us how we can offer refinancing with zero fees, and whether you qualify today