Electric car range is a major factor for potential buyers. And while the range and technology are still improving, plenty of EVs have good range. For example, the Lucid Air Dream can travel 520 miles on a single charge. But the electric range isn’t everything, because chances are you can’t fork over $169,000 to pre-order one.
Before we dive into this, allow me to explain the method to my madness: the six electric cars on this list are leaders in terms of dollars per mile. If you take the base price of an electric car (let’s say $50,000) and divide it by the car’s electric carnage (250 miles), you get the dollars per mile (in this example, each mile of range the electric car has is worth $200). Using that math, the Lucid Air Dream costs a staggering $325 per mile. So let’s look at the six most affordable electric cars, that still pack a decent range.
- The 2022 Polestar 2 Long Range FWD: $173 per mile
- The 2022 Tesla Model 3 Standard RWD: $168 per mile
- The 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 RWD: $166 per mile
- The 2022 Tesla Model Three Long Range AWD: $152 per mile
- The 2022 Hyundai Kona EV: $131 per mile
- The 2022 Chevy Bolt EV: $123 per mile
The 2022 Polestar 2 Long Range FWD has an adequate range at an average price
A direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3, the Polestar 2 is the company’s entry-level electric luxury vehicle. And starting at just $45,900, that’s not ridiculously expensive. Especially since new cars are less affordable than ever. Though, keep in mind, the price figures used in this article will be base prices, which means there are no added features or technology to jack up the price.
That said, the Polestar 2 Long Range model with FWD has some strong qualities. At 228 horsepower and with a zero to 60 time of seven seconds, it’s not ridiculously fast, but no slouch either. And with 265 miles of EPA-rated range, each mile packed into the Polestar 2 is worth $173. If you wanted more power, you could opt for the AWD package. But the price goes up by $4,000, and the range drops to 249 miles, so it’s certainly not the most efficient or cost-effective option.
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 Standard RWD barely beats out the Polestar 2
The Tesla Model 3 Standard with RWD starts at just $1,000 less than the Polestar 2 ($44,900). And with that $1,000 price drop, the Tesla Model 3 gets two extra miles of electric car range, bringing the total to 267 miles per charge. That means the dollars per mile value ends up being $168 per mile, only $5 less than the Polestar 2.
But in terms of performance, the base trim of the Tesla Model 3 still beats out the Polestar 2, with a zero to 60 time of 5.8 seconds. And for an added $10,000, the Model 3 can have self-driving capabilities. Meanwhile, the Polestar 2 has simple driver’s assistants as a $4,000 option. So of the two, the Tesla Model 3 outshines the Polestar 2, but it’s still a close race.
The 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 touts a 305 mile range
The main selling point of the Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 package is that it can get up to 305 miles per charge. And while the RWD Mach-E Premium with the extended battery gets 300 miles, it’s significantly more expensive. The RWD California Route 1, however, starts at $50,775.
Divide that by the 305-mile range, and you get a dollar per mile value of $166. Yes, it’s more expensive than the Tesla Model 3 Standard. But it also gets an extra 38 miles of range. Considering the national average of daily driving hovers around 40, that’s nearly a day’s worth of driving between these two cars. However, that doesn’t mean every Tesla Model 3 get’s outshined by the Mach-E.
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD outdoes the competition and itself
There’s no doubt about it, Tesla has the upper hand in terms of electric cars. While the Tesla Model 3 Long Range with AWD costs a little over $200 more than the Ford Mustang Mach-E, it gets an additional 29 miles. With a $50,990 starting price, and 334 miles of range, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range is valued at $152 per mile.
Not only is that a better value than the Model-E, but it’s superior to the budget option of the Tesla Model 3 Standard. Yes, you could save money with the Standard version. But in the long run, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range with AWD is cheaper by the mile. And a bit faster too, with a zero to 60 time of 4.2 seconds.
The 2022 Hyundai Kona EV is friendly on your wallet, and good on miles
The Tesla Model 3 AWD with extended range has the best range of the cars on this list, at 334 miles per charge. But that doesn’t mean it has the best value. The 2022 Hyundai Kona EV gets 258 miles of range, which is only seven miles less than the Polestar 2. At the same time, the SEL trim starts at $34,000, over $10,000 cheaper than the aforementioned electric car.
That gives the Hyundai Kona EV an impressive $131 per mile value. And while 258 miles may be the least amount of range for an electric car on this list, you could do a lot worse. For instance, the Mazda MX-30 starts at $33,470, yet only gets 100 miles of range. That’s a dollar-per-mile value of $334, which is worse than the Lucid Air Dream.
The redesigned and improved 2022 Chevy Bolt EV is a cheap electric car with excellent value: 31,995/259 = $123
With the 2022 Chevy Bolt EV 1LT trim starting a $31,995, the new Chevy Bolt EV takes the spot of cheapest electric car on this list. But that doesn’t mean it has the least mileage, squeaking out a 259-mile range in comparison to the Hyundai Kona’s 258. Though, in truth, a one-mile difference isn’t all that drastic.
However, the dollars per mile value is fairly significant, with each mile of electric range being worth just $123 dollars. So if you’re looking for cheap electric cars, you could go for the Nissan Leaf S, which starts at $28,375. But that only has 150 miles of electric range, bringing the dollars per mile value to $189 (worse than every car on this list). So in the grand scheme of things, the Chevy Bolt EV may be your best bet.