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Front Page - Friday, September 8, 2023

Behind The Wheel: Affordable used EVs can be found

Pricing for new electric vehicles can be daunting for many shoppers. But more and more EVs are becoming available on the used vehicle market, and that’s creating greater opportunities for buying a lower-priced used EV. There’s also a further incentive to purchase a used EV that costs less than $25,000 thanks to an available federal tax credit of up to $4,000.

To qualify for the federal tax credit, the EV you’re interested in must meet these criteria: 1) It must be purchased from a licensed dealership; 2) the sale price must be $25,000 or less; and 3) it must be at least two model years old from the current year. The credit is calculated at 30% of the sale price and caps out at $4,000. To be clear, this isn’t a discount on the price, it’s a nonrefundable tax credit that can only be used if you owe federal taxes the year the EV is purchased.

To help you decide what options you have for a used EV, the car experts at Edmunds highlighted their top five picks for a used EV that can be purchased for less than $25,000. We based our list on Edmunds ratings when they were new and on their current availability. The average pricing we’ve listed is based on Edmunds July sales data.

Nissan Leaf

Introduced for the 2011 model year, the Leaf is the longest-running mass-produced electric vehicle on the market. This small hatchback is an ideal pick for EV shoppers on a budget, and there are many used models on the market with prices greatly varying due to its long production run. The first generation ran from 2011 to 2017 and provided an EPA-estimated driving range of 73 to 107 miles. The second-generation Leaf arrived in 2018 with considerably more range. One downside is that the Leaf’s CHAdeMO-style fast-charging port isn’t supported everywhere.

Average price range for 2012-2022 models: $6,630-$23,816

Chevrolet Bolt EV

When the Bolt EV hit the streets in 2017, it touted an impressive EPA-estimated driving range of 238 miles and a budget-friendly price tag. On top of that, it boasts a spacious interior, quick acceleration and ample tech features. The 2020 model had its range boosted to 259 miles. On the downside, the 2017-2021 models, which are widely available, have uncomfortable front seats and interior components that look and feel cheap. Potential buyers should also check that a recall to address a battery fire risk was performed.

Average price range for 2017-2021 models: $19,200-$24,120

BMW i3

Launching for the 2014 model year, the i3 small hatchback featured a distinctive interior and nimble handling and offered an available range-extending gasoline-powered generator. With it, EPA-estimated range was upward of 150 miles. The i3’s driving range increased with newer models. Although roomy inside, the i3 only seats four passengers and doesn’t offer much cargo room. Its reverse-hinged rear doors are unique but can be problematic in tight parking situations.

Average price range for 2014-2018 models: $11,870-$22,335

Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona Electric arrived in 2019 as a compelling new competitor thanks to its 258-mile driving range, fun-to-drive nature, and long list of standard features. Two of its few drawbacks include tight rear seats and a small cargo area. Used Kona Electrics under $25,000 will be harder to find than the first three cars on our list because it’s newer. Like the Bolt EV, the Kona Electric went through a similar battery pack recall, so make sure it’s been completed if the one you want was affected.

Average sale price for the 2019 model: $22,749

Kia Niro EV

The Niro EV became available in 2019 along with its corporate sibling, the Hyundai Kona Electric. The Niro has a lower EPA-estimated driving range of 239 miles compared to the Kona Electric, but on the upside it has more spacious rear seats. Like the Kona Electric, the Niro EV is a solid choice for an electric car. Sub-$25,000 models are out there but are mostly limited to 2019 models. Fortunately, the Niro EV wasn’t affected by a battery recall.

Average sale price for the 2019 model: $24,749

Edmunds Says

If new electric vehicles are too expensive, then one of the used EVs above will likely fit your budget, especially if you can take advantage of the federal tax credit. Try aiming for a certified pre-owned vehicle that can offer extended warranty and financing options similar to what’s offered with a new car.

Michael Cantu is a contributor at Edmunds and is on Instagram.