So you have made up your mind: You are finished with gasoline. Whether you want to live greener, are tired of writing checks to Shell and BP, or can’t support a foreign policy predicated on oil deals, you have options on the table. They’re called electric vehicles, and they’re infinitely greener because the U.S. grid has gotten so clean, especially out West.
Unfortunately, the most attractive and breathtakingly fast electric car — the Tesla Model S P85D — will run you over six figures. Likewise, news that BMW and Mercedes-Benz got into the EV game was not heralded by car consumers on a budget. The emblems alone ensure a sticker price that exceeds $40,000.
Things changed in the past 12 months. Two new electric vehicles at reasonable prices hit the market, while a price drop on one old standby have put the current crop of EVs in most car buyers’ wheelhouses. Once you factor in the $7,500 federal rebate and state incentives (ranging from $2,500 to $6,000 around America), there are solid options available for less than $20,000.
Here are eight electric vehicles available to U.S. consumers that cost near (or far less than) $25,000 for a 2015 model-year edition. Note: Prices listed factor in the federal tax credit but not the (often substantial) state incentives. Please check your area’s latest laws for the real-world price.
8. Kia Soul EV
In the minds of many, the Kia Soul EV was the top new entry in the electric vehicle space in 2014. The battery-powered version of the brand’s funky city car cracked the top 10 in fuel economy with the equivalent of 105 miles per gallon combined, better than the base Tesla Model S. The Soul EV’s range — 93 miles on a full charge — gave it the second-best mark of any EV on U.S. roads. Throw in the post-rebate price ($26,200) and you see why Vincentric named it Best Value in America in the plug-in category for 2015. Local incentives will push that price below $25,000 in many states.
7. Volkswagen e-Golf
The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf joined the Soul EV in 2014 as another welcome entry in the segment. Along with a respectable 83 miles of electric range, the e-Golf is capable of 126 miles per gallon in city driving, one of the best totals on U.S. roads. Critics have appreciated the driving experience of the electric version of the Motor Trend Car of the Year, which reviewers say does not have the drawbacks of other EVs. It’s also affordable, running consumers $25,950 before state incentives.
6. Fiat 500e
While the Fiat 500e is the epitome of a compliance car, no one can take away the mini car’s outstanding economy (116 miles per gallon combined) or exceptional electric range (87 miles). With a price that runs consumers $24,800, there are surely people who wish this Fiat were available outside California and Oregon. Fortunately for residents in those two states, incentives drive the price down to $24,050 (Oregon) and $22,300 (California).
5. Ford Focus Electric
While Ford has not improved much about its Focus Electric over the years, the automaker certainly enticed consumers with a$6,000 price cut in 2014. Curiously enough, that drop didn’t move the needle for a product that has stagnated in 2015 sales. Economy and range specs — 105 miles per gallon combines, 76 miles on a charge — are solid if not exceptional. Its price after federal incentives ($21,670) should be attracting more attention, as in places like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and California, the price falls well below $20,000 after state rebates.
4. Nissan Leaf
There is a reason the Nissan Leaf set a record for electric vehicle sales in America last year. It offers the fourth-best fuel economy on U.S. roads (114 miles per gallon), along with a solid electric range of 84 miles when packing a full battery charge. After federal tax credits, consumers can start figuring out how to do even better than the final price of $21,510. Considering Georgia has offered $5,000 in incentives, consumers could choose a higher trim level and still keep the total below $20,000.
3. Chevrolet Spark EV
Early in 2015, Chevy announced it would bring its most efficient car to the East Coast, which hinted of a slightly broader EV strategy for GM. The Chevrolet Spark EV gets 119 miles per gallon combined (second-best in the U.S.) and can cover up to 82 miles on a full charge. For $18,495 after federal incentives, consumers could do a lot worse than this subcompact, which most reviewers prefer over the gasoline model.
2. Smart Electric Drive
There isn’t much in the way of cargo capacity (or a back seat) with the Smart Electric Drive, but the price after federal rebate ($18,050) makes a compelling case for drivers who want to go green in city driving. You know you’ll get a parking space with this Smart, while the outstanding economy (122 city miles per gallon) makes sure that a full charge charge will stick. The Electric Drive’s range is below average at 68 miles.
1. Mitsubishi i-MiEV
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is in many ways the forgotten electric vehicle on the U.S. market. Between January and March, a total of 15 cars sold to U.S. consumers. Nonetheless, Mitsubishi has released the 2016 model for EV lovers to enjoy, though the range (62 miles) is unlikely to excite anyone on a dealer lot (critics tend to hate the driving experience with this car as well).
With 112 miles per gallon and a post-rebate price of $15,495, you would have to be on a budget green mission for this option to work. Fortunately, there are several better electric vehicles available for less than $25,000 in 2015.