A recent 2022 report by Zutobi has ranked the top 20 most affordable EVs to operate around the world based on a number of factors. This includes considerations such as battery size, cost to charge, and miles driven per given dollar amounts. Tesla takes the top spot this year, but there are plenty of other viable options currently available to consumers.

Tracking the most affordable EVs to run

As the EV market continues to make its voice heard in the overall global market, more and more consumers are being exposed to the imminent paradigm shift and are starting to ask genuine questions about the possibility of actually owning an EV. Welcome to the green side my friends, we’re glad you’re here.

In the past, we’ve outlined some of the most expensive EVs on the market, as well as some of the most affordable (a 2022 revamp is long overdue, bear with us). That being said, those numbers are based on MSRPs. Still vitally important to you consumers as it’s a huge purchase, but what about afterward? Not all EVs are created equal.

Terms like kWh (kilowatt-hours) and TCO (total cost of ownership) take over after the initial EV purchase, as you learn when and where to charge your EV for the best price, how much range you need on an average basis, and how much range your battery will actually get you based off your EVs battery capacity (remember kWh?) and driving habits.

As part of its 2022 EV Miles report, Zutobi has compiled the top 20 most affordable EVs based off a bunch of these factors rather than MSRP. Lucky for our EU readers, some of the EVs on this list are exclusive to your territory, so everyone can play!

Below are the results based on criteria gathered by Zutobi below. Just for fun, we also included the starting MSRP’s of the 20 EVs listed, so you have an additional lens to analyze and compare. Let’s dig in!

Methodology

To gather its data, Zutobi took its 2021 EV Miles report and updated it with the most recent data. The pricing data was taken from the US Energy Information Administration and the data for the real range and usable battery capacity was taken from Electric Vehicle Database.

While the top 20 will definitely give you a detailed look at how some of the most affordable EVs in 2022 compare side by side, we think the data could have been a bit more specific on which exact models were chosen in the study.

Nonetheless, you will certainly be able to gather which EVs offer the largest battery capacity (generally equating to better range) plus the lowest cost to charge. Lastly, there is a clear column outlining how far each EV will get you on $100 miles of that precious EV juice (that’s electricity for you newbs out there).

Top 20 most affordable EVs to operate in 2022

Alright, we’ve shared a little background on the study and cited the sources, so let’s break down the results. It should come as no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 takes the crown is this study – it is the bestselling EV of all time for a reason. That being said, there are other reasons that might divert you away from a brand new Model 3, despite its low operational cost (scroll down a bit).

As if that weren’t impressive enough, the Long Range and RWD versions of the Model 3 take gold and silver respectively, and the Performance trim makes a cameo in slot #16. Rounding out the top three is the Hyundai IONIQ Electric which sadly saw its last model year in 2021. However, the new IONIQ 5 carries on the marque in its honor, and that’s one hell of an EV if you ask us.

The Nissan LEAF placed in the top ten at #7, but Zutobi didn’t specify which model it was. The LEAFs have been using 36 kWh battery packs consistently for years now, so it’s not a huge deal, but still. For the MSRP pricing below, we went with the most affordable 2022 model of the veteran EV.

EV Make/Model Usable
Battery
Capacity
Real
Range
Est.
Charge
Cost
Est.
Cost Per
Mile
Miles
Per
$100
Tesla Model 3 Long Range (Dual Motor) 70 kWh 300 mi $9.88 $0.03 3,035
Tesla Model 3 (RWD) 57.5 kWh 235 mi $8.12 $0.03 2,894
Hyundai IONIQ Electric 38.3 kWh 155 mi $5.41 $0.03 2,866
Fiat 500e Hatchback (24 kWh) 21.3 kWh 85 mi $3.01 $0.04 2,826
Mini Electric 28.9 kWh 115 mi $4.08 $0.04 2,818
Hyundai Kona Electric (39 kWh) 39.2 kWh 155 mi $5.54 $0.04 2,800
Nissan LEAF 36 kWh 140 mi $5.08 $0.04 2,754
Peugeot e-208 45 kWh 175 mi $6.35 $0.04 2,754
Vauxhall Corsa-e 45 kWh 175 mi $6.35 $0.04 2,754
Fiat 500e Hatchback (42 kWh) 37.3 kWh 145 mi $5.27 $0.04 2,753
Volkswagen e-UP! 32.3 kWh 125 mi $4.56 $0.04 2,741
Hyundai Kona Electric (64 kWh) 64 kWh 245 mi $9.04 $0.04 2,711
BMW i3 (120 Ah) 37.9 kWh 145 mi $5.35 $0.04 2,710
Fiat 500e Cabrio 37.3 kWh 140 mi $5.27 $0.04 2,658
Renault Zoe ZE50 R110 52 kWh 195 mi $7.34 $0.04 2,656
Tesla Model 3 Performance 76 kWh 285 mi $10.73 $0.04 2,656
Volkswagen ID.3 Pro 58 kWh 215 mi $8.19 $0.04 2,625
Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance 58 kWh 215 mi $8.19 $0.04 2,625
Kia e-Niro (39 kWh) 39.2 kWh 145 mi $5.54 $0.04 2,620
BMW i3s (120 Ah) 37.9 kWh 140 mi $5.35 $0.04 2,616

The same EVs, sorted by starting MSRP

Just for comparison, we thought you’d might want to see how each of these EV’s stack up in terms of starting price. Above, we learned what EVs are the most affordable to operate, but let’s also see which are most affordable based off their 2022 MSRPs.

From here, we hope you can compare both lists and see which option might be the best for you based off upfront cost, as well as additional operational costs.

Note: MSRP’s do not include any taxes or destination fees, nor do they include any federal or state tax credits. Some of the EVs are only available in the EU market, and the prices have been rounded to the closest hundred in USD.

The original study was also vague on some specific models, so we used the 2022 pricing wherever possible. MSRPs for older models were gathered from EV-Database.

EV Make/Model Starting MSRP (USD)
Nissan LEAF $27,400
Volkswagen e-UP! $29,000*
Fiat 500e Hatchback (24 kWh) $29,335*
MINI Electric $29,900
Hyundai IONIQ Electric $33,245
Vauxhall Corsa-e $33,900
Hyundai Kona Electric (64 kWh) $34,000
Peugeot e-208 $35,750*
Fiat 500e Hatchback (42 kWh) $35,900*
Renault Zoe ZE50 R110 $36,250*
Volkswagen ID.3 Performance $39,000*
Fiat 500e Cabrio $39,380*
Hyundai Kona Electric (39 kWh) $40,250*
Volkswagen ID.3 Pro $40,300*
Kia e-Niro (39 kWh) $43,200*
BMW i3s (120 Ah) $45,700
BMW i3 (120 Ah) $47,650
Tesla Model 3 RWD $48,490
Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor $55,990
Tesla Model 3 Performance $61,990
* – Pricing taken from ev-database.org

As you can see, the Tesla Model 3 may save you a lot of money in the long run as you charge and drive it, but you’ll be paying a much higher upfront cost compared to most of the other EVs on this list. That could vary by country, however, so be sure to check how your homeland stacks up.

That isn’t to say it isn’t worth it, that’s entirely up to you. Hopefully both tables above can help you in your EV purchase, or at the very least get you thinking about the specific factors that go into an EV purchase, whether its the initial buy or the charging costs afterward.

If you’re interested in other affordable (or not) EVs coming in 2022, check out this list.

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About the Author

Scooter Doll

Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
Please send any tips or suggestions, or dog photos to him at scooter@9to5mac.com