Back in May 2020, I bought my first electric car. I spent a little over $11k for the thing (including shipping). That was a good deal at the time but I got to wondering what you can currently buy for under $20k. After all, it has been over a year since then and the used market has grown. Used car prices have been a little crazy lately, though.
For this experiment, I looked on Autotrader and limited the search radius to within 300 miles of Milwaukee. I also limited the search to models that are no older than five years.
With 238 miles of range, the Chevy Bolt is a very affordable way into owning an electric car that you can realistically use as your only car. Unfortunately, GM recently recalled all of them. That means that it would be a very bad idea to buy a used one at the moment. Despite that fact, there are 85 examples available using our search criteria. The cheapest one is $16,000.
Nissan was one of the first companies to release a mainstream electric car. This means that there are a lot of used Leafs out there. There is also a lot of variety in battery size but starting at $16,495, you can get a 2018 Leaf with 151 miles of range.
BMW makes a really nice car. With a new price of $44,450, the i3 isn’t cheap but luckily, BMWs depreciate like crazy. If you want a bit of German luxury with your electric car, you can pick up a 2016 i3 with a 81 mile range for as little as $17,990.
The Kia Soul EV is a very uniquely designed car. For as low as $13,700, you can get a 2017 Soul with 93 miles of range. The Soul EV doesn’t exist on Kia’s website, at the moment and Car and Driver is saying that the 2021 model was canceled, so there might not be a future for the thing but you can still get a used one?
This is the car that I picked, last year for $10,540 plus shipping. These days, the same 2016 model with an 83 mile range would cost you $15,590. At the time I bought this, they not only weren’t selling them in Wisconsin but they were also discontinuing them globally. They are replacing it with the id.3 which they also refuse to sell, here.
So, this is one of the cars that I failed to buy before buying my VW. Hyundai was just unwilling to sell me one new. For $19,999, you can buy one used with a 124 mile range, though. This car is still being sold new but they still won’t sell it here. They only sell in in select states in the US.
For as little as $11,675, you can get a 500 e with an 84 mile range. This is another car that you just can’t buy new anymore in America. These days, Fiat only sells the 500x and the 124 Spider, though.
For as little as $4,950, you can get a Smart fortwo electric drive with 68 miles of range. This is yet another car that you can’t buy new in America, these days. Smart pulled out of the US market, completely.
For as little as $15,480, you can get a Ford Focus Electric with a 115 mile range. You might have noticed a little bit of a trend, but once again with this one, it is also discontinued.
So, would I want to replace my e-golf with any of these? No, not really. I would want my next EV to have at least 200 miles of range and the only one of these that has that kind of range has been recalled. Currently, I am keeping my eye on the Ford F-150 Lightning and I will probably pick one of those up once it is available on the used market. Until then, the VW will have to do.