Top 3 Cheapest Tesla Alternatives to Consider Buying

Top 3 Cheapest Tesla Alternatives to Consider Buying

From Chevrolet Bolt to Hyundai Kona Electric, here is a list of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market today and our take on what you should pick!

Those who care about the environment have progressively shifted to electric cars. In December 2022, electric car sales reached 11% of the car market worldwide. These cars not only have significantly fewer carbon emissions but are also cheaper to maintain. Some countries, such as New Zealand, the U.K. and Norway, to name a few, even offer you incentives, like cash rebates, discounts on electric vehicles (EVs) and tax bonuses, to switch to electric cars. 

When we think of electric cars, Tesla comes to mind. But even the cheapest Tesla (Model 3) costs US$55,990, which might not be affordable for everyone. If you are looking for an affordable electric car and are unsure where to start, here is a list of some of the top affordable Tesla alternatives you should consider. 

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt
Image courtesy of Chevrolet’s website

The Chevrolet Bolt 2022 model won Green Car Journal’s Urban Green Car of the Year, and it was also one of the finalists for the 2023 award. You can purchase a Bolt 2023 model for a starting price of US$25,595 (US$5,900 cheaper than the 2022 model). It is known to give a mileage of 259 miles (416.82 km) on a full charge, and it has a 65-kilowatt per-hour (kWh) battery. Kilowatt per hour is the measure of fuel efficiency—the higher the kWh of a battery, the longer it will be able to power the car.

The Bolt is a hatchback and is spacious, both in terms of passenger capacity and cargo room. Around 38,120 Bolt EVs were sold in 2022, representing a 72% increase from the previous year. This comes as no surprise when you consider that it offers better mileage than some of the more expensive EVs on the market right now, like the Kia EV6 RWD, which costs US$41,400 and gives a mileage of 232 miles (373.36 km). 

The car has a 200-horsepower engine (the higher the horsepower, the faster a car goes), which is considered to be average for today’s cars. The biggest downside is that Chevrolet intends to stop making the Bolt and replace it with a different car variety that would use General Motors’ next-gen Ultium battery propulsion system. 

Nissan Leaf

Nissan-Leaf
Image courtesy of Nissan’s website

Only slightly higher in price than Chevrolet Bolt, the Nissan Leaf costs US$28,040, according to Nissan’s website. This price can reduce further if you are a citizen of the U.S. and apply for tax incentives. Then, the cost would be closer to US$20k. Besides the comparatively low purchase cost, what makes Nissan Leaf an attractive option is its strong acceleration, use of safety technology, spacious interior and easy-to-use infotainment system.

That said, the car does have its fair share of disadvantages. It has a 40.0-kWh battery pack, a 147-horsepower engine and a mileage of 149 miles (239 km) on a single charge. All of these fall short compared to the Chevy. Those who have tested the vehicle say that it tends to be uncomfortable to drive because the steering wheel doesn’t move closer or further apart based on the driver’s needs.

Hyundai Kona Electric

Hyundai Kona Electric
Image courtesy of Hyundai’s website

The Hyundai Kona Electric is an SUV with a starting cost of US$33,500. It has a battery pack of 64 kWh, a 201-horsepower engine and a mileage of 258 miles (415 km) on a fully charged battery. Some other highly-coveted features include heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat and a rear USB port. The car comes with a 10.3-inch multimedia touchscreen, a wireless charging pad for your smartphone and cruise control (a system that automatically controls the speed of a car). 

Some suggest that Kona Electric is competing in a rapidly expanding electric car market and is unable to keep up. It lacks the spacious nature of both the previous cars on this list, with limited legroom available for second-row passengers and insufficient space for cargo.

Final verdict

Among the three cars we discussed, Chevrolet Bolt seems to be the clear winner in the low-end electric car market. While the cheapest of the lot is Nissan Leaf, it lacks the horsepower, battery life and mileage of the other two. Similarly, while the Kona Electric has slightly higher horsepower, fairly similar battery life and mileage compared to Bolt, it costs more. 

However, Bolt might not be able to maintain its position for too long, given that Chevrolet will eventually discontinue the car. But till then, it seems like the best option for those looking to switch to a cheap yet efficient electric vehicle. We advise that you research these and other electric cars further before you make a final decision on which vehicle to purchase. 

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Header image courtesy of Envato

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