Though electric cars and other fully electric vehicles are becoming more affordable, they’re still typically more expensive than gas-powered models of similar size and with similar equipment. A federal tax credit of $7,500 helps, and for that reason, manufacturers often advertise electric cars with a post-tax-credit price (although we caution that buyers should consult their own tax professionals regarding eligibility). We looked for 10 new electric vehicles that cost less than $30,000 and came up a bit short, so we made a single exception that stays within the spirit of the list. Here are nine electric cars that come in under $30,000 after federal tax credits, along with a tenth option that comes in quite close.
Smart Electric Drive — $12,490 after federal tax credit
The smart fortwo Electric Drive is the least expensive electric car you can buy in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least useful — unless you live in a densely-populated urban area where it’s better to have a small car that can be easily parked than it is to have a large car that holds more people and more stuff. If you’re part of a one- or two-person household, don’t have any pets, don’t need to drive around friends or family, and can charge your electric car at work, the Smart might actually be perfect for you. Otherwise, you should probably plan to spend a little more on an electric car.