Previously, I reported on the 12 PHEV options at or under $50k U.S. (including federal tax incentives, for base model MSRP); this article will focus on the EV options under $50k. There are more EV options than PHEV options and that trend may continue over the next several years as PHEVs are increasingly viewed as transitional platforms in the race toward lower emissions that provide a means for getting people used to the idea of plugging in. Eventually, the number and variety of PHEVs will dwindle, most likely by the end of the decade since EVs are simpler overall and potentially offer higher profit margins for automakers.
Let’s dive into the list of 17 EV SUVs and crossovers under $50k. Note, a big difference in the final price for all of these EVs is based on whether the brands are still eligible for the federal tax credit. Chevrolet is the only brand in this list that is no longer eligible for this credit. First up, the compact Audi Q4 e-tron (base MSRP $49,900), the subcompact Chevy Bolt EUV ($33,500 starting MSRP), the forthcoming, compact 2024 Chevy Equinox EV (expected to go on sale in 2023 with an MSRP of around $30,000) and now the midsize 2024 Chevy Blazer EV (expected in summer 2023 with a base MSRP of $47,595, initially, and offering a lower priced base model in Q1 of 2024). The Audi has an estimated range of 241 miles from a fully charged 82 kWh battery, while the Chevy Bolt EUV has 247 miles from a 65 kWh battery (but note it has only 5.5” of ground clearance, the least of any EV on this list). The Equinox has a predicted 300 miles of range from an unknown battery size, and the Blazer initially offers 293 miles of range in its lowest price model (an even lower priced model coming in early 2024 will offer a range of 247 miles for those looking for the lowest cost of entry). My guess at the size of the Equinox and Blazer batteries, given their expected ranges, would be around 86 kWh. The Audi has higher performance and more luxury than all the Chevy models except perhaps for the highest trim Blazer, but less utility perhaps (the Audi’s cargo capacity with the rear seats down is lower, in particular). If Chevy can actually deliver large quantities of the Equinox for around $30k or its other models at their stated base prices, they may be extremely successful. Let’s hope Chevy delivers on this promise.
In the next batch of under $50k EV SUVs and crossovers we have entries from the startup brand Fisker, with the Ocean Sport ($37,499 MSRP) and Ultra ($49,999 MSRP) trims, Ford with the Mach-E ($43,895 for base MSRP, with 247 - 314 miles of range), Hyundai with the Kona EV ($34,000 MSRP), the Ioniq 5 ($39,950 MSRP with 220 - 303 miles of range) and the Ioniq 7 (coming in 2023 with an estimated $50,000 MSRP), and Kia with the 2023 Niro EV ($39,900 MSRP with 253 miles of range), EV6 ($41,400 MSRP with 232 - 310 miles of range), and the EV9 (coming sometime next year with an estimated $54,000 MSRP and an estimated 300+ miles of range). The compact Fisker Ocean SUV should have a range of 250 miles in its base form or 340 miles in the more expensive Ultra trim and will be made in California, with all initial 2022 models already reserved (so if you like it, get in line for a 2023). The Ford Mach-E has multiple trims and all but one (the GT) are under $50k when the federal tax credit is included which, for Ford, will start to phase out either by the end of 2022 or in early 2023. Also note that new 2022 Mach-E models are no longer available for order so ordering a 2023 model may be your only option and the Mach-E also has the second smallest ground clearance measurement at 5.7”. Besides the Ford and the Chevy Bolt EUV, every other model in this list has at least 6” of ground clearance, or is expected to. The 3 Hyundais represent 3 different sizes of SUV/crossover, ranging from the small, subcompact Kona EV with a 64 kWh battery capable of 258 miles on a full charge and the forthcoming Ioniq 7, a midsize SUV with 3 rows and an estimated 300+ miles of range. Given their extremely close corporate ties, Kia’s 3 models are essentially the same power trains and platforms, with different bodies and some feature differences, which means their battery sizes are the same/similar and their ranges too. Together, Hyundai and Kia offer up more than a third of all the EVs in this price range. With GM included and assuming their two forthcoming EVs are released on time, that makes these 3 brands responsible for over half of all the EVs in this list.
The final group of options include single models from 4 different established brands (Mercedes, Nissan, Volvo and VW) and one new to the U.S. brand (Vinfast, from Vietnam). Mercedes offers the compact EQB EV with a 66.5 kWh battery pack capable of an estimated 225 miles of driving range (MSRP starts at $56,800, before the federal tax credit). Notably, the EQB will offer 7 seats, making it the lowest priced EV SUV on the market with that seating capacity, and it comes standard with AWD as well. Next, Nissan’s all new compact Ariya SUV will have a range of 304 miles from an 87 kWh battery. The two lowest price Ariya trims are under $50k (starting at $45,590 MSRP), though the lowest trims don’t come with AWD. A Vietnamese automaker’s first U.S. bound model, the midsize Vinfast VF-8 SUV, is expected to deliver up to 292 miles of range with an estimated starting MSRP of $40,700 (though this does not include the monthly battery subscription cost). It should be one of the lowest priced EV SUVs on the market when it goes on sale. Volvo’s offering in this price range is the XC40 with a range of 223 miles from its 75 kWh battery. Volvo’s compact SUV starts at $51,700 MSRP. Finally, VW’s ID.4 compact SUV offers 275 miles from an 82 kWh battery (for a starting MSRP of $41,230). The ID.4 is one of the lower priced options in this list however VW hasn’t been selling many of them.
Conspicuously absent from this list are Subaru and Toyota because their brand new, first modern EVs (Solterra and BZx4) developed fully in house (by Toyota) have both been recalled just months after going on sale and there is no apparent fix for the serious design flaw each has presented (their wheels may fall off in certain conditions). Since these two vehicles are no longer being sold, I will exclude any further information about them. Also worth pointing out, while Mazda does offer a single EV that meets the criteria of this list, the 2022 MX-30, it is not sold widely or produced in large numbers and has a very limited range of 100 miles. It is strictly a compliance vehicle and has been left off this list given its lack of availability and limited useful range.
It is encouraging to see so many EVs now or soon on offer in these most popular vehicle classes/types. If you are in the market for an EV SUV or crossover that may be around the average price for a new vehicle, would you consider any of these 17 models? If so, which one(s) and why? Please see the table below for some basic comparisons of these models and leave your responses or questions below.
Images provided by Hyundai and Kia.
Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.