4 EVs Under $40K with the Best Range
Over the last several years, more and more automakers have committed to a strong electric vehicle lineup moving forward. That means more time and resources than ever are being spent on developing EV technology, and as a result, these vehicles are becoming more and more efficient, effectively eliminating range anxiety for drivers who may have shied away from EVs in the past.
If you’re considering making the switch from gas to electric, here are five EVs with the best range for 2020 (added bonus: all of these EVs cost less than $40K).
2020 Nissan Leaf Plus
Starting at: $38,200
Range: 226 miles
The Nissan Leaf is one of the longest-running EVs on this list. You can get a Leaf for as low as $31,600 but to get the benefit of 226 miles, go with the more expensive (but still affordable) Plus model. The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus has a 62 kWh lithium-ion battery compared to the cheaper model’s 40 kWh. Paired with a 160 kW electric motor, the Leaf Plus is good for 214 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque.
In terms of features, the Leaf Plus comes with push-button start, automatic temperature control, cloth-trimmed seats, and the NissanConnect 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system (which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto). It also offers standard driver-assistive technologies like front and rear automatic braking, forward collision warning, blind spot detection, a rearview monitor, and lane departure warning.
You can plug your Leaf directly into a 120-volt outlet at home, but it’ll take a long time to charge. This is a good option if you drive your car during the day and can plug it in for a long period overnight. Other options include Level 2 (240-volt chargers, which take 11.5 hours for a full charge) and DC quick charging, which takes 45-60 minutes for the 62 kWh battery.
2020 Kia Niro EV
Starting at: $39,090
Range: 239 miles
If you’re looking for something a little larger than a Nissan Leaf, consider the 2020 Kia Niro EV crossover. Not only does it have a slightly longer range than the Leaf, but it also has more cargo room – 50 cubic feet with the rear seats folded compared to the Leaf’s 30 cubic feet. Powered by a 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, it is capable of 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque.
You can charge your Niro EV in one of three ways. The easiest is Level 1, which uses a regular 120-volt power outlet but can take a long time. Level 2 charging uses 240 volts and is what you typically find at public charging stations (or you can have a charger installed in your home for faster overnight charges of 9-10 hours). Finally, you can use DC fast chargers, which can help you get from 0 to 80 percent in just over an hour.
The Niro EV has cloth/synthetic leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, and push-button start. Like the Leaf (and most new cars these days), it’s equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can easily connect your compatible smartphone for on-the-go entertainment. The Niro comes standard with Kia Drive Wise – Driver Assist Technology, which includes several state-of-the-art safety features. These include lane departure alerts, forward collision warning and avoidance assistance, smart cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and more.
2020 Hyundai Kona Electric
Starting at: $37,190
Range: 258 miles
The Hyundai Kona Electric is another relative newcomer to the EV scene, but it’s already collected plenty of accolades, including 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year. Like its sister Kia Niro EV, the Hyundai Kona Electric has a 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery good for 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque.
Charging the Kona Electric takes just over 9 and a half hours using a 220-volt power outlet. You can also use a DC fast charger to juice up to 80 percent in less than an hour.
In terms of features, the Kona Electric offers standard heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 7-inch color touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. If you’re willing to splurge a little, the higher trim levels offer leather seats, driver’s lumbar support, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a larger touch-screen system. Standard safety features include blind spot collision warning, rear cross-traffic collision warning, forward collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning.
One of the main draws of any Hyundai vehicle (including the Kona Electric) is the warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles new vehicle, 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain, and 5 years/unlimited miles roadside assistance.
2020 Chevrolet Bolt
Starting at: $36,620
Range: 259 miles
The 2020 Chevy Bolt hatchback is the most affordable EV on this list and it also has the longest range. Its 66 kWh lithium-ion battery allows for 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque.
A basic 120-volt outlet will provide around 4 miles of range per hour of charging, meaning it could take almost 65 hours to charge from 0-100 percent this way. A better option is to get a 240-volt charger installed in your home, which would cut that way down to just over 10 hours. Finally, DC fast charging can get you 100 miles of range in 30 minutes. The Energy Assist function can direct you to the nearest compatible charging station when you’re on the go and has more than 400,000 stations listed.
Bolt’s features include an HD rear vision camera, keyless open and start, a leather-trimmed shift knob, Chevy Teen Driver, and a vehicle efficiency display. Unlike in other EVs on this list, Chevy doesn’t offer its safety technologies as standard features, but you can add the Driver Confidence Package for $495. That includes rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert, and side blind zone alert.
Catherine Hiles is a native Brit living and working in Dayton, Ohio. Cat has written about a variety of subjects, including finance, cars, and parenting. She is a frequent contributor to Dayton Mom Collective, The Penny Hoarder, and her own personal blog.
Cat lives with her husband, Ben; and their two kids, Rose and Liam. She counts running, reading, and cooking among her hobbies. See more articles by Cat.