When it comes to buying a car, price is a notable issue of consideration to … almost everyone. So, a lot of people want to know what the cheapest electric car is. I’d asked you what car you think that is … but we just put it in the title.
Daimler’s 2017 smart fortwo electric drive coupe will have a starting price of $23,800 in the US, according to recent reports. That means that the 2017 electric edition of the model will actually be about $1,200 cheaper than the 2016 one — while at the same time possessing a much better range and improved performance.
So, the only downside to the model, then, is that it’s a 2-seater and really doesn’t have much space to it. Still, it’s interesting to see a car get cheaper and better at the same time — expect to see the same with regard to many other electric car models over the coming years (the upcoming refreshed Nissan LEAF comes to mind).
Among electric cars on the market in the USA, $23,800 makes the smart electric drive the cheapest electric car on the market — the Mitsubishi i-MiEV was slightly cheaper ($22,995), but it has been discontinued by Mitsubishi. That said, you can of course find a lot of used electric cars for far, far cheaper than #23,800. Those are, technically, the cheapest electric cars on the market.
The electric drive cabrio will be a bit more expensive than the electric drive coupe, it should be realized — with pricing reported to be starting at $28,000.
Interestingly, owing to how long BMW has been taking to bring its convertible version of the i8 to market, the upcoming smart electric drive cabrio will actually be the only electric convertible on the market when it’s released.
Green Car Congress provides more on the 2017 smart fortwo electric drive: “For 2017, the smart electric drive features significant advantages and new features, including a new more powerful air-cooled three-phase synchronous electric motor (vs. a liquids cooled permanent-magnet synchronous motor in the predecessor), a higher top speed and faster AC charging time with a higher power onboard charger. Additional standard features of the new model now include Cruise Control and battery warranty.
“All models have a new 7 kW on-board charger as a standard feature. In the US, charging time is an estimated 2.5 hours — about twice as fast as the predecessor (0-80% charge on 240V wallbox).
“An 80 hp electric motor is situated at the rear of the smart electric drive and transmits its power via a constant ratio to the rear wheels. Torque of 118 lb-ft (160 N·m) is immediately available from a standstill, a 23% increase over the 96 lb-ft (130 N·m) offered by the previous generation smart electric drive. The electric drive has an estimated range of approximately 70-80 miles (113-129 km).”
So, the limited range is still a potential constraint for those who live outside of dense urban regions — but those who do live in urban areas may well see the value in buying the 2017 smart fortwo electric drive.
That said, used Nissan LEAFs can be had for under $10,000 in many places — and feature considerably more internal space as well, despite costing less (when used, not when new). As far as used smart fortwo electrics, I can’t say that I’ve seen many around when I’ve looked. Though, maybe this isn’t the case everywhere.
If you’re looking at new car prices, the smart electric drive still isn’t that far below the LEAF or several other models. The following are the cheapest electric cars (including plug-in hybrids) on the market (new):
- smart fortwo electric drive coupe — $23,800
- Ford C-Max Energi — $24,175
- Toyota Prius Prime — $27,100
- Volkswagen e-Golf — $28,995
- Ford Focus Electric — $29,120
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric — $29,500
- Nissan LEAF — $30,680
- Ford Fusion Energi — $31,120
- Fiat 500e — $31,800
- Kia Soul EV — $31,950