A Solid, Long-Range EV for $26,600? Prices for Electric Vehicles are Coming Down
Electric vehicles are playthings for the rich! (That was the case in 2014). Well, they are just as bad for the environment as gas-powered cars and trucks! Um no. (Here is one of many analyses from the EPA that debunks that myth. M.I.T. has another rebuttal here.) But EVs have been consistently more expensive than their ICE (internal combustion engine) alternatives, so many people who like the idea of fueling up in their garage and emissions-free driving have been forced to wait for prices to come down.
VW just announced the VW ID. 2all, the "People's Hatchback", battery-powered and hopefully coming to a dealership near you by 2025 or 2026. With an estimated range of 279 miles, Volkswagen estimates the starting price will be 25,000 euros, or roughly 26,600 dollars at today's exchange rates. They are calling it a "plug-in for the people".
VW joins a long and growing list of affordable EVs available for sale today. In fact the least expensive electric vehicle on the market right now is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which starts at $26,500 - with a respectable range of 278 miles, according to Edmunds.com. Other alternatives that made the "most affordable" list? A 2023 Nissan Leaf starting at $28,040 and a 2023 Mini Cooper SE with 150 miles of range, starting at $29,900.
I've driven over 40 cars since I turned 16, and I loved them all. Recently I've been driving a Tesla Model 3 Performance EV, with a range of just over 300 miles and 0-60 acceleration times close to 3 seconds. It's AWD and great on snow, and although I spent more than I wanted to with the purchase of the vehicle, I'm saving money over time on insurance and maintenance, and I estimate by plugging it into a charger in my garage and slurping electrons from my local utility, I'm spending between a third and a quarter as much to drive per mile. Some days it feels like I'm almost driving for free. Oh yeah, I pay extra taxes to the state of Minnesota, since I don't pay a fuel tax at the pump. I can't say I miss hanging out at the gas station every week, either.
- More expensive up front than comparable vehicles.
- Bitter cold (10F or colder) diminishes overall mileage range by 10-20%
- Superchargers on all interstates, but road trips can be a pain with fewer charging options in rural areas. You need to pack your patience.
There is always resistance to change, but what worked in the 1970s may not work in the 2030s, with climate change and erratic gas prices very much top of mind. But even if you don't care at all about the planet, chances are you want to save money where you can.
If you can buy an EV in the 25-35K range AND save money on gas, maintenance and insurance, you may have a very real ROI, or return on investment, and an EV purchase could very well make dollars and sense for you. The playing field is shifting with more options and falling prices. You might want to check it out for yourself.