QOTD: How Affordable Does an EV Need to Be?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today's Chevrolet Bolt news means that while the number of EVs on the market is growing overall, there aren't many EVs out there, at present, that would be considered "affordable."

There are "affordable" EVs on the way, of course, but if you were shopping for an EV right now, most of your choices are a bit pricey.

For now, that hasn't seemed to be an issue -- enough people seem willing to pay for them. I suspect the recent overall market insanity and the fact that the average transaction price is quite high right now plays a part -- if you're willing to stretch for an ICE car, why not stretch for an EV? Especially if you don't need to buy gas?

But at some point, the market will likely normalize. And if we as a country are serious about increasing the market share of EVs -- and if the Biden admin's fuel-economy standards move forward as proposed -- there will need to be more affordable EVs available to consumers.

The question is, what counts as "affordable"? Are we going to use a traditional metric here and say something is "affordable" if it's $30K and under? Or is "affordable" something that's under the current ATP, or under $50K, or...?

Yes, this question could, in theory, apply to ICE and hybrids and PHEVs, but there are plenty of models in those categories that are unquestionably affordable. Also, it's only the EV segment that really needs affordability as one driver of future growth (charging infrastructure being another, of course).

What do you think?

Sound off below.

[Image: Chevrolet]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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6 of 50 comments
  • Mike Beranek Mike Beranek on Apr 26, 2023

    The fact is we're stuck with gas for a while yet. Too many automotive sectors will not be going EV anytime soon, and there's a whole American subculture that is dedicated to never going EV.

    Given this, and the fact that road-trip charging hasn't been fleshed out yet, a plug-in hybrid like the Prius Prime makes a lot more sense- for the time being.

    • EBFlex EBFlex on Apr 26, 2023

      I would buy a hybrid or ideally a PHEV in a heartbeat if one could meet my use case and price requirements.

      I will never buy an EV. They are garbage.

  • TheMrFreeze TheMrFreeze on Apr 26, 2023

    Easy...200 miles of range for $25K isn't an unreasonable target to achieve in a reasonably sized vehicle

  • Randy in rocklin Randy in rocklin on Apr 26, 2023

    Why in this freaking world need to plug in their cars evry nite after work for their cars is beyond my comprehension.

  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Apr 26, 2023

    Simple - 5% more than a comparable ICE model. The long term cost savings in fuel and maintenance will easily make up that difference.

    • EBFlex EBFlex on Apr 26, 2023

      That’s not bad. Right now it’s 75% with the fake lightning.