What Does a Tesla, or a Taycan Cost? Too Much

The average Josephine on the street can’t afford to step into most electric vehicles on sale in the U.S. today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has admitted.

“Our cars are not affordable enough,” Musk said during his second-quarter earnings call in July. “We need to fix that.”

Electric cars and crossovers remain far too expensive to be daily commuters for the middle- and working-classes, who in congested urban areas, at least, may be turning to e-bikes instead, an electric segment in which U.S. sales spiked 92-percent in April and 137-percent in May, according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

But if you are in the market for a new EV, here’s a list of prices for all of the various electric-only vehicles sold in the U.S.

No one outside of rental agencies ever buys a completely stripped base model, and few of us can afford cars or SUVs with every conceivable option on them, so I’ve configured a few key examples below with moderate lists of options to get a better idea of where the heart of the market is. Many of the EVs that are not Teslas are available with generous incentives; where available I’ve listed applicable incentives and favorable lease rates.

The list begins with market leader Tesla, then covers the rest of the EV field from cheapest to most expensive. If they’re all out of your reach, don’t give up—you can buy a good e-bike for about $3,000.

1. 2020 Tesla lineup: $37,990 – $99,990

We start with the automotive-tech company disrupter that has been pushing the market in earnest since the Lotus-bodied ’08 Roadster. You may indeed buy a 2020 Tesla Model 3 with rear-wheel-drive and “standard range-plus” for $37,990, but even then, you’ll have to like white paint. Solid black, mid-silver metallic, and deep blue metallic hues each are $1,000 options, and red multi-coat paint will set you back $2,000. The base Model 3 also comes with what Tesla calls a “partial premium interior.”

The 322-mile long-range Model 3, with dual-motor AWD and a fully premium interior, starts at $42,690, while the 299-mile range Performance Model 3 has a base price of $50,690. I priced a ’20 Tesla Model 3 Performance with a few options, though I did not add the $8,000 “auto-steer on city streets” option, and came up with a $56,990 electric sedan that ought to appeal to most enthusiasts.

The Model S luxury sedan is priced at $74,990 for the Long-Range Plus and $94,990 for the 326-mile Performance version, while the falcon-door Model X adds $5,000 to the S’s price, with a $79,990 base for the Long-Range Plus battery pack, or $99,990 for the Performance variant. I priced out a ’20 Tesla Model S Performance with all the options on the spec sheet for a sticker bottom-line of $104,990.

Tesla requires a non-refundable $100 deposit on all orders and promises delivery in four- to eight weeks.

2. 2020 Nissan Leaf: $32,525 – $44,825

EPA Range: 149 – 226 miles

Nissan splits its second-generation Leaf EV line between 40-kWh S and SV trim models and 62-kWh S Plus, SV Plus and SL Plus. The Nissan Leaf S starts at $32,525, though the U.S. federal tax credit still applies, and can pull that price down to a very affordable $25,025. The other 149-mile-range, 40-kWh model, the Leaf SV, adds a few extra creature features for a base price of $35,115.

The 62-kWh 2020 Nissan Leaf S Plus, with the higher 226-mile range, starts at $39,125, and the SV Plus starts from $40,650. The Leaf SL Plus tops out the base-price range at $44,825. All these prices are before the $7,500 tax credit.

I priced out a Nissan Leaf S and tried to keep it cheap, adding a quick-charge port system for $1,690, which negates the need for a wall box, and the Family Travel Clean-Up kit for ttr$20, with personal protection masks and gloves, for a bottom line of $34,235, or $26,735 after the tax credit. A Nissan website pop-up offered a lease on this configuration for $217 per month.

3. 2020 Hyundais: $34,020 – $59,710

EPA Range: 170 – 380 miles

The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq EV, based on the brand’s hybrid line, is its least expensive EV, at $34,020, though the configurator directed me to the Ioniq Limited EV, with its base price of $39,590. The Hyundai Ioniq Limited EV includes a 10.25-inch navigation touchscreen, Harmon-Kardon premium audio, Highway Drive Assist, and leather seat surfaces.

The Hyundai Kona electric bumps up the range to an EPA-estimated 258 miles and starts at $38,165, and the Nexo fuel cell crossover starts at $59,710 and offers a 380-mile range. The Hyundai EVs are eligible for the federal tax credit, which means the Ioniq EV might be had for as low as $26,520. The Nexo fuelcell SUV, sold in limited areas, is eligible for a California rebate of up to $4,500.

4. 2019 Fiat 500e: $34,995

Available in California and Oregon only, and dropped for the 2020 model year, Fiat dealers obviously have a few 500e models left on their lots. I configured one with the requisite eSport package, a sunroof and a few other goodies for a bottom line of $36,640.

5. 2020 Chevrolet Bolt: $37,890 – $41,895

The base 2020 Chevy Bolt LT starts at $37,890, but there are no federal tax credits left because General Motors has sold more than 200,000 electric vehicles in America. But Chevy is offering a cash allowance of up to $8,500 across this EV model, so if you can find a base-spec Bolt, it goes out the door for $29,390.

The ’20 Chevy Bolt Premium starts at $41,895, and I configured one with most options, including an infotainment package, driver confidence package, universal tablet holder, 120-volt port charging cord and other assorted gadgetry, for a bottom line of $45,455, or $36,955 after incentives.

6. 2020 Kia Niro EX electric: $40,210

Kia offers the Niro with a “charcoal cloth and synthetic leather” interior, and the pleather seats seem especially appropriate for an EV. It also offers this car at a hefty $779-per-month lease price for a 36-month term. Base price for the Niro EV is $40,210, and the EPA says it is still eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. I optioned a 2020 Kia Niro EX electric to $46,810.

7. 2020 BMW i3, i3s: $44,450 – $47,650

Both the BMW i3, with its 168-horsepower motor and the i3s, with its 181-horsepower motor are available with range-extending gas engines, but that’s not the point of this exercise. The EPA says the i3/i3s is subject to a “possible tax break,” so that would cut the base model’s out-the-door price to $36,950, if you can find one with no options. This is BMW, so I loaded up an i3s EV with nearly everything and jacked the price up into Tesla Model 3 territory with a bottom line of $55,110 (or $47,610 with the credit).

8. 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E: $44,995 –$61,600

Mfr Est Range: 230 – 300 miles

Ford’s dedicated “Mustang” crossover-EV goes on sale late this year with four trim levels, the $44,995 base model and $51,110 Premium trim with 230 mile range, the California Route 1 at $52,900 with 300-mile range and the $61,600 Mach-E GT with a 250-mile range.

I had problems getting the Mach-E configurator to work, but suffice it to say the ’21 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 and Mach-E GT are the two to consider. The California Route 1 comes with 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels with aero covers, Active Drive Assist prep-kit, Active Park Assist 2.0, 360-degree camera, and a panoramic fixed roof, while the GT gets 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels, permanent magnetic electronic dual-motor all-wheel-drive, and red-painted brake calipers.

9. 2020 Toyota Mirai: $58,550

10. Honda Clarity Fuel Cell: $379/mo (lease only)

Honda offers the Clarity for lease only “in California to residents of California living or working in proximity to a hydrogen fueling station.” MSRP is $379 per month for 36 months, with $2,878 due at signing.

11. 2021 Polestar 2: $61,200

Mfr’s Est Range: 275 miles

That full-charge range estimate is from Polestar’s consumer website, as the EPA has not published an official estimate, yet. Assembly began last March in China for Volvo’s EV division by parent company Geely; the Polestar 2 is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. this November. It should be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Advertised lease rates start at $649 per month.

I configured one with most options your average enthusiast would demand, including a $5,000 performance package, Ohlins dual-flow dampers, front Brembo brakes, 20-inch v-spoke alloys, gold seatbelts and tire valves, and more, and got to a bottom line of $67,900 before the tax credit.

12. 2020 Jaguar I-Pace: $70,875 – $81,925

The $7,500 federal tax credit still applies to Jaguar, including the I-Pace. The $70,875 base price applies to the I-Pace S model, while the mid-trim I-Pace SE starts at $77,275 and the I-Pace HSE starts from $81,295.

I tried to be moderately conservative in configuring an HSE; 20-inch wheels do nothing for me or for the SUV’s ride quality, and with the standard 18-inch wheels, I optioned it up to $88,380. Jaguar advertises leases starting at $899 per month.

13. 2019 Audi E-tron: $75,895 – $80,095

The 2019 E-tron sport/utility still available at Audi dealers, for the time being, starts at $75,895 for the Premium Plus trim, and $80,095 for the Prestige model. Both the 2019 Audi E-tron and 2020 Audi E-tron Sportback are eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

14. 2020 Audi E-tron Sportback: $78,395 $89,490

The 2020 E-Tron Sportback costs just $3,500 more than the standard E-Tron, but comes with an extra 14 miles of range, more handsome styling, and somewhat diminished utility. The ’20 E-tron’s $78,395 base gets you the Premium Plus trim, with the Prestige coming in $4,200 higher than the ’19 E-tron Prestige, at $84,295 base. The top price listed above is for the Edition One launch model.

I configured a 2020 Audi E-tron Sportback Prestige with many options while trying to not go overboard, as with the Jaguar I-Pace, and kept the bottom line just below the launch model’s base, at $88,189.

15. 2020 Porsche Taycan: $105,300 – $186,300

EPA Est Range: 192 – 203 miles

The breakdown is $105,300 and 203 miles of range for the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S Performance Battery Plus, $152,200 for the 201-mile Taycan Turbo, and $186,300 for the 192-mile Taycan Turbo S.

This being Porsche, constraint be damned. I loaded up a 750-horsepower, 2.6-second 0-60 mph time and 161-mph top-speed 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S with nearly everything, including a winter tire and wheel package, and $600 delivery at Porsche Cars North America HQ in Atlanta (Los Angeles also is available), though with no-charge Race-Tex leather-free interior (hey, it’s a green EV, remember?), and hit a total price of $238,406. The $52,056 in options alone would be enough to buy a Tesla Model 3, or a BMW i3s, or two base Nissan Leafs, after the federal tax credit.

Other EVs, Just Out of Reach

The EPA lists a 2020 BYD e6 electric vehicle with a 72 mpg-e rating and a 187-mile range, but there’s no sign of it on sale in the U.S. at present. A BYD public relations representative did not respond to an email for comment. In 2021, Nissan will launch its Ariya crossover EV, obviously designed to be priced north of the Leaf, though the model’s configurator has not been activated yet.

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