Eco-friendly cars for any budget
Eco-friendly cars for any budget
10 second overview: Thinking of buying an eco-friendly car? Now is the best time to make the leap to greener cars and a greener lifestyle because hybrid, plug-in, and electric cars are now more affordable than ever. Find out all you need to know about buying an eco-friendly car and explore great options for your needs and budget.
Learn more about SmartCitti’s auto insurance for eco-friendly cars here.
The movement to switch to eco-friendly cars has picked up steam in most developed parts of the world, especially here in the USA. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that, in 2010, there were around 17,000 vehicles in the entire world. That number had increased to 7.2 million in 2019. As evidence of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions mounts, and the pump price of gasoline and other fossil fuels continue to rise, the case for getting a hybrid, plug-in, or electric car has never been stronger.
The good news is that eco-friendly cars are now more affordable than ever and will save you hundreds of dollars in fuel and maintenance expenses. They're also much better for the environment than gasoline powered vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions in some cases, less noise and better fuel efficiency.
What's more, you could get a federal income tax credit between $2,500 and $7,500 for buying a new all-electric or plug-in hybrid car.
There's literally an environmentally friendly car for every budget but before we delve into what you can get for various price ranges, it's important to understand the difference between the three most common kinds of eco-friendly cars available today: Hybrids, Plug-in hybrids, and Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Hybrid cars run on gasoline powered engines which conserve fuel with the help of electric motors. The electric motors are powered by relatively small batteries which are usually not strong enough to power the car for more than a few minutes and do not need to be recharged by an external source. Unlike hybrid cars, plug-in hybrids can run exclusively on electric power. They have larger batteries that need to be recharged from an external source. When the battery of a plug-in hybrid has been depleted, the car's gasoline engine comes on automatically. Electric cars (EVs) have no gasoline engine and are equipped with batteries strong enough to power the car for prolonged periods.
Plug-in hybrids and EVs can be recharged at 120- or 240-volt charging stations which are easy to find as commercial charging points have become more common. You can also have a charging station installed at home.
Hybrid cars are the least eco-friendly of this group because they still rely significantly on gasoline and will release greenhouse gases through their tailpipes with each use. Plug-in hybrids are the middle ground in some ways as they have less emissions because they rely on less gasoline than hybrids. However, EVs are the best because they release no emissions, are significantly more energy efficient and are less noisy than hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
Now that you know what makes each kind of eco-friendly car special, here's a look at the most environmentally friendly cars you can get for any budget.
1. BMW i3
Priced at just under $45,500, the BMW i3 is the electric car for anyone who's prepared splurge on an eco-friendly ride. It's a subcompact car that can go 153 miles when its 42.2kWh battery is fully charged. It features a luxurious, roomy interior and comes standard with a robust warranty package that includes an 8-year warranty on hybrid components and 3 years of complimentary maintenance.
2. Toyota RAV4 Prime AWD
This high-performing plug-in hybrid goes for between $38,250 and $41,572. The Toyota RAV4 Prime AWD can go 42 miles on electric, powered by its 18.1kWh battery. It also features a cool design, polished interior, and remarkable speed for a small SUV. Its impressive warranty package is yet another plus. In addition to the basics, buyers also get 10 years warranty for the hybrid battery.
3. Tesla Model 3
No list of top-range eco-friendly cars would be complete without a Tesla. The Model 3 is a great midsize electric car priced at $38,690. It is as stylish as they come with an all-glass roof, a sleek design and smooth acceleration. It also comes with a great warranty package which includes 4 years of roadside assistance.
You can also read about Tesla's related patent, some of the environmental impacts, and how this actually makes the manufacturing process simpler and more reliable here.
1. 2021 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Ranging between $33,000 and $38,000 in price, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric was recently ranked the greenest car by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). This midsize hatchback features a 38.3kWh battery and can go 170 miles on full charge. It also comes with an excellent warranty package which includes 10 years coverage for hybrid components and 3 years complimentary maintenance.
2. 2021 Honda Clarity
Priced at $34,415, the Honda Clarity is a plug-in hybrid which can go 48 miles on electric power only. It's a great midsize sedan equipped with impressive safety features proprietary to Honda as well as a solid warranty package which includes 8 years coverage for hybrid components in addition to the basics.
3. 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
The Kona is an EV by Hyundai which comes packed with impressive performance and great features. Priced at $35,225, this small SUV can go 258 miles on full battery charge thanks to its 64.0kWh battery. It also has a beautiful interior and a solid warranty package which includes 10 years coverage for powertrain and battery.
4. Kia Soul Electric
Priced at $35,000, the Kia Soul Electric is a stylish EV that's sure to appeal to fans of the gasoline version of the Soul. It has the classic boxy look of this model and a comfortable, roomy interior. This subcompact SUV can go 243 miles when its 64kWh lithium-ion polymer battery is fully charged. It also comes with a great warranty package which includes 10 years battery coverage.
5. 2021 Chevrolet Bolt
This small SUV is an electric vehicle with a starting price just under $37,500. It features a roomy cabin, great cargo space and beautiful finishing. It can also go an impressive 259 miles on full charge and comes with a standard warranty package which includes years of coverage for powertrain and battery.
1. Honda Insight
The Honda Insight is a gasoline hybrid that's priced at $24,145. It is the hybrid version of the Honda Civic which has smooth, quiet handling and good fuel economy along with the recognizable look of the classic Honda sedan. It also comes with an extensive warranty package which includes 8 years coverage for hybrid components and 3 years of complimentary roadside assistance.
2. 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Priced at $23,880, the Toyota Corolla Hybrid has a lithium-ion traction battery which makes it far more fuel efficient than the gasoline model. In addition to its crisp design, it also comes with great safety features including electronic stability control, collision mitigation and a lane departure alert system. This hybrid also has a great warranty package complete with 8 years coverage for hybrid components and 3 years roadside assistance coverage.
3. 2022 Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf is a great electric hatchback priced at $28,375. It can go 149 miles on full charge, equipped with a 40.0kWh battery. In addition to a comfortable and relatively roomy interior, the Nissan Leaf also comes with great driver assistance features and has a semi-autonomous driving mode proprietary to Nissan. This EV also has a solid warranty package which includes 5 years powertrain coverage and 8 years battery coverage.
4. 2022 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 door
Fans of the Mini Coop model will love this electric hatchback which ranges between $29,900 and $30,750 in price. This petite car can go 110 miles when its 32.6kWh battery pack is fully charged. It handles much better than the gasoline model with very smooth acceleration and braking and comes with a great warranty package which includes 8 years coverage for electrical components.
5. 2021 Toyota Prius Prime LE
The Toyota Prius Prime LE is a plug-in hybrid which boasts great fuel efficiency thanks to its battery pack. Priced at $29,245, it can go 25 miles on electric power only and in addition to being a very comfortable midsize car, it comes equipped with great safety features like steering assist, automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. It also comes with a good warranty package which includes 10 years coverage for hybrid components.
You can do more for the environment by getting a green car. With a realistic budget and a good payment plan, you could pay down your eco-friendly car within 16 - 24 months. Used versions of these cars are even more affordable and just as reliable provided you buy from accredited car sales companies. Finally, remember to get your eco-friendly car insured.