The landscape of electric cars has evolved rapidly since they first arrived about ten years ago. Initially, entry-level models with limited range were available, but these are gradually being replaced by larger models, with more range or a format closer to an SUV, often with a higher price tag. However, there are still some less expensive cars on offer, with interesting features for buyers.

But be aware that sooner or later, these models will gradually be phased out to make way for more modern products. Before this transition happens, we’ve determined the order of priority when it comes to making a purchase in this category based on range, reliability, performance, and the price demanded.

So, what are the best electric cars under $50,000 for 2023 in Canada?

1. Chevrolet Bolt EV 2023

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV Price Range: $41,147 – $41,147

Launched in 2017, the Chevrolet Bolt EV has maintained the same formula since its debut. It remains a small car primarily for urban use, offering a range exceeding 400 kilometers, and its robustness is beyond question. It underwent some changes in 2022, addressing the main complaints from owners over the years. The most significant change occurred inside, where the dashboard layout was completely revamped, the seats were improved, and the finishing quality was enhanced. These three aspects contributed to improving the overall performance of the Bolt EV.

However, the history of the Chevrolet Bolt EV is not without turbulence. Nearly all models from 2017 to 2022 were affected by a massive recall that involved replacing the traction battery. Some units at dealerships were grounded for months while repairs were carried out, depriving potential buyers of the car they had set their sights on. However, the recall is nearing its end, and cars have started to be sold again.

What’s even more enticing is that they are now offered at a price of under $40,000, and they are eligible for government rebates totaling $12,000 (applied after taxes). Therefore, considering its attractive price, overall reliability, mechanical performance, and the joy it brings behind the wheel, the Chevrolet Bolt EV takes the top spot in our ranking of the best electric cars under $50,000.

Chevrolet Bolt EV 2023

Chevrolet Bolt EV 2023

2. Nissan LEAF 2023

2023 Nissan LEAF Price Range: $43,455 – $52,055

One of the electric cars with the longest history is undoubtedly the Nissan LEAF. We are now in the second generation, which debuted here for the 2018 model year. While it initially only came with a 40-kilowatt-hour battery, it received improvements over the generation. Now, the LEAF is offered with two battery sizes, depending on the trim.

For a more affordable price, the Nissan LEAF SV comes with a 40-kilowatt-hour battery allowing a range of 240 kilometers. For more range, you can choose the SV Plus or the SL Plus, equipped with a 60-kilowatt-hour battery providing a range reaching 342 kilometers. Even though this range is less than the Chevrolet Bolt EV, it may be relevant for certain consumers.

Unfortunately, this lower range does not come with a more attractive base price, which is one of the main flaws of this generation of the car. Also, the rather dull interior presentation and the poorly designed rear seats and cargo space mean that onboard life is not as joyful as it should be. On the other hand, the reliability of the mechanics is good, and the car includes several interesting features, like one-pedal driving. Considering these factors, as well as the fact that it can provide a very decent range, the Nissan LEAF occupies the second place in the ranking.

2023 Nissan LEAF

2023 Nissan LEAF

3. Mini Cooper 2023

2023 Mini Cooper Price Range: $33,225 – $56,715

The MINI Cooper S E belongs to an increasingly rare category of car, particularly since the departure of the Volkswagen e-Golf or the smart fortwo electric, namely low-range city cars. Indeed, no one will use the Mini Cooper S E for long trips, as it provides a range of only 183 kilometers. It is therefore much better suited to urban driving or as a second car for use within a rather limited radius from home.

In this perspective, it performs the job wonderfully. It retains the unique MINI character of being a very agile, very precise, and very direct car, despite the weight added by the electric mechanics. In fact, this comes from the now-defunct BMW i3, a car that has demonstrated its reliability and durability since 2014, suggesting good reliability for the little MINI Cooper S E.

What puts it in third place is undoubtedly its high price relative to the announced range. At nearly $48,000 (before the application of provincial and federal rebates), it is far from a bargain for the majority of people. However, its fun character and unique style make it an interesting car, provided it’s considered a luxury item, used only occasionally. For all these reasons, it ranks third in our ranking.

2023 Mini Cooper

2023 Mini Cooper