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ev buying guide

Not all electric vehicles are created equal. Spending more money doesn’t always get you a vehicle with a bigger battery and more driving range. So, just as we did in 2019, we crunched the numbers to figure out which EVs in Canada offer the most range per dollar.

Range is, of course, just one factor to consider when choosing an EV, but it’s often the most important consideration. “When deciding which electric vehicle to buy, the most-often-cited factor in the purchase decision is battery and driving range,” concluded J.D. Power //’s// in its electric vehicle experience study, published earlier this year. “Even after the purchase is made, range is still a critical element of the ownership experience,” the authors wrote, after surveying nearly 10,000 EV owners.

Since we last ran the numbers on EV range costs two years ago, the good news is that there are many more affordable long-range vehicles available today than there were back then. Many of the vehicles on this list cost about $40,000, which is roughly the average selling price of new light vehicles in Canada, according to data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

The prices below take into account the $5,000 federal incentive for purchasing a zero-emission vehicle, but not any of the provincial ones. Also note that we’ve included only those vehicles listed on Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption ratings search tool, and used the department’s official driving-range estimates. Prices were taken from manufacturers’ websites.

All that said, if you’re looking for an EV that offers the most range for your money in 2021, look no further.

2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV LT

REBECCA COOK/Reuters

The 2021 Bolt tops our list, but don’t buy one of these just yet. For the 2022 model, Chevy is slashing the price by $6,800 and tweaking the Bolt’s design inside and out, so if you want one, it’s certainly worth waiting until summer when the 2022 models are set to arrive.

Price per kilometre of range: $96

Range: 417 kilometres

Price: $39,998 (after federal incentive)

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The Kona topped this ranking in 2019, and now it’s essentially tied for first place with the Chevy Bolt. It’s refined, agile and fun to drive, delivering a wallop of torque that a typical four-cylinder gasoline engine could never match.

Price per kilometre of range: $96

Range: 415 kilometres

Price: $39,999 (after federal incentive)

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro

BRYAN DEBALLA /The New York Times News Service

The ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first serious electric effort and it’s impressive. For the money, you get a lot of driving range, cargo room and passenger space. It’s significantly larger over all than the first two vehicles on this list.

Price per kilometre of range: $100

Range: 400 kilometres

Price: $39,995 (after federal incentive)

2021 Kia Niro EV

Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

The Niro is one of two EVs in Kia’s lineup at the moment. The boxy Kia Soul EV Limited offers a few kilometres more range, but costs $7,000 more. So, if value is your top priority, the Niro is a better option.

Price per kilometre of range: $104

Range: 385 kilometres

Price: $39,995 (after federal incentive)

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

David Zalubowski/The Associated Press

If you want a Tesla but are on a budget, this is the Tesla to get. The Model 3 “Standard Range” version is cheaper, but not nearly enough to justify the fact its range is limited to an abysmal 151 kilometres. It exists only to qualify the “Standard Range Plus” Model 3 for the federal incentive.

Price per kilometre of range: $113

Range: 423 kilometres

Price: $47,990 (after federal incentive)

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

ALY SONG/Reuters

The Long Range version of the Model 3 doesn’t qualify for the federal rebate because the sales price on this trim exceeds $55,000, but it’s still good value in terms of driving range. It has dual-motor all-wheel drive and wickedly-fast acceleration: Zero to 100 kilometres an hour takes just 4.4 seconds.

Price per kilometre of range: $114

Range: 568 kilometres

Price: $64,990 (does not qualify for federal incentive)

2021 Nissan Leaf S Plus

Edgar Su/Reuters

In 2019, the Leaf ranked above the Teslas. But, since then, Tesla has quietly upgraded the Model 3, improving its rated driving range, which was enough to bump the Leaf down a couple of places.

Price per kilometre of range: $115

Range: 363 kilometres

Price: $41,898 (after federal incentive)