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I’m looking for a new or used electric vehicle for less than $45,000 after rebates (and a lot less, ideally). I’d like at least 350 kilometres of range, one-pedal driving and a ccs connector (and also ideally Tesla charger compatible in the future).

I’m seeing used 2020 Chevrolet Bolts for around $30,000 and 2022 Bolt EUVs less than $40,000, but I’m concerned about the recall for fire risk. Also, used financing rates are at least 3-per-cent higher than new. The other option seems to be the new or used Hyundai Kona electric (but no true one-pedal driving and no Tesla chargers).

Anything else I should consider? Or should I save up more money and wait for whenever the 2024 Kona or 2024 Volvo EX30 come out? I just need enough room in the back seat for a border collie. All-wheel drive would be great here, but I don’t think I can get an AWD EV in my price range. – Jack, Vancouver

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The 2020 Chevy Bolt.Handout

Mark Richardson: A CCS charging connector rules out the Nissan Leaf. It uses the CHAdeMO connector for DC fast charging. It always has, and is now the only new electric vehicle that still uses it.

Petrina Gentile: But there are other options and more coming down the road, especially now that Tesla is opening up its chargers to other manufacturers.

Richardson: It’s only just begun this, with the first of the new chargers just installed in Nevada. All but Volkswagen and Stellantis have said they’ll be using the Tesla charge plug, renamed the North America Charging Standard, or NACS, by 2025. It will take until then before the new charging ability is properly implemented across the board.

Gentile: And not to mention, the recent joint venture of seven manufacturers, including Honda, BMW and Hyundai, to launch 30,000 of their own fast-charging public stations across North America.

Richardson: Let’s think about Jack’s budget as our first step. In British Columbia, provincial rebates for electric vehicles are based on an individual’s income: if the person reported an income last year of less than $80,000, the rebate is $4,000 for a full EV, but that is reduced in a couple of stages to zero if the income was $100,000 or more. Let’s assume Jack qualifies for the maximum.

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The 2025 Volvo EX30 is the luxury brand's smallest, cheapest and fastest electric vehicle to date.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Gentile: There’s also a federal rebate of $5,000 for BEVs with a base model price of $55,000 or less. If you’re looking at used, there are no used rebates available in B.C. or federally. But if you buy a used EV in B.C., you don’t pay taxes on it.

Richardson: That’s a savings of 7 per cent for a used EV and up to $9,000 for a new one. So to stay in Jack’s budget, for a new electric car, its final price before rebates needs to be no more than about $54,000, including taxes. A used car can be about $45,000.

Gentile: Let’s start with the used vehicles, because Jack did mention he found some used Chevrolet Bolts, but he’s concerned about the risk of fire. Personally, I think that’s a legitimate concern and I’d avoid them. Do you think otherwise?

Richardson: I do. A couple of years ago, some Bolts had batteries that caught fire and they were all recalled to fix the issue. Normally, when that happens, the manufacturer learns from it and makes the car better. I’ve not heard of any Bolts catching fire since, and I have a friend who’s happy with his Bolt EUV. It’s certainly more affordable than most other electric cars.

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China-made Tesla Model 3 vehicles at the Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai on Dec. 30, 2019.SUN YILEI/Reuters

Gentile: It is, but I’d still be reluctant to buy a used one. I think he’d be better off looking at a used Hyundai Kona electric.

Richardson: The Kona is compact and exceptionally zippy. It’s a good city car, but as Jack says, the older model doesn’t provide true one-pedal driving, which I think of as “golf-cart driving.” The new-generation 2024 Kona has it, but for me that’s irrelevant. I don’t like the extreme regeneration of taking my foot off the throttle and having the car slow hard as if the brakes are on.

Gentile: I actually like that – it’s less work for the driver. I didn’t like it at first, either, but you get used to it after a while. Wouldn’t you agree?

Richardson: You get used to everything after a while. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Gentile: Another vehicle Jack could consider is from Hyundai’s sister company, Kia, and the Niro all-electric vehicle, used.

Richardson: The Niro is often overlooked, but it has what Jack’s looking for. It’s a reasonable size, so there’s definitely space for a collie in the back seat, and it has the one-pedal drive ability he wants. I prefer its looks over the boxy Kia Soul EV, too.

Gentile: I agree. And even though the Niro electric isn’t the most thrilling vehicle to drive, it’s loaded with standard features and safety technology. It was redone for 2023, but even a first-generation used model is fairly well-equipped.

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The 2023 Kia Niro EV has 201 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Richardson: I’ve not driven the newer model, but it would be pushing Jack’s budget. A new Niro EV costs around $48,500 before rebates and taxes, so in B.C. that could be around $45,000 out the door. If he can find a 2019 or 2020 model though, he’ll probably save about $10,000 from that. It claims a range of 385 kilometres, but owners figure it’s more realistic to count on about 300 kilometres, especially in cooler weather.

Gentile: Yes, never go by those claimed figures. You have to factor in a drop in range when the temperatures dip and you’re driving highway speeds with the heat on full blast.

Richardson: That’s the case with all EVs, of course. But Jack never mentioned the car that seems to dominate Vancouver roads these days: the Tesla, either the Model 3 or the roomier Model Y. Do you think a Tesla might be good for him?

Gentile: Yes, I think a Tesla Model 3 would do the trick – used, of course, although Tesla has slashed prices several times on its new vehicles. A new Model 3 costs $54,000 but that’s for the rear-wheel-drive version. If Jack wants an all-wheel-drive, that pushes the price up to nearly $64,000 for the dual motor all-wheel-drive Model 3.

Richardson: It still qualifies for the maximum $9,000 rebate, at least. But that slashing of new prices means many Tesla owners from the last couple of years are sitting on negative equity with their vehicles. They’ll take a bath right now if they sell, so they’re holding onto them, unless they leased. Recent used Teslas are hard to find. It’s a strange situation.

Gentile: That’s true. Elon Musk certainly upset some customers who bought their vehicles at higher prices.

Richardson: Perhaps Jack didn’t mention Tesla because he wants something less ubiquitous. The white paint was a no-cost option this year, and sometimes in Vancouver and Montreal, it looks like a phalanx of Imperial Guard stormtroopers driving down the road.

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The 2024 Hyundai Kona was revealed in Berlin. The electric version will have an improved 418 kilometres of range.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Gentile: Let’s move on to another vehicle Jack mentioned – the 2025 Volvo EX30, Volvo’s fourth all-electric vehicle. It’s the perfect size and fit. The single motor, rear-wheel-drive model starts at $53,700, before federal and provincial rebates, while the twin motor performance trim starts at $59,900.

Richardson: I’ve not driven the EX30, but it looks like it would do the trick, and it’s probably a better value proposition than the Tesla right now.

Gentile: I drove the EX30 in Barcelona just last month for the global launch. It’s a nice package – the smallest, cheapest and fastest Volvo EV to date. And it adopts many of the tech-heavy features found in a Tesla, including a large vertical infotainment screen with Google built-in, which controls everything from the navigation system to the side-view mirror adjustments.

Richardson: It seems like all the carmakers have adapted something from Tesla. What kind of realistic range does the EX30 offer?

Gentile: The range is on the low side: up to 442 kilometres with the single motor and up to 426 kilometres with the dual motor. There are already other competitors, such as Tesla and Cadillac, that offer more electric range, and the EX30 doesn’t arrive in Canada until the beginning of 2024.

Richardson: Is there room inside for a border collie?

Gentile: Yes, there’s room for his four-legged friend in the rear seats. There’s also respectable cargo space; the front cargo space is tiny, though, only useful for the charging cables.

Richardson: So which way do you think Jack should be looking? Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Tesla or Volvo?

Gentile: I’m swaying toward the Volvo, if he can wait a few months until its arrival. If not, I’d go with a used Tesla Model 3 or Kia Niro. What’s your verdict?

Richardson: I think he’ll be quite happy with a used EV, and will save probably $10,000 or so if he opts for a Chevrolet Bolt or a Kia Niro.

Gentile: Skip the Bolt, Jack. If you’re going to buy used, stick with the Niro. Keep us posted on your decision.

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