You’ll soon have the opportunity to buy a brand new electric car under $15,000 in the US — if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices. TechCrunch reports that Chinese automaker Kandi plans to launch two low-priced EVs in the US by the end of 2020, headlined by the tiny K27 (shown above). The subcompact will sell for $20,499, or $12,999 after the $7,500 federal tax credit. That should make it the most affordable electric car in the US, not to mention make it alluring compared to entry-level gas cars.
It’ll launch alongside the K23, a slightly larger vehicle that should cost $29,999 before credit, and $22,499 after.
As you might have guessed, both machines include their fair share of compromises to hit their price points beyond their diminutive sizes. The K23’s 17.7kWh battery gives it an estimated range of just 100 miles, and the 63MPH top speed makes it a less-than-ideal choice for highway driving. The K23 has a much better 188-mile range, but its 70MPH top speed isn’t a significant improvement. You do get creature comforts like a touchscreen interface, Bluetooth and a backup camera, at least.
This still helps Kandi fare well against many EVs. The “off menu” Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000 before incentives, for instance, while even a used Fiat 500e might cost more.
The main challenge (apart from buying a car from a brand with little US clout) may be finding one. Kandi will initially sell the K27 and K23 only in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. You’ll be out of luck if you want to buy one in EV havens like the San Francisco Bay Area, at least for a while. Still, this is good news even if you have no intention of taking the keys to a Kandi in the near future. Vehicles like these could pressure other brands to lower the price of entry for EVs and usher them into the mainstream.