Best new and used electric cars for teens

Best new and used electric cars for teens

Written by Chantelle Wakefield

Here’s what to consider to find the right electric vehicle for your young driver

Fast facts about entry-level electric cars

The price and range of a car — the distance a car can travel on a single charge — are key factors for teen drivers. Electric car options for teens include the Tesla TSLA Model 3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf, and more. If an electric car doesn’t suit your teen’s needs, consider a hybrid or hybrid car instead.

Today’s teens are part of a generation that is increasingly aware of their environmental impact compared to those who came before them. Living in an era where there is more information about excess carbon emissions negatively impacting our planet may make them more likely to purchase an electric car as their first car.

Here are the key considerations when shopping for electric vehicles for young drivers and some of the top contenders across several automakers.

How to choose the best electric car starter

Cost and affordability often top the list of factors for most people. Whether you’re buying the car for your teen or you’re saving up to buy something on their own, your car shopping budget likely has limits.

The distance you can travel between charges is an important part of how a vehicle meets your needs. For teens who are still learning about vehicle maintenance and driver responsibilities, paying attention to battery charging is especially important.

The Tesla Model 3 is a good choice if you prioritize range and stylish design. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV may be a better choice if you’re looking for more space and the versatility of a hatchback with fold-down rear seats. Like shopping for any vehicle, choosing an electric vehicle for teens ultimately depends on the driver’s needs, priorities, and commuting habits.

Be sure to read: How tax breaks on electric cars will work in 2024, and the list of eligible cars

Benefits of electric cars for teen drivers

Lower fuel costs: Charging an electric vehicle is less expensive than filling the tank in a gas-powered car, especially when charging at home. The price of a gallon of gas fluctuates more often and over a wider range than electricity prices. Less maintenance: Electric car engines have fewer moving parts than gas-powered cars, so maintenance tasks are fewer. Drivers don’t need to worry about oil changes, transmission or exhaust system service. Affordable Used Options: Used electric vehicle prices continue to trend downward as the market for alternative fuel vehicles expands. Choosing a used model from a dealership or purchasing from a private seller makes it easier to find budget-friendly options. Newer Technology: Features like touchscreen infotainment centers, advanced safety features like emergency braking, and driver aids that include lane keeping assist are standard on the lower trim levels of many EVs. Long-Range Options: Many entry-level electric cars feature an impressive electric range. While most teens don’t drive far from home, larger battery packs can allow for several days of driving to school, work, and extracurricular activities between charging sessions.

Plus: 10 must-have safety features for teen drivers

Best electric cars for teens

You can define a starter electric car by its affordability, driving range, and overall ease of use. These qualities should be present in the ideal electric car for teenagers. An electric vehicle should be practical and have safety and comfort features for young drivers preparing to hit the road on their own. Here’s our list of the best options to consider as you start your search. Note: Prices listed below do not include applicable taxes, destination fees or delivery fees.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, which starts at $26,500, offers a range of up to 259 miles on a single charge. If you’re looking to buy a new car instead of a used one, this is one of the least expensive electric cars on the market currently. Its small size will make it a great commuter vehicle for those who live in areas with easily accessible charging infrastructure.

Chevrolet Bolt EUV

Larger than its Bolt EV sibling, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV offers great range at a lower price. It’s our top-rated electric car under $35,000, starting at $27,800. The Bolt EUV has a range of up to 247 miles. It also features a more spacious back seat, making it ideal for teenagers transporting equipment for their various activities.

Nissan leaf

The Nissan (NSANY) Leaf is another compact electric car available at a lower cost. The base model starts at $28,140 and can travel up to 149 miles on a full battery. Ideal for short commutes rather than longer trips, the Leaf is comfortable, efficient and stable. Luggage space is adequate and the back seats have ample legroom.

Tesla Model 3

The increasingly popular Tesla Model 3 earns a spot on this list because of its engaging driving experience and about 270 miles of range in the base model. Knobs and buttons are almost non-existent in favor of a huge touchscreen to operate most functions, including air vent directions. The less expensive Tesla is one of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Picks. It also received five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). The base model currently starts at $38,990. The Model 3 Long Range has a range of 333 miles and costs $45,990.

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Affordable electric car rentals for teens

The cars on this list have a higher price point than those listed above, but there may still be great lease deals available that make them worth considering for younger drivers. Rental vehicles will have mileage restrictions, which may be appropriate for teens who only drive to nearby schools, activities, or work. Remember, fees apply for damages and scratches beyond normal wear and tear when the lease expires, so teens should be responsible and take good care of the car. However, a lease can be a great way for teens to test drive a new electric vehicle with the latest safety features without having a long-term commitment.

Let EV6

With a base price of $42,600, the Kia (KR:000270) EV6 is one of the most popular electric vehicles available, and some leases may be available with monthly payments of less than $500. The car is fun to drive, with precise steering and brakes that help inspire confidence in the young driver. It features a visually exciting exterior, a technologically advanced interior, and a long list of standard features.

Read more: If you’re considering a new electric car, take a serious look at the 2023 Kia EV6

Volkswagen ID.4

Our editors consider the Volkswagen ID.4 a practical and spacious all-electric SUV. It offers a range of 209 to 275 miles, depending on trim level, and comes with modern features like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The base model starts at $38,995, and Volkswagen (XE:VOW) is currently offering no-money-down lease specials to highly qualified customers.

Hyundai IONIQ 6

Like the Ioniq 5, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 combines an impressive array of innovative technologies. Currently starting at $42,450, you can drive up to 361 miles in the RWD SE trim level. Dual panoramic interior displays, ambient lighting and an LED-illuminated steering wheel give the car a futuristic feel. Hyundai offers leases with monthly payments of up to $349.

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Used electric cars for teens

Many electric cars have a high MSRP, but they may also be available on the used market for much lower prices. Consider purchasing a used electric car for teen drivers and open up a wider range of options on a smaller budget.

Kia Niro EV

New 2024 models start around $40,000, but used Kia Niro EV models are available for less than $30,000. This practical small electric crossover is a great candidate for a young driver’s first electric car. Standard safety technologies like forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, driver attention warning, and blind-spot monitoring make it hard to ignore. Estimated range for 2022 models is 239 miles on a full charge.

Hyundai IONIQ 5

The 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 is No. 1 on KBB’s Best Electric SUVs list, and it won our Best Electric Vehicle Buy award in 2023. Finding a used Ioniq 5 is better for your wallet. This electric vehicle is a great combination of performance and function with plenty of technology, plenty of standard equipment and battery capacity that makes it an excellent electric vehicle choice for young drivers.

See: The good and bad news about used car prices: lower, but not much lower

Electric vehicle considerations for teen drivers

While electric cars can be great for teen drivers, there are some basic considerations to keep in mind. Research your options carefully to get a clear understanding of the electric vehicle market.


Even modest electric cars can have amazing acceleration capabilities that can rival sports cars. While speed is desirable, new drivers must respect the instant torque from electric car motors. Responsible driving should always be a priority, even with the car’s abundant safety features. Use parental controls to monitor or restrict certain driving behaviors. Set clear expectations and guidelines for the appropriate use of an electric vehicle. Education and training will develop a safe driving environment for young people and also help protect others on the road.


The term “range” refers to the number of miles you can travel in an electric vehicle on a single charge. This distance can vary significantly from one model to another, depending on battery capacity, body size and other factors. For example, the base model Nissan Leaf has a range of 149 miles. By comparison, the Chevrolet Bolt EV has a range of about 259 miles.

(More to follow) Dow Jones News Agency

05-23-12 0503ET

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