Electric cars worth your money in 2020 - and ones to avoid [Updated]

Making the shift to electric cars makes more sense now since their costs are now comparable to hybrid vehicles. In some cases electric vehicle (EV) costs more or less similar to their gasoline-powered counterparts. The drivetrain technology and the battery units powering the EVs have evolved dramatically in the last few years, giving the buyer true value proposition.

Things to consider while buying an electric vehicle are torque, horsepower delivery, miles per charge and most importantly the battery degradation rate. After all, battery performance is determinant in the overall performance of the car. Which EV should you go for in 2020 to have complete peace of mind? Let's take look at the most value for money (under $50,000) EV options on the market. Thereafter, you can also take a brief look at the electric cars that should be avoided while making the buying decision.

Hyundai Kona EV

An adaptation of the Hyundai Kona subcompact crossover on the design front, the Kona electric car is true value for money. Having an impressive 258 miles of EPA range which is the second best to Tesla Model 3, and 291 pound-feet of torque, the Hyundai Kona EV ticks all the checkboxes when it comes to making the buying decision.

The liquid-cooled 64-kilowat-hour lithium-ion battery fairs well and can be charged in a jiffy on a 240-volt outlet or a DC fast charging outlet. Hyundai Kona EV is priced at $36,990 for the SEL model, $41,600 for the limited variant and $45,200 for Ultimate model. The value for money among these is the Limited variant as it comes with a sunroof, leather upholstery and other features which come handy in the long run.

Chevy Bolt EV

Another good options for the long run is the front-wheel driven Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchback having a range of 259 miles on single full charge. The electric motor churns out 200 horsepower and at peak level generates 266 lb-ft of torque, especially in initially acceleration, reaching 60 mph in just seven seconds.

The EV has a 288-cell lithium-ion battery sandwiched between the axles and it charges with a 240-volt outlet in nine hours. With a DC fast charger the vehicle gives 100 miles with just 30 minutes of charging. Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at a price tag of $37,495 with features an end-user will cherish for years to come.

Nissan Leaf S Plus

If you are looking for an electric vehicle that's luxurious and loaded with technology, then the Nissan Leaf is the one for you. The car has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support along with Intelligent Around View Monitor and Intelligent Driver Alertness function. The car comes with safety features like forward collision warning, smart lane switching and blind spot intervention.

The 62 kWh battery of the Leaf S Plus goes 226 miles on a single charge and the 214 horsepower motor and a 250 lb-ft torque makes it go off the line like any other performance hatchback. The car has been around for 10 years selling more than 300,000 units and the S Plus model is the most value for money prospect at a price tag of $38,200.

2020 Kia Niro EX EV

The 2020 Niro EV is based on the Niro Hybrid car and adapts most of the performance and design capabilities of the crossover. It has an EPA-rated range of 239 miles and come with driver-assistance features like steering wheel paddle-controlled regenerative braking. The new 2020 model gets fresh headlight and taillight design.

Niro is a single electric motor driven EV which produces 201 horsepower translated into performance via the 1-speed direct drive transmission. The car goes from 0-60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, which is better than the Bolt EV. It has a 64 kWh battery, which can be recharged via a 240-volt connection in 9 hour, and with the 100kW charger it can charge 80 percent in just one hour. The Niro EX at $40,210 is a value option.

Tesla Model 3

On this list, Tesla Model 3 is the most appealing electric vehicle which is a complete package of performance, looks and future-proofing. The car has a range of 250 miles on single charge and shoots from 0-60 mph in flat 3.5 seconds. Standard version of the EV at a price tag of $39,190 is very well positioned and comes with a premium brand value.

This rear-wheel drive EV has the battery positioned under the body which gives it a very low center of gravity. One more advantage of buying a Tesla is the availability of fast-charging stations dubbed Superchargers.

2020 BMW i3 electric

2020 BMW i3 electric with its good build quality, impressive acceleration, respectable safety and reliability score is also a car to look out for. Interiors of the car are pretty spacious and classy with the modern touch one expects from BMW automobiles.

There are features like the 6.5-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay for seamless multimedia connectivity. For driver's comfort you get heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors along with the rain-sensing windshield wipers. The BMW i3 priced at $$44,450 has a modest range of about 153 miles on single charge, which is perhaps a feature that lets it down slightly in comparison to others on this list.

Electric cars to avoid in 2020

Buying an electric car comes with its own set of caveats like performance, battery degradation and the charging woes. All of these will be drastically improved in the coming decades, if not already. Though, we believe they are getting better by the day. Electric car batteries need to be replaced after certain period of time due to degradation – in some offerings it is much worse than other brands, which adds demerits of such EVs.

With better options like the ones listed above, the older electric car models like Volkswagen Golf GTE 2017 and Ford Focus EV 2014 should not be on your buying list. Also, the cars including Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Renault Zoe Forfour EQ (inexpensive but not very reliable), 2019 Fiat 500e (disappointing range of 84 miles) and 2020 Mini Cooper SE electric (range of just 114 miles) aren't a real value for money just yet.

Over time, these cars have been tested to have worse battery degradation than other EVs and will add up to the maintenance costs in the long run. Also, a degrading battery deeply impacts the performance of the car on the road which will hamper your experience. It is worth noticing that the battery pack of an electric vehicle is like the engine of a gas-powered vehicle – it comes for a steep price and complete replacement is not a viable option at times.