Saving your hard-earned cash and reducing commuting emissions may hit the top of your list of reasons for considering a used electric car, but which used EVs can actually handle your daily commute?

We’ve assembled a list of four of the best used electric cars for commuting that provide the most value for the money, best comfort, and the most convenient features for a variety of commuting scenarios.

But before we get there, let’s take a trip through some EV commuting needs:

Essential Features for Electric Commuter Cars

To figure out how to prioritize used EV features for your commute, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions:

How far do I drive during my daily commute?

Your daily commute may be as short as ten minutes or last over an hour, and the distance will heavily influence how much range you’ll need in a commuter electric car.

A commute of about 40 miles per day is easily covered by the average range in newer EVs (about 200 to 250 miles per charge). However, the stated range on an electric vehicle isn’t the whole story of how well it can handle your daily route.

If your commute is very short and you won’t be driving more than around 150 miles per week, you can get away with a much smaller battery pack (which typically translates to a much cheaper EV). For a commute of 40 miles or less, you could be good to go with an EV range of 75-150 miles (with exceptions; see charging discussion below).

For commuting over 40 miles per day, a vehicle with average to above average range would be a better fit. We’d recommend looking for an EV with 200-300+ miles of range for a longer commute.

Will I be charging my EV at home, work, a charging station, or a combination of these?

If you can charge at home or at work, you can easily replace the range of a short commute in the course of a day or a night. 120-volt Level 1 charging (available via most home outlets) can add 30-40 miles of charge to your EV in about 8 hours or so.

A longer commute may require you to install a Level 2 charger in your home (which we would recommend anyway). You might also consider buying an EV with more range, or stopping in for regular DC fast charging at a public charging station (which can degrade your battery faster, resulting in a loss of range).

A word for those who will not be able to charge their EV at home (thanks to apartment living or inconvenient parking): a larger battery pack that covers your weekly commute is better than a smaller battery pack that only covers a daily commute. If you can get away with only hitting the DC fast charger once a week, you’ll be saving yourself and your battery some unnecessary wear-and-tear.

Is Connectivity, Infotainment, or Driver Assistance Software an Essential Part of My Commute?

If you use your daily drive to catch up on the latest news, listen to podcasts, make calls, or chill out with your favorite playlist, check each used EV prospect for its infotainment setup or Apple CarPlay / Android Auto integration. Tesla handles their media integrations in-house, but many other EV manufacturers rely on your smartphone connection to control media / calls in the car.

What about driver’s assistance software in a used EV? If you do a lot of highway driving, a vehicle with adaptive cruise control, lane keeping software, or even advanced driving assistance like Tesla’s Autopilot can help lower driving fatigue. Be aware that some EV manufacturers provide continuing software support and safety updates for their older EV models and some…don’t.

Does the Used EV I’m Considering Have a Good Safety Rating?

While most modern vehicles have a high degree of safety, there are some that are a cut above the rest. Research each of your used EV options through the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) websites to make sure your prospective year/make/model tested in the upper range for each category.

Tip: if part of your commute is going to involve taking a carseat in and out of the car, be sure to check out the IIHS ease of use rating for each used EV’s LATCH system.

Will This EV Be a Comfortable Long-Term Commuter?

While we know that comfort definitely isn’t at the bottom of most commuter’s lists (we’re pretty picky about our seat cushions, too), it may not be your first thought when you are looking at an EV. Range, battery size, cost, and tech tend to overshadow a lot of other features when we discuss EVs. However, comfort should always be ranked close to budget on your list; you and this EV commuter car will likely be spending lots of quality time together.

The more range you need, the more comfortable your ride should be. The best electric car for a long distance commute should offer some combination of lumbar support, luxury seating material, heated seating and steering, and air suspension.

With these questions in mind, let’s talk through our top four picks for used EV commuters:

Best Budget EV Commuter: Chevrolet Bolt

Used Price: $18,000-$28,000

Range: 238-259 miles

Strengths: Can be found under 30k / 20k, new battery warranty, entry-level EV with standard-level range, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay

Weaknesses: DC fast charging only available on some trim levels before 2022

Recommended for: low budget, long commute with Level 2 charging at home, short commute / once a week fast charge (some 2017-2021 models, all 2022-present models)

Is a used Chevy Bolt affordable? Yes! Even compared to the general used market of gas-powered commuters, the Bolt has a competitive price that’s generally well under $30,000.

Safety for the Bolt is top-notch, with a 5 star rating for every model year from the NHTSA. The Bolt has also been named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

The fiasco that produced the Bolt’s battery recall back in 2021 came with a silver lining for used Bolt buyers: for the battery packs that were replaced during the recall, the Bolt’s battery warranty has been renewed starting from the date of replacement. In other words, a used Bolt may have almost as much battery warranty left as a newer EV!

One downside to the early Bolt years: from 2017-2021, just the upper trim levels of the Bolt came with fast-charging capabilities. Level 3 DC fast charging has only been a standard option on the Chevy Bolt since 2022.

As a used EV under 30k (or 20k), the Bolt makes no promises for the tech-elite among us. It doesn’t compete with the Model 3 (or any member of Tesla’s lineup) on driver’s assistance or infotainment. However, it does support both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

However, the Bolt’s user-friendly design makes it a great starter EV. If you don’t need Autopilot, advanced driver’s assistance features, or a 0-60 faster than 6.5-7 seconds (are commuter track races a thing?), then a used Bolt might be the perfect commuter EV for you.

Note: We don’t cover the Bolt EUV here (it’s a bit pricier), but for those that are looking for a bigger EV commuter with some hauling space, we can recommend a used Bolt SUV for most of the same reasons as its smaller counterpart.  

Most Comfortable Used EV for Long Commutes: Tesla Model S

Used Price: $25,000-$125,000

Range: 150-403 miles

Strengths: Long range options, high safety scores, comfortable, spacious, sporty handling, top-notch tech

Weaknesses: Luxury pricing for newer models, high mileage and no warranty coverage for oldest models

Recommended for: long commutes, business travel, storage space needs, tech options

The Tesla Model S provides range, style, great driver’s assistance software (yeah, we mean Autopilot), and a lightning-fast charging speed. But while other commuter EVs on this list provide many of the same benefits, the Model S is the leader in comfort. Coupled with Autopilot for easier highway driving, we’d recommend a used Model S for distance travel and storage space (with the back seats folded, you could fit a 6ft folding ladder in the back with room to spare).

While a newer Model S is a higher budget option, you can find some of the older model years under 30k. There is a tradeoff in potential battery life with the budget option, though. Many of the oldest models (2012-2016) have smaller batteries, higher degradation, and no battery warranty coverage remaining (with exceptions: see our Ultimate Guide to Tesla Warranty for info on the famous unlimited mileage battery warranty for some pre-2020 Teslas).

A used 2019-2020 Model S Long Range Plus may provide a good compromise between price, battery age, and remaining battery warranty at around $50,000.

Note: with 516 miles of range, a used Lucid Air is also a great option for long distance commuting and travel with comfort in mind. However, unless price isn’t a factor, we wouldn’t place it over the Model S in our list.

Plus, if price isn’t a factor, we’d have to start talking about the Porsche Taycan and the Mercedes-EQ EQS, and this list is already long enough.

Best Budget Electric Commuter Runner Up: Nissan LEAF

Used Price: $8,000-$31,000

Range: 150-226 miles

Strengths: Multiple range options, decent safety scores, reliable, can be found under 30k

Weaknesses: Longer Level 3 charging time, CHAdeMO charge port

Recommended for: Short commutes, home charging, going electric on a budget

While you can get a lot of mileage out of an old Nissan LEAF, the 2020 (and beyond) LEAF has the best range and can handle a harsher climate than its earlier LEAF brethren. Improved battery chemistry means that the LEAF doesn’t overheat as easily as it used to, though we wouldn’t completely vouch for it on distance travel through extremely hot climates. After all, Nissan still hasn’t given the LEAF the liquid cooling it deserves.

A plus side to the lack of liquid cooling is that a used LEAF is even cheaper than the Chevy Bolt, The LEAF can be found as a used EV under 25k even in models from the last three years.

A 5-Star Safety Rating from the NHTSA and a Good rating in most areas as tested by the IIHS keep the LEAFon our list of safest EVs for commuting. And general reliability scores for the LEAF from multiple sources have stayed high over the years, an encouraging factor for used EV buyers.

An unfortunate downside to the LEAF is that it doesn’t have a fast charging rate or a modern CCS / NACS charge port (it has CHAdeMO, which is now considered outdated). With a 40 minute 0-80% charge time for the Standard trim (and about an hour of charging for the Plus trim), a LEAF’s Level 3 daily charging station stop would be tedious. That’s why we’d say the LEAF is most suited to a scenario where you can charge at home or at work and when your commute is less than 40 miles.

The tech experience in the Nissan LEAF doesn’t particularly stand out, though there are a few drivers assistance options available. However, it does have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Note: out of all the EVs on this list, the LEAF may have the most convenient battery to replace.

Best Overall Used EV Commuter Car: Tesla Model 3

Used Price: $24,000-$68,000

Range: 240-322 miles

Strengths: Long range options, high safety scores, top tech options, can be found under 30k

Weaknesses: Moderate seating comfort, no Android Auto / Apple CarPlay, some road noise at highway speeds

Recommended for: Most commutes and charging scenarios, cold climates, driver assistance

The Model 3 checks the most boxes for a used EV commuter of any we’ve reviewed. It has a long enough range to handle weekly charging for short commutes and long distance commuting with Level 2 charging. The Model 3 handles well, has proven battery longevity, can use Level 3 DC fast charging, and has enough tech options to satisfy the most hardcore EV tech enthusiast.

For the best use of the Model 3’s tech options, be sure to check for Autopilot Hardware 3.0 (HW3). Used Model 3’s before mid-2019 did not have this hardware unless they’ve received an upgrade (currently $1000). Some of Tesla’s driver assistance features come standard, but to get the full experience you can purchase a Full Self-Driving (FSD) subscription ($199 per month) and a Premium Connectivity subscription ($9.99 per month).

Almost as a bonus, you can now find used Model 3s for under 30k, even as recent as the 2020 model year.

Safety ratings and reviews from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are top-notch for the Model 3.

For cold climate use, Teslas (and other EVs) will lose some range due to heating—up to 20%. However, you can tell a Model 3 to pre-warm itself before you drive by using the Tesla app to set the cabin temp or run a defrost cycle for the entire car.

One downside that we found to the Model 3 is that the road noise level at highway speeds can be noticeable. The actual noise level isn’t a major issue—it’s not excessive by any means—unless you plan on using the time to record audio or take calls.

And that’s it for our list of best commuter EVs! Here’s the next step:

Ready to Start Searching for a Used Commuter EV?

Now that you’ve got a good idea on what features you need in a used electric commuter car, it’s time to check searching for it off your to-do list.

We’ve made it easy for you. With Find My Electric’s filtering system, you can select and sort through thousands of used EVs by battery size, price range, autopiloting software / hardware, location, and more. Narrowing down your options has never been simpler, and there are no distracting ads to confuse your efforts.

Get on the road faster without sacrificing your budget. Check out Find My Electric’s used EV listings to find your dream electric commuter car today!