Clear Winner in Leasing vs. Purchase for Electric Vehicles

charging station

For retail sales of plug-in elec­tric vehi­cles, it’s all about leas­ing. An Exper­ian Auto­mo­tive report says that 93% of elec­tric vehi­cles deliv­ered from Octo­ber to Decem­ber last year were leased.

There’s a few rea­sons for that hap­pen­ing:
1. The fed­eral tax incen­tive, that varies from $2,500 to $7,500, is wrapped into the monthly lease pay­ment.
2. Those buy­ing the car have to do a bunch of paper­work for the tax incen­tive and it could take up to 15 months to get that check in the mail.
3. While NADA Used Car Guide says that the resale value of these cars is get­ting ham­mered lately (due in part to them being expen­sive cars with var­i­ous incen­tives), the lessor is pro­tected from tak­ing that hit.
4. Leas­ing deals give con­sumers a more afford­able monthly pay­ment than a loan.
5. Cal­i­for­nia is still offer­ing a rebate of $1,500 to $2,500 in the mail even if you lease.

Does buy­ing the car have any ben­e­fits?
1. The car buyer owns the asset. It’s a bit early to see how much value they hold up over time, but own­ers don’t have a monthly pay­ment and ben­e­fit from much cheaper fuel­ing cost.
2. For those liv­ing in mod­er­ate cli­mates, capac­ity loss may not be an issue for sev­eral years.
3. For peo­ple who drive a lot of miles per year, their lease won’t accom­mo­date it and there will be penal­ties.
4. Bat­tery elec­tric vehi­cles run very sim­ply and need very lit­tle main­te­nance, so own­ers don’t have the reg­u­lar ser­vice appoint­ments that can add up over time.
5. Plug-in car­mak­ers are start­ing to offer battery-replacement pro­grams, which would take some of the worry off EV owners.

In the end, one of the core rea­sons leas­ing has dom­i­nated the space seems to be that EV tech­nol­ogy is very new and dri­vers have a lot of con­cerns – range anx­i­ety, bat­tery life, charg­ing sta­tion infra­struc­ture, and charg­ing time; plus the fact that a lot of new tech­nol­ogy is rolling out each new mode year with increased effi­cien­cies and lower sticker prices. So leas­ing that Leaf, Volt, Fit EV, Model S, etc., makes the most sense for now.