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.