Nissan is now reportedly offering up to $5,000 to lease holders of Leafs to buy and keep the car instead of turning it in at the end of the agreement.
Buying an affordable EV is a bad bet compared to leasing one instead. If you are one of the people that will consider a new EV in the coming months please, give serious consideration to leasing instead of buying.
The reasons are many. First of all there is the basic financial reality that you may not qualify for the federal tax deduction. Glance at the federal tax return your accountant conjured from the Cray Supercomputer used to create that document. Do you see the words “Alternative Minimum Tax”, or AMT anyplace on yours? If so, be sure you will get that $7,500 tax cut the websites automatically deduct off the cost of your EV. If you already are paying the AMT, it is a good hint that more tax breaks are not going to help you.
Then consider progress: Take the Volt for example. The 2016 model will have an extra seat (now 5 in total), has more range, is more efficient, accelerates quicker in EV mode, and will cost $ 1,175 less than the 2015 Volt model. This follows a price drop of $5,000 for the 2014 model year compared to the 2013. Good luck with the resale on a car with that trend. NADA says that the Leaf and Volt have some of the lowest resale values of any cars, with the Leaf retaining just 38% of its value after a few years, compared to say a Toyota Prius, which retains 54.3% if its value. The fast pace of EV development is great news – except to anyone trying to sell or trade-in an older model.
Automakers have provided clear incentives to get shoppers into leased EVs all along. Now Nissan has just gone the extra mile.
If you’re a Leaf Lessee, you want to look out for the LEAF Gross Payoff discount. On 2012 and 2013 Leafs, the discount is worth up to $5,000. 2011 models are eligible for a smaller $1,500 incentive.
Dealers can add another discount worth up to $1,500.
Let’s assume your Leaf estimated payoff amount — the amount which you woudl have to pay to buy your lease out from Nissan — is $15,000. In the best case, you can expect that payoff to drop to $8,500.
Less than nine grand to buy a two year old Leaf might be a pretty compelling option.
If you are considering a new EV, do yourself a favor and look closely at all the lease offers available. It could save you serious money in the not-too-long term.