Searching for a Nearly Free Vehicle? Electric is the Answer

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 7

It's Nearly Free...The Bird Costs a Bit Extra Though

It’s Nearly Free…The Bird Costs a Bit Extra Though

There’s an argument being made and, rather rightly so, that some electric vehicles are, in fact, the cheapest automobiles available today.

No Bird Here, So This 2013 Nissan LEAF is Nearly Free

No Bird Here, So This 2013 Nissan LEAF is Nearly Free

The Wall Street Journal opens a recent article with this line “Drive a car, almost free.”

There’s some fuzzy math involved to get to that “almost free” price, but it’s nowhere near as iffy as that $500 per month lease deal on the Tesla Model S.

You see, as the Wall Street Journal points out, there are several $199 per month electric vehicles (Nissan LEAF, Fiat 500e, Chevy Spark EV) that are either available today or will launch soon.  When coupled with some state-level incentives, these vehicles become even cheaper.

Here’s how the Wall Street Journal words it:

“A new round of discount leases on mainstream-brand plug-in cars such as the Nissan LEAF or Fiat  500e, combined with federal, state and local electric-vehicle incentives, could make a battery-electric car an extraordinarily economical way to get around for drivers.”

But we’re still not quite at that “almost free” level.  Or are we?

WSJ turns to the story of Georgia resident Bronson Beisel to get the low-down on the “almost free” electric vehicle.

“Bronson Beisel, 46, says he was looking last fall for an alternative to driving his gas-guzzling Ford Expedition sport utility around suburban Atlanta, when he saw a discounted lease offer for an all-electric Nissan LEAF. With $1,000 down, Mr. Beisel says he got a two-year lease for total out-of-pocket payments of $7,009, a deal that reflects a $7,500 federal tax credit.”

“As a resident of Georgia, Mr. Beisel is also eligible for a $5,000 subsidy from the state government. Now, he says, his out-of-pocket costs for 24 months in the LEAF are just over $2,000. Factor in the $200 a month he reckons he isn’t paying for gasoline to fill up his hulking SUV, and Mr. Beisel says “suddenly the car puts $2,000 in my pocket.”

“Yes, he pays for electricity to charge the LEAF’s 24-kilowatt-hour battery—but not much. “In March, I spent $14.94 to charge the car” and a bit less than that in April, he says. He also got an electric car-charging station installed at his house for no upfront cost.”

So, there it is: the “almost free” electric has arrived.  As Beisel says of this amazing deal, “It’s like a two-year test drive, free.”  Sign us up!!!

via Wall Street Journal

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7 responses to "Searching for a Nearly Free Vehicle? Electric is the Answer"

  1. David Murray says:

    I’ve been trying to tell people this for ages. Some people still don’t get it. My family is still convinced we are paying out the nose for our Leaf and Volt.

  2. Dave K. says:

    I too live in Ga. and figured this out a few years ago, bought an ’11 Leaf from a dealer in Tenn. I would say buying one is an even better long term deal as you eventually don’t have a car payment. The only risk is battery life, and since the guy in Washington is pushing 80K with almost no range loss I think the risk is small. You just have to drive it! I figure maybe $2000/year on gas and perhaps $500/year on maintenance, so $10K every 4 years.

  3. blakem says:

    I agree that the LEAF is a great deal, but I’m a little skeptical of the numbers in the article, unless the dealer waived all fees and made a heck of a deal. For me, in CT the $1999 down turned into $3500 once all of the fees were added in. Still, I got an 2013 SV lease for $180/month after that which is still a great deal considering the gas and maintenance savings. Wish we had the same incentives as GA, and the same lower electricity costs. By the way, the car in Washington with 80k miles has about 17.5% capacity loss in the battery although the dash shows no bars lost. Nissan considers this normal, hopefully it is a little extreme given that the car is battery is nearly completely discharged 2x every day.

  4. Oren says:

    Yes! finally people are starting to get the math.
    When you don’t pay for gas, getting a new Nissan Leaf is almost free!
    So tell your friends that are looking to get a new car. Electric car is the best deal you can find.
    It is a great car for students going to college, great for teachers and mostly for anyone else driving back and forth to work school and errands.

  5. Andrew says:

    So free except for insurance. And maintenance. And parking and taxes and registration and tolls. And electricity, which for $200 a month in gas driving should be rather more than $15.

    1. Jim says:

      In Sacramento, I have a free access and charging at any city parking garage. Some people pay hundreds a month for that!

    2. Aaron says:

      Insurance for an EV versus insurance for an ICE? About equal. Parking, taxes, registration, tolls? Same as an ICE.

      Maintenance for an ICE vehicle? MUCH higher. Oil changes, air filters, coolant, etc. You don’t worry about any of that with an EV. The first scheduled maintenance on my EV is to check the battery. That’s it after 15K miles. The next 15K miles? Another battery check.

      $200 month is approximately 50 gallons (at $4/gallon). At 30 MPG, that is 1500 miles. My EV gets 150 MPGe in the city (measured at the power meter; easy driving, not hypermiling; regen braking on full). At roughly 80 miles per charge, that same 1500 miles is approximately 19 charges. At 16kWh for full battery capacity in my EV, that comes out to $36.48 at $0.12/kWh of power, or 5.4 times more cost efficient. So yes, more than $15.