2018 Nissan LEAF

2018 Nissan LEAF

According to Kelley Blue Book's (KBB) research, the 2018 Nissan LEAF is the most affordable electric car to own over a five-year period.

Every year, KBB gives out awards for "Cost to Own," as well as Best Brand and Best Luxury Brand (also related to ownership costs). The publication explains:

"When considering the cost of a car, all too often buyers focus on the sticker price and how to negotiate that number to fit their budget ...

But the money it takes to own a car goes far beyond a vehicle's purchase price, and the financial impact - for better or worse - will last years after you've driven it off the lot ...

When you add up costs such as fuel, financing, insurance and one of the biggest factors of all - depreciation - vehicles with similar sticker prices when new can vary widely in total ownership costs just a few years down the road. It's the reason why a car with a lower sticker price isn't always cheaper in the long-run, while a car that initially costs more can actually save you thousands in comparison."

<em>Inside the 2018 Nissan LEAF</em>

Inside the 2018 Nissan LEAF

This is all too important, especially when it comes to EVs. People see the higher price associated with electric cars and the fact that even if they qualify for the rebate, it doesn't come until tax time. Many opt out primarily due to the initial expense.

It's difficult to get the general population to realize and understand "cost to own." It's hard to imagine the savings over the course of a number of years, when considering lower maintenance costs, depreciation, not having to purchase gas, etc.

While it would be even more advantageous to see how a car like the 2018 Nissan LEAF compares to a similar gas car in this study, KBB uses a separate category for electric vehicles. Although the new, second-generation LEAF is not yet available in high volume, it still tops KBB's list for the model year.

Looking at the publication's numbers, we can provide our own comparison. The 2018 Nissan LEAF's five-year cost-to-own (as of December 31, 2017) is $38,258. The ICE 2018 Hyundai Sonata (midsize car) comes in at $36,800, and the gas-powered compact 2018 Toyota Corolla iM has a five-year figure of $30,856.

KBB points out that Tesla has worked to improve the image of electric cars, however, the new Nissan LEAF, along with the Chevrolet Bolt, are really the first vehicles of their kind to push the "acceptance" envelope. These are EVs with mainstream consumers in mind. KBB reports:

"The new Leaf's 5-year cost to own strengths are many. Leaf pricing now starts under $30,000 (and that's before you deduct the $7,500 federal EV tax credit) and you get an 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty. Additional savings also appear in cost advantages shared by all electric cars: much lower maintenance costs and fuel costs that are a fraction of having to pay for gasoline. On the downside of that street, electric cars dramatically lose their resale value over time."

Additionally, the award summary mentions the new LEAF's 40-percent improvement in driving range (150 miles) -- thanks to its 40 kWh battery pack -- instant torque, ePedal (one foot) driving technology, mainstream exterior, and expansive, high-quality interior. KBB concludes:

"By giving the car a more conventional look and boosting range to 150 miles, the Leaf is moving into the realm beyond automotive novelty to a practical, alternative-power vehicle."

Source: Kelley Blue Book