US All-Electric Cars Outlook – Price & Range

AUG 19 2015 BY MARK KANE 51

US All-Electric Cars Outlook - Price & Range - August 2015 (click to enlarge)

US All-Electric Cars Outlook – Price & Range – August 2015 (click to enlarge)

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt

Here is one more look at range rated by EPA and prices (after tax credit and with destination charge) for all-electric cars available in US (some of the cars are new, others are no longer for sale).

This time we have a point-graph, which better illustrates the market.

There is a huge group of BEVs with range between 50 to just over 100 miles (but most of them are around 80 miles). EPA numbers do not include things like the Mercedes B-Class ED extended charge as of yet, nor heat pump effect in winter.

Then, there is a gulf of nothing between $45,000 to $65,000 (all prices for entry-level version) and then Tesla – one, two, three battery packs options. But the price is too high for the Average Joe to have 230+ miles of range.

It’s interesting that there are so many BEVs below $45,000 and none $45,000 to $65,000. The example of Tesla shows that the high-end side is doing well.

Some manufacturer could surely benefit today from having the only premium, longer range BEV for let’s say $55,000. Is there not a market for that range at that price?

And finally, there is mystery black hole with randomly placed 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, 2018 Tesla Model III and 2018/next gen Nissan LEAF with up to twice the kWhs. We don’t know the exact range or price of future models yet (although we feel ok with saying around 200 miles/$40,000), and if those cars appear on the market, then we suspect that even cheaper 80-miles range models will become available.

Of special note:  The new 2016 Nissan LEAF with an estimated 110 miles of EPA range (on the SV/SL trims) will obvious add a significant data point outside of rest of today’s inexpensive EVs.

The 2016 LEAF will launch in about 4 weeks/mid-September.  It’s leadership position in this group (as illustrated by the graphing below) could indicate a strong rebound for LEAF sales could shortly be in order – so we have added it into graphing matrix.

Here is the graph in a world without the Tesla Model S for more clarity:

US All-Electric Cars Outlook – Price & Range without Tesla/2016 Nissan LEAF Added (est)  – August 2015 (click to enlarge)

US All-Electric Cars Outlook – Price & Range without Tesla and 2016 Nissan LEAF Added (110 estimated miles/pre-incentive starting MSRP of $33,000 for SV trim) – click to enlarge

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51 Comments on "US All-Electric Cars Outlook – Price & Range"

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I wonder if Nissan’s 2016 Leaf will be the same size battery pack as previous models in order for existing customers to upgrade their batteries ?

This would also have a huge impact on residual values making them more attractive to new & existing owners ?

I would be stunned if it weren’t essentially the same size. Why would Nissan introduce a battery pack that required a major modification to the car for just one model year? That would be a very foolish thing to do, cost-wise.

(I’m ignoring minor changes, like a different mounting bracket or wiring harness or software tweak, etc. By “major modification” I’m talking about something that would be expensive to develop and put into production and also too expensive to retrofit onto my 2013 Leaf, for example.)

Same size? Almost definitely yes. Most likely this is same number and type of cells, just better cells.

Upgrade? I’m guessing no. The drive system might have different specs which might get too complicated for them to want to mess with. Tesla does this type of thing but they are just more hardcore.

A friend with a 2013 was offered the 30 kWh pack as an upgrade once they get released. We’ll see if it is for real or maybe a dealer misunderstanding once Nissan releases it mid Sept =D—————

The B-class should be ranked at the known range with the extended mode as opposed to the EPA sticker. It seems few know that it has a 36 kWh battery hat can be utilized with the range option. It is almost like Mercedes did not want to sell this vehicle.

And the Rav4EV was EPA rated in extended range mode at 113 miles which would be a better comparison to the 84 mile Nissan leaf which is also with 100% battery charge.

Compliance car shouldn’t be on that list (it’s a US list not California list) and the RAV4 isn’t offered anymore if I’m not mistaken.

The Rav4 and Fit are not available any more. On Honda’s website they offer the option to lease a pre-owned Fit. I am surprised because I expected them to take them back and crush them.

This really shows, literally quite graphically, just how far Tesla is ahead in leading the EV revolution.


In range and performance, sure, but not in $/mile. See Jay’s plot below. The Spark EV is the clear winner, and the Leaf, eGolf, Smart EV, i-MiEV, and Soul EV edge out the best Model S as well.

$/year Tesla is leading in 2015
$/mile is a wierd metric?
cars/year nissan is leading world wide, tesla in the US.
CHevy and bmw also have some leadership here. Chevy volt gen II (coming soon) and i3-rex for best ever. bmw for best sports car plug-in i8.

4 leaders in different catagories, but if its plug-ins in general you have to give it to tesla.

I agree about the three leaders in three areas, not sure about the fourth. 😉
But graphing who gets the best bang for their buck is worth a lot. I would much rather have a Tesla, if I didn’t have to pay $70,000 for it. Out of the cars that cost less than $40,000 the graph really gives you a good idea of which car is giving the best value.

I agree that $/mile is a weird metric. However, it is exactly the one that is highlighted in the graph above. The graph which Pushmi-Pullyu claims shows that Tesla is the clear winner. And yet the graph shows that they aren’t. That’s all I’m saying.

I do agree that Tesla is leading the industry, hands-down. But Nissan, GM, and BMW are all trying to forge their own ways rather than just tag along, or comply with regulations.

I think you can read the graph as a way to see possible cars. Most of us have a minimum distance and maximum price in mind. I think it works better with the axises switched, but look at cars above the minimum distance and left of the maximum price 😉

I’ve not heard of a consumer market yet where price doesn’t matter.

Their pricing seems to be ahead of the competition too.

Not all use cases require 250+ miles of range. Maybe we could add the $/mile price of each vehicle as well.

This graph (below) and other data is also on our “Compare EVs” page

Thanks. The 30 kwh Leaf’s price will make this interesting.

Yup. The Spark EV is actually the $/mile champion. Too bad it’s only available in 3 states. It’s also one of the smaller BEVs on the market, so not suitable for a family errands car (try loading it with a family of 4 and then hit your favorite wholesale store – My Leaf handles the monthly BJ’s run with ease), but it does make a great commuter.

“…My Leaf handles the monthly BJ’s run with ease”

Wow, good catch.

I’m missing something here. I’m not sure if you are misreading my statement in which I contrast the Leaf and Spark EV or if you are making some kind of dirty joke? Or something entirely different. Help me out!

You shoul’nt use this abreviation that is mostly famous for sexual act.

It’s name is “BJ’s Wholesale Club”. How else are you supposed to refer to it?

‘Its’, sorry.

Seriously? I don’t know a single person who refers to it as “Berkley and Jensen’s”. I mean honestly, how many people even know what that is? I prefaced it with ” your favorite wholesale club”, not sure what more I should have said.

Oh well, I guess getting picked on for that is pretty minor in the band scheme of things…

…just having some fun Brian, no worries.

sidenote: All of us on the eastern side of the US know what BJ’s is, but it is very regional when you are looking at things globally.

Yeah, I know. I need to stop posting responses in the evening; I tend to be tired and “terse” as Mr. Cote puts it

Bahahaha! I love that you pulled that statement out and repeated it Jay. I would’ve skimmed over it without a second thought, now I’m dying over here.

I think GM intentionally got a lower EPA range of 82 miles for Spark EV. After 1.8 years and 20K miles, my Spark EV shows 80 miles of range left after driving 19 miles at 60-65 mph. So, how did it get only 82 miles of EPA range? I think, GM didn’t want to sell too many of these cars. May be they lose money selling these, and only want to sell as few as they need for ZEV credits.

Personally, my WAG is that GM is losing money on the Spark EV. However, the benefit of selling them at a loss is two-fold. 1) It helps them meet regulations. 2) It gives them real-world experience selling and maintaining a BEV, ahead of the Bolt’s launch. I do believe that GM is on board with electrification. I DON’T believe for a minute that they saw the Spark EV as the end-game. The Bolt is the true goal here.

By contrast, Nissan (who is equally committed) seems to think that an 80-mile commuter EV should be all people want or need. They seem almost surprised that people would want any more than that. So I see the 150-mile Leaf as a response to market pressure/demand.

The Spark EV is not being sold at a loss. We have on good authority (e.g. from Inside EV’s Jay Cole) that they’re making incremental profit on each one sold.

I’m very curious what the price will be on the Leaf 30 kwh. The SV starts at 32 but you have to add the QC port for another 1600$. That puts it at 33,600 without the bigger battery. So my bet is it will be at least 35K$ for the 30 kwh. That’s too much IMO. Especially with the Bolt for another 2500$……of course you can’t get the Bolt yet.

Nissan Needs to change their option lay out. Eliminate the Nav as standard on the SV and instead include the QC port as standard for 32K$ and throw the battery in for another 1600$…..or something so we can get the battery without the frills for around 32K$

My guess is that the Tesla Model 3 should slot in at $65K. So “gap” filled.

That’s too close to Model S pricing. I’m thinking more like $55k for the Model 3.

Telsa will only hit “$35k not counting federal rebates” with their funny math of “you’ll save $5000 in gas a year and $200/hr of your time not at a gas pump!” and other shenanigans.

You’re likely right on the base price. I’m using transaction prices. The Model S is at $100K so plenty of room above $50K. The base Tesla does not come well equipped for its class.

That graph is another way to put how car makers want electric drive perceived, vs. how quiet, simple, powerful and effective it can be.

It shows times haven’t changed.


Boy, if Tesla/Musk has been telling everybody, for years, that the Model 3 will come in at a base of $35K BEFORE incentives, and then were to come in at $65K this violates the whole “mass market” impact that this model is supposed to produce. Most Telsa “believers” accept that the Model 3 WILL come in at a BASE/stripped window sticker of $35k, BUT optioned will bump frequently towards $50K. Just like a BMW “3 series” does when the buyer actually wants “the neat stuff.” For myself, I am looking to see/hoping to see a full on performance AWD, dual motor Model 3 pretty much loaded. IF that were to be come available, then I would be pleased to “dump” my P85D which will have the ludicrous upgrade soon, and migrate to the smaller sedan with a higher performance envelope. Or failing that product feature mix, I will wait for the “second generation” sports car with an even smaller physical size and the already Musk described “plaid” performance level. Price…be damned.

Well you don’t have to be a “believer” to see that it is ridiculous to believe that Tesla will only be able to shave off $5000 ($65k vs $70k for an S70 today) from having a smaller car/pack/motor, less content/more volume.

As for the point about base model vs options, all of these are looking at base prices, not ASP. Why the double standard, when it comes to Tesla?

George, I’m using transaction prices. For the Model S the transaction price when I last looked was above $100K. Transaction prices are real. MSRP for base models are marketing gimmicks. Shouldn’t be a big deal. I doubt Tesla can make any car for $35K. Just not sufficient scale.

As for not delivering on time and on budget, that hasn’t hurt Tesla so far. It’s never delivered as promised. If you remember the Model S was supposed to be $45K. We’ll see the same thing with the next vehicle. Who knows. if the Model S sets a pattern, we might see a nominal $35K car that Tesla never sells because there “is no demand” for it. But the car will sell for $65K.

All that is irrelevant for the chart. All that looks at is the base model. It does not care about average selling price. No one knows that for the cars listed, but base price is easy to find. And in general, when we talk about each car, we discuss base price, so I’m not sure why you use a double standard when it comes to Tesla.

Late post, I know.

George, by the time Model 3 comes out, not only will some options probably not allow it to equate to P85D, but supercharging may become a pay service.

By the end of 2017, there’ll be a few more 200 mile-ish cars, including from Hyundai and Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and more.

At what point did Ford or Honda promise a 200 mile BEV?

I think you’re assuming quite a lot here. Honda just did an about-face on BEVs only like a month ago!

Hey Anton, Not sure about by the end of 2017 for all those names, as we have a pretty good window (~95%) on the production schedule for the new MY 2017/2017.5 cars on the docket for release net fall (due to the lead times necessary). That would leave only a few months in the back end of 2017 to see anything unseen now to materialize…and historical precedent in the BEV segment doesn’t support seeing early surprises actually hitting the market, or even timely deadline execution. But totally get what you are saying. With LG Chem and Samsung finally ramping out the 2nd gen/3rd party supplier batteries in volume later in 2016, the ability to quickly produce a longer range BEV will be proliferated amongst any OEM who basically decides they want to offer them. Naturally, scale of production and each OEM’s decision on how much of their current petrol lineup they are willing to displace/bastardize to electricity will ultimately determine each individual BEVs sales success. I think once the plug-in segment matures a bit, the BEV will be about as close to a commodity in the auto segment as you can get…and that has to be a really scary proposition… Read more »

Stimpy: Good point, as neither of those manufacturers has announced any plans for a 200 mile BEV to my knowledge. However, at least in the case of Ford, I would certainly assume that they will be doing so before too long(and I seem to recall some scant reference to Ford having such plans for the future). And, they may not be as far behind the 8-ball as we’d think in terms of EV development. They do have the FFE, as well as 2 PHEV’s. They must have gained plenty of knowledge from them and has to be an asset down the line. Ford will have a harder go of it than Tesla/GM and Nissan, though, because those 3 will be able to show a legitimate product history through the years. Having what is essentially a compliance car as your flagship EV is not a great inducement to customers-at least not those who follow the EV scene.

They really need to fill in that vast gulf between the ~80 mile range EVs and the Model S cars.

This is all subject to change. There is a lot of research being done with batteries. Whoever comes up with a longer range battery and not as costly as lithium will definitely make a change. Hopefully any EV out there should be able to be upgraded to any new type of battery. I try to tell hybrid owners go EV hybrids will not be able to be upgraded except the Volt. Hybrids have too small of electric motors while the Volt’s electric motor can travel at highway speeds

Too bad Renault doesn’t sell their Zoe in the US yet. Nice range of 150mi and fair pricing at sub-$15k after incentives there probably.

Own both Fiat and Chevy — wish had a Tesla; but the economics needs to focus on something more than pure price —LEASES.

We pay <$100 for each of our cars with 12,000/yr–and could get 4+ cars to equal a single Tesla. The pricing with the $7500 credit is exponentially enhanced with the lease and these compliance cars simply blow the economics comparison out of the water.

We're literally being paid to drive our Chevy.