You find yourself in the showroom, ready to drive away in a new Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or Tesla Model S. But there is one big question that needs to be decided, do you buy or lease it? According to a report from Bloomberg, most buyers of EVs tend to lease.
In the U.S., almost 80 percent of electric vehicles on the road are leased according to their report. It also says that 55 percent of plug-in hybrids are leased. More than 80 percent of BMW i3s are leased as an example. The key reason comes down to the belief that electric vehicles will continue to improve and buyers can simply trade them - similar to purchasing a new smartphone.
"When there’s new technology coming out, and it’s coming out so rapidly, and you’re improving on it so constantly, typically people only want to lease it,” said Steve Center, a vice president of American Honda Motor Co., back in April.
This bet seems to be paying off as the range of electric vehicles has been increasing, while prices of batteries have been going downward.
“If you look at what can happen across the lifetime of a lease, you’re really talking about doubling the range of these vehicles,” said Edmunds analyst Jeremy Acevedo.
The imbalance between leasing/buying an electric vehicle has also made used EVs to become a steal. According to auto analytics firm Black Book, compact electric vehicles sold in 2014 only hold 23 percent of their original sale price. A comparable internal combustion vehicle holds about 41 percent. Doing a quick search on Cars.com, we were able to find low mileage 2015 Nissan Leafs ranging $14,000 to $16,000.
The big question is will this trend continue down the road, considering the likes the Model 3 and models coming from German automakers.