Honda has just reduced their lease price 33% for the new 2014 Honda Fit EV down to $259 per month. There is no large up-front payment; the money down at signing is $259. According to Honda, this makes the Fit EV the second least expensive EV in the US market to lease, edging out the Ford Focus, Chevy Spark EV, and the first widespread EV in the US, the Nissan Leaf.
If your family pays less for cable package and cell phones than this each month count yourself as lucky. Many families pay more (as does this author’s). How Honda and these other automakers can offer EVs for under $300 per month is complicated. One can argue the actual costs to build and produce these vehicles, the federal and state subsidies that make it possible, and the usefulness of a small EV as one’s only vehicle, but what cannot be debated anymore is that anyone who wants a small city car now has 5 viable choices that never use any gasoline. Commenting on this Steve Center, vice president of Environmental Business Development at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. said, "The Fit EV already is a benchmark electric vehicle with a leading-range rating, fun-to-drive dynamics and excellent packaging. Now it's the only EV on the market with no down payment, unlimited mileage, collision coverage and a free home charging station, giving customers an unprecedented value that only Honda can provide and a compelling reason to get off the barrel and onto the grid."
Honda provided a matrix for us to consider showing the costs of the leases for what most consider the EV options in the US marketplace. We would include Tesla, but those are near-supercars, and our very exacting analysis of their lease/buy program revealed that even the most basic Tesla without navigation, and with the least range, costs $842 not including electricity, insurance, or other soft costs. Here is the breakdown of the US EV lease market:
Vehicle, Money Down, Monthly Lease, Equalized Monthly Cost $
Honda Fit EV, 259, 259, 259
Fiat 500, 199, 999, 255
Chevy Spark EV, 199, 999, 288
Nissan Leaf, 199, 1999, 327
Ford Focus EV, 284, 929, 363
All of these leases are 36 months. All have either 10K or 12K mileage limits for this price, except the Honda which has no mileage limits according to Honda. The Honda also includes collision coverage, so check your numbers before you buy, there may be some differences depending upon your state’s unique insurance laws and costs. The bottom line is that we can clearly see the cost per month to drive an EV is just under $300. If you want a little more car that has unlimited range due to its on-board range extender (gas engine that charges the battery) it would also make sense to check out the Chevy Volt.
When it was introduced the Honda Fit had the best efficiency of any car in the US – ever. Its rating of 118 MPGe has recently been one-upped by the Chevy Spark EV with a 119 MPGe rating. Currently, the Fit EV is being leased to customers in limited markets, those being the deep-blue, bi-coastal states. One reason for this is that these cars are not profitable to their manufacturers. These amazing prices are being subsidized by all of us in the form of government mandated Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Credits. Tesla sold $68 million worth of these in Q1 to other automakers. Obviously that won’t last forever as the automakers will create and “sell” their own ZEV-credit-worthy cars like those you see above.
Our prediction is that these prices will continue to drop over the coming few years. With so many choices now in the market all hovering around the same price point, incentives and content in the vehicles are also likely to rise.