Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Cars Getting Cheaper to Buy
If you’ve been thinking about buying an electric or plug-in hybrid car but have delayed the purchase because of the high list price of these vehicles, there is some good news for you: automakers have been slashing the prices of hybrids and EVs, making the price of entry a little easier to swallow.
Early this year, Nissan announced a price reduction for the all-electric Leaf, which now starts at $28,800. For 2014, Chevrolet announced a price drop for the 2014 Volt plug-in hybrid to $34,185. Honda also announced a lower lease price for the Fit EV, which now can be leased for $259 a month for three years with $259 due at signing. A Chevrolet Spark EV can be leased for $199 a month for three years with $999 due at signing.
Reuters says that “automakers have slashed prices on their electric cars to help overcome consumer qualms about high costs and fears about driving range.”
Range anxiety isn’t the only reason that automakers are trying harder to lure potential customers behind the wheel of a hybrid or electric vehicle. The Wall Street Journal spoke with R.L. Polk & Co. Analyst Tom Libby, who said that increasing fuel economy in all vehicles, along with gas prices topping out at $3.75 a gallon, signal that “demand for electric cars will continue to remain weak.” WSJ reports that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for less than 1 percent of all light vehicle sales in July.
Regardless of the reasons behind the price cuts, this is good news for consumers looking to buy a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle without breaking the bank. Additionally, many plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles still qualify for up to $7,500 in federal government tax credits, which can help lower the amount consumers pay even more.
Still, one pitfall for consumers to consider is depreciation value. Car and Driver says that the constant improvements in technology, as well as battery capacity that diminishes with use, mean that these cars tend to lose their value fairly quickly. Citing data from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Car and Driver writes “plug-in vehicles depreciated by 31.5 percent in 2012, or more than double the rate of similar gas-electric hybrids and regular cars.”
However, the depreciation rate may slow. Car and Driver spoke with Laurence Dixon, NADA’s Senior Automotive Analyst, who said that “we expect the rate of depreciation to stay very high, but it will start to slow over the next couple of years.”
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