Your Cost to Buy an Electric Car? The Wall Street Journal Calls it $0.00

Nissan Leaf FREE

New tax incentives are combining with lower retail prices to make the cost of choosing an EV as your next new car almost zero. That claim comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, which cites a new round of discount leases on mainstream-brand plug-in cars like the hot-selling Nissan Leaf and Fiat 500e that can be combined with federal, state and local incentives to buy an electric car “could make a battery-electric car an extraordinarily economical way to get around for drivers.”

The esteemed WSJ isn’t saying electric cars are free, of course. What they’re doing, instead, is refuting one of the favorite talking points of “EV haters” (aka “knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodytes”). That being “electric cars cost more than their gas-powered counterparts, and you’ll never drive it long enough to get your money back.” It’s a stupid, ridiculous, and laughable “argument” I know, but most people are bad at math and “feel like” that makes sense “to them”. So, rather than explain the situation for the umpteenth time, I’ll let the Wall Street Journal present their own anecdotal example, in their words.

Bronson Beisel, 46, says he was looking last fall for an alternative to driving his gas-guzzling Ford Expedition sport utility around suburban Atlanta, when he saw a discounted lease offer for an all-electric Nissan Leaf. With $1,000 down, Mr. Beisel says he got a two-year lease for total out-of-pocket payments of $7,009, a deal that reflects a $7,500 federal tax credit.

As a resident of Georgia, Mr. Beisel is also eligible for a $5,000 subsidy from the state government. Now, he says, his out-of-pocket costs for 24 months in the Leaf are just over $2,000. Factor in the $200 a month he reckons he isn’t paying for gasoline to fill up his hulking SUV, and Mr. Beisel says “suddenly the car puts $2,000 in my pocket.”

Yes, he pays for electricity to charge the Leaf’s 24-kilowatt-hour battery—but not much. “In March, I spent $14.94 to charge the car” and a bit less than that in April, he says. He also got an electric car-charging station installed at his house for no upfront cost.

“It’s like a two-year test drive, free,” he says.

So, what will it take you to buy an electric car, if not “a two-year free trial period”? Math like this, combined with the realization that EVs seem to be much more durable and long-lasting than previously thought, simply adds to what we’ve been about electric cars over the years, and will give mainstream car-buyers a chance to see for themselves that they’ll be just fine with electric cars, about 99% of the time, without taking a big up-front price hit compared to a similarly sized “conventional” car. You can head on over to the Wall Street Journal’s original article, or check out their cost-breakdown infographic, below.


Cost of Nissan Leaf Infographic

Source | Infographic: Wall Street Journal.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.