Is the new Honda Clarity electric the best electric car deal of 2018? It’s not the kind of question I usually ask on Gas 2, but it recently came up while I was reading a review of the car- and I think the answer might be: yes!
My research began with a recent article on our sister site, Cleantechnica, criticized the new Honda Clarity electric sedan for its lack of range. At “just” 89 miles, the car’s range is nothing to write home about. Still, it’s worth noting that 89 miles is more than enough to meet the needs of most urban commuters, and I was quick to point that out, snarkily writing:
When someone on this site mentions range-anxiety about a Tesla: “Most people drive less than 40 miles per day, so it doesn’t matter.”
When someone on this site mentions a car with less range than a Tesla: “It lacks range.”
To Kyle’s credit, he chimed right in, and didn’t give an inch. “It’s a tough balance. For 90% of driving, 89 miles of range is fine,” he wrote. “It’s that last 10% that can make the entire proposition tough to swallow. My wife does great with her 87 mile range Mercedes B-class. It’s an amazing car. With our infrequent commutes to the in-laws house, conferences, vacations, etc, we need more range for it to be functional. With so many 150 mile range EVs out now, the bar has been raised.”
I came back with, “I dunno- to me, it feels like you’re looking at a “least expensive” option ($199/mo. with $1499 down for Clarity EV) and lamenting that it doesn’t offer what the “most expensive” option offers (even the LEAF and Model 3 are significantly more expensive to own, and the iMiEV is discontinued).”
While I was aware that the Clarity was a great deal at that price, I honestly didn’t realize just how good a deal it was until later, when I began preparing my response to Kyle’s response (which- again, to his credit- never came). It turns out, that $199/mo. lease will cost you $7164. Add in the $1499, and you get a cost to drive of $8,663 over three years.
Meanwhile, over at Nissan, the all-new LEAF and its Tesla-taunting 225 mile electric range does cost “significantly more” to lease than the Clarity. How much more?
Yikes! $249 times 36 months is already $8964, and you then have to add in the $3730 down payment (the additional $249 is the first lease payment, a typical requirement in most leases), plus that $1000 “loyalty cash” if you don’t already own a Nissan. All of which adds up to … $13,694.
That makes the 2018 Nissan LEAF $5,031 more expensive to lease than the Honda Clarity over three years. At the very least! ***
Over at Tesla, meanwhile, you can’t even lease a Model 3. In fact, using Tesla’s own Affordability Calculator this morning, I can’t buy OR lease any of that company’s offerings for $500/mo. and $7,000 down– numbers chosen because they’re approximately double the cost of the Nissan LEAF deal.
So much for that “mainstream” Tesla bullshit, eh?
But, hey- that’s just my math. How does your math look? Let me know what you think of the Honda Clarity deal and how it compares to the LEAF and Model 3 in your eyes in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Flame suits on!
*** Obviously, the numbers above don’t include taxes (which, in Chicago, are brutal), fees, etc., but those will be based on the lease payment (as opposed to vehicle selling price in a conventional purchase) and only serve to needlessly turn the screws on Nissan and Tesla, so I’m skipping them.
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