Friday, January 07, 2011

What's an Electric Car Worth? About $6,000

The Nissan Leaf is one of the first mass production electric cars and I was wondering, after I did all my analysis on the total cost of ownership on SUVs, what it would cost to own a Leaf and how much I should be willing to pay.

The answer, unfortunately, is that the Leaf still costs a bit more than it should to make a pure Total Cost of Ownership case.  Not that I'm unwilling to fork out more for the "Green street cred" but having just bought another small car (a Honda Fit) 18 months ago, it's a bit premature to justify buying a new car or trading one in.

At about $33,000, the Leaf is about double the price of a Honda fit - a car of similar size.  While the Fit gets about 30 miles to the gallon, on average, the Leaf gets an equivalent of about 120 miles per gallon.  (This is based on reading some notes about converting gas to electric, but it's not necessarily going to be terribly accurate, but a useful approximation.)

The Prius is also quite pricey, but in fairness to the Prius, it's a much larger car.  The best value would be a Nissan Leaf priced at about $21,000.  That would put your estimated total cost of ownership as competitive with the Honda Fit over a 10 year period.

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