By Dave Kunz, October 25, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For many potential buyers of electric cars, the upsides of going gas-free were offset by one big downside: price.
Then Fiat made a major move in the spring, rolling out its new 500e with a monthly lease price of $199.
Chrysler's CEO admitted that the company would lose money on the cars. But automakers are under mandate by the state of California to sell a certain number of them.
So then the floodgates on attractive lease rates opened. Nissan lowered the price of the Leaf; you can now get a base model for $199 a month.
The new Chevrolet Spark EV? Yep, it, too, can be leased for what's now become a sort of magic price threshold: $199 per month.
And Ford has chopped the lease price of the Focus EV -- as little as $229 per month -- a big reduction from its initial price when it debuted.
Honda adjusted the lease rate of its Fit EV as well to help move it. When it was launched last year, the monthly payment was $399. Now it's $259, and that price includes insurance and a home charging unit.
But the lowest of all is the new Smart Electric Drive. Yes, it's only a two-seater, but would you believe $139 a month?
There are a lot of aspects to electric cars that make them appealing. Of course, there's the environmental angle, and if you do it right, you can really save money owning one. One thing that doesn't get talked about much but really should is that these cars can actually be fun to drive.
Chevrolet is marketing the Spark EV as a performer, with good reason. Its electric motor makes as much torque as many V8s.
And notice that the Honda has a "sport" button. Switching that on increases the fun but also decreases the range from the battery charge.
It's fun and frugal in the same car. EVs still aren't for everyone, as even the best only have a range of about 80 to 90 miles on a charge.
But now, the more attractive prices will likely get more people to give them a try.