Promoting the lease of electric vehicles


There are several ways in which you can approach the task of solving potential problems. Assuming you decide not to ignore it, the most positive is called the precautionary principle. At its simplest level, this looks at all the things that could go wrong, it ranks them in terms of probability, and then puts precautionary measures in place to deal with the most severe risks. Depending on the budget available, this can produce the most effective safeguards for people potentially at risk.

Of course, the moment you mention spending money on the off-chance something may go wrong over the next few years, manufacturers and service providers will be up in arms. Their profits will be affected if they are forced to spend money now. So all died-in-the-wool capitalists resist the precautionary principle. That’s one of the reasons why the lobby to deny the existence of climate change is so loud. If anyone was seriously to accept the science, it would mean spending money to prevent the situation from worsening.

The result?

If you look at the pattern of sales for electric vehicles in America, plug-in vehicles make up less than 1% of all vehicles sold. This is unfortunate. The precautionary principle would require us to stop using gas-guzzling technology in favor of electric vehicles with zero emissions. As a matter of interest, the effect would be to make electric vehicles very cost effective at volume. The only reason they are relatively more expensive today is the small number sold. It’s all cause and effect. Should electric vehicles be the preferred option, the infrastructure of recharging stations would come into being, the technology would improve, and the cost would fall.

The government approach

Even though the sales and leasing figures have been increasing naturally, the rate of increase is very slow. This is despite the limited performance of the batteries and the length of time taken to recharge. So the federal government and states like California have stepped in to offer tax credits and rebates to encourage people to make the change. Dealer are also getting into the act by offering discounts.

People who buy a plug-in can get a tax credit of up to $7,500 — the amount depends on the battery performance. But some dealers are giving a matching discount of $7,500 for people who lease. Now add in the tax incentives given by the states. Georgia, for example, gives a tax credit of 20% of the sticker price up to a maximum of $5,000. When you look around, the monthly leasing prices for cars like the Fiat 500 EV can be under $200. Such a monthly outlay makes leasing far more attractive than buying.

So depending on where you live, a plug-in can be a financially attractive possibility to explore. But before you make any decisions, look at the practicality of recharging and whether there are dealers in your area who can maintain the vehicle.

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