Mythbuster: ‘Electric cars are too expensive’

The all-electric Chevy Bolt gets amazing mileage AND saves thousands in fuel costs across time.

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I can’t tell you how often friends and co-workers tell me the reason they haven’t considered buying or leasing an electric car is because “electric cars are too expensive.”

Not true! At least not in my case.

My first electric car was a 2014 Nissan LEAF, which I leased, and drove, for three and a half years. I put $2,000 down on it in February of 2014, and this included my first month’s lease payment.

I received a $2,500 State of Colorado Tax Credit for leasing my LEAF, which essentially cancelled out my down payment. My total monthly lease costs were $269 per month.

And, for one and a half of the three and a half years I leased my 2014 LEAF, I had NO fuel costs, as I lived in a house with a 5.5 kW solar system.

So, my effective cost for that “expensive” electric car was $269 per month, or more than $200 LESS per month than the average American new car monthly payment of $479 per month PLUS another $160 per month for gasoline.

That = $639 per month, which is nearly $400 MORE per month than I paid to lease, and fuel, my 2014 Nissan LEAF.

My red 2017 Chevy Bolt parked next to a white Chevy Bolt at the Littleton, Colo. YMCA. It’s not very often that I find myself parked directly next to a Bolt here in the Denver area. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
Now, some might say: The LEAF is not a practical car, especially not in a one-car household, due to its 84 miles of EPA rated range. I would agree with you, although I did get by with it as my only car for more than two years after divorce took away my access to a second household car.

But I am now leasing a 2017 Chevy Bolt, which has 238 miles of EPA rated range and is an eminently practical car as an only car!

I started leasing my Bolt in September of 2017. I put down $2,500, which also included my first month’s lease payment, and I am about to get a $2,500 EV tax refund check from the state of Colorado. The refund cancels out my down payment and I am left with a monthly payment of — drum roll, please — a super “EXPENSIVE” $338 per month, or more than $100 LESS than the average American new car monthly payment.

PLUS, I am paying $0 for fuel, admittedly thanks in part to a backwards HOA garage situation which has all 40 garages at my HOA sitting on a single electric box and single utility meter. Be that as it may, my total monthly electric car lease costs + fuel costs now equal $338 per month. That’s $300 LESS PER MONTH than the average American new car payment + average monthly gasoline costs.

So, the next time you put forward an excuse for not driving an electric car, please do not use the faulty claim that “it’s too expensive”. No, it’s NOT too expensive. In fact, leasing/owning an electric car can often be cheaper — a lot cheaper — than driving a gasoline car!