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PHOTO CAPTION: Nissan is offering $199 a month leases on its LEAF electric car.

Consumer Reports Recommends EV Lease Route

Consumer testing organization thinks it makes sense to lease electric cars, because the battery technology is unproven and represents a financial risk to consumers.

Published: 10-Jun-2013

Over the long haul, leasing is usually not the most cost-effective way to put a car in your driveway. It may not be the best choice for most car shoppers, but there are exceptions. Notably, if you're interested in driving electric, a lease may be the best way to go, as confirmed by our latest analysis.

We think it makes sense to lease electric cars, because the battery technology is unproven and represents a financial risk to consumers. If you were to buy an electric car for the long term, it's unclear how long the battery might last or how much it might cost to replace in several years. On the other hand, what is clear is that automakers, suppliers, and the government are putting tremendous resources into battery development, so the next generation of electric cars are likely to be more capable, even as their batteries cost less. That means today's technology is likely to become obsolete quickly, which could have a negative effect on resale values.

Surveying the latest lease deals
Automakers need to sell all the electric cars they can to meet state and federal requirements. With sticker prices limiting buyer interest and inexpensive fuel several automakers have tried to jump-start transaction by making their electric-car lease deals especially attractive.

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