I’ve been planning to purchase an energy-efficient vehicle for years. Originally, I thought about purchasing a Prius, but decided against it. As I explained in “Why I’m saying no to the Prius,” which I wrote back in 2008, there were two main reasons: My Volvo wasn’t very old at the time and I wanted to get 100k out of it before getting a new vehicle, and 2. I wanted better than the 45 MPG the Prius offered and was intrigued by the new all-electric vehicles that would be hitting the market.
Well, the electrics have arrived, have been on the market for a few years, and have proven that they function well. With my Volvo nearing the 100k mark and facing some upcoming repairs (brakes for example), I decided it was time to start looking at my options.
Although I normally purchase a car, Nissan has been having some really great Leaf leasing specials this fall. When I ran the numbers, I realized I could get rid of my Volvo as a trade in, spend nothing out of pockets, and get into a Leaf for a really low monthly lease rate. Our local Leaf dealer in Bellevue, Eastside Nissan, actually has a $99/mo lease deal right now. I’m seriously paying $99 a month to lease a brand-new Leaf. This is far less than the $150 a month I had been spending on gas for my Volvo. Between the lease cost and the electricity I’ll need to power the Leaf, I’ve basically got a free brand-new vehicle when comparing my previous costs. Super sweet!
There is another practical argument for leasing a Leaf instead of purchasing at this time. The technology keeps getting better and better. By the time the lease ends, I expect there will be more EV options on the market with better batteries and range. At that point, I’ll decide if leasing continues to make sense or whether it would be better to purchase. The current leases are such a good deal, though, that leasing is a no brainer at this point.
The Leaf does have its limitations, however. Even though quick charge stations are being built up and down the I-5 corridor, the Leaf isn’t super practical for long road trips. Even a quick charge station requires a 30 minute stop and the Leaf can’t hold a lot of cargo. Because we knew we would get an electric vehicle at some point, when we replaced Derek’s old car earlier this year, we very intentionally purchased a VW Jetta SportWagon TDI. When we need to load the whole family up and hit the road, this is the vehicle we will use.
So, I’m pretty excited and pleased with the new little car. I’m especially happy to have taken another step on our path to fossil fuel usage reduction. Beep beep.