Chevrolet didn’t discount its Bolt EV after its parent company General Motors lost the full $7,500 Federal EV tax credit (now down to $3,750). That means that manufacturer suggested retails pricing for the 238-mile Bolt EV still start at $36,620 — plus a $875 destination fee.
- The Chevrolet Bolt is one of the most affordable electric cars you can buy today at $36,620.
- A dealership in San Jose, California has a lease deal promising a Bolt for $106 per month.
- The catch, if you want to call it that, it requires the lessee to put a significant amount down at signing.
- Lease deals like this are great for moving cars now, not so great for resale value and future residuals.
Despite this, however, if you do some hunting around, you can still find some pretty killer deals on the first long-range mass-market EV. Take the deal on now from Chevrolet of Stevens Creek in San Jose, California.
For $106 a month, you can have a Bolt EV in LT trim for for 36 months. You are only allotted 10,000 miles per year. And $5,995 is due at signing. If you factor in that upfront lump sum and the monthly lease fee, you’re paying around $273 per month for a Bolt EV. No matter how you slice it, that’s a pretty great deal.
Chevrolet of Stevens Creek has over 100 Bolt EVs in stock. So, it is incentivized to get some off the lot.
But how can it afford to let them go for so little? GM gives dealers incentives for each Bolt EV they sell in a state like California, which requires Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) account for a certain percentage of each automaker’s total sales each year.
Although this is a great deal for any would-be lessees, it’s a bad deal for current and future Bolt EV owners and also the EV market as a whole. However, it’s a trend we’re likely to see in the years to come, as more EVs hit the market.
First, it’s bad for owners because cheap lease deals like this push down residual values on all Bolt EVs. That means, if you own a Bolt EV, it’s now worth less in five years than it would have been before such an incentive deal.
This not only hurts customers, it also pushes down the price of future EVs. Because if I can get a gently used Bolt EV in a few years for virtually nothing, why would I buy a new one? The cycle goes on and on this way.
It’s been forecasted that with such a relatively small buyer base for EVs and a growing number of them (as many as 207 new EV models) hitting the market over the next six years, this high incentive game will only increase.
Yes, that’s great for the environment, as more electric vehicles on the roads means fewer tailpipe emissions. At the same time, this EV incentive battle could spell the ruination of some smaller — or not as financially robust — automakers (or at least their profits). That’s because automakers are already selling EVs at a loss today. Wait until sticker prices are slashed while competition balloons.
That said, I hope I am being overly pessimistic and that costs involved in producing EVs go down while interest for the technology rises. However, given the fact that Panasonic, a major EV battery supplier, reported a 37% decrease in profits while simultaneously reporting a 4% sales uptick doesn’t bode well for the EV market.
So, I suppose the takeaway is, if you want to protect the future of EVs, don’t engage in extreme deals like the one from Chevrolet of Stevens Creek.