Published on May 27th, 2015 | by Christopher DeMorro50
Why Falling Nissan LEAF Values Aren’t Such A Bad Thing
May 27th, 2015 by Christopher DeMorro
One of the big unknowns when it comes to buying a first-generation plug-in vehicle is what will happen to resale values a few years later. We’re starting to get an idea, though, as the first wave of Chevy Volts and Nissan LEAFs come off of lease, and it’s not a pretty picture at first glance.
Carlypso put together a list of the biggest losers when it comes to resale value, and at the top of the list is the Nissan LEAF, with average sales tumbling below $11,000 for a 2012 model. The Chevy Volt isn’t faring any better.
What’s going on here? Unfortunately, the same issues that have led to about 6,000 2015 Chevy Volts sitting unsold on dealer lots is affecting Nissan LEAF resale values: low gas prices, lots of returning leases, and the impending reveal of a much-improved second generation model. There’s also the issue of the $7,500 tax rebate that effectively lowered the value of every LEAF for first-time buyers (and equally lower what a resale value “should be” since new buyers can get that same credit on a new LEAF, but not a used one).
The average sales price of a 2012 LEAF was over $36,000, while today the same vehicle with an average number of miles will only fetch about $10,900. The Chevy Volt, which sold at an average of $42,000 in 2012, is now selling for just under $13,000 according to the Wall Street Journal, holding its value marginally better than the LEAF at least.
As is generally the case with such things, whether or not lower resale values are a good thing depends on your perspective. If you’re a LEAF owner looking to upgrade or trade in, this is just old-fashioned bad news. It’s also bad from the perspective of how future consumers may view an EV purchase, fair or not. Depreciation is a major factor in any new car purchase, and some people weigh it more heavily than others when it comes to new car shopping. If you’re a LEAF leaseholder, though, Nissan could offer up to $5,000 for you to buy out the lease and keep the electric car for yourself, which is a nice chunk of change for anybody who wants to live gas-free.
For those of us wanting to buy a used electric car, this is pretty great news; you can now buy a LEAF for one-third of its MSRP, and probably even less once the next-gen model is announced. The proliferation of electric cars may have started with young and wealthy early adopters, but as EVs start filtering down into the lower echelons of society, budget-conscious consumers will become more aware of the money-saving abilities of electric vehicles.
Those who were once dismissive of the usefulness of electric cars may become converts once they see how much money they can save, and the call for more affordable EVs will grow ever louder.