Electric Car Prices

There aren't many electric cars actually available for purchase right now nationally - at least, not in the main stream categories. So electric car prices vary widely in this small field of contenders.

Right now, the Chevrolet Volt, the Tesla Roadster and the Nissan Leaf are about the only mainstream, highway-ready electric cars available for purchase nationally.

Sticker prices are relatively high on these vehicles. They start with the Roadster, which currently sells for $109,000 followed by the Volt with a $40,280 price tag and then the Leaf at $32,780. Of the three, the Volt is not really an electric, but a plug-in hybrid, so focus moves to the Leaf and Roadster.

So How Much Do They REALLY Cost?

The answer to that question depends on how willing you are to delve into economics. On the surface, the Leaf is $32,780 minus federal tax incentives of $7,500 and your state may also have incentives on top of that.

Those tax breaks are just the tip of the iceberg, however. These are already chided amongst many electric vehicle enthusiasts as "rich man's incentives," since in order to qualify and claim them, you have to owe at least as much as they total (plus the alternative minimum tax which most self-employed people must also pay).

The government, both nationally and locally, spends a lot of taxpayer money on other, hidden incentives for electric vehicles - along with everything else.

Unaware of the obvious contradiction, the federal Department of Energy gives grants and tax breaks to both oil companies and electric car makers. In the past two years, for instance, more than $5 billion was put into electric vehicle programs by the DOE alone.

The Grants, the Low-Interest Loans, the Tax Breaks...

The list of things that governments do to entice electric vehicle makers (using your tax dollars) is staggering. Grants, low interest loans, tax breaks, and more are a common thing in electric vehicles. Many businesses plan their entire business model and research costs based entirely on expected grants and low-interest loans from governments.

Meanwhile, you pay for these things and the electric car you may be considering purchasing has had a huge, hidden price cut thanks to those incentives from your tax dollars. So while $32,780 for a little 5-passenger electric with a 73-mile range might seem steep, the price of that car was subsidized heavily by governments the world over, without whom it may have been double or more.

Electric vehicle proponents, of course, claim: "This is obviously needed in order to make EVs competitive."

Others wonder at what cost this "competitiveness" is being had: "What innovations would have been found had there not been the siren call of government money to entice researchers in another direction?"

Meanwhile, other electric vehicles which have received large subsidies will be entering the market soon - most at prices higher than the Leaf's, such as the Mitsubishi iMiEV and the Think City.

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