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Americans Prefer Leasing EVs Because They're Not Stupid

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Early adapters always want the latest thing.

There's a marketing industry term for a certain type of consumer: "early adapters." As the name suggests, these are the first ones in line to buy something new and are not afraid of doing so. Early adapters are also, not surprisingly, typically the first to drive EVs. But according to Bloomberg, an overwhelmingly majority of US electric vehicle drivers are not buying but rather leasing their rides. About 80 percent of all EVs in the US today are leased, while nearly 55 percent of plug-in hybrids are also leased. Why is this?

Because these people know that in just a few years, by the time their leases run out, there'll be new tech to try out and they don't want to be stuck with the so-called old stuff. Because of this trend, there's often a large number of used EVs turning up on dealership lots, meaning there are good deals to be found. Used EVs and plug-in hybrids also usually sell for less than their gasoline counterparts. One downside, however: these secondhand EVs and plug-ins are no longer eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, which is a one-time thing. But look at it like this: a used 2015 Nissan Leaf with just 5,500 miles on its clock can be had for just under $12,000, less than one-third of its original sticker price.

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Heck, the battery is still under factory warranty until 2023. The first wave of leased Chevrolet Bolts will be coming off lease in 2020 and analysts told Bloomberg they'll still be capable of achieving about 200 miles on a single charge. As for those early adapters, well, they'll be turning in those Bolts for whatever comes next. Fortunately for them, GM is planning to have an all-new EV ready to go right around that time.