One question people are continually asking - at least as we sit here at the end of 2011 – What is the cheapest electric car going to be for 2012?
Well, you would think that would be a very easy question to answer. However, the answer is not simple at all. Various features added to base price will always complicate the situation. And, who knows where EV dealers such as GM, Nissan and Mitsubishi will actually price their electric cars? We can’t know all the variables, but are gonna take a shot answering the question anyway. So here goes….
So what’s the least expensive plug-in car for 2012? Well, let’s just list random data that we have gleaned from some company’s websites:
2012 Plug-In Toyota Prius: $32,000
2012 iMiev Mitsubishi Plug-In: $29,125
2012 Ford Focus All-Electric: $39,200
2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid: $28,700
2012 Chevy Volt: $39,995
2012 Honda Civic Hybrid: $24,050
2012 Nissan Leaf: $35,200
Remember, not all hybrids are eligible for tax credits, anymore. Only the “plug-in” hybrids are now eligible. And the maximum $7,500 tax credit is only available to EV’s that meet certain criteria, namely being charged by a 16 kw battery. For lesser batter charges, the tax credit is reduced by $417 per kw, all the way down to a minimum of $2,500. The Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf above are each available for the full $7,500 credit. So, for example, you could reduce the above price on these two by $7,500, if you were fully eligible to receive the non-refundable tax credit.
Interestingly, the iMiev is also a 16-kw model. It is fully electric, thus qualifying it to the maximum in terms of the $7,500 tax credit. So in our opinion (again please check on your car, at your dealer for exact pricing) the Mitsubishi i-Miev qualifies as the cheapest plug-in electric car for 2012, at between 21k and 22k after maximum Electric Car Tax Credits.
Be sure to check on your model, and get full information from the dealer before you purchase. Also, it would behoove you to lay down a couple-hundred bucks to your CPA to do an analysis on your Electric Vehicle before you purchase. You may not pay taxes, and therefore, be ineligible for a tax credit anyway. These are things that would be important for you before purchasing.