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Electric cars too expensive? Try renting the battery pack instead of buying it

European electric car buyers have been getting lease options, and so will Americans who go for the new version of the Smart Electric Drive.
Tue, Apr 16 2013 at 11:26 AM
Related Topics:
Alternative Transportation, Battery Technology, Electric Cars, Electric Vehicles

A bevy of new Smart electric cars in Brooklyn last year. Battery rental is an option for American buyers. (Jim Motavalli photo)
One of the big reasons cited in polls for giving the thumbs down to an electric vehicle, besides range anxiety, is worry about having to replace the expensive battery pack. In some high-end cars, it’s a $40,000 item, so no wonder they’re concerned. High initial electric vehicle prices are also a show-stopper for some. But suppose you could rent or lease the battery instead, and grab an affordable electric car in the process?

Battery rental will be an option for American buyers of the third generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (as seen above), which goes on sale in May. Something like 97 percent of the car’s current European customers are opting for the rental option, scoring a lower purchase price and paying the equivalent of $83 a month for the pack. If the pack dies unexpectedly, no worries, it belongs to Smart and they’ll just give you another one. There’s no word yet on what the American battery lease price will be.


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