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All of a Sudden, There Aren’t Enough Electric Cars to Keep Up with Demand |

Electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Honda Fit EV used to languish on dealership lots for months. A pricing war with aggressive incentives and cheap lease deals has changed all that.

Last year, Nissan sold about half the number of Leafs it had anticipated, marking two years in a row of disappointing sales for the electric car pioneer. One of the factors holding the Leaf back from appealing to the masseshas been the upfront price premium drivers have had to pay for the cars, when compared with similar vehicles that run on plain old gas.

But in early 2013, Nissan tried to cut the knees out from this part of the anti-EV argument. The automaker dropped base prices on the Leaf by $6,400 for the new model, making the idea of buying an electric car for under $19,000 a reality, when state and federal incentives are factored in. And once lease deals, tax credits, and gas savings are considered in the equation, word has spread this spring that it’s basically possible to drive an EV for next to nothing.

Nissan’s EV competitors have followed with compelling deals of their own, including $199-per-month lease specials for the Chevy Spark EV and Fiat 500e. Mitsubishi and Toyota have also dropped prices dramatically for EV models. AsCNET pointed out, the Honda Fit EV might be the best offer of all: a three-year lease for $259 per month, with no money down, unlimited miles, a 240-EV home charging station, and auto insurance included. Honda’s previous lease deal was$389 per month, a price point that failed to get consumers excited.

(MORE: Tesla Beat the Odds — And the Haters — But Now Comes the Hard Part)

But within days of Honda dropping the special lease price by $130 in early June, dealerships in California were sold out and customers had to compete to get on the waiting list for more, per the Los Angeles Times:

“It’s incredible, especially since we haven’t had any foot traffic or interest in the car in six months,” said Jeff Fletcher, sales manager at Honda of Santa Monica. “I’m not even sure we’ll have enough cars for the people on the waiting list.”


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