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Electric car: lease or buy?

If you’re considering driving an electric car, you may be wondering whether you should lease or buy the vehicle. Buying a car may make sense for drivers who will take their vehicle on extended trips every year, while leasing a car saves you the risk of permanently losing battery capacity.

Should you lease or buy?

It’s a question that all new-car shoppers face–but for electric cars, there are some special considerations.

Each financing option has its pros and cons, so we’ve outlined the reasons you might opt for each alternative.

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LEASING

The Federal income-tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500 is wrapped into the monthly payment, so you avoid paperwork and up to 15 months of waiting to realize the cash
You’re protected against permanent loss of battery capacity; at the end of the lease, you just turn the car in–and any pack loss isn’t your problem
You’re protected against potentially low resale value for used electric cars (the math is complicated due to the various financial incentives)
Leasing deals for still-pricey plug-in cars give you a lower monthly payment (in part because you’re not building equity)
In California, you still get the state’s $1,500 to $2,500 purchase rebate in the mail even if you lease

PURCHASE

You own the car, and you have an asset once you’re finished paying for it
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