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Electric Car Price War? Sorta, But California Has Most Options

If you live in California right now, it’s a great time to buy a plug-in electric car.

Elsewhere in the country, your choices will be more limited.

Three small battery-electric cars arecompeting on lease pricing in the Golden State, with the default monthly price seemingly $199 or close to it.

Compliance car prices coming down

Last week, the lease price of a 2013 Honda Fit EV was cut to $259 a month(from $389 a month) and, as a bonus, Honda removed the mileage cap, which had been 12,000 miles per year.

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, which will arrive at selected Chevy dealers in California and Oregon this month, is also priced at $199 per month.

And, similarly, the 2013 Fiat 500e will carry a $199 monthly lease rate as well.

Part of the reason for the price cuts is that carmakers are not moving enough of these three cars to meet their legal requirements under California’s zero-emission vehicle laws.

The fines are substantial, and would cost them far more than boosting the incentives on these so-called compliance cars.

However, all three are compliance cars whose sales are largely restricted to California–and, in a quirk of the law, the dozen or so other states that have adopted California’s tougher emissions laws, including Oregon and a handful of Northeastern states.

That explains why Honda has expanded Fit EV sales into several other states,including a few on the East Coast.



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