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Why ‘Compliance Cars’ Turned Out To Be Good For Electric-Car Buyers

Electric-car advocates spend a lot of time grumbling about compliance cars.

But it turns out that even in low volumes, limited mostly to sales in one state, they’ve unexpectedly produced a benefit for all electric-car buyers: lower prices.

Recent price reductions to “move the metal,” as Detroit would say, have made plug-in electric cars surprisingly cheap–and led to shortages of some models.

The latest is a reduction in the lease cost of the low-volume 2013 Smart Electric Drive Coupe, from $199 a month (if the customer accepts the Battery Assurance Plus program) to just $139 per month.

Volt price cut

Then, yesterday, the sticker price of the 2014 Chevrolet Volt fell to $34,995–a whopping $5,000 reduction.

It started when the Honda Fit EV lease cost was lowered from $389 to $259, leading to long waiting lists at Honda dealers.


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