The Chevy Bolt Rolls Out Nationwide with a $329 Monthly Lease
Starting on April 1, GM began offering a national lease on the entry-level LT trim of the Chevy Bolt EV—starting at $329 for 36 months with $3,809 due at signing. The lease includes 15,000 miles per year of driving.
It’s a great sign that the Bolt is beginning to roll out across the country because interested buyers outside of California have had difficulty finding inventory for the 238-mile electric car. Lack of inventory helps explain why Bolt sales have been relatively modest at about 1,000 units per month compared to the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, which has been selling at almost double the Bolt’s rate.
The higher take rate might also be explained by the deal that GM is offering on the Volt (with a V) until May 1: $277 per month for 36 months with $0 due at signing. (This might not be available in all regions.)
Despite the lease announcement, there continue to be reports of lack of Bolt inventory. Even when it is available outside prime markets, buyers in California get a better deal—only needing to put down about $1,600 for a lease of $329 a month. That’s because California offers higher state-based incentives.
The long-range Chevy Bolt is currently the only so-called affordable long-range electric car available today. The Tesla Model 3, which might not be available nationwide for at least another year, is expected on paper to be offered at a similar price and with similar range.
The basic laws of supply and demand suggest that a new model that’s in limited supply will carry a higher cost. That’s why the Bolt, with its big battery and long range, is not necessarily the best EV bargain on the lot. On the other hand, if you’re open to EVs with less range, cars like the Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric and Chevy Spark EV as recently as last year have been offered below $100 a month with little or no money down. When you combine that kind of price with the low cost of electric fuel, you can’t find a cheaper car to own.
In early April, EV buyers could also take advantage of attractive lease deals from Nissan, which has been offering the LEAF S for $229 per month for 36 months with $1,999 due at signing.
Of course, if you have your heart set on a long range electric car like the Bolt, the $329-per-month deal is attractive. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of EV-intenders are waiting for the Tesla Model 3 to arrive. The high demand for the Model 3—along with the first units likely to roll out in higher trim levels and the potential for Tesla consumer tax credits to diminish after it sells 200,000 units (as soon as early 2018)—means that the Model 3 might not only require a wait but a significantly greater expense.
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