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Hello,

My name is Mike. I live in the Nashville, TN area. I am retired, age 61, current owner of one vehicle, a 2012 Honda Accord with about 44K miles on it.

I am thinking over the pros and cons of buying or leasing an electric car. Time frame: Anytime between now (June 2017) and one year from now (summer 2018). This car, if acquired today, would be the Bolt.

Several factors are affecting the buy/lease decision, too numerous to mention here.

Hope to learn a lot from reading this board!
 

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Hello,

My name is Mike. I live in the Nashville, TN area. I am retired, age 61, current owner of one vehicle, a 2012 Honda Accord with about 44K miles on it.

I am thinking over the pros and cons of buying or leasing an electric car. Time frame: Anytime between now (June 2017) and one year from now (summer 2018). This car, if acquired today, would be the Bolt.

Several factors are affecting the buy/lease decision, too numerous to mention here.

Hope to learn a lot from reading this board!
Welcome! This the place to learn about the Bolt. If you have questions, ask away! Folks here love to answer. :)
 

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welcome the Bolt is a great car and you will be satisfied with the purchase. While the car is good today it's going to be better "tomorrow" as EV's are in the infancy and progress over the next 3-10 years is going to be rapid.

for that reason I strongly recommend a lease option. Leasing allows you to use the car for a "fixed" cost over the term of the lease - typically 3 years. Unlike internal combustion engine cars (ICE's) progress for EV's is going to be rapid over the next several years, and because of that future versions of the car might be much more desirable than previous versions of the car - causing accelerated deprecation (like computers in the 90's , two year old computers in the 90's were basically worthless being eclipsed by the progress in that short time frame). Given the very very likely possibility of a Bolt in 2020/2021 with a bigger battery, improved software, improvements in self driving, and most likely a similar price point I'm anticipating accelerated depreciation due to rapid advance of technology (new cars will have substantially better performance, range and self driving software making the used market depressed - we're taking changes that go beyond styling difference and 20 more horse power), however the leases are being calculated on residual values that are based on the more traditional deprecation models where a 3 year old car is substantially similar to a new car in terms of capability and feature set…

accelerated depreciation is already a fact of life for Tesla owners where the 2017 models are light years more advanced in terms of features and ability that the 2015 cars - this accelerated progress is showing up in depressed used car values for any Tesla more than 12 months old…(example: 2 years ago 90 kWh batteries were to top of the line and there was no self driving ability, now we have 100 kWh battery, 60's, 70, and 85's are no longer an option, and all wheel drive is the normal with RWD being an infrequently chosen option - progress has been rapid, and Tesla promises that pace will continue).

Leasing early 1.0 products like Bolt will allow you to benefit from the best of today's technology (which is very very good) but not be fully exposed to the deprecation potentially caused by foreseeable rapid progress over the next several years. (picture if you could've leased your computer for half the cost and buy a new computer in the 90's 2 years down the road for the same price - the power/capability you would've received would be vastly improved - this is where we are with EV cars right now - the Bolt is the first affordable computer with a price point most people can afford)

I can whole heartedly recommend the Bolt - it's a great car and demonstrates the capabilities and promise of an EV future, but I'm sure Chevy is not done with it yet and I expect to see rapid iteration…such that you won't want to be on the hook for a trade-in valuation or private party sale 3-5 years from now…

also in 3 years the landscape of choices of EV cars will be substantially increased, not to mention at least the Tesla Model 3 will have been in production for at least 1.5 years and that will place pressure on other manufactures to keep pace.

39 month lease - drive it for 3 years with a full warranty - there are substantial discounts if you pay the entire lease up front (just ask the finance people to run the number mine lease was significantly cheaper when I opt'd for a single payment) - drive the car, learn about EV's, and when the lease is up you'll have a range of choices that are probably amazing in terms of progress, and won't have to be on the hook personally for any variations in the used car market due to the rapid progress…if there hasn't been rapid progress - buy the lease out for residual value (you can normally low ball them) or simply buy another bolt and I'm sure Chevy will have some minor improvement…

but I'm betting on big progress - but why wait to benefit because today's car is pretty good.
 

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what the old guard auto makers haven't yet fully realized is EV's are primarily a "Digital" platform - and just like when he electronics industry moved from analog to digital progress was more rapid with digital systems than with analog systems…

ICE's are analog systems, EV's are digital - but the bean counters have quite figured that out yet and the leases and residual value calculations are all based on long establish analog depreciation models…well they will figure out that's not going to work for them (like the industry stopped making computers cost effective to lease due to rapid progress and iteration)…

welcome to the future - I've been driving EV's for 4 years and there is no going back, but we're still have a ways to go until this is stable - the good news is we're far enough long that we can move beyond early adopters and into main stream - but that doesn't mean there isn't going to be rapid progress.
 

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I'll just be a Bolt betrayer and say, an affordable, long-range EV is a very new thing on the market, and early adopters always end up being suckers.

The longer you wait, the cheaper and better product you'll get (including the same Bolt platename - mark my words: today you have to pay extra $$$$ for a DC charger and confidence and convenience packages, but in 2018 these may well be included in the LT configuration + self-parking + GPS etc).

Also, unless you need to EV yourself up right now, or it has to be a Chevrolet for you, I'd wait to see what the Leaf 2.0 is going to be like, come September. From what I know, it's going to be a lot prettier than the current model (which is not a big feat), and will be available with a 200+ mile range option, probably at the price point to compete with both Bolt and Model 3.
 

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I'll just be a Bolt betrayer and say, an affordable, long-range EV is a very new thing on the market, and early adopters always end up being suckers.

The longer you wait, the cheaper and better product you'll get (including the same Bolt platename - mark my words: today you have to pay extra $$$$ for a DC charger and confidence and convenience packages, but in 2018 these may well be included in the LT configuration + self-parking + GPS etc).

Also, unless you need to EV yourself up right now, or it has to be a Chevrolet for you, I'd wait to see what the Leaf 2.0 is going to be like, come September. From what I know, it's going to be a lot prettier than the current model (which is not a big feat), and will be available with a 200+ mile range option, probably at the price point to compete with both Bolt and Model 3.
I agree but like buying American - again I would lease any of these product vs. buy - but feel strongly the EV market is now ready for prime time and all the 200 mile + products are pretty good and very very functional. It pains me to see anyone buying today's leaf with the Bolt being such a superior product in my opinion.

Don't wait, get any of them, but lease them and re-evaluate at the end of the lease. Deals are pretty good right now on leases because Chevy still isn't marketing this product effectively - but all owners and reviewers are amazed at how good the car is and just shake their head about why more aren't being sold. Lease terms on a 2017 Bolt right now should be pretty good and dealers are throwing in the extras (fast DC charging)

definitely get the fast DC charging…
 

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progress I expect to see in the next 3 years from the Bolt

1. 40 or 50 amp charger built in to the car
2. 70 or 75 (72) kWh battery (280-310 miles of range no problem)
3. adaptive cruise control
4. some limited self driving features (equal to Tesla's current auto-pilot feature set which is NOT full self driving)
5. better infotainment carplay/android-auto support
5.5 wireless carplay/android-auto
6. maybe an AWD version?
7. improved fast DC charging - maybe 120,000 watt support (current car can only do 80,000)
8. integrated trip planning with terrain aware battery usage burn down and charging stop recommendations to make planning a long trip easier (Tesla already does this)
9. reworking of the internals to maybe provide a front trunk - there is no reason for all that crap in the front of the car - it can be moved elsewhere and free up storage space
10. a lower trim level (below LT) which is primary the 60 kWh model, with a bigger battery taking a mid point of the current LT model
11. better seats
12. maybe support for chademo or at least an adapter
13. Other car variations based on the Bolt platform - a mini-pick up based on the bolt might be awesome sauce
14. self parking and forward parking distance
15. improved cameras for rear view and forward view
 

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I get why buying an EV may not be the best choice with the rapid development pace we're seeing, but there is always something better, faster, & cheaper just around the corner. This is no different with EVs than it is with regular cars or computers or any other type of consumer electronics. You have to put a stake in the ground at some point.

At the time I got my Bolt, I had to buy it rather than lease it because I was putting 24K miles on my car every year commuting to work. Buying an extra 27K miles for the lease put the monthly payment squarely in the same ballpark as buying it. And if I didn't actually use all the extra miles I bought up front, I lost that money. Besides, I'd rather own something than just rent it for 3 years and have no equity at the end of 3 years. Then again, I tend to keep my cars for at least 7 years and put over 150K miles on them during that time. One car we had for 12 years and 238K miles. Sold it for $4500 and it was still running fine at the time. Another car was 9 years old with 155K miles that we got $4000 for it and I saw it being driven around the neighborhood for another 8 or 9 years after that.

The Bolt may be my first EV, but it won't be the last. I can easily see replacing the Plug-in Prius that my wife is currently driving with that of a new EV in about 4 years. Could be be something from Tesla, could be something from Chevy, or Lexus/Toyota. Who knows.
 
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briloop, the Bolt maybe perfect for you. 5-years and 44k miles, an average of only 9k per year -- so no big commutes or long road trips? In fact an EV is great for little errand trips and short outings that one tends to do more of when retired. And no worries about running a car that never really gets warmed up on short trips.

Bolt is really a small CUV with luxo features and amazing interior space. Ride quality and handling is great with the low centre of gravity and suspension suited to the heft ofit. Its hard to believe you’re riding in a vehicle with such small exterior dimensions and relatively short wheelbase. With the weather getting warmer I’ve notice the seat doesn’t bother me at all. At first I thought the seam on the left side was pinching my stern at times, but no more.

I’ve always made maximum use of gauges and readouts, the Bolt has plenty enough for me for a long time to come.

Regarding the rapid evolution of EV’s. The Tesla model 3 will be a good test case to see how the battle on technology & cost/price is emerging. Who knows ? GM may actually be in a position to de-content the Bolt and keep price the same (except for the seat…).
 

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I agree but like buying American - again I would lease any of these product vs. buy - but feel strongly the EV market is now ready for prime time and all the 200 mile + products are pretty good and very very functional. It pains me to see anyone buying today's leaf with the Bolt being such a superior product in my opinion.…
I agree with what you say, but also let's note that a purist in the "buy American" genre would have to stick to Tesla. The whole underBolt comes from S. Korea, which is where the car was also developed. I guess Koreans should take pride in the Bolt, too. Whereas the US-market Leafs are manufactured in TN, so it is American, too.

And the Bolt is great to drive, but we have no way of knowing what its durability and reliability may be after 100K miles on the road, while the Leaf has a huge advantage of being an established nameplate.
 

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I agree but like buying American - again I would lease any of these product vs. buy - but feel strongly the EV market is now ready for prime time and all the 200 mile + products are pretty good and very very functional. It pains me to see anyone buying today's leaf with the Bolt being such a superior product in my opinion.?
I agree with what you say, but also let's note that a purist in the "buy American" genre would have to stick to Tesla. The whole underBolt comes from S. Korea, which is where the car was also developed. I guess Koreans should take pride in the Bolt, too. Whereas the US-market Leafs are manufactured in TN, so it is American, too.

And the Bolt is great to drive, but we have no way of knowing what its durability and reliability may be after 100K miles on the road, while the Leaf has a huge advantage of being an established nameplate.
Yeah, all those early adopter Leaf owners in hot climates sure took advantage of Nissan's established nameplate.
 

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And the Bolt is great to drive, but we have no way of knowing what its durability and reliability may be after 100K miles on the road, while the Leaf has a huge advantage of being an established nameplate.
By this I assume your primary concern would be the battery, and I'd point out that the Bolt uses extremely similar battery technology to the Volt - not just in the cell construction but also in terms of active thermal management (the lack of which seems to be what caused issues in the Leaf). The Volt has earned a stellar reputation for battery durability in the 6+ years it's been on the market, and that bodes well for the Bolt.
 

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By this I assume your primary concern would be the battery, and I'd point out that the Bolt uses extremely similar battery technology to the Volt - not just in the cell construction but also in terms of active thermal management (the lack of which seems to be what caused issues in the Leaf). The Volt has earned a stellar reputation for battery durability in the 6+ years it's been on the market, and that bodes well for the Bolt.
8 year battery warranty from Chevy should make this a none issue - I have very little concern about the longevity of any of the EV's currently on the market - there is so much less to go wrong with an EV car we all have to change our expectations.
 

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Hello,

My name is Mike. I live in the Nashville, TN area. I am retired, age 61, current owner of one vehicle, a 2012 Honda Accord with about 44K miles on it.

I am thinking over the pros and cons of buying or leasing an electric car. Time frame: Anytime between now (June 2017) and one year from now (summer 2018). This car, if acquired today, would be the Bolt.

Several factors are affecting the buy/lease decision, too numerous to mention here.

Hope to learn a lot from reading this board!
Are you planning on getting grid of the Honda and only having the one vehicle? If so, you will most likely need an alternate gas car for long trips. The fast charging infrastructure for the Bolt is still an unknown in most parts.
 

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I just purchased a Bolt EV Premier and will be selling my 2015 Honda Accord. My DH has 2015 Honda CR-V do longer trips are covered. I drive 20-30 miles per day so an EV was is an easy fit. I really wanted to experience the EV technology and missed a hatchback. The Accord is the first sedan I?ve driven in decades.
 

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Hey Briloop,

I've just switched from a 2015 Leaf to a 2017 Bolt (lease on the Leaf ended). A couple things you should keep in mind. 1) I loved driving the Leaf EV. A good friend (and fellow Leaf owner) told me that once you drive an EV you will never go back to ICE -- I totally agree with this sentiment. Plenty of posts on why that is but trust me you won't regret converting to EV.

2) Hated the lease. Kept the car in the garage and well under the mileage. At the end, Nissan would sell it to me for the contract residual ($17.5K) when I could pick up a similar 2015 SV for about 9K. Hated that I kept the car so well and had to give it back. Someone is going to get a great deal on that car at auction. But I just didn't like the lease and felt like I was driving someone elses car and didn't want to ding it.

3) You will see lots of conversations on this forum about deals on Bolts. Pay attention to the State where the deal is occurring. I live in FL, a non-CARB State. So the only deal I get is that I can claim $7500 in Federal Tax credits. In CA, they get another $5K or more in credits, rebates, and local deals. So CA leases are amazingly good and often under $200/mo. For me, the best I could do was a solid $450/mo on an LT and that was paying more than I wanted down and still having the mileage cap. And the biggest issue is that Federal Credit. On a lease, you don't get to claim it (sales guys are wrong if they claim otherwise). Chevy factors it in to the residual value, which reduces your lease amount. But they were not giving the full $7500. In my case, it was hard to tell how much but I think they were sharing about $3K of the credit in the residual. If you buy the car, you get the full enchilada (assuming you are paying at least $7500 in Federal taxes).

So in the end, the dealer money on the deal made a purchase better for me. The Bolt I bought was a fully loaded LT model that came out to just under $40K, but with the dealer and federal money, I effectively paid 30.

My point here is, you can look at the deals other people get on the car, but for EVs, comparing those costs is problematic when you consider that some States want EVs and others simply don't care.

4) I love the Bolt. I recommend the Bolt. It's a great car and even though it is first model year, it has enough common technology with the Volt that I feel pretty confident that GM had a running start on creating this car. That said, the Bolt is an expensive car and you are paying a premium to drive an EV. I think it is worth it (not in a financial sense) but just in how I feel and the impact my transit has on the World. That being said, another good option if you want to dip your toe into the EV thing is to start searching for gently used Nissan Leafs that are coming off lease. There are thousands of 2014-2015 Leafs (that have a 84 mile rated range) out there going through auctions and appearing on off-lease car dealerships. Prices range from $7K to around $11K depending on trim and options. The Leaf is bulletproof. Nissan dealers can run a test on the battery to tell how much charging the car has had (rapid charging is bad for the battery) and how many battery cycles the car has had (full charges, discharges). A typical 2015 will have about 20K miles and should have most of it's battery life left. The one I turned in still took 100% charge and was flawless. The greatest risk when you buy a used EV is that the battery might not hold up or might start to show decreased capacity (range). Study the warranty carefully (not the greatest, but if you find a good car with a bad battery, you might be able to get Nissan to swap it). Worst case, you need a new battery and it is out of warranty -- Leaf batteries cost about $6K. So worst case, you buy a Leaf S for $8K, and replace the battery in a year or two for another $6K. You are getting a gently used 5 door hatch for a total of about $14K (about what a used Mazda 5 costs) and after the battery replacement you are good for another 4-5 years.

I really did love my Leaf. If they had been willing to sell it for market value, I would have bought it on the spot. The Bolt is better, but not so much that I would discount (ignore) the thousands of Leafs that will remain on the roads here for years.

Make sure you drive a Bolt. You might want to find a used Leaf on a dealer lot and drive it as well. Enjoy the ride!

Hello,

My name is Mike. I live in the Nashville, TN area. I am retired, age 61, current owner of one vehicle, a 2012 Honda Accord with about 44K miles on it.

I am thinking over the pros and cons of buying or leasing an electric car. Time frame: Anytime between now (June 2017) and one year from now (summer 2018). This car, if acquired today, would be the Bolt.

Several factors are affecting the buy/lease decision, too numerous to mention here.

Hope to learn a lot from reading this board!
 

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I dunno what it is but leasing a car just doesn't sit right with me. I'm not sure if it is just all my elders have always rammed into my head that "YOU NEVER LEASE A CAR". I don't know if it is true anymore but i hate the idea of getting a paint chip and then being charged 3k for it when the lease its up. Plus the uncertainty about millage i just don't know if i could stay inside the millage agreement. But on the other hand i have a feeling that if i buy a 2017 bolt the 2018 will end up having 50 more miles of range or more standard tech like TACC or something then i'd be SOL. Thoughts?
 

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:)I like leasing. I'm 67, and I like a new vehicle every three years or less. A vehicle is just one of the cost of life. Easy to get into a lease, and easier to get out. I've never had a issue or incurred additional cost on return. A lease isn't for everyone. I could have used a $7500 tax credit, but I figured depreciation would have been much greater. Simple, I'm liking simple.
 

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Still cheaper to buy if you follow the "old advice" and keep your cars for the bulk of the useful life. Annual cost of ownership goes down significantly as you increase the deductible or cancel collision coverage after payoff. This holds true even buying new, although the value proposition is much better buying used, as always. The big thing is waiting long enough on low volume cars to get enough copies into salvage yards to make repair cheaper. A new car you need to amortize over a longer period of time to make it cheaper than a competitive lease. It's still loads cheaper to buy vs the non-CARB state leases for now, though. I suppose if you paid full MSRP like a Tesla or something it comes out much closer on the numbers even over a longer term.

With the new (old now?) LEAF 30kWh battery having many more reports of concerning early degradation vs. the updated 24kWh 2013-2015 packs, it is the only car I ever really, really wanted to buy used but just leapfrogged it for a new Bolt. These reports kept coming in on the forums and reddit on a near weekly basis and it swayed my decision at the last minute. TCO on a used LEAF would be great if you could guarantee the battery would be trouble free and have enough range for 10 more years of use. Seeing reports of losing the first bar at 14-15k miles on a 2016 LEAF absolutely destroyed my faith in the product.

I also overvalued a brand new EV vs. brand new ICE in my decision due to thinking the previous owners treatment of the EV would have more relative impact on my use down the road 10 years in.
 

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Are you planning on getting grid of the Honda and only having the one vehicle? If so, you will most likely need an alternate gas car for long trips. The fast charging infrastructure for the Bolt is still an unknown in most parts.
Its not an unknown in the northeast. In my Bolt EV I have done 3000 miles of long-distance driving in the northeastern states and had no problems at all. The only issue with the DC fast chargers is that they are not spaced evenly enough between big cities. Accordingly, you have to be sure to keep the car charged if you are about to head into a highway that has few chargers between cities. This means you have to stop more often that you might expect for a car with the Bolt's range. I have found a 450 mile driving day to be easily done, with charging about 3 times during the day. With more evenly spaced chargers, it should be possible to do 450 miles with just two charge stops. When the charging network improves, it should be possible to do 600 miles in a day, but beyond that is not feasible because of the time it takes to charge.
 
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