There’s one tricky aspect to this period of electric vehicle development. As battery prices inch toward affordability and automakers continue upgrading existing models, it’s rendered several EVs obsolete within a few years’ time.
Take the lesson of the Nissan Leaf, the world’s best-selling electric car to date. For 2016, Nissan bumped the range of its compact EV to 107 miles. Two years later, the 2018 edition featured 151 miles.
Now that details on the 2019 Leaf emerged (over 200 miles and 200 horsepower), it won’t be long before the preceding models start seeming inadequate. As Ford begins ditching its sedan lineup and other automakers start prepping their first legitimate EV, there will be some deals on the current generation.
Here are a few buyers should consider targeting in 2018.
1. Ford Focus Electric
By the time Ford got to a respectable range with Focus Electric (115 miles), other models (especially the Chevrolet Bolt EV) had left it in the dust. These days, Ford dealers are selling 50-odd units nationally, so we can expect this experiment to end soon.
While there aren’t any sensational deals on Focus Electric yet, Ford has begun offering bargain leases (36 months, $205 a month). We’d expect the purchase price to get down to that net MSRP ($17,745) soon.
For a car with DC fast-charging and decent cargo space, consumers who need an economical second car could do a lot worse.
2. Fiat 500e
Sergio Marchionne, Fiat-Chrysler’s CEO, hates the 500e. When you consider the automaker loses about $20,000 every time it sells one, you can understand why.
These days, the little electric city car (84 miles) sells about 225 units a month on the West Coast and seems to be biding its time until Marchionne officially ends the experiment. (A replacement 500e is coming for 2020.)
In the meantime, we haven’t seen any official promotions on remaining 500e stock, but Fiat dealers have been known to slash prices in the past. If you live in California or Oregon and need an economical car for everything but long-distance travel, inquire about pricing.
3. Kia Soul EV
Rounding out replacements for the previous electric generation will be the next Kia Soul EV. The Korean automaker confirmed a long-range Soul EV (186 miles) should hit the market late in 2018. (It will run on the Niro plug-in hybrid/EV platform.)
In the meantime, dealers will wonder at to do with the last edition of Soul EV, which in recent years got bumped to 111 miles of range on a single charge. At around mid-summer, we still hadn’t seen cracks in the $34,000 starting price, but it seems like such a high figure it has to change soon. (Kia sold just 57 Soul EVs in June 2018.)
The same goes for any and all EV that feature less than 150 miles of range as late 2018. With 200 miles quickly becoming the standard for under $35,000, these models no longer serve a purpose on the market. If you see an angle on one, it’s time to make your offer.