Drive a Free (Almost) Device!

  • July 9, 2024

It’s become so hard to sell EVs like the Nissan Leaf that some enterprising dealers have figured out how to give them away, almost. One dealer in Colorado, for instance, is offering the opportunity to drive a new Leaf for $19 per month. It’s a lease payment that takes advantage of Colorado’s $8,100 EV tax credit, plus a $1,000 store credit Nissan kicks back to the dealer, who kicks it back to the customer.

Of course, there are some catches – including the $695 “acquisition fee” and another $699 for “dealer handling” – that end up raising the cost of the lease to about $100 per month. And you’re limited to 20,000 miles over the course of the two-year lease.

But at least the device is off the lot – and that’s why dealers are almost giving-away these devices, which they otherwise have as much trouble selling as yet-another “booster” to “stop the spread” of the sickness every “vaccinated” person seems to keep on getting.

Note that those are also offered for “free,” too.

It’s because – in both cases – there are costs.

In the case of the device, it’s the opportunity cost of lost time. Of the time spent worrying about whether the device will run out of charge and how much time will have to be spent waiting for it to charge. Everyone – except perhaps for the casket model auditioning for his Weekend at Bernie’s re-selection as “president” (of what, per Snake Plissken in the original Escape from New York) understands these costs and seeks to avoid them by not buying the devices that impose them.

One wonders, though, whether the lease issuers understand the costs they are buying into. Specifically, the cost of what a two-year-old device will be worth after it has been discharged and recharged for two years. Vehicles lose about 20 percent of their original value (when new) after about two years but devices lose as much as twice that because potential used-device buyers are now aware of the cost of replacing the device’s battery, which costs more than replacing both the engine and the transmission in a vehicle that likely won’t need to have either replaced for at least 12-15 years even if the vehicle is driven every day. Even if its driver empties the tank pretty much every day – and refills it to full in less than five minutes at any gas station.

But if a device is subjected to heavy everyday use; if its battery is regularly discharged to near-“empty” and then “filled up” quickly (so to speak) at a “fast” charger, then it is expected that it will be necessary to buy a new battery much sooner because the one the device came with will be losing its capacity to accept and hold a full charge long before 12-15 years have passed.

That’s why a device like the Leaf that lists for $28,140 to start when new is likely to be worth $18k or less after just 24 months

Who’s going to pay for that?

Probably all of us, once the government gets involved – which it inevitably will once these costs become impossible to hide. For now, they can only be hidden. Nissan builds the devices because the government’s regs require every vehicle manufacture to manufacture devices; the dealers are then required to accept a certain “allotment” of devices they can’t sell – but which they are obliged to buy from the manufacturer (e.g., Nissan) via short-term loans predicated on the assumption that the dealer will be able to sell the devices. Each month the dealer hasn’t sold the devices costs the dealer, so the devices are leased at give-away prices, just to get them off the lot (and off the books).

The lease company then hides the cost for the next couple of years. All seems to be “working” because – see! – the devices are “selling.” They aren’t just sitting – either on the dealer’s lots or in the manufacturers’ parking depots, waiting to be shipped to dealers who can’t sell them and for that sound reason don’t want them.

But what happens when all these leases come home to roost? More finely, who will be left holding the bag for all of these costs? The lease companies are not going to just eat them. They will pass them along to people who lease vehicles that aren’t devices, just the same as the insurance mafia has been passing along the much-higher cost of repairing (and replacing) the cost of devices to those who haven’t bought one.

If that cost proves to be too much – for the people who want to lease a vehicle rather than device – then you can expect the government to step in and eat the costs that have been passed along to the leasing companies, which we’ll be paying for, of course – since the government can only “help” by forcing us to pay.

The good news is that – for now – you can drive a new device for just $19 per month. And it’s worth every cent of that.

. . .

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