oilerlord wrote:Makes perfect sense...but after 3 years, do you believe the Bolt will be obsolete - and if so, by what measure?
Lease returned EVs still have a lot of value. I'd argue MUCH more value than their 50% (or more) depreciation suggests they do. My formerly $51,000 Mercedes EV became a $23,000 "used" car with only 6000 miles on it. For less than the total cost of a 3-year lease - I own a nearly brand-new car, with no mileage restrictions, and no payments in perpetuity. When I'm ready to dump it for $3-5K, it will already have paid for itself.
It also makes sense to get last year's cell phone at $99 instead of paying $299 for the latest model (or in my case, saving a lot of money by not having a contract at all). There is no right or wrong, only the choice to accept financial burden of staying on the bleeding edge of technology - or not to.
I don't think that the Bolt will be totally obsolete after 3 years but there should be a lot of other EV choices available then, including but not limited to the Tesla M3 and the 60kwh Leaf. I want to be free to choose another vehicle at that time, including the possibility of leasing a newer Bolt, w/o worrying about what the car will be worth then if I buy it and have to sell it or trade it in.
The resale/residual value of all EVs is a big unknown but it's almost certain that the closer you get to the end of the battery warranty period, the lower that value will have to go. The same applies w/any advance in technology. I just don't like the uncertainty involved in that and prefer to avoid that uncertainty when making a financial decision.
When I lease a car, my only concern is how much is the car going to cost me out of pocket month to month and over the life of the lease. The residual value of the car is known and already built into the amortization of lease at the time of signing. It's not an unknown factor yet to be determined at some time in the distant future.
My Bolt cost me $5k upfront less $3k in rebates for a net of $2k upfront plus $305/mo including sales tax. The total cost over the life of the lease is $12980 or $360.55/mo. The only question was whether I could afford this price and was willing/able to pay it. The answer to those questions was yes, so I leased it. There were no unknowns.
Like you, when I buy a car, I no longer buy new and now only buy used because I do not want to suffer the bulk of the depreciation which occurs w/in the 1st 5 years. When I buy a car, I also only buy it if I think that I will own it for 10 years or longer and assume that the car will be worthless (of course, it won't but I just assume it) when I finally decide to sell it. This takes depreciation out of the equation and makes the purchase essentially the same as a lease; just for a much longer term.
The last car I bought was my MB ML350. It was 5 years old and the original sticker price was $57k (plus tax & reg which was at least $6k more). I bought it for $25k (including tax & reg) and financed $22.5k of it. So, it only cost me $2.5k upfront. The payments are $302/mo (including interest) for 7 years and, if I do not payoff the loan in advance, my total cost will be $27,868 or $331.76/mo, which is also less than 50% of the original cost of the car. Like a lease, the total cost of the purchase is known to me, unless I payoff the loan early, in which case the cost will be less.
However unlike the Bolt, none of my ICE vehicles will "self-destruct" in 8-10 years and require the purchase/installation of a new EV battery at a cost of $15k or more. Each of them will continue to run indefinitely if cared for properly. In fact, my MR2 and Ford F250 are already 15 years old and the BMW is 9 years old. The MB is the newest at 5 years old but I expect to keep it as long as both the MR2 and Ford F250. The cost of maintenance of these cars will NEVER approach the cost of an EV battery replacement.
The fact the the value of the Bolt in 8 years cannot not be predicted and the fact that you have a known potential cost of $15k+ to replace the battery beyond 8 years, if you keep it that long, simply make the purchase of a Bolt an absolute no-go for me.
If I were to buy a Bolt and plan to keep it for 10 years or more, I would have to entirely discount the resale value of the car (as I do for my other cars) and add in the anticipated cost of a new EV battery to the purchase price and create an impound account to set aside $125/mo over 10 years for a total of $15k in anticipation of replacing the battery. Assuming I bought my Bolt for the $38k sticker price, this would raise the implied cost of the car to over $53k, which again would have made absolutely no sense to me.
BTW, I never buy new phones anymore either. The 1st iPhone that I bought new was the iPhone 4.; I was a late adopter. The next 2 that I bought -- the iPhone5 and Samsung S5 -- were used and are not tied to a cellular contract. The S5 is my current phone but I still have the iPhones; it wasn't worth selling them. I use the iPhone4 exclusively as an alarm clock and use the iPhone5 as an alternate wireless device to monitor email and texts that I leave in my bathroom.
In the end, I agree that we all have the right make individual choices about how to spend our money. I just don't think that buying an EV (any EV, whether new or used) is the "right" way to use mine.