Electric vehicles are the future, there’s no doubt about that, but most of them are too expensive to buy, even with federal and state subsidies thrown in. Or at least that’s the public’s perception.
In certain cases, you can pick up an EV for cheap. How cheap, you say? Mike Piccolo, a 45-year-old financial advisor from New Jersey was searching online for a good car deal when he came across a two-year lease on a 2017 BMW i3 for just $54 a month, Bloomberg reports.
Specific details of the leasing deal on the i3 Range-Extender can be found here, with the car in question getting a 14 percent off MSRP ($43,200 against the original $49,995), on top of rebates that total at $13,000.
“The car’s $50,000,” Piccolo said. “How are you getting it for $50? iPhones aren’t even $50 a month!”
The most important thing however is that the eye-popping discount isn’t an one-off deal that happens by accident; it’s a sign of the daunting economics that automakers face during the current, slow shift to electric vehicles.
Even when selling to enthusiastic early EV adopters, manufacturers still have to pile some of the highest incentive offers in the market. Combine this with the additional state and federal tax credits and the result is really big discounts that apparently still haven’t been enough to stimulate demand.
Right now, customers don’t want to buy enough electric vehicles to create the necessary volume needed for the carmakers to make a profit. “There’s an issue of EVs being able to stand on their own in the marketplace without a credit,” said Jeff Schuster, an analyst at LMC Automotive. “To get the mass market into them, it’s got to be more cost competitive, and it’s not at this stage.”
The BMW i3 has struggled to lure enough customers since its US debut back in 2013. Part of the problem was timing, as BMW launched its compact EV with the quirky styling just as gas became cheaper. Add to that the limited range -originally only 80 miles per full charge- and the appeal was not that great from the beginning. Even the latest version, which can go up to 114 miles per charge and is priced from $44,450, still offers less than half the range of the – admittedly more expensive – Tesla Model S (275 miles).
For Piccolo, finding a dealership willing to match the $54 lease deal wasn’t easy. After his bargain-hunting friend called 15 dealerships however, they’ve found BMW of Oyster Bay in New York’s Long Island. The negotiation ended with a monthly lease of $112, which is not bad for a car with a loaded sticker price of $51,695.