The column where we blow up the myth that electric cars are too expensive
September 18, 2017  Steve Scauzillo

More than 300 people waited in line at the Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga
Park on Thursday to leave a deposit for a Tesla Model 3 that is scheduled to
start production in late 2017. A Tesla Model S is on display in the showroom

There’s this myth that grew up around electric cars that they are too

It’s all Elon Musk’s fault for creating a sleek, lightning-fast and
amazingly efficient electric vehicle recognized as the gold standard in the
industry. His Tesla cars cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

The world awaits his Model 3, as do 400,000 people on a waiting list, which
can go between 220 miles and 310 miles on a single charge, depending on the
battery pack size. They will range in price between $35,000 and $57,000.

That may not read “affordable” to your average working stiff. I include
myself in that category, so no slur intended.

While Tesla may be the best, it’s definitely not the cheapest. Nor was Tesla
the first.

The Nissan Leaf, battery electric car has been around for seven years and is
the No. 1 selling electric car in the world.

Last week, Nissan unveiled its 2018 Leaf which can roam 150 miles on a
charge, up from around 80-90 miles on most of their previous models. Plug-In
America, a nonprofit that sponsored an electric car event on Saturday at the
Los Angeles State Historic Park, says the 2017 Leaf goes 107 miles on a
charge with an MSRP of $32,450.

News reports say the 2018 new Leaf will cost you around $29,000 for the
stripped-down Leaf S and about $37,495 for the loaded SV and SL models. But
that’s before you figure in the $7,500 federal tax credit and the $2,500
rebate from the state.

Still, those who don’t take home a fat paycheck, please don’t click away.

Enter Bill Provence.

At a recent electric car event at Garfield Park in South Pasadena that also
featured the new all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, Provence was there with his
used 2014 Nissan Leaf SV in mint condition he bought in April. He didn’t
want to spend much, but for a newer model Leaf with only 27,000 miles on it,
the $11,900 he forked over was a deal, he said.

He drove the car home from the Nissan of Valencia dealership with an 83-mile
charge. He cruised into his garage at his Pasadena home with 40 miles of
charge remaining, he said.

Plug-in America’s website talks about people buying used battery electric
cars for their teenaged son or daughter’s first car. It’s affordable and the
kid never has to worry about oil changes, belts, brakes, tuneups or any
repairs, really. The big task is just remembering to plug it in at night
,and that’s easily done without any special charger. All you need is a
regular 110-volt outlet and it will charge up overnight.

“Making them aware they can get used ones that are reliable,” is the message
Provence was broadcasting at the fair. He had pasted pictures of 12 used
Nissan Leafs onto a poster board he displayed next to his car, just the tip
of the iceberg.

He also turned me on to a secret website,, that specializes
in used electric cars. After a quick search, I found Nissan Leafs ranging
from $6,588 to $11,998 (and that was for a 2015 Leaf S).

An Anaheim used car lot boasted the most used Chevy Volt [pih] and Nissan
Leaf [EVs] in the country. Many showed up in the 11 pages of used Leafs on
the site.

While the electric car industry is all a-buzz over the upcoming Model 3 or
the entrance into the electric car market of luxury brands such as BMW and
Mercedes, Provence talked cheap.

“That board attracted a lot of attention. I had a young couple say I can get
one of these for $10,000 or $12,000? They just couldn’t believe it,” he told

The retired advertising guy was doing a soft sell on something no one else
is talking about. Often, electric car owners lease their cars for three
years. When the lease is up, they end up in dealer’s lot or used car lot.

“It’s a good way to get into the electric car field,” he said.

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