The battery-electric vehicle market is about to grow by one model with the introduction of the Honda Fit EV to California and Oregon starting on July 20. Honda promises Fit EV availability will be expanded to six East Coast markets starting in early 2013. This staged rollout to strategic early-adopter markets has been employed by other automakers in rolling out alternative-propulsion models, such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf.
Customers in those two West Coast markets interested in getting into the EV version of Honda's acclaimed compact should be prepared to fork over $389 a month for a 36-month lease. Although that figure is higher on its face that some other leases on similar models such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, that figure is a zero-down lease, whereas the Leaf and Mitsubishi i electric require a down payment as part of the lease. On its face, the least-desirable deal is on the Ford Focus Electric, which is $439 a month, and also adds a $2490 down payment, $595 acquisition fee, and $3524 due at signing. Like the deal for the Volt, the Fit EV lease is a closed-end lease, and the car cannot be purchased at the end of the term.
What your monthly payment gets you is the current highest-rated fuel efficiency rating granted by the EPA, a significant 118 MPGe, topping the Focus EV's 105 MPGe combined rating, as well as the Mitsubishi i's 112 MPGe, and the Leaf's 99 MPGe. The EPA recently announced a combined efficiency figure of 89 MPGe for the high-performance Tesla Model S luxury sedan. However, the Fit EV's modest 82-mile range can't match the Model S's 265-mile range with its optional 85-kWh battery pack.