What Will the Future Bring?

The lease on my i-MiEV ends in January, 2015. Due to my dirt-cheap lease offer, my lease residual (the amount of money I would have to pay to buy the car at the end of the lease) is already $10,000 north of what its Blue Book value is. From what I’ve read, Ally Bank doesn’t negotiate on residual amounts, so my car is most definitely going to be returned.

This presents an interesting problem for Ally: They are going to have a flood of i-MiEVs being returned in January, 2015. What will they do with them? They’ll probably be sold at a loss, meaning some very inexpensive i-MiEVs may be available. Another person suggested that Mitsubishi will take them back and resell them as fleet vehicles. Who knows?

So what options will be available in 2015?

  • Nissan LEAF — the long-standing king of electric cars will definitely still be around in 2015. It’s the no-brainer choice.
  • Honda Fit EV — as I don’t live in California or New York, this vehicle isn’t currently available to me. However, if Honda does get around to selling them in Texas, it’s a contender. I’ve always liked the design of the Fit.
  • Fiat 500e — another “compliance car”, it’s not sold outside of California. The Fiat is a little too small for my tastes. I like a 4-door car, especially since I have a child.
  • Chevy Spark EV — although fast, it’s ugly. And tiny. This would require another i-MiEV-like lease deal for me to drive it. It’s also a compliance car.
  • Ford Focus EV — this car always felt like a half-assed attempt at an EV by Ford. Take an existing ICE car, slap a huge battery into the trunk, taking away most of the storage space and pass-through capability, and call it a day. Between that and their “stop safely now” problems have taken the FFE completely out of the running, barring an insane lease rate like the i-MiEV. Hell, I’ll drive an electric Trabant for $69/month.
  • Tesla Model S — I freakin’ wish.
  • Tesla Model E — this car is slated for a 2016 introduction, so the likelihood of this car being available in January is nearly nil. Shame.
  • Tesla Model X — again, a pipe dream.
  • Toyota RAV4 EV — another compliance car, the likelihood of this car coming to Texas is nil.
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV/CA-MiEV — if they’re available, I will definitely consider them. There is a laundry list of things I would improve on the i-MiEV, but it’s still a good car. If they come out with the CA-MiEV show car, I’ll be even happier.
  • Kia Soul EV — this is the wildcard. I like the Soul. It’s funky, but has plenty of usable space without being too large. An EV version would have the same aerodynamic penalty as the ICE version, but I mostly drive in the city. Could be a contender. Could also be a compliance car. Ugh.
  • BMW i3 — I don’t expect this car to be within my budget. Not to mention it’s only nominally larger than the i-MiEV with a MUCH larger price tag. Sorry, probably not.

You may have noticed I didn’t list any hybrid or plug-in hybrids like the Volt. Sorry, guys, I want to stick with an all-electric vehicle. Any other suggestions?

Edit: Talk about a timely post. Kia has confirmed that the Soul EV will be launched in 2014.

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