For those with an eye for a bargain, it’s possible today to grab some pretty good deals on a brand-new electric car. In the past few months, we’ve seen lease deals as low as $125 per month for 36 months for a 2015 Smart ForTwo Electric drive with $800 down and 10,000 miles per year, or a whopping $13,000 off MRSRP for a brand-new 2015 Nissan LEAF SL.
But neither come close to a deal being offered in California right now, where those with an eye for a bargain have found themselves paying just $83 a month for three years on a brand-new Fiat 500e electric car, with $1,000 down after incentives.
As our friends over at GreenCarReports detail, the deal was discovered by a small group of motorsports enthusiasts who quickly shared the too-good-to-miss deal and helped account for more than 100 of the tiny plug-in cars to fly off dealer lots over the weekend.
Enter Joe Nuxoll, a freelance photographer and racing instructor, who discovered the deal at his local Fiat dealer. Part of a time-limited offer from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, his dealer was offering $2,100 off the $32,000 MSRP of the four-seat electric car for lease customers, bringing the downpayment on a an $82.75 per month, three-year lease deal to $11,000.
Further discounts came courtesy of the standard $7,500 Federal tax credit, and the $2,500 California state purchase rebate. While those buying outright have to apply for the Federal tax credit at the end of the year when calculating their Federal tax bill, those leasing a car have the rebate directly applied to their downpayment by the lease company, which applies for the rebate on the lessee’s behalf. The California state purchase rebate — something that takes a few weeks to arrive in the mail after purchase — only leaves the applicant out of pocket for a short period of time.
Apply both those credits, and the net total that Nuxoll and 100+ other lucky customers had to pay was just $1,000.
For those already leasing a car from another, non-Fiat Chrysler dealer, a further $1,000 was offered as a deal-sweetener, further reducing lease payments for a lucky few, meaning some customers actually found themselves paying no downpayment at all and getting brand-new Fiat 500e for three years for $82.75 a month.
It’s no surprise then that news of the deal quickly spread among Nuxoll’s friends and acquaintances in the motorsport world. So quickly in fact that over 100 other people snapped up the deal, something we think must be the largest migration to plug-in vehicles of petrolheads in quite some time.
A compliance car — one sold exclusively to satisfy zero emission mandates in states like California — the Fiat 500e hasn’t sold in huge numbers since it launched in April 2013. Capable of an EPA-approved 87 miles of range per charge of its 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, the Fiat 500e gives a sporty, enthusiastic drive that’s on par or better than main other mainstream plug-in vehicles on the market today.
Indeed, its perky performance courtesy of an 82 kilowatt electric motor and better weight distribution means the Fiat 500e performs more like a high-end Fiat 500 Abarth than the entry-level city car which shares its features.
Despite that however, the Fiat 500e hasn’t felt much in the way of love from Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. A vocal opponent of plug-in vehicles, Marchionne once famously told customers not to buy the Fiat 500e as it would lose the company about $14,000 each time one was sold.
“I will sell the (minimum) of what I need to sell and not one more,” he said less than a year ago of the Fiat 500e, adding “if we just built those vehicles, we’ll be back asking…in Washington for a second bailout because we’ll be be bankrupt.”
Now, either because Fiat Chrysler’s board has had a change of heart or its Fiat 500e sales figures aren’t quite high enough to meet the required California ZEV mandate figures, it appears the Italian automaker is happy to lose a little more money in the short term in order to get vehicles off dealer lots.
It also seems to have extended that $2,100 money-off program for Californian customers, meaning those who are quick can still take advantage of this unbelievable offer.
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