Honda Fit EV Faces Tough ROI Arguments

By · June 18, 2012

Honda Fit EV

Though Honda will only lease the Fit EV, it's been revealed that the converted electric has an MSRP of $36,625.

While Honda is focusing on how its 2013 Fit EV trumps the competition in MPGe and range, critics and competitors point out that the Fit EV's price point is out of whack.

When basing an electric vehicle on a conventional gasoline-fueled model, return on investment arguments are inevitable (even if they seldom represent apples-to-apples comparisons). Here's how the story plays out for the Fit: though Honda will only lease the Fit EV, the converted electric has an MSRP basis of $29,125. That price includes the federal government's $7,500 tax credit, which means that the actual MSRP of the Honda Fit EV is $36,625. Meanwhile, the conventional Fit is one of the most economical cars on the road, with a MSRP range from $15,325 to $19,690, dependent upon trim level.

So the argument goes that the electric Fit costs at least twice as much as its conventional counterpart. According to USA Today, the average driver (13,500 miles per year) would spend $445 to "fuel" (28.6 kilowatt hours per 100 miles at 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour) the electric Fit per year. On the flip side, a conventional Fit (31 miles per gallon) would cost approximately $1,552 to fuel per year. That works out to an annual savings of $1,107 in favor of the Fit EV. But due to its up-front cost, the payback period for the Fit EV (as compared to the conventional Fit) works out to be 11 years. Given that the average new vehicle is owned for less than 6 years, choosing the Fit EV over its conventional counterpart isn't a wise financial decision. Of course, that's not the main driving force behind most buyers' decisions to purchase an electric vehicle. However, as automakers begin to eye the mainstream public, electric vehicles will have to operate on better financial terms when compared to conventional vehicles.

Perhaps a more useful price comparison for now is between the Fit EV and the Nissan LEAF ($35,200 to $37,250), Mitsubishi i ($29,125 to $31,125) and Ford Focus Electric ($39,995). However, the Fit EV will be produced in very low numbers and is the only vehicle in this group to be offered on a lease-only basis.

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