Aside from the issue of limited range, the biggest problem with electric vehicles in the near term is expected to be cost. Mitsubishi has already announced that the starting price for its diminutive iMiEV in Japan will be approximately $47,000 before incentives and Tesla's Model S will start at $57,000 (before incentives) and likely go up rapidly from there. One of the ideas being floated for reducing the up front cost of EVs is battery leasing. This has a number of potential advantages. The apparent cost of the vehicle is dramatically reduced by taking the single most expensive part out of the sticker price. It also allows the owner to opt for a shorter 3-5 year lease term on the battery and then replace it with a new one, alleviating some of the durability concerns.
Since the cost of electricity is significantly less than gasoline or diesel, if the lease cost of the battery is considered as something akin to paying for liquid fuel the total cost of ownership can be considered somewhat more equivalent. That's exactly what Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told French paper Le Journal du Dimanche this week. According to Ghosn, the plan is to lease the battery for the upcoming LEAF EV for roughly €100 ($147 U.S.) per month in addition to the cost of the car which will be in the $25-30,000 range. Still far from inexpensive, but slowly getting there.