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Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Many car buyers refuse to purchase new cars for one important reason: With a few very rare exceptions, new cars will lose a significant chunk of their initial value the moment you drive them off the lot. The biggest chunk of a cars depreciation typically happens in the first minutes of ownership and companies like Automotive Lease Guide in the United States and Glass' Guide in the UK specialize in estimating how much value will evaporate to estimate lease priceing.

Glass' has taken a look at upcoming electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and come away with some very distressing numbers. Based largely on the expected lifespan of the battery, Glass's expects cars like the Leaf to be worth only 10 percent of its value after five years.

The potential flaw in this analysis is the presumption that the battery will have little or no value after its useful life in the car. Electric vehicle advocates have claimed that even when the batteries no longer have sufficient capacity for use in a car, they could be used by electric utilities as buffers to help balance the grid. While this has yet to be proven, it could potentially tilt the balance back toward EVs. If this idea doesn't come to fruition, the severe depreciation could kill the nascent EV market before it every really gets going.

Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: AutoCar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      why even buy one to begin with?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sometimes it rains on the golf course.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The whole study is idiotic, who are these so-called experts?

      1) It assumes you could get a used Leaf after 5 years for.....$2400 ?
      2) It assumes batteries will be dead in a few years...even though most will have a 10+ yr warranty etc..
        • 5 Years Ago
        Please help me to the Nissan link that states this. I signed up for additional information and have not seen what you say.

        The last that I have seen from Nissan's web site is:
        Q: What kind of warranty will this car have?
        A: The details of the warranty are not yet determined, but our warranty coverage will certainly be competitive. Sign up to ensure you are notified when additional information is available.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ElectricMike: this is the current state of affairs with currently available electric vehicles. It would be very strange if Nissan departed from that norm. We're talking hybrids and pure electrics.

        But you're right, oh you're very right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well there's some valuable knowledge. Be good to see how this gets fixed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Would anything with 4 wheels and can have a SBC shoehorn'd innit really going to be "worthless"?

      I think not.

      • 5 Years Ago
      The other factor is one that with new and evolving technology ..

      What is super cool today looks dated and obsolete as soon as the next generation in technology comes out. It goes from super cool, to a door stop real quick.

      Related to this too is that it will be cheaper to just get a new car, with new technology and design, then to keep the old one going.

      It is like the darn cordless telephones .. the battery (nicad) is $35 to replace and new lithium based phones are $45 and have better signal, sound, durability, battery life, and smaller size. So what do you do?

      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah but in 5 years I'm sure battery tech will make leaps and bounds....soooo...plunk a new battery in it and viola! New car. Im sure the cost of new said battery will be offset by the savings in dino bones....cuz really, who buys these for anything but image.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So then you might swap out the battery and controller. It should all be fairly modular.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And when the new cars can be programmed to charge on a schedule, or to communicate over WiFi to only charge when the other car next to it isn't charging (so as to not overload the circuit), how do I get that just by swapping my pack?

        What if the new packs aren't even compatible with the charger in this? Like when RC cars went from NiCD to NiMH.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you noticed car companies showing a lot of interest in improving their old cars by making upgraded parts available?

        New features are used to sell new products.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ^---- true.. the motor won't even need to be swapped out. I don't see electric motors changing anytime soon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its all about Capacitor Cars with I.C.E. engines charging up the capacitor.
      Capacitors loose maximum charge only to a certain point and then they stabilize.
      Capacitors charge up very quickly and can discharge quickly. This means you can get a full range charge in a matter of minutes instead of a matter of hours.
      More power can be pulled from the brakes and instantly dumped into the capacitor meaning they are more effecient.
      Another fact is that the most effecient form of transportation (trains) use this same concept. You use a disiel generator that is tuned to generate electricity as effeciently as possible and just dumps it into a capacitor and when it needs more power its on tap and there instantly.

      The use of diesel generators means a very efficient quiet generator creates all the electricity you need and then the city cars can just not have one and worst case scenario the capacitors can be removed from the cars and reused in other applications that do not need super high end capacitors.

      Problem is we live in a society where companies tell you that every 4 months you need a new toothbrush. We use cotton instead of hemp in textiles because hemp lasts longer, we use wood pulp instead of hemp because wood pulp degrades faster.

      You could probably build a car that works like this yourself. Already have a few vehicles I'm designing personally, not an automotive engineer, just a creative person with a lot general knowledge.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Silly flame bait FUD.

      People said similar things about Hybrids and no such depreciation emerged.

      Battery leasing is brain dead. It doesn't improve the economics, it makes them worse.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I love how Autoblog is so good at finding this crap to get everyone riled up on each site.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Top Gear starts up on Sunday, and I can't wait for Jezza to seize on this (along with the CR-Z). Should be good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The difference between electrics cars and hybrids is that hybrids for the most part use nickle based batteries which last about 10 years. Lithium batteries only have a useful life of about 5 years. The reason is that Lithium batteries were designed for electronic devices which after 5 years would be pretty obsolete. In addition hybrids get less efficient when battery life decreases but they still work. After 5 years in an electric car, your battery life will be 20% of what it was when you bought it. It'd be like me telling you that if you buy this car today, you'll have to get a engine and transmission 5 years from now. When that time comes, you'd probably be better off just getting a new car.

      • 5 Years Ago
      By the way, Nissan has said the battery should have 80% of it's range left after 10 years..
        • 5 Years Ago
        you can't handle the truth!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lol, i get rated down for that
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm not downrating you. But what Nissan predicts isn't quite for sure.

        Either way, I don't feel the devaluation will be based solely upon battery capacity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't care what any manufacturer "claims". I care what they warranty.

        Though OTOH I do this these "experts" need to be called something else if they make ridiculous claims like 90% depreciation in 5 years.

        No matter how much you hate EVs, if you think about a bit, that number is nuts.

      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think this will happen anytime soon, but I think the oil price "appreciation" will probably negate this dubious "study"
        • 5 Years Ago
        mhm; if the peakoilpocalypse really happens in 2015, the reverse will be true!!!

        This is why i could never find myself seriously buying a new gas powered car. I imagine that EV tech will be awesome by then, with the progress on new battery technology moving at an insane rate right now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you believe the U.S. Military, peak oil is only two years away, with *serious* *shortages* by 2015.
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