While Nissan has opted to both sell and lease its Leaf electric vehicle (EV), many other automakers are reluctant to allow their battery-powered vehicles off the lots without customers agreeing to some variation of a lease agreement. Just the other day, we outlined Citroen's lease plans for its C-Zero EV and now we've got wind of Renault's leasing ideas. Renault is expected to sell its EVs, but lease the battery pack for a variable monthly fee. Low-mileage users would pay about £70 a month ($108 U.S. at the current exchange rate) in battery-related fees while high-mileage drivers would be required to dole out a bit more. A Renault spokesperson explained the reasoning behind its decision to lease the battery pack, stating:
Renault will reportedly offer a pay-as-you-go contract that will allow lessees to sell the vehicle at any time. This option will cost more, but is does offer a degree of flexibility for those that remain doubtful about whether or not an EV suits their lifestyle. As you might expect, this pay-as-you-go option does present some problems. Renault will have to track ownership of each vehicle and hunt down the party responsible for paying the battery lease costs. To do this, Renault will equip its EVs with a GPRS transponders that allows the automaker to locate the vehicle at any time. And if you're thinking that you could simply pretend to sell the vehicle to a nearby person to avoid paying the battery lease fees, think again. Upon failure to pay the fees, Renault's remote disable feature will kick in, thus rendering the car useless. Hat tip to David!Doing that removes any worries about warranties or battery failures. It will make for much better residual values for the cars too. We still expect to be able to make overall ownership of an EV cheaper than a 'normal' car once both fuel and maintenance costs are accounted for.