Should You Buy a High-Mileage Electric Car Lease? 

So you’ve decided to give electric cars a shot but aren’t ready to buy yet. This is where a lease comes in. Leases let you drive the EV for a set period in exchange for monthly payments.

The only problem with most lease terms is low mileage. An alternative is to go for high-mileage electric car leases. Most high-mileage EV leases go up to 15,000 and even 20,000 miles. Keep reading to stay in the know.

What is a High-Mileage Electric Car Lease?

Standard leases come with mileage limitations. This is usually between 10,000 to 12,000 miles per year.

Exceeding the mileage limit can prove to be very costly. It usually ranges from $0.5 to $1 per additional mile driven.

The penalty will increase based on the number of miles you have exceeded. Lessors are willing to negotiate a higher mileage cap if they know you’ll exceed it.

Note that a high-mileage lease will be slightly more expensive in the long run. However, the monthly payments are less costly than what you pay for exceeding mileage caps.

Lessors are also willing to refund your money if you don’t exceed the mileage cap.

High-mileage leases are ideal if you are likely to exceed 20,000 miles per year. Mileage is a concern because of the wear and tear on the electric car.

Racking on more miles causes electric cars to depreciate at a fast pace. It can significantly affect their resale value.

And we already know that the value of electric cars plummets extremely fast. EVs can lose nearly 30% of their market once you sign on the dotted line.

This represents a significant risk to lessors. This is why they offset their risk by charging higher monthly payments.

High-Mileage Electric Car Leases are Cheaper than You Think

The cost of high-mileage leases for electric cars will surprise you. The cheapest EVs to lease and cost less per day than a visit to Starbucks.

Lease costs are based on the difference between the transaction price and residual value. The latter is the expected value of the EV when the lease expires.

In most cases, upfront costs for the first month’s installments can run several thousand dollars. The lessee may also pay for vehicle registration fees and sales tax.

Some financiers may also build up the acquisition fee into the monthly payment. This really depends on where you decide to lease the car from.

In general, less expensive EVs are cheaper per month than costlier models. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s not always the case.

Some automakers may subsidize a lower interest rate to attract more motorists to their EVs. As mentioned earlier, obtaining a higher annual mileage limit is more expensive.

Let’s take a look at high-mileage leases for popular electric cars.

Note: The prices mentioned below are subject to change. They also depend on where the lease financier, vehicle trim, and other factors.

Volkswagen E-Golf

The e-Golf is a compact hatchback that is ideal for a small family. Leasing this electric vehicle in California costs as little as $50 per month.

Note that the e-Golf has a range of just 126 miles per charge. This is on the low end of the spectrum when you make comparisons.

Finding a lease in a state near you may be difficult. This electric car is readily available in California for leasing.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf has a higher mileage trim that can go up to 226 miles. Its standard trim has a respectable 150 miles per charge.

Leasing the car costs $250 per month with a downpayment of $3000 at signing.

It boasts a spacious cabin, comfortable seats, and semi-autonomous tech. Not bad for $250 per month.

There are a few downsides to the Nissan Leaf that may annoy motorists. For one, its performance leaves a lot to be desired. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds.

For perspective, the Tesla Model Y can do 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. Secondly, it may not work with all public charging stations.

This means that the range of this electric car in California may be unreliable. The range can be a problem when you are planning extended driving sessions.

So make sure to plan ahead by locating nearby compatible charging stations.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Ioniq Electric by Hyundai only offers 130 miles per charge. This explains why it is leasing for a low price of $240 per month.

The downpayment is expected to be $2500 at signing.

It’s aimed at the budget market and competes with the Nissan Leaf and e-Golf. The Ioniq Electric draws power from a 28kW Li-ion battery.

A conventional plug will take 12 hours to recharge the battery. You can use a home-install Pod Point to charge the EV in just four hours.

If you’re pressed for time, use a 50kW fast charger to recharge in 33 min. The Ioniq Electric is easy to drive and provides instant acceleration from a standstill.

The battery is strategically placed in the chassis. This lowers the center of gravity and improves ride quality.

Fiat 500E

Availability of the Fiat 500 is very limited and subject to where you live. It is currently available in Oregon and California. You can lease the 500E for just $229 per month with $2400 at signing.

It comes equipped with a 24kWh battery and a 94bhp motor. It does 0-62mph in just under 10 seconds.

Acceleration is relatively slow compared to most electric cars. The 500E is quick enough to get you rolling quickly. However, it runs out of steam once you head toward the motorway and feel sluggish.

It provides just 115 miles on a single charge. This shouldn’t be a concern unless you plan on driving for extended durations.

If mileage concerns you, then opt for the 42kWh battery trim. This would let you cover longer journeys.

The 500E can be very noisy for an electric car as it approaches speed limits. It’s worth giving the 500E a shot if you’re new to the EV world.

Kia Soul EV

The Kia Soul EV leases for under $220 per month with only a $2000 downpayment. It can deliver 280 miles on a single charge.

This means you won’t have to make frequent stops at public charging stations. The Kia Soul also delivers exceptionally low running costs.

This can help you manage the monthly payments – which aren’t very high. It is outfitted with a 64kWh lithium-ion battery pack that promises 280 miles.

You can replenish the battery in under one hour using a 100kW DC charger. The range of the Soul at just under $240 per month makes it a steal.

The only caveat is the lackluster boxy dimensions of the EV. It tries to be bold and dramatic, but most motorists may disagree.

The build quality of the plastics on the Soul EV leaves much to be desired. Overall, the EV does a lot of things right. It comes with a heated steering wheel, heated leather seats, and air conditioning as standard.

Honda Clarity Electric

This plug-in hybrid leases at an affordable $200 month with only $1800 required at signing. However, it offers only 48 miles on electric-only driving.

This should be enough to cover your commute and run errands on a single charge. The Clarity Electric is a true trendsetter that focuses on making EVs accessible to motorists.

It does 60 mph in under 8 seconds with an output of 212 horsepower. This is quicker than the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo.

Clarity Electric has a lot of good things going for it. It features a spacious cabin that is adequately insulated from wind and road noise.

It takes 2.5 hours to charge the plug-in batteries using a 240-volt source. Expect to wait up to 12 hours on a 120-volt circuit.

Read The Impact of Heat on Electric Cars

What is the Cost of Leasing a Tesla Model Y Cost

Expect to pay between $650 to $750 per month for the Tesla Model Y. The exact payment depends on the trim level.

Other factors include:

  • Your credit score
  • Upgrades you tack on
  • Total downpayment at the time of signing

The table below shows the high mileage lease prices for the Model Y.

Trim Lease Payment per MonthDownpayment at Signing
Performance AWD$740$6,000
Long Range AWD$700$5,799

Preparing for the End of an Electric Car Lease

It is a good idea to return the leased car to the original dealership. If this isn’t possible, try to return the leased EV at the manufacturer’s official dealership.

Before you return the EV to the dealership, it will undergo a lease inspection.

This is where the EV will be tested for damage and wear and tear. You will be charged extra fees. The lessor will send a qualified inspector to check the EV for the following.

  • Scratches on the exterior
  • Cracks in the windshield and windows
  • Excessive wear on the tires
  • Damage to the interior, including tears, stains, and burns

Your lessor will arrange for a lease inspection some days before you drop the EV. You might want to get some small touch-ups and wash the EV.

Make sure to return your vehicle with everything that comes with it. This includes all keys, original floor mats, accessories, and spare tires.

What Can I Do After the Lease Expires?

When the high-mileage electric car lease expires, you have a few options:

  • Lease another electric car in California
  • Return the electric car
  • Extend the lease

Some electric cars are not eligible for purchase after the lease. This is true for the Tesla Model Y.

Do I Get My Money Back at the End of a High Mileage EV Lease?

This depends on various factors, including its residual value.

Let’s assume that the residual value of, say, your Tesla Model Y is $36,000. But you’ve maintained it well enough that it was independently appraised at $38,000.

This difference of $2000 is known as lease equity. Lease equity doesn’t mean your dealership will give you more money.

Building lease equity means you put the savings toward a new lease. You can also use the lease equity to buy the leased EV.

It could be helpful if your leased EV is worth more than the residual value. You can use the difference to qualify for discounts for a new lease.

Pros and Cons of a High Mileage Electric Car Lease

There are pros and cons to every decision you make, and high-mileage leases are no exception.

Let’s discuss the pros and cons.

The Pros

  • A smaller downpayment
  • Lower monthly payments
  • Routine maintenance and repair costs may be easier to negotiate into the lease
  • Once the term ends, you can buy the EV, return it, or upgrade it
  • Mileage is over 20,000 miles per year

The Cons

  • You will be fined hefty fees by opting out of the lease agreement early on
  • You might not qualify for state and federal EV tax credits. The lessor may collect those because they own the EV. But you can negotiate those credits into the lease and get a lower monthly payment.
  • Some EV makers do not offer leases
Should You Buy a High-Mileage Electric Car Lease
Should You Buy a High-Mileage Electric Car Lease

Alternatives to High Mileage Electric Car Lease

When you lease an EV, you’re paying for the depreciation costs of the car. These costs add up as you accumulate more miles.

If you plan on traveling a lot in the EV, try avoiding high-mileage leases altogether. Instead, you can consider buying the car until you’ve built some equity.

Your lessor may give you the option of buying the EV from the dealership. This is an excellent way of avoiding excess mileage fees by purchasing the EV outright.

This won’t work on a new car. If EV has grown on you, you can buy it once the lease expires.

Wrapping Up

High-mileage electric car leases can save you thousands of dollars off the list price. But once you’re locked into the lease, you can’t opt out unless you pay fines.

We suggest trying out an affordable option, such as the Kia Soul EV. So are you planning on leasing an electric car?

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