Honda’s Approach to Charge EV Leases

Gary S. Vasilash

Although these are still early, early days in the electric vehicle (EV) market, a time when things are being sorted and shifted, organized and dissolved, there is an interesting development, one that shows the EV market is becoming more competitive in a more significant way.

Honda, staring June 1, will be lowering the lease price for the Fit EV to $259 per month from $389.

2013 Honda Fit EV

As Steve Center, vice president of Environmental Business Development at American Honda, put it, “Now it’s the only EV on the market with no down payment, unlimited mileage, collision coverage and a free home charging station, giving customers an unprecedented value that only Honda can provide and a compelling reason to get off the barrel and onto the grid.”

While the “that only Honda can provide” may be a bit over the top, the “off the barrel and onto the grid” is a rather clever phrase.

“Wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “Didn’t I hear that cars including the Chevy Spark EV, Nissan LEAF, and Fiat 500e have a monthly lease payment of $199? Why couldn’t Honda do that?”

Well, Center and his colleagues have calculated the costs of leasing an EV thusly:


The collision coverage is a nice touch, as is the home charger credit (a Leviton 240-volt, 32-amp system: you have to pay for installation, but you get to keep the charger after the lease is up).

That home charger makes a lot of sense. Here’s why. Say that one would drive the Fit EV 12,000 miles per year. The car has an EPA-rated driving range (city and highway combined) of 82 miles. This means that one would need to charge the car 144 times, or so, during the year. The 240-volt AC level 2 charger connected to the standard 6.6-kW onboard charger requires a charging time of “less than three hours.” Let’s just call it three for the sake of simplicity. That means the recharge time would be about 433 hours, or 18 days of recharging time during the course of the year.

See why you want to plug it in at night after you’re done driving (sort of like the way you probably charge your cell phone).

Still, moves like Honda’s will undoubtedly be countered by others, and more people will seriously consider getting “off the barrel and onto the grid.”