One of the best ways to get people to buy green cars is the same way automakers get consumers to buy any car—by making deals.
Looking at October sales, among plug in cars other than Teslas, the bestsellers were those that offer the best deals from month to month.
This month, many of the same models offer the best deals. The list is compiled by our partners at CarsDirect and reflects a recent change to include only cars that are widely available, rather than focusing on rock-bottom prices on cars that most buyers won’t be able to find in dealer stock.
The best deal on an electric car this month is the Nissan Leaf. Its 151-mile range can’t match the longest-range cars, any Tesla or the Chevy Bolt EV. Other than those models though, the Leaf has the longest range of electric car.
Lessees can drive home a Leaf for $219 a month with $2,929 due at signing. That gives the Leaf an effective price of $300 a month, $141 a month less than the Bolt EV. That gets drivers 12,000 miles a year.
Only the base Leaf S is eligible for the best lease deals. Buyers who want the loaded Leaf SL don’t get the same lease incentives; the Leaf S is discounted up to $11,350, the SL is $1,575 less.
For 2019, Nissan is expected to release the Leaf e-Plus, which will have a range of 220 miles or more. It’s likely that those models won’t be as sharply discounted.
Last month, the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid snuck in with the best deal on plug-in hybrids when deals on the Chevy Volt expired early in the month for Labor Day.
This month, the 2018 Volt is back on top with deals of $234 a month for 36 months with no cash down for buyers in states that follow California emissions laws and who currently lease a non-GM vehicle. Others will have to put $500 down at signing, but our partners at CarsDirect found additional deals for Costco members that can offset the $500 down payment. The deal lasts through Jan. 2, 2019.
This year’s models are eligible for GM supplier pricing, plus $750 cast back through Costco.
These GM leases only get buyers 10,000 miles per year—not the usual 12,000—and GM’s deals are much less generous in other parts of the country.
For buyers outside the California states, the Honda Clarity Hybrid offers the next best deals, with leases of just $209 a month, but a sizeable $2,299 due at signing.
Ford may be falling behind in the plug-in sales race, but it is selling plenty of standard Fusion Hybrids with consistent big incentives.
The Fusion Hybrid is one of the few cars on the market eligible for six-year 0-percent financing bargains plus a hefty cash-back offer of $3,000 on 2018 models.
Buyers have to finance through Ford Credit to get the $3,000 cash back, but it’s a better deal than paying cash.
Even 2019 models offer zero-percent financing plus cash back, albeit only $2,000 and for 60 months instead of 72. The 2019 model offers Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 active safety features with automatic emergency braking.
Fuel-efficient gas cars
The Hyundai Elantra again takes the prize as the most affordable fuel-efficient car, with another 6-year, zero-percent financing offer that comes with $1,000 cash back.
Buyers can also choose $2,500 cash back without the financing, but CarsDirect analysis shows the zero-percent financing is still a little cheaper than a 3-percent loan with the larger cash rebate.
The deal applies to all Elantras, including the Elantra Eco with its 1.4-liter turbo-4 that delivers 35 mpg combined, according to the EPA.