Honda slashes electric Fit EV lease price by a third
DETROIT, May 30 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co on Thursday slashed the lease price for its electric-powered Fit subcompact car by a third a week after General Motors Co set pricing for its new Chevrolet Spark EV. Consumers have been slow to gravitate toward electric vehicles (EVs) as a result of their high cost and fears about driving range, but automakers continue to develop technology because it is seen as a primary driver in meeting rising fuel-efficiency requirements globally. Electric carmaker Coda Holdings filed for bankruptcy this month. Honda said on Thursday that consumers can now lease the Fit EV, which was introduced July 2012, for $259 a month over three years beginning June 1 with the first month's payment due at signing. That is down from $389 a month. The car is only available through a lease. GM last week said it 2014 Spark EV, which goes on sale next month in California and Oregon, will sell for as low as $19,995 after accounting for the full federal tax credit of $7,500. The U.S. automaker said the car will lease for as low as $199 a month for 36 months with $999 due at signing. Ford Motor Co's larger Focus Electric leases for $284 a month with $929 due at signing, while Fiat's small 500 EV leases for $199 a month with $999 due at signing. Nissan Motor Co's larger Leaf electric car leases for $199 a month with $1,999 due at signing. Honda's lease for the Fit EV includes unlimited mileage, routine maintenance, collision coverage and 240-volt EV home charging equipment excluding installation. "Now it's the only EV on the market with no down payment, unlimited mileage, collision coverage and a free home charging station," American Honda vice president Steve Center said in a statement. The Japanese automaker said the new lease price and unlimited mileage also will be applied to existing Fit EV leases. Honda, which has leased 174 Fit EVs in the United States since its introduction, also said it will expand the number of dealers that carry the car to more than 200 by the end of June form 36 in January. The Fit EV can be leased at dealers in California, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut. It also is available in Japan. The Fit EV has a driving range of 82 miles when fully charged as estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its fuel economy is equivalent to 118 miles per gallon on an EPA-estimated basis. The Spark EV's respective figures are 82 and 119.