Not sure whether an electric vehicle is right for you?

Now, Tesla Motors, the maker of a well-regarded full electric, has decided to offer you the chance to drive one of its vehicles without the burden of ownership.

It isn’t exactly cheap, but some might find the environmental benefits and impressive performance of the Tesla Roadster worth the price.

Tesla Leasing will immediately deliver a new 2010 Roadster or Roadster Sport via a three-year, 30,000 mile contract with monthly payments as low as $1,658. The monthly lease payment excludes sales or use tax, and it is based on an MSRP of $111,005, which does include destination and documentation fees. Before you can slip into your new Roadster, you do have to come up with $12,453 at signing. (This includes the $1,658 first month’s payment, $9,900 “down payment” and $895 acquisition fee.) No security deposit is required, but at lease end, you will be liable for a disposition fee of $350, plus any excess wear and use. The lease offer also stipulates mileage charges of 25 cents per mile for miles driven over 30,000 miles during the life of the lease.

Interestingly, when they announced the lease, Tesla officials touted the “relative low cost of electricity versus gasoline and the low maintenance needs of Tesla's electric motor [which] add to the benefits of leasing a Roadster over a conventional car.” Tesla says the cost savings compared to a similar gasoline-powered car could be $131 per month (for an estimated 833 miles driven monthly), based on EPA fuel economy tests.  

Of course, saving $131 monthly on a car that will cost you more than $1,500 permonth after shelling out a $12,000 up front might not pass muster with your CPA. On the plus side, the Tesla Roadster is super-cool.



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Driving Today: Leasing a Tesla Electric Vehicle