By Brian Ro

Nissan’s all-electric Leaf, the leader in cumulative global plug-in electrified vehicle sales, also topped another more dubious list of 2015 models with the worst initial resale value.

A study performed by used car concierge website reportedly found the 2015 Nissan Leaf to depreciate 48 percent on average – the biggest immediate decline among all 2015 model year vehicles.

Carlypso's study of 300 vehicles and more than 46,000 transactions compared new vehicle prices versus auction sales prices. Its results are thus not reflective of new retail price versus used retail price, but rather new retail price versus used wholesale price. After a car is bought at wholesale, it is further marked up with what the used car market will bear, but bottom line is Nissan's Leaf was dead last.

In 2015 the Leaf's MSRP ranged from $29,010 to $35,120, and it's previously been observed as having one of the highest depreciation rates.

Factors impacting the Leaf's resale value may include federal and state purchase incentives combined with manufacturer-backed incentives. Put plainly, buyers may net what is tantamount to a proportionately substantial $7,500 to over $10,000 incentive break – an effective discount of up to one-third of MSRP – that's not available to used Leaf buyers.

Also not helping the 2016 Leaf has been anticipation of the revamped 2016 Leaf, which boasts up to a 25-percent larger EV range. The release of the next-generation Leaf also looms as it is expected to offer 200-miles of range or more.

"Nissan has taken a number of steps to enhance the value of Leaf through the vehicle's life cycle, including adding the car to our certified pre-owned program and offering replacement battery packs," said Nissan electric-vehicles sales director Andrew Speaker. "We are also developing additional strategies to preserve the value of off-lease Leaf vehicles, and we are in the process of communicating those plans to our dealers.”

While the depressed resale values of the 2015 Leaf may make some owners who purchased their Leafs outright similarly depressed, there is a silver lining. Consumers that had been interested in a Leaf or similarly priced EV but could not afford to purchase new may now be able pick up a used model for a fraction of the sticker price.

And, as has been known for the past few years among early adopters, leasing a Leaf may also be a better way to bypass penalties of ownership in this EV market whose products are evolving faster than the mature conventional car market. Leasing can let consumers drive the car at a savings and all the benefits of electric driving without having to worry about declining resale values so much.

The top ten list of 2015 vehicles with highest depreciation rates appears below:
  1. Nissan Leaf -- 48%
  2. Dodge Charger --45%
  3. Mercedes-Benz SL-Class -- 41%
  4. Chevrolet Camaro -- 39%
  5. Kia Cadenza -- 38%
  6. Volkswagen Beetle -- 37%
  7. Chevrolet Express --37%
  8. Mitsubishi Lancer -- 35%
  9. Kia Optima -- 35%
  10. Cadillac CTS -- 34%
USA Today

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