Why I bought a new Nissan Leaf electric car 2 hours from home: $8,500 net cost

If you’re looking to spend $8,500 on a car, you’re probably going to bring home something with close to six digits on the odometer.

Unless, that is, you buy a brand new electric car deep in the heart of oil and gas country.

That’s what I did, and that’s how I wound up spending just $8,500 (after incentives, before taxes) on a brand-new 2015 Nissan Leaf S. 

I live in Denver, the largest city in a state of immense natural beauty that’s probably more inclined to think about the environment than most.

DON'T MISS: How I got a new 2015 Nissan Leaf electric car for $16K net

The state government generally promotes making ecologically-intelligent decisions, as do some local jurisdictions. And yet there’s a bigno, make that massiveelephant in the room.

A hefty percent of the Centennial State’s economy is based on the extraction of natural resources.

Colorado is half Texas and half California, and that actually applies to the state’s population as well. (Disclosure: I moved here from Texas.)

2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016 [photo: owner Andrew Ganz]

2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016 [photo: owner Andrew Ganz]

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You’ll see plenty of solar panels and windmills, but we also derive much of our electricity from coal. Radio airwaves are saturated with ads touting the economic impact of fracking, which you'll hear more about than its environmental impact.

In the end, by all accounts, you’ve got a state that is solidly purple. 

Big money

But following the demise of Georgia's $5,000 income-tax credit, Colorado is the last state to still offer a big incentive for buying an electric car.

CHECK OUT: Driving the 107-mile 2016 Leaf

My state offers a tax credit based on a complex equation that takes into account the vehicle’s battery capacity in addition to its purchase price.

For a Leaf, it works out to about $5,100, while a Tesla Model S checks in at closer to $6,000.

Uniquely, Colorado’s incentive also applies to used carsas long as they’ve never been registered within the state’s borders.

2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016 [photo: owner Andrew Ganz]

2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016 [photo: owner Andrew Ganz]

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Admittedly, my interest in acquiring a Leaf was based as much on being able to get one for dirt cheap as it was experiencing an electric car.

I live in the city of Denver, in an urban area walking distance from grocery stores, a light rail station, and restaurants.

Because this is Denver, there's no shortage of nearby yoga studios, breweries, and marijuana dispensaries.

Last fall, I did some initial calculations and figured thatincluding $5,100 in state incentives, $7,500 for the Federal income-tax credit, and $6,000 in Nissan Finance rebatesI would be  looking at chopping $18,600 off the MSRP on the sticker. 

So I figured if I could get one at invoice cost, I should be able to find a Leaf for a net cost around $11,000.

2015 Nissan Leaf

2015 Nissan Leaf

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In the end, as it turned out, I was high. By quite a bit.

By about $2,500, in fact.

The hunt

With the initial idea that I could probably buy a brand-new Leaf for not that much coin, I began to shop around.

Perversely, I enjoy the chase of a good deal, and I don’t mind pitting multiple new-car dealers against each other to get to the best price. 

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