Green Eyed Motors imports Chevrolet Spark EVs and other models sold mainly in California
Some markets are stronger than others for certain types of cars. Think Subarus in the Northeast or the Rocky Mountains, convertibles in Florida, and pickup trucks in Texas.
Used-car dealers carefully watch auctions to find cars in less demand elsewhere that they can sell locally for more money.
Now, a used-car dealer in Boulder, Colorado, has made a business out of nabbing electric cars intended to be sold only in California, and offering them to buyers in Colorado—who end up with much lower net costs, thanks to the state's uniquely hefty incentives.
Green Eyed Motors sells a Kia Soul EV for the price of a regular Soul (after credit)
It's not quite a loophole, but Green Eyed Motors of Boulder appears to have found an intelligent niche, at least in the short term.
Colorado's somewhat convoluted electric-car tax credit provides an income-tax reduction worth up to $6,000 the first time an electric car is registered in the state.
Colorado's law differs from those in many other states, not only for its high maximum but also in that the credit applies to used cars just as it does to new cars.
There's some math involved, based on a car's battery capacity and its purchase price, that prevents most electric cars from qualifying for the full $6,000.
Still, upwards of $5,000 is the norm for a new Nissan Leaf—and Green Eyed Motors advertises several of its cars as qualifying for the full credit.
What the company does is unique within the state's borders, as far as Green Car Reports is aware.
2015 Nissan Leaf, Denver, Colorado, Mar 2016 [photo: owner Andrew Ganz]
The dealership actively seeks out cars from other states, including those that would normally be unavailable outside California or a handful of other coastal locales.
In fact, Green Eyed Motors advertises directly on its site that all its electric cars are imported into Colorado from other states, ensuring that they will qualify for the rebate.
Since Green Eyed Motors is casting a wide net, they look beyond the Nissan Leafs that are most common nationwide.
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That means that Colorado buyers can locally buy a normally unavailable used electric car, like a Fiat 500e or a Chevrolet Spark EV, saving them the effort of buying one unseen and having it trucked in from California.
As of this writing, Green Eyed Motors is offering a Kia Soul EV, a Chevrolet Spark EV, several Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drives, a Toyota RAV4 EV, and a Fiat 500e.
A quick comparison to prices in the Los Angeles area reveals that Green Eyed isn't charging any premium for offering "forbidden fruit" in Colorado.
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That's not to say that Green Eyed Motors only deals in eco-friendly cars; the company has its share of luxury SUVs that might net 15 mpg combined.
After all, even in Colorado, the market for California-only electric cars is pretty small.
We reached out to the dealership to find out more about their business model, but representatives were not available for comment.