Group-buying programs have proven to be a very effective tool to get more people to purchase and drive electric cars.
These programs—typically partnerships between local governments and dealers, but sometimes undertaken by private groups—leverage collective buying power to lower vehicle prices for individual consumers.
Similar to corporate fleet purchases, guaranteeing a given sales volumes makes dealers willing to cut prices on a group of cars.
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That means individuals participating in a group-buying program can get their cars at a much lower price than they normally would otherwise.
These discounts are usually available for a limited time, to residents of specific areas, so taking advantage of them requires vigilance and a quick response.
Currently, there are a handful of these group-buying programs active right now, some in states that haven't offered them before, notes EcoWatch.
2017 Chevrolet Volt
Two of those states are Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where Drive Green with Mass Energy is running a group-buying program for residents through February.
The program includes the Nissan Leaf, as well as the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi, and Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids.
Discounts vary per model, and can be combined with applicable federal, state, and local incentives.
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Colorado pioneered group buying, and Drive Electric Northern Colorado will continue offer significant discounts on the Nissan Leaf to certain residents through December 31.
The group-buy rate knocks $5,210 off the base price of a Leaf, and can also be combined with federal, state, and local incentives.
Elsewhere, the Virginia Clean Cities partnership has negotiated a lower price on 2016 Nissan Leaf models for Virginia, Maryland, and District of Columbia residents.
2016 Nissan Leaf
The discount varies depending on Leaf trim levels, but can total as much as $12,000 all told.
Finally, Utah's U Drive Electric program recently expired, but it illustrates how similar programs can boost electric-car sales in a given area.
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Created by the University of Utah, City of Salt Lake City, and Utah Clean Energy, it offered Salt Lake City-are residents discounts of 3 to 25 percent off the retail prices of electric cars and plug-in cars.
In 2015, the program was credited with 76 plug-in car purchases in its area of operation in less than two months.