Model years can be confusing: the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf electric car just went on sale this month, at a time when some other makers have already rolled out 2018 models.
The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, meanwhile, went on sale since last December; at some point this fall, we expect to get information on the 2018 version.
Comparing the two 2017 compact electric hatchbacks shows significant differences in range and lease cost.
Surprisingly, the top version of the electric car with the lower EPA-rated range (the 2017 VW e-Golf at 125 miles) costs more to lease at the moment than the longer-range 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, rated at 238 miles.
In sticker prices, the 2017 e-Golf is significantly less expensive, with the base SE trim level starting at $31,315 including delivery, against the $37,500 of the base 2017 Bolt EV.
As CarsDirect explained on Friday, the first leases offered on the updated e-Golf with 125 miles of range come in at $279 per month.
2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2017 Nissan Leaf
2017 Ford Focus Electric
That's $120 more per month than the superseded 2016 e-Golf, with its 83 miles of range.
It's also $129 higher than the 115-mile 2017 Ford Focus Electric, $59 more expensive than the 107-mile 2017 Nissan Leaf, and $108 more costly than the 84-mile Fiat 500e.
Of those cars, only the Leaf is available throughout the U.S. The 500e is limited to California and Oregon, and the Focus Electric has a different sales footprint altogether.
In more detail, factoring in the $2,349 due at signing on the basic $279 monthly e-Golf SE lease brings the effective monthly cost to $344 over a three-year lease that allows 10,000 miles a year.
More surprising, though, is that the top-of-the-line 2017 VW e-Golf SEL model actually leases for more than a Chevy Bolt EV.
The upcharge for a new electric Golf with all the bells and whistles, including active-safety features, is a substantial $120 a month, which brings the monthly lease cost to $399.
2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
Factoring in the down payment and other costs, the effective monthly lease payment for a 2017 e-Golf SEL is $464.
The comparable effective lease price on a 2017 Bolt EV is $413, and it's $447 for a 2017 BMW i3 REx with its range-extending engine.
In other words, if you want the anonymity of a perfectly standard VW Golf that happens to be the all-electric e-Golf version—versus the identifiable designs of the BMW i3 and Chevy Bolt EV—it'll cost you some extra cash every month.
All lease costs factor the $7,500 federal income-tax credit for all the electric cars named into the overall cost.
All of the electric cars in this article also qualify for California's $2,500 clean-vehicle rebate, though that program now carries income limits for eligibility.
The lease prices on the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf are valid throughout California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.