Here is some math to help you decide – purely based on financial sense. The calculations are for the SV model.
Let us consider two cases.
Buy Out : Here, after 3 years of leasing, you decide to buy out. The residual is paid using a 2 year loan. In the buy scenario, a loan for 5 years is taken. The large downpayment is to it equivalent to the lease case and includes the 7,500 that would be got back in tax credit. So, the final row shows the total money paid out after 5 years.
Sell Off : In this case, after 3 years of leasing, you return the car to the dealer. In the buy scenario, a loan for 3 years is taken. After that the car is sold off for exactly the residual of the lease scenario – to help us compare apples to apples. Again, the final row shows the total money paid out after 3 years.
Ofcourse, we don’t know the residual. So in this I calculate the “break even” residual for the two cases. If the residual announced by Nissan is lower than the one calculated below, leasing is better. If the residual is higher buying is better. The other variable is the interest rate. I’ve used the national average insterest rate from Yahoo finance.
Note that I’ve not taken sales tax into account. For one thing, it varies from state to state, for another – whether the tax is on lease payments or the entire MSRP depends on the state as well. Ofcourse, in WA, there is no sales tax on EVs. Another thing I’ve not included is disposition fee.