Here's a startling update on electric vehicles from the Los Angeles Times... For the first time, through the magic of subsidized leases, electric vehicles can now compete on price with comparable gas-powered cars — and are actually cheaper once you factor in gas savings.

Honda announced last week that it would drop the lease on its Fit EV from $389 to $259 a month. That price includes collision and vehicle theft coverage, maintenance, roadside assistance, even a charging station at your house. Factoring in the state rebate, that's an all-in, three-year ownership cost of less than $7,000 — maybe the cheapest $37,000 car in history.

And clearly, the Honda is not alone. The Fit will have to compete with the recently announced $199-a-month leases on the Nissan Leaf and the Fiat 500e, among other EV rivals.

If you're looking to buy, state and federal incentives can shave as much as $10,000, nearly a third of the sticker price on a typical model. But automakers and most consumers have turned to leases to ease fears about uncertain long-term maintenance and resale values.

The Times says consumers should credit California's tough pollution laws for the EV price war. The California Air Resources Board has mandated that zero-emissions vehicles must constitute 15% of all new vehicle sales by 2025, up from less than 1% now. That has automakers scrambling to get consumers into a set of green wheels, even though they are losing money on every car.

The goal is to boost consumer demand in the nation's largest auto market, hoping that bigger sales can spur research and development to lower the technology's cost.

Of course, deciding whether an EV works best for you really depends on your own driving needs. But the newspaper did its own evaluation of three 'newly affordable' EVs and ranked the Nissan leaf 3rd; the Fiat 500e 2nd, and Honda's Fit EV finished 1st as the best vehicle for the money.

They concluded that "the Fit essentially blends the best attributes of the Fiat 500e and the Nissan Leaf into one extremely versatile, fun to drive package." And it's only available via lease. Have a look...