Are you thinking more seriously about buying an electric car now that gas prices are rising? You and everyone else.
Electric vehicles are hard to find, especially now. The war in Ukraine has not only caused gas price fly away. He also has car production disrupted in Europe, which exports to the United States. And U.S. companies like Ford “have been blinded by how many people want to buy their cars” and can’t make electric vehicles fast enough, Chris Harto, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports, told me.
When my partner and I moved to Los Angeles last year, we knew we had to buy a car and we knew we wanted it to be fully electric.
After a lot of research, we managed to test all the cars we wanted to see in one day and go home that night with our top pick.
Here’s what we learned:
Electric cars are in such demand that few dealerships keep vehicles for test drives – we had to drive an hour to find a model. (Oh, and be sure to specify if you want all-electric, so you’re not surprised by a hybrid like we were.)
We made our appointments the day before. The same day we called ahead to make sure the car hadn’t been sold. A car listed on a dealer’s website does not guarantee that it is in the lot.
Be prepared to wait or pay extra.
We saw a few cars, but ended up buying the first one we tested, the Kia Niro.
The markup on the Ford Mustang Mach-E, cost $15,000. If we had wanted Volkswagen ID.4, all we had to do was wait up to six months, our seller said. The Chevy Bolt hasn’t been in production for monthsand many other models could not be found either.
But because we didn’t buy the Niro as soon as we saw it, the seller didn’t want to undo a $5,000 price increase over the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. That’s life, we thought, and we moved on anyway.
EV credits are confusing.
We dreaded to redeem incentive up to $7,500 the federal government is offering EV buyers. This is not an instant discount; you have to wait until tax season.
We were willing to finance the purchase, but the dealer convinced us to enter into a lease, which included the full government incentive in the form of a rebate, plus a small additional rebate that covered the administrative costs of the lease. Our contract allows us to purchase the car for whatever cost remains at any time during the rental period, plus a $300 fee, so we’ll do that in a few months to avoid costly rental fees. We calculated that we could pull out a few hundred dollars up front, but the real value was that we got the credit right away.
A critical year for electric vehicles
The popularity of battery-powered cars is skyrocketing around the world, even as the global car market stagnates.
It was a risky move though. Chris Harto, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports, told me there could be a lot of pitfalls. “I certainly wouldn’t do that without reviewing all of the documents very closely,” he said.
California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is confusing, too. First, the program, which offers rebates of $2,000 or more on the purchase of an all-electric vehicle, East funded and there is no waiting list, despite outdated messages on its website.
But the income cap recently changed: if you earn more than $135,000 (or $200,000 filing jointly), you don’t qualify, which your dealer may not know or tell you. And the manufacturer’s suggested retail price cap has also been changed to not exceed $45,000 for sedans and $60,000 for SUVs and trucks. This means newly purchased Teslas are not eligible. And those numbers could still change.
There are other breaks there, including a $750 credit that California dealers apply at checkout and power company incentives.
Forget buying used.
We watched. There are extremely few used electrical appliances, unless you want to buy older models with lower ranges.
The Hyundai Kona we tested was the cheapest used electric model we found – and was listed at over $40,000, thousands more than its original suggested retail price. And used cars are not eligible for the federal tax credit.
Be realistic about your savings.
Gas is not cheap, but neither is electricity.
At about 18 cents per kilowatt hour, it will cost about $11.50 to fully charge our car’s 64 kWh battery. That’s a lot better than the $70 it costs to fill up our Subaru Forester to drive roughly the same distance. But taking into account the cost of the car, especially with the markup, we may not really save a lot of money compared to a conventional vehicle.
This is not the only reason to buy electricity, which we were reminded of on a particularly polluted day last week. And U.S expect to save on maintenance: no oil changes or spark plugs.
Compare the price per kilometer when using gas and electricity. the The Department of Energy also has a good calculator which shows you the lifetime cost of various cars.
An alternative: hybrids are much less in demand than all-electric ones. They are also much cheaper; you can save up to $10,000 to $15,000 at the dealership. Depending on your driving habits, you can still save a lot of gas.
In the end, we were happy that we could do it all in one day. And as we drove the new car around our neighborhood, we were further vindicated: the price of gas around the corner had gone up another 10 cents.
where we travel
Today’s tip comes from Pelle P. Smits, who recommends the city of Sonora, about 90 miles southeast of Sacramento:
“With the gold rush that brought many Mexican miners to the Mother Lode at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the early 1850s, they founded the city of Sonora. When visiting the city these days, it takes little imagination to experience Sonora as it was before economic deprivation initially drove people and business out of town. The center’s quintessential architecture is well preserved and invites a stroll to see archetypal Sonoran buildings, including the County Courthouse, Democratic Union House, and Tuolumne County Museum, all of which tell the story of the region’s fascinating past. The iconic Golden Chain Highway runs through the small but vibrant center of Sonora, home to many atmospheric restaurants and cafes where locals mingle with tourists en route to Tuolomne County’s breathtaking Stanislaus National Forest.
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.
And before leaving, some good news
The South Asian Network, an advocacy group based in Little India’s Southern California Artesia, will soon receive $200,000 to expand programs around mental health, citizenship assistance and small business support .
Bank of America today announced the five winners of its Racial Equity Award, as part of its philanthropic efforts. One of the winners is Manjusha P. Kulkarni, who in 2020 co-founded Stop AAPI Hate, an organization that tracks anti-Asian harassment nationwide.
The award allows Kulkarni, who lives in Los Angeles, to donate $200,000 to a nonprofit of her choice – and she opted for the South Asian Network.
Part of the funds will go towards the creation of a small business mentorship program to help combat the negative effects on local South Asian small businesses of the pandemic and anti-Asian hatred. The program will start in a few months with at least 50 mentors.