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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    Mercedes bringing A-Class to US; heads further down market

      Mercedes will add another sedan below the CLA.

    Mercedes has informed dealers that there will be another sedan heading their way for 2018.  Mercedes-Benz has decided the US is finally ready for the A-Class. Mercedes has previously shown the 2011 A-class concept in the U.S., but did not send that model over. 

    Currently, the smallest and least expensive Mercedes sold in the U.S. is the Mercedes-Benz CLA, a 4-door fastback sedan that Benz calls a 4-door coupe.  When the CLA originally debuted in the U.S. in 2013, it started at $29,900 before delivery charge.  It has since crept up to $32,700. This new A-Class is expected to start below the $30k mark.2017 Mercedes A-Class - European Spec

    Previously, the A-Class was only sold as a hatchback (2017 A-Class in European Spec shown right), a bodystyle not particularly popular in the U.S. The 2018 A-Class will be the first time the model is offered as a sedan. The A-Class will use the same front-wheel-drive platform as the current CLA and GLA and is expected to utilize similar powertrain arrangements. 

    The 2018 Mercedes Benz A-Class sedan is expected to go on sales in the U.S. in September of 2018 with sales in other markets (read: Europe) next spring and China to follow.

    Look for the A-Class reveal at one of the auto shows during Fall 2017.

    Source: Automotive news (Subscription Required)

     

    Edited by Drew Dowdell

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    Mercedes keeps topping themselves in exercises of the pointless.

    Do they have some sort of convoluted marketing research that is telling them a CLA is too large for some buyers, so another shorter model on the same dopey chassis is some sort of answer? The CLA already requires amputees-only in the rear seat, can't WAIT to read review of how utterly useless a shorter CLA is going to be. And looky-gee- the s-class coupe is going to share the same nose with yet a CHEAPER crapbox. But it's all OK because: SALESSALESSALESSALESSALES!

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    47 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Mercedes keeps topping themselves in exercises of the pointless.

    Do they have some sort of convoluted marketing research that is telling them a CLA is too large for some buyers, so another shorter model on the same dopey chassis is some sort of answer? The CLA already requires amputees-only in the rear seat, can't WAIT to read review of how utterly useless a shorter CLA is going to be. And looky-gee- the s-class coupe is going to share the same nose with yet a CHEAPER crapbox. But it's all OK because: SALESSALESSALESSALESSALES!

    Sorry for being philosophical but....when you are a kid you assume the world will be run by adults when you yourself become and adult.

    Mercedes may well sell a lot of cars, but I am not really convinced they are run by adults...this marketing decision kind of backs up that feeling IMHO.

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    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Why not? They make the Eclass and the CLS. 

    They don't really need the CLS, but at least at that price point they are getting a pretty good up charge over the E-class.  The new E-class coupe looks stunning and it is larger than the old one since it isn't on a C-class chassis anymore.  Maybe they'll do a V8 in the CLS550 since there is no E550 anymore, I don't know, but there are some ways they can make it different from the E-class.  And they do more volume on the E-class than they do on the CLA/GLA.

    The CLA and A-class sedan would be basically same size, same space, same power, similar body since the A-class sedan concept is sort of swoopy design anyway.  I'd rather see the hatchback to a 2nd sedan.

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    It does seem odd to do a 2nd sedan off the A-class platform, unless the distinction is that the CLA is the 4dr 'coupe' and the new sedan will be more sedanish--more upright and have framed door glass...

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    7 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    An A-class sedan makes no sense unless it is to replace the CLA.   It would be selling 2 of the same model basically.  What they need to do is give us this:

    car_photo_526606.jpg?itok=edv0l8fF

     

    Gotta agree, if they are they going to waste the time to send it over here, might as well be different.

    Not sure how well it is going to sell either way though.....

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    Benz really needs a marque below the main brand.  Keep SMART even... just expand it to an actual lineup of real cars that people will buy. Platform share with real benz if needed. 

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    I liked my sister's old Benzes, even though they were high mileage money pits.  When they were in good running order, they had a bank vault solidity about them..

    Of today's Benzes, the only ones I really like styling-wise are the CLS and AMG GT coupe. 

    Just now, Drew Dowdell said:

    Benz really needs a marque below the main brand.  Keep SMART even... just expand it to an actual lineup of real cars that people will buy. Platform share with real benz if needed. 

    Maybe they should buy the Chrysler brands from FCA---have the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and RAM brands below M-B...wait, they already tried that...

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    43 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Benz really needs a marque below the main brand.  Keep SMART even... just expand it to an actual lineup of real cars that people will buy. Platform share with real benz if needed. 

     

    I like this idea, but I don't know about using the SMART name. I don't think it's looked upon very favorably or has much equity.

    That said, I don't have any alternative ideas.

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    2 hours ago, Frisky Dingo said:

     

    I like this idea, but I don't know about using the SMART name. I don't think it's looked upon very favorably or has much equity.

    That said, I don't have any alternative ideas.

    I'm sure somewhere in the history of the company they have an old nameplate the can resurrect.  With SMART, there is no need for a new dealership network. No new logos.  Just an increase in inventory.  So few people know about SMART to care.

    That said, I'd also suggest they re-launch as an exclusively EV and Plug-in Hybrid brand ala Prius or Ionq, with no purely gasoline models at all. 

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    I'm not sure if they need another brand..they just need to bring more A-class and B-class variants to the US if they want to cover the entry level market.   Outside the US, they have long been a broad-spectrum car maker from A-class to S-class and beyond, and then they have the whole range of commercial truck and bus models...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    2 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    I'm not sure if they need another brand..they just need to bring more A-class and B-class variants to the US if they want to cover the entry level market.   Outside the US, they have long been a broad-spectrum car maker from A-class to S-class and beyond, and then they have the whole range of commercial truck and bus models...

    Nouveau riche and pseudo riche Americans are a funny lot.  They don't mind if their aspirational brands come down to meet their already stretched wallets, but don't go any lower than that.  With this new A-Class, Mercedes is now playing in mid-range Civic and Altima territory.  Sure, both of those cars are larger, but for social climbers who only see the badge, that won't matter.  And that will mean that a bunch of hoi polloi are devaluing the brand when they should be driving Civics.

    It really should have been Benz who bought Opel, not PSA. 

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    5 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Benz really needs a marque below the main brand.  Keep SMART even... just expand it to an actual lineup of real cars that people will buy. Platform share with real benz if needed. 

    There could be money to be made if Smart expanded and used the A-class platform for a compact sedan and a CLA size sedan, but in the $18k and $23k range respectively.  I am sure they could get a 1.4 liter turbo off Renault for the motor, and they could do a little crossover, maybe some EV versions of those.

    I don't know if they really want to expand the range out that far though, or put money into that brand.  They are pretty busy with the Mercedes line as it is.  They are bringing the AMG GT sedan to the USA with possible 805 hp hybrid V8 powertrain.  Their future is really hybrid and electric rather than Smart brand.

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    7 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    There could be money to be made if Smart expanded and used the A-class platform for a compact sedan and a CLA size sedan, but in the $18k and $23k range respectively.  I am sure they could get a 1.4 liter turbo off Renault for the motor, and they could do a little crossover, maybe some EV versions of those.

    I don't know if they really want to expand the range out that far though, or put money into that brand.  They are pretty busy with the Mercedes line as it is.  They are bringing the AMG GT sedan to the USA with possible 805 hp hybrid V8 powertrain.  Their future is really hybrid and electric rather than Smart brand.

    That's assuming they could sell to the mouth breeding mouth breathing unwashed that pollute our highways with trash like the Sentra...not sure anyone ever built anything other than a trailer park or political party by aiming for the lowest possible point.

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    2 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

     With this new A-Class, Mercedes is now playing in mid-range Civic and Altima territory.  Sure, both of those cars are larger, but for social climbers who only see the badge, that won't matter.  

    The current CLA starts at a higher price than a Maxima or Lacrosse, and loaded goes higher than either of them also.  The CLA starts $300 less than an Acura TLX (their middle sedan) and $1,250 less than an Infiniti Q50.  They are playing low for Mercedes, but above the non-lux brands top offering, and right in line with the mid-range Acura and Infiniti.  

    And there are some that will only see a badge, however if it was just a badge that mattered the CLA wouldn't get outsold by the C-class and E-class and I think even the S-class was close to outselling it last year.  And the GLC, GLE, and GLS all outsell the GLA.  

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    2 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    The current CLA starts at a higher price than a Maxima or Lacrosse, and loaded goes higher than either of them also.  The CLA starts $300 less than an Acura TLX (their middle sedan) and $1,250 less than an Infiniti Q50.  They are playing low for Mercedes, but above the non-lux brands top offering, and right in line with the mid-range Acura and Infiniti.  

    And there are some that will only see a badge, however if it was just a badge that mattered the CLA wouldn't get outsold by the C-class and E-class and I think even the S-class was close to outselling it last year.  And the GLC, GLE, and GLS all outsell the GLA.  

    Acura TLX is infinitely nicer...

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    4 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    That's assuming they could sell to the mouth breeding mouth breathing unwashed that pollute our highways with trash like the Sentra...not sure anyone ever built anything other than a trailer park or political party by aiming for the lowest possible point.

    Well as I said, I don't think they have any interest in main stream product.  They could do a main stream brand, but why bother.  They pouring money into electric cars, they don't need a distraction.  I think it is a waste of time to offer two 4-doors off the front drive platform, they should have a 4-door, a hatchback and a GLA and GLB crossover, because crossovers are what sell.  The GLB is supposed to look like the off roader concept they had a couple years ago.  

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    2 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Well as I said, I don't think they have any interest in main stream product.  They could do a main stream brand, but why bother.  They pouring money into electric cars, they don't need a distraction.  I think it is a waste of time to offer two 4-doors off the front drive platform, they should have a 4-door, a hatchback and a GLA and GLB crossover, because crossovers are what sell.  The GLB is supposed to look like the off roader concept they had a couple years ago.  

    Actually the GLB might be something I find appealing...

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    Remember when MB was meant to be aspired to here in the States, with the prices to match?  Ever since the CLA was released to us here, it is as if MB is trying to be GM or VW without the mainstream brands to pull off.  The obvious question is: why would MB whore itself out just for a few more measly sales?

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    MB's largest market by far is China, and China is still has the largest potential for growth, I believe. Remember- 1 out of 2 S-classes are sold in China- it's why the model is stylistically bland & stoic.

    The sales-focused MB wants to be at toyota-level sales numbers, and 'carpet bombing' every segment helps them get there. The A has been out in other markets prior to the U.S., but globally; if they have it they're going to stuff it in every market's catalog to boost numbers. So while there's absolutely no 'need' OR call for either the CLA or the A here, here they come.

    I don't know off hand what the low-end Chinese market does in numbers, but obviously Mercedes knows.

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    11 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    Remember when MB was meant to be aspired to here in the States, with the prices to match?  Ever since the CLA was released to us here, it is as if MB is trying to be GM or VW without the mainstream brands to pull off.  The obvious question is: why would MB whore itself out just for a few more measly sales?

    Younger buyers.  Brands like Harley Davidson have a greying demographic, Benz wants to avoid the same fate.

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    Just now, A Horse With No Name said:

    Younger buyers.  Brands like Harley Davidson have a greying demographic, Benz wants to avoid the same fate.

    The last number I saw for MB was 54 years old- solidly over the average of 51-52. CLA isn't appealing to buyers like Daimler thought, so whatever it's ABA may be, it's not shifting the overall much, if any.

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    The A-class in China sells for higher price than any Buick except the Enclave and Volt.  This is why Buick sells a million units a year in China, they have 6 or 7 products below CLA.

    Western Europe is actually Mercedes largest market but largest country sales would be China.  About 500k a year there and 380k in USA.

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    While everyone was concerned with Mercedes move down market, they forgot the other half of this story, also coming in 2018 is this nice 805 hp V8 hybrid sedan.  Which is actually the 2nd most powerful car they are releasing in 2018, and also when what ever the track record on the Nurburgring is goes down.

    mercedes-amg-gt-four-door-prototype.jpg

     

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    32 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    While everyone was concerned with Mercedes move down market, they forgot the other half of this story, also coming in 2018 is this nice 805 hp V8 hybrid sedan.  Which is actually the 2nd most powerful car they are releasing in 2018, and also when what ever the track record on the Nurburgring is goes down.

    mercedes-amg-gt-four-door-prototype.jpg

     

    Looks as bland as the rest of the product line. MB continuation of being the Toyota of the World known as Benz.

    This will help their luxury badge snobs, but giving more plastic blah products that are just as unreliable as the rest.

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    Boring, bland lineup, yes.  

    Mercedes-Maybach-G650-Landaulet-front-th

    2017-mercedes-amg-gt-r-inline1-photo-669

    s6501.jpg

    2016-Mercedes-Benz-SL-0.jpg

    129040-mercedes-benz-amg-gt-c-roadster-2

    mercedes-g63-amg-6x6-sdfks-1.jpeg?itok=v

    f1-mercedes-amg-f1-w08-launch-2017-merce

     

    I hope they can find some more excitement to compete with all the fun over at Audi or the spindle grills and front drive crossovers at Lexus. 

     

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    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    Boring, bland lineup, yes.  

    Mercedes-Maybach-G650-Landaulet-front-th

    2017-mercedes-amg-gt-r-inline1-photo-669

    s6501.jpg

    2016-Mercedes-Benz-SL-0.jpg

    129040-mercedes-benz-amg-gt-c-roadster-2

    mercedes-g63-amg-6x6-sdfks-1.jpeg?itok=v

    f1-mercedes-amg-f1-w08-launch-2017-merce

     

    I hope they can find some more excitement to compete with all the fun over at Audi or the spindle grills and front drive crossovers at Lexus. 

     

    Yes all auto companies have built limited production halo auto's, but the rest of the line up of same look from bottom to top speaks volumes.

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    6 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Boring, bland lineup, yes.  

    Mercedes-Maybach-G650-Landaulet-front-th

    2017-mercedes-amg-gt-r-inline1-photo-669

    s6501.jpg

    2016-Mercedes-Benz-SL-0.jpg

    129040-mercedes-benz-amg-gt-c-roadster-2

    mercedes-g63-amg-6x6-sdfks-1.jpeg?itok=v

    f1-mercedes-amg-f1-w08-launch-2017-merce

     

    I hope they can find some more excitement to compete with all the fun over at Audi or the spindle grills and front drive crossovers at Lexus. 

     

    You are handling this all wrong.

    Instead of slut shaming Cadillac for what they do and don't do...

    Start a Benz club using the Club feature here.

    We are all car guys...we would welcome a robust discussion of the AMG cars or the Benz F1 efforts...

    I can't speak for the other guys...but yeah I will happily learn about the actual cars if you want to discuss them.

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    2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    ...and Don't feel bad if people don't want to discuss them at some point. I love Mazda, Mini and Subaru...not exactly everyone's favorite brand around here.

    Always liked the looks of the Mini Clubman and Countryman. Sadly I just do not fit in them. Not big enough. But they are cool cars. Just wish their reliability was better. Having a record of 104 defects per 100 mini's built is not good knowing they come off the assembly line with a defect from the get go. I have always wondered why BMW and MB have not been able to have better reliability. Asians have for the most part not counting China and the US seems to have gotten there, but European Auto companies seem to have slid backwards. Wonder if this is due to the crazy Socialist Union heavy handed attitude there.

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    Time will tell if down market and over saturation of Mercedes Benz in every drive-way will affect Mercedes perception in the US and Canada.

    Let it be known that that strategy did not bode well for Cadillac in the 1980s and Cadillac is still hurting from that decision (not the only misstep though) and BMW is hurting NOW because of those decisions made in the beginning of the 2000s.

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    15 minutes ago, oldshurst442 said:

    Time will tell if down market and over saturation of Mercedes Benz in every drive-way will affect Mercedes perception in the US and Canada.

    Let it be known that that strategy did not bode well for Cadillac in the 1980s and Cadillac is still hurting from that decision (not the only misstep though) and BMW is hurting NOW because of those decisions made in the beginning of the 2000s.

    Spoke for Truth, BMW does not for sure hold the badge thing that it once did and I suspect MB will be there too in a few years as they will be no different than going to a Toyota Dealer. You already have MB commercial vans at the front of the lot next to S, E, and C versions. With A&B versions cluttering up the lot at cheap ass prices, people are going to question why is the E&S a luxury auto sitting next to this blah A version?

    Like you say, time will tell.

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    On 6/20/2017 at 6:55 PM, smk4565 said:

    The current CLA starts at a higher price than a Maxima or Lacrosse, and loaded goes higher than either of them also.  The CLA starts $300 less than an Acura TLX (their middle sedan) and $1,250 less than an Infiniti Q50.  They are playing low for Mercedes, but above the non-lux brands top offering, and right in line with the mid-range Acura and Infiniti.  

    And there are some that will only see a badge, however if it was just a badge that mattered the CLA wouldn't get outsold by the C-class and E-class and I think even the S-class was close to outselling it last year.  And the GLC, GLE, and GLS all outsell the GLA.  

    Fuck it.. I'm just gonna ask MOFO.. Would U want to own a CLA??? Seriously.. Would U pull up in a CLA and try to hob nob with the S-Class owners.. (not talking about the ones driving a used 5+ year old model that they could have got for less than $19K with your brand spankin new CLA?? See I'd do it in a C-Class.. definetely in an ATS.. but a CLA??? Fuck no.. I'd feel more confident pulling up to them in a damn Civic. That be fact

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    The current CLA starts at a higher price than a Maxima or Lacrosse...

    They're like $300 apart- or in other words identical.

    LaCrosse U.S. May sales were 3183 to the CLA's 1310, however.

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    18 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Boring, bland lineup, yes.  

    Mercedes-Maybach-G650-Landaulet-front-th

    2017-mercedes-amg-gt-r-inline1-photo-669

    s6501.jpg

    2016-Mercedes-Benz-SL-0.jpg

    129040-mercedes-benz-amg-gt-c-roadster-2

    mercedes-g63-amg-6x6-sdfks-1.jpeg?itok=v

    f1-mercedes-amg-f1-w08-launch-2017-merce

     

    I hope they can find some more excitement to compete with all the fun over at Audi or the spindle grills and front drive crossovers at Lexus. 

     

    I'll display LUXURY HI Performance with Class..

     

     

    2016-cadillac-ats-v-review-0-980x420.jpgmaxresdefault.jpg

    2016-cadillac-escalade-platinum-review-s

    driven-2016-cadillac-ct6-platinum-awd_6.

    and since we don't have a Cadillac Sports car.. I call in this $100K monster as an honorary ringer:

    001-Callaway-Corvette-Z06-SC757.jpg

    dygrjdhsbqpn2us31bti.jpg

    After another WIN

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    Notice all Cadillac's "exciting" cars are 4 door sedans.   And the Escalade can't go off road, it is GLS competitor.  The AMG GT R can beat any Corvette ever made on the Nurburgring and a faster Black Series is coming.  Which is why Cadillac needs a sports car above Corvette.

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    ^ Yes, technically; it absolutely is. The only American 2-dr coupes that come quickly to mind are the Corvette & Viper.
    SMK thinks a "4-dr coupe" is an actual thing, and all 2-doors are 'coupes'.

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    11 hours ago, dfelt said:

    Always liked the looks of the Mini Clubman and Countryman. Sadly I just do not fit in them. Not big enough. But they are cool cars. Just wish their reliability was better. Having a record of 104 defects per 100 mini's built is not good knowing they come off the assembly line with a defect from the get go. I have always wondered why BMW and MB have not been able to have better reliability. Asians have for the most part not counting China and the US seems to have gotten there, but European Auto companies seem to have slid backwards. Wonder if this is due to the crazy Socialist Union heavy handed attitude there.

    My Mini is much more reliable than my sister's Odyssey, my father's Highlander, my Nephew's Pathfinder, my neighbors F-150,  my Brother in laws Pilot...

    Asian vehicles are wildly over rated in terms of reliability...

    5 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    ^ Yes, technically; it absolutely is. The only American 2-dr coupes that come quickly to mind are the Corvette & Viper.
    SMK thinks a "4-dr coupe" is an actual thing, and all 2-doors are 'coupes'.

    He also thinks in terms of a zero sum game...he finds down talking Cadillac to be more uplifting of Benz than actually talking about Mercedes cars.

    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    Notice all Cadillac's "exciting" cars are 4 door sedans.   And the Escalade can't go off road, it is GLS competitor.  The AMG GT R can beat any Corvette ever made on the Nurburgring and a faster Black Series is coming.  Which is why Cadillac needs a sports car above Corvette.

    Subaru has one exciting sedan and they sell more cars in the USA than Benz...

    2 hours ago, Cmicasa the Great said:

    I'll display LUXURY HI Performance with Class..

     

     

    2016-cadillac-ats-v-review-0-980x420.jpgmaxresdefault.jpg

    2016-cadillac-escalade-platinum-review-s

    driven-2016-cadillac-ct6-platinum-awd_6.

    and since we don't have a Cadillac Sports car.. I call in this $100K monster as an honorary ringer:

    001-Callaway-Corvette-Z06-SC757.jpg

    dygrjdhsbqpn2us31bti.jpg

    After another WIN

    But....it's not German!

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    15 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    ^ Yes, technically; it absolutely is. The only American 2-dr coupes that come quickly to mind are the Corvette & Viper.
    SMK thinks a "4-dr coupe" is an actual thing, and all 2-doors are 'coupes'.

    Those are 2 seaters, I'd consider the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger also as coupes....I think the loose definition of coupes today (2dr or 4dr) seems to be frameless door glass with a lower/sleeker roofline than regular 'sedans'...

    The Olds Aurora would have been likely been labeled a 4dr coupe today, as it had frameless door glass and was sleeker than the Olds 88/98 sedans of it's time..

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    2 hours ago, Cmicasa the Great said:

    f@#k it.. I'm just gonna ask MOFO.. Would U want to own a CLA??? Seriously.. Would U pull up in a CLA and try to hob nob with the S-Class owners.. (not talking about the ones driving a used 5+ year old model that they could have got for less than $19K with your brand spankin new CLA?? See I'd do it in a C-Class.. definetely in an ATS.. but a CLA??? f@#k no.. I'd feel more confident pulling up to them in a damn Civic. That be fact

    Ill answer this as well!

    Nope. The CLA is not a car I EVER aspire to own. Not even the AMG. Id rather the Fusion Sport and the Malibu Premier. Yes over the AMG  version also!

    Nope. The CLA does NOT make me aspire to own any other  Mercedes car. In fact, it  makes me question my aspirations to own a higher price tag M-B...quite the opposite effect of what  M-B CEOs want of  me.

    I do like the S-Class and if I was a high profile businessman in fear of getting kidnapped, Id get me a fortified, bomb proof S-Class...but then again, Cadillac does not offer a car in this class and THAT is why Id go for the S-Class....

    I did say car....I am not a SUV guy so the Escalade is out unfortunately...Id take President Obama's now Trump's Beast though in a heartbeat...and yes its a truck underneath....it looks like a car though!

     

    About the ATS....nope...I dont aspire to own that either!

    I  made a thread about it!

    The ATS still does not make  me feel like singing this song out loud!

     

    The CT6 kinda does...and the CTS V! Not the ATS!

    And like the CLA, the ATS....a Fusion Sport and  Malibu Premier or Impala is what Id buy over the small ''entry level" shytes!

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    • Some interesting reading. Here's Why People Are Willing to Pay More for an EV - CNET The Real Costs of Electric Car Ownership - CNET Why I Don't Own an Electric Car Yet - CNET EV Charging vs. Gas: We Do the Math to See Which is Cheaper - CNET I will say that the last writing where people say installing a home charger negates any savings on charging versus gas buying. That might be true if they have been driving a Prius but for me that had an SS my wife drove spending $600 a month on premium fuel or $7,200 a year on gas, even if I had paid the cost of an Electrician installing a home charger rather than doing it myself as I wrote about here:   I am still coming out ahead on home charging with an EV that is roomy, comfortable and way better in many ways than my SS was.
    • Yes, that is correct, the miles between charging that has been driven by my wife. Correct, on your 265 miles statement. We are charging almost 100% at home as unless I go on a road trip, there is no need for local fast charging at this time since we can just come home plug it in and the next morning before my wife leaves, she has a full battery pack. So other than the Electrify America Charging in Yakima that we did when we went for cherries two weeks ago, all charging is at home.
    • Great writeup, David! It's much appreciated. On your screenshot of "Charging Activity" Is that the miles driven between those dates?  So, you drove 265 miles from the 5th to 10th and it cost you $9.22? Am I reading that correctly? And at 0.10/kw that's about 92.2kw used from the two dates?  What percentage do you charge to at home? Are you charging to 100%? 90%? 80%?
    • The grand plan was a separate new service to the house of 200 amps so that the garage would have plenty of power for charging multiple EVs and I would have a separate bill each cycle for knowing what I was spending for EV driving. Waking up in the morning to a full charge of power and never having to stop at a gas station due to having a Level 2, 240-volt home charger is a luxury everyone should have allowing you to smile as you drive by a gas station with folks outside dealing with their fueling. The ultimate perk of EV ownership.  I started with reaching out to my local utility and inquiring of the process for a new service. My local utility was more than accommodating in helping me out with the details. As an engineer that loves to learn, this process was very eye opening into the costs, lack of efficiencies by agencies and electrical contractors with a surprising ending to my eventual solution. Let's start off by making one thing clear, every state has their own regulations in regard to electrical. While the USA follows the national electrical code as a starting point, each state, county and city then adds their own additions or subtractions to the code. Always make sure to follow your local code no matter if you hire a company, independent contractor or are a DIY (Do it Yourself) type of person. Full information on the national electrical code can be found here:  The National Electrical Code (NEC) - Electrical Safety Foundation (esfi.org) Another thing to point out is every state has their own way of dealing with electrical supply and competition. As such, some states allow their end users to pick among competitive electrical suppliers even to the point of choosing to use Green Energy (Solar, Wind, and or Hydro) or not (Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear). Other states tend to regulate this down to the city and or county within a state. Washington state is a regulated power supply state so that depending on the county you live in; you deal with your county or the state power supplier. Washington state has one of the greenest electrical grides in the country. It produces 7,816 MWh of electricity and it breaks down as follows: Figures as of May 16th, 2024 Petroleum-Fired - 0% Natural Gas - 21.3% Coal-Fired - 3.9% Nuclear 10.3% Renewables - 64.1% (Hydro, Wind, Solar & Ocean) Fueling Stations in Washington State: Motor Gasoline - 1,846 Stations Propane - 64 Stations EV Charging - 2,153 stations E85 - 5 stations Biodiesel, CNG, & Other Alternatives - 8 stations If you wish to check out your own state information you can do so here by clicking on your state:  U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis Starting off on my project I had decided to go ahead with a ChargePoint+ Home Flex Hardwired solution. Yes, there are a wide variety of good home chargers that run from $250 to $2000 dollars such as the Porsche home charger. Home Flex Hardwired Level 2 EV Charger (chargepoint.com) The choice of this charger was based on the following: Some of the best reviews out there by thousands of people Hardwired allowed me the best power supply available to the EV building in future protection as newer EV tech comes online. ChargePoint sells both CCS and NACS supply cords, making upgrades from my current EV with CCS to a future EV with NACS easy as a self-Upgrade to the charger. ChargePoint app allows for use both at their fast-charging network and to track my own use and cost. You can find a large diverse choice of L1 and L2 chargers on Amazon or from other sources. Many utilities will have rebates if you purchase through your local utility or in the case of my own system, I had to file a rebate form as my charger was on the approved list, but not available from my utility. ChargePoint+ also points out that till 2032 you might be able to qualify for a $1,000 rebate from the federal government. Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Incentives | ChargePoint Now that I have covered some of the basics about electrical and power source, lets dive into my journey for a Level 2 Home Charger. Karl at the Snohomish PUD sent me a form that I had to fill out, this was a "New Service Residential Request" form. Here I had to fill out the normal details such as my house address, current status of the electrical to the home, type of new service being requested, pictures of where the service would need to be connected to the house and where I wanted the service panel to be, etc. This form had an area for requested measurements from the house to the utility pole, gross measurements of where the wiring would need to go so that the service could be sized up accordingly. The last part was the direction from my PUD on checking with the city for any additional requirements. For those wanting to see what the new service request form looks like I supply it here: 1097R_NSQres.pdf City requirements were that any electrical changes to the existing structure that comprised more than 10% cost of the home improvement value as assessed by the county required that the electrical lines from the utility pole to the house be installed underground rather than overhead. Luckily for me, my estimated costs would be under this so I was not looking to have to figure this into the cost of adding the service or so I thought. Karl at SNOPUD said he would do the assessment and have out to me the updated info shortly. In the meantime, I reached out to a couple of recommended electrical companies from the SNOPUD website and a few independent electricians to get estimates on the work to be done. Specifically, I wanted two quotes, first is the all-new service added to the house with dedicated panel feeding the garage. Second was updating the existing panel to support a charger in the garage using my existing service. Here I was expecting a $5 to $6 thousand dollar install connection for the first service and based on the auto industry estimate of around $1,500 to $2,000 for the second. Boy was I off by a bunch. All the estimates from both the electrical companies I contacted, and the independent contractors had the new service install between $10 to $12 thousand dollars and the existing services was between $4,700 to $6,200. This also did not include the connection to the PUD. Here I was informed from Karl at SNOPUD that the service could be done but would require a new transformer to our cul-d-sac to support the added amperage pull. As such, this was more than just a wire connection but an outage to the cul-d-sac ending in an almost $15,000 charge. Who knew that adding a service where you pay them for the flow of electricity would have such a huge cost and impact on my project. This put the cost of a new service between $25,000 to $27,000 dollars. So much for the Auto Industry estimates of $1,500 to $2,000 dollars and it also did not include the required $125.00 electrical permit I would have to get from the city and inspection. I did keep in mind that the price of electrical work varies based on the cost of labor where one lives, power of the charger, distance from the charger to the electrical panel along with the job complexity. What about DIY (Do it Yourself), could I do this job myself and what would the cost be? First, I knew from all the quotes that I was greatly under my 200-amp service pull as I have Gas stove, Dryer, Water heater and Furnace. As such, the 240V 30-to-50-amp circuits that are in my panel are not being used at all. One of the independent electricians had stated that the cheapest way would be to pull an existing circuit breaker and run the wire into the panel with the new Circuit breaker, but most electricians did not like leaving existing wires from outlets in the panel even if they were sealed off, they just did not like doing this, so everyone had quoted based on adding a secondary panel. With this information, I researched from the ChargePoint+ website on installing the hardwired charger I had purchased from them. ChargePoint+ has installation videos and covers all the information on installation as well as becoming a certified installation expert. ChargePoint Home Resources | ChargePoint ChargePoint Home Flex (CPH50) Hardwired Installation Video | ChargePoint Become a Certified ChargePoint Installer | ChargePoint From the website above I gathered the following information on the materials that I would need. Conduit large enough to hold the wiring Brackets to attach the conduit and screws 90-degree wire access conduit Associated pipe nipple for connection into the panel Insulated bushing Appropriate washer and locknut for connection to the panel 6 AWG wiring Black, Red and Green wires per code ChargePoint+ clearly states to use 6AWG for their Level 2 Charger installation. 6 AWG wire stripper 70amp circuit breaker Some states require these to be Arc or GFCI for indoor or outdoor, national code for outdoor installation is a GFCI breaker upstream from the outdoor installation. Check local regulations for proper type required. Make sure to get the proper type of circuit breaker for your panel, I had D block circuits. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters vs. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters - Bob Vila Torque Screwdriver set Most do not know that depending on the size of the circuit breaker, when you connect the wiring to the breaker, the screws must be torqued to a certain range. The 70amp circuits per the side of the breaker states 45 in. lbs. Paintable caulking to seal both access points into the house for the charger. With having my list of materials, I choose to first compare prices online from Home Depot and Lowe's. What I found was that Home Depot was much higher in the cost of the wiring, but cheaper in conduit, circuit breakers and accessories. Lucky, I have both home improvement stores within a 2-mile radius of my house. What I also noticed was that neither home improvement store had the required tools I would need, so clearly, I would have to stop off at my local Harbor Freight tool store. Harbor Freight Tools | Quality Tools, Lowest Prices With the knowledge of what I needed and a shopping list, I headed out and accomplished the following: Electrical Permit from my city.  Wiring from Lowe's - Lowe’s Home Improvement (lowes.com) Conduit, circuit breaker and accessories from Home Depot - The Home Depot Tools from Harbor Freight tools company - Harbor Freight Tools | Quality Tools, Lowest Prices Opening up the electrical panel as you can see here, I have my household 200amp circuit at the top. This will kill power to everything in the house, below this was the kitchen and laundry room 240V circuit and then on down throughout the rest of the house to the garage with various circuits. At this point, I knew that I would be turning off the 200amp circuit to work on this panel and protect the rest of the house. Note to point out is that when you turn off this 200amp circuit, the power is not flowing to the rest of the panel, but you still have the power coming from the street to this panel and so there is live electricity in that 200amp circuit. One must always be cautious when working with electrical. One safety thing to do, remove ALL jewelry, watches, phones, etc. Have nothing on you that is electrical or any kind of metal and that includes a wedding ring. All these are places that can cause an electrical jump / short that can cause you harm. As one that grew up working on auto's and having great respect for the electrical system of auto's, homes, datacenters, etc. there are some things that I do not have a problem doing. In this case I kept the power to the house on while I pulled the panel cover off. A proper panel should have all the wires in 90 degrees to the circuit breakers and to the grounding / neutral bars that are silver in this case. Here I have not had any manipulation of the box done with patchwork electrical hacks. It is always best to learn the details or hire the proper person to do your electrical work. Being that I am comfortable with pulling out the circuit breaker that is turned off, I choose to pull and replace the 240V 30-amp laundry room circuit. Here in this picture, you can see it removed and a better view of the grounding / neutral bar of the electrical panel. At this point, I wanted to pull out the punch of where I was going to run the new electrical lines into the panel. Once I pulled out the punch, I drilled a small starter hole from the inside to the outside so I could line up properly the larger drill bit for the incoming conduit. Upon drilling, I attached the pipe nipple extension to the 90-degree wire access conduit, and I inserted it through the outside wall. Here I put on the washer, lock nut and insulated bushing as you can see here. Now the next step was to install the conduit, some love their hard conduit and gluing it together as it comes in 10ft lengths, and you then have to either use a special heater tool to bend the hard conduit or buy the proper pieces that are curved. I choose to go with liquid proof flexible commercial conduit. The benefit here is that while this is a bit more expensive, the flexibility of the line makes it so much easier to install. One thing no matter what type of conduit you choose to use is that one has to run the electrical lines through the conduit. Hard conduit can be with tight bends very challenging to run the electrical lines unless you have a special tool that allows you to snake through the conduit, attach the electrical lines and then it uses an electrical motor to pull it. I choose to run my flexible conduit out in a straight line, and I had pushed through my three 6awg lines through it so that I had the wire already in the conduit. Now this does make the conduit much heavier to install, but I found it faster and easier to do it this way. You will also notice that I have a Black, White and Green wire rather than the code dictating a Black, Red and Green wire. Both Lowe's and Home Depot were out at the time of purchase the red 6awg wire. So, I did what is allowed and that is on the ends of the wire at both ends, I wrapped them with red electrical tape. I started with connecting the liquid tight end connector to the flexible conduit and attaching it to the 90 degree wire access to the panel. I pushed the wires through to the inside and reattached the liquid tight cover and then started using the brackets to attach the conduit to the house. Two things to consider, one is the over all look of the installation, sometimes the cheapest approach is not the best especially when it comes to ones significant other, wife, partner, etc., not everyone likes to see conduit. I choose to do my best to minimize the visibility of the conduit and once I paint it to match the house it will truly not show up as the wife never noticed it when she came home till after I showed here. Upon installation of the conduit with the 6 AWG wires, it was time to mount the home charger in my designated place. Here you need to make sure it is level, supported by the wall which can sometimes require additional bracing. Here you see my ChargePoint+ unit being installed on the wall. With the charger installed onto the wall, I finished up the connection of the conduit / wires into the unit. Connected the electrical supply side and the charging cable side and reinstalled the cover. With the installation of the charger unit and wiring done, it was time to focus on the circuit breaker installation side. Here I had an LED head light as I finally turned off the 200-amp circuit breaker to the house. I attached the red and black wires to the circuit breaker, installed the ground wire and then installed the circuit breaker into the panel. I also at this time wrapped each wire from the laundry outlet in proper electrical tap and a wire twist to add additional protection and secured them out of the way in the panel corner. I also at this time used my torque screwdriver to ensure proper torque on the wires. With the installation completed at the panel side, I turned back on the 200-amp circuit enabling the house to have power and was time to go enable the charger unit. Here ChargePoint+ has an outstanding cellphone app to enable you to finish up the setup of the charger. I was able to connect to the unit via WiFi and set the unit to 70 amp circuit hardwired. I also then connected it to my house WiFi for internet access. This allowed me to do a update on the unit for software. Here ChargePoint has on the left side of the unit indicators for WiFi connection. Green is good and as you can see in the picture above, I have WiFi connection and the alert is showing green so no issues with the charger. Upon using the regular ChargePoint software app on my smartphone I was able to complete setting up an account and final configuration of my charger as a home charger unit. The unit is green when not in use but ready to be used. During Charging the unit is a pulsing blue. At this point, I had a functional Level 2 240V 50amp hardwired home EV charger with CCS connector. What did this cost me, simple a total of $1,032.23 Level 2 ChargePoint+ Home Flex hardwired charger: $549.99 plus $54.99 sales tax before $200.00 rebate. Total Cost of Materials: $391.77 which was from Home Depot & Lowe's. Tools bought for the job: $110.48 which comprised of a 6 AWG wire striper and a Torque Screwdriver set from Harbor Freight. Electrical Permit: $125 from the city. Best part of this is the cheap charging we get at home at .10 cents per kW. The ChargePoint app allows me to track and monitor in real time our costs and amount used, so it will make it easy to subtract it from the electrical bill to see the house use versus the EV. The app shows that I am constantly at the 11kW controller capabilities of home charging from Kia. This brings me back to why I titled this the Good, Bad and the Ugly. New Service request is the ugly as the costs of the new service from my power supplier has costs that have never been talked about before to me and I still have to pay for the electrical use which makes this the ugly when you are looking at a five figure cost. The bad is clearly adding the new service panel and the associated costs to an electrical company to do the work, pretty much double what the auto industry has stated having a Level 2 home charger installed would actually cost. Good is for those of you who are willing to learn and do the work, a DIY install is in my humble opinion a very cheap way to go even though it did take a chunk of my time, I have no regrets about learning the process to install and dealing with my city on installation. End result is a quality home charger that will serve me well for many years. Please post any questions or comments, happy to respond on this personal journey into home charging of my EV. View full article
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