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  • Anthony Fongaro
    Anthony Fongaro

    EV-curious: An Opinion on the Market

      Curiosity about electric vehicles is sparking my interest, but am I ready for one?

    EV-curious. That’s what I would call myself. Someone that is interested in EVs but just hasn’t found the right one. There are many aspects of an EV that is appealing to me. Instant torque, quick acceleration, the ability to charge at your house or apartment, and the continuation of creating semi-autonomous driving. It’s all so exciting! I’m ready to go out and trade in my 2016 Volkswagen GTI for one now! Or am I? Let’s take a quick look at a small field of electric vehicles, starting with the brand new 2020 Porsche Taycan.

    The release of the 2020 Porsche Taycan is a feat in and of itself. The car itself is downright sexy, is has a handsome interior, and performance that is pure Porsche. Over 700 HP for the Turbo S model is impressive. It also costs what you would expect an electric super-Porsche would be since the range topping Taycans are coming out first. These are the Turbo and Turbo S which cost over $150,000. After these come onto the market, less expensive and less powerful versions will come. Would this be the car that I will buy? Sure, once I get that CMO position at a major company. This is a dream electric car, but not one that I would consider just yet. 

    What about an attainable electric car? There are a few on the market that cover the bases. Vehicles like the Hyundai Kona Electric, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and others have good to respectable range, decent features, and are not the most expensive vehicles. Average prices of $40,000-$45,000 is a bit steep, but electric cars usually command a premium over gasoline vehicles. They also have good driving aids such as blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, something that my current car has and is top priority for me. They’re all very good cars but with flaws such as build quality and designs that keep me from considering one. My problem is simple: performance. Electric cars have instant torque at 0 RPM and can be extremely fast. These EVs just don’t cut the mustard for me since they are more about range than blistering speed. For around $45,000, I can get a gas-powered car such as a Genesis G70 3.3T that is faster, has better range, and the safety features I want. Let’s continue from good electric vehicles to “the best”.

    Right now, you are probably thinking: “Anthony, you are forgetting the king of electric vehicles. They are synonymous with electric cars and have a huge cult following.” Guess who that is? Yes, that is of course Tesla. You can’t write about electric cars without talking about Tesla. They are a very S 3 X Y R brand indeed. The Model S introduced expensive but seriously quick electric vehicles. The X brought us an odd but much-needed crossover. The 3 is the bread-and-butter maker with a starting price around $40,000, and acceleration that beats almost all vehicles in its class. The Y hasn’t come out yet but is a crossover version of the 3, and the Roadster is a $250,000 supercar. Even though there are three models currently available, I will focus on the Model 3 Performance since that is the one I am most interested in.

    There is a lot to like about the Model 3 Performance. It has “performance” in its name and with 450 HP, it is one of the quickest sedans I’ve ever driven. The instant torque from the motors is intoxicating and it handles well for a heavy vehicle. Does it tick all the boxes to convert to a Tesla-fanatic? No. Why? The interior. I am not a fan of controlling absolutely everything with a touchscreen and not having my speedometer in front of me.

    The Model 3 Performance can have semi-autonomous driving, but it is a $7,000 option. Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system is standard and is regarded to be one of the best, if not the best driver-assist system. Tesla has sold over 250,000 Model 3 vehicles and it is a genuinely amazing feat for a young company. The range is good at over 310 miles. Pricing starts at $55,000 and is fully-loaded around $64,000. If you are okay with the minimal interior and styling, get yourself a Model 3. I personally am not a fan of either of those, so onward we go.

    This brings me to a car I am waiting for: The Polestar 2 fastback. Polestar used to be a sub-division of Volvo, like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. You can still get Polestar-tune Volvos, but Polestar has branched out into their own brand. The Polestar 2 is their first all-electric car. It has over 250 miles of range, 400 HP, and most import to me, gauges that are straight in front of the driver. The design is bold yet looks like an even more modern version of a Volvo. Since Polestar is a sporty company, the performance upgrades include upgraded shocks, brakes, and bigger wheels with Swedish gold seat belts. You get this package mainly for the gold seat belts. Is it pricey at over $60,000? Yes, but it feels justified for the 408 hp and range of 275 miles. 0-60 is said to be around 4.7 seconds but I suspect it will be lower. Will they sell Tesla Model 3 numbers of them? I highly doubt it since they area new brand, but it should be a great competitor to the Tesla Model 3.

    I like the concept of electric vehicles. I know that one day, there will be one charging at my house. Am I ready for an electric car? Yes. Is there any on the market that jumps out at me and gives me the satisfaction I have for my current car at a reasonable price of around $40,000 new? No.

    Do not get me wrong; there are electric cars that make sense for a multitude of situations. Range and charging are getting better, more features are getting added, and manufacturers are creating electric-only ranges of vehicles that will bring down the costs of more performance-oriented vehicles. I can go in-depth about certain electric cars in a future article. For now, I think I will keep my car and wait until something really catches my eye. That, or wait a few years and hope the Porsche Taycan depreciates enough that I can buy one.

     

    Edited by Anthony Fongaro

    Information and/or Photos courtesy of Porsche, Chevrolet, Nissan, Hyundai, Genesis, Tesla, Volvo, and Polestar.

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    Good write up.

    We already know that Audi and Mercedes will have electric sedans out in the next year or so, but these are going to be Model S, Taycan type competitors and probably cost $100k.  BMW is pretty deep in development on the i4.   I think we are 3-5 years out form there being more EV's in the $35-50k range that are desirable cars and not a compliance car like a Kona EV basically is. 

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    13 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Good write up.

    We already know that Audi and Mercedes will have electric sedans out in the next year or so, but these are going to be Model S, Taycan type competitors and probably cost $100k.  BMW is pretty deep in development on the i4.   I think we are 3-5 years out form there being more EV's in the $35-50k range that are desirable cars and not a compliance car like a Kona EV basically is. 

    I think you're basically right.  We're one more cycle away from having a really good selection of EVs.  2022 is when GM is going to BEV all the things. VW is starting next year.  Ford should be out with some BEV SUVs and Trucks soon. The list goes on.

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    @Anthony Fongaro Did you actually take a Chevrolet BOLT for a test drive and if so, did you put it in Performance mode? Would like to know what you thought.

    My wife and I both test drove one and if it was not for the Black and White dash, she would have said yes to buying one for her to drive and do her job. The performance mode is addictive as it really moves the BOLT along fast, faster than most people realize. You still end up with 200+ miles of range in Performance mode. Also, I am finding plenty of them on the market for around $24-25K with low miles being in the upper teens to low 30 K for miles. Most are the fully loaded Premier version too.

    Over all I would say your spot on in regards to your feelings about it and why more people have not gone the EV route yet, they are still waiting for an EV that is more inline with traditional ICE auto's.

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    That's a supposition AND it's subjective.
    Frankly, I for one don't particularly find the Model 3 'sexy'- it's bland, the rear end is overly stubby (MANY sedans are this way), and the 'despair gray' wheels still look like 'in-transit' protective plastic covers. But other 'sexy / good looking' cars frequently feature a lot more design time and elements; 2 things that cost more.

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    7 hours ago, balthazar said:

    That's a supposition AND it's subjective.
    Frankly, I for one don't particularly find the Model 3 'sexy'- it's bland, the rear end is overly stubby (MANY sedans are this way), and the 'despair gray' wheels still look like 'in-transit' protective plastic covers. But other 'sexy / good looking' cars frequently feature a lot more design time and elements; 2 things that cost more.

    Well yes, but you don't think any modern car is sexy, so you don't count. 😛

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    Not true! There’s a bunch... a few modern vehicles I think are pretty good designs. But you've got to admit the Model 3’s wheels are about the worst. 

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    2 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Not true! There’s a bunch... a few modern vehicles I think are pretty good designs. But you've got to admit the Model 3’s wheels are about the worst. 

    The wheels you're talking about are the special "efficiency wheel" design. It's supposedly for those people who want to eeek every last mile out of their range. 

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    It seems mainstream automakers in their effort to get their first volume EVs out (thinking of the Bolt and Leaf in particular) went down the path of being weird or radically different looking from everything else to get attention, rather than making something normal looking or a variation of an existing model.     Toyota similarly did this with the Prius and Mirai, Honda w/ the first couple Insights and the Clarity.  

    Are we now at a point where a dedicated EV can look like a normal model and be accepted?  M-B is going this way, will be interesting to see a mainstream brand do it...

    Edited by Robert Hall

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    2 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    The wheels you're talking about are the special "efficiency wheel" design. It's supposedly for those people who want to eeek every last mile out of their range. 

    🤮 Why "despair gray' tho?? Why not machined alloy or body color or anything else (or... speed discs).
     

    2 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    It seems mainstream automakers in their effort to get their first volume EVs out (thinking of the Bolt and Leaf in particular) went down the path of being weird or radically different looking from everything else to get attention, rather than making something normal looking or a variation of an existing model.     Toyota similarly did this with the Prius and Mirai, Honda w/ the first couple Insights and the Clarity.

    Think about it from a marketing perspective. Honda has a cheap-o $18K Fit, they recon-twiddle the dirty bits & make it an EV, and suddenly the "same car" is $40,000. Sales would be even worse than they are. No; you have to be offered 'something different/special' for the exorbitant price increase. Unfortunately, it's still not yet time for an 'EV version of a mainstream/existing model'... what is should be is a much more attractive/aspirational model. Porsche may be the first brand to figure that out.

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    23 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    One thing that confuses me about the Bolt.  It would have cost precisely $0 more to make it look sexy. It could have been a sedan like the Model 3, for slightly lower price, and actually looked good. Or it could have been a proper sized crossover... either way, it would not have cost more for them to build it that way. 

    But that's GM for you.  It should have been a sedan or crossover, but GM had to make a dumb decision somewhere, maybe they thought Prius-like hatchbacks were the way to go, but the Nissan Leaf doesn't sell well either, the Model 3 rakes in sales.  

    Although I don't think GM really has many well styled cars right now, even if it was an SUV they probably would have screwed up the styling.

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    On 9/6/2019 at 8:16 PM, balthazar said:

    ... pricing.

    Quoted for truth....

    On 9/7/2019 at 8:26 PM, smk4565 said:

    But that's GM for you.  It should have been a sedan or crossover, but GM had to make a dumb decision somewhere, maybe they thought Prius-like hatchbacks were the way to go, but the Nissan Leaf doesn't sell well either, the Model 3 rakes in sales.  

    Although I don't think GM really has many well styled cars right now, even if it was an SUV they probably would have screwed up the styling.

    The Buicks, Corvette, Camaro, Cadillac all nice....but SUV's From Chevrolet are unattractive IMHO and the latest iteration of trucks was literally conceived in a Meth on the west side of Detroit.

    On 9/7/2019 at 10:12 PM, balthazar said:

    Nissan Leaf is the global EV sales leader.

    Mindless transportation pod extraordinaire....

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    ^ of course; its a nissan after all. Just pointing that out; Tesla is not #1.

    Still lovin the Silverado over here. Sierra a bit better, bit I’d be stylistically happy with either.

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    3 hours ago, balthazar said:

    ^ of course; its a nissan after all. Just pointing that out; Tesla is not #1.

    Still lovin the Silverado over here. Sierra a bit better, bit I’d be stylistically happy with either.

    It's a one month blip. But in the UK, the Model 3 outsold the Focus which is one of the top 10 popular cars there. 

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    On 9/7/2019 at 2:02 PM, balthazar said:

    But you've got to admit the Model 3’s wheels are about the worst.

    That's one of their two available wheel designs.. The second design is available in two sizes, 19" and 20". 

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    Personally, for me Model 3 front looks really awkward and in general I don't think 3 looks good

    2018-tesla-model-3-performance-with-perf

    On the other hand I think Model S still looks great

    574819f0-8248-11e9-bddf-b0d9786935b6

    20 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Still lovin the Silverado over here. Sierra a bit better, bit I’d be stylistically happy with either.

    My coworker just got new Silverado, personally I think front looks horrible.

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    7 hours ago, ykX said:

    My coworker just got new Silverado, personally I think front looks horrible.

    I think it only looks good with a body color grille. 

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    On 9/6/2019 at 7:08 PM, dfelt said:

    @Anthony Fongaro Did you actually take a Chevrolet BOLT for a test drive and if so, did you put it in Performance mode? Would like to know what you thought.

    My wife and I both test drove one and if it was not for the Black and White dash, she would have said yes to buying one for her to drive and do her job. The performance mode is addictive as it really moves the BOLT along fast, faster than most people realize. You still end up with 200+ miles of range in Performance mode. Also, I am finding plenty of them on the market for around $24-25K with low miles being in the upper teens to low 30 K for miles. Most are the fully loaded Premier version too.

    Over all I would say your spot on in regards to your feelings about it and why more people have not gone the EV route yet, they are still waiting for an EV that is more inline with traditional ICE auto's.

    I did and it wasn't bad, but my problem with it is the entire package. I do love off-the-line acceleration of EVs but it didn't make me smile. Granted, I'm not saying it's a bad car, just that it isn't something I would buy/lease.

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