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  • G. David Felt
    G. David Felt

    Leasing / Buying an EV Auto in 2024

      One person's experience of buying/leasing an EV in 2024.

    Tired of the Voom, Voom, Voom of a performance Borla exhaust, the wife asked for a new ride. This is my journey of what I experienced in working to buy/lease an EV in 2024.

    Let me first start off by saying that I am in no way a normal sized human. At 6 foot 6 inches 300 lbs with a 40 inch long legs, I am much larger and big bone than most Americans. My wife being of Korean descent is also larger than most at 5 foot 8 inches compared to the average female height of 5 foot in Korea. The USA census has the average female at 5 foot 4 inches tall and the average male at 5 foot 9 inches tall. With this knowledge of size, subcompacts, compacts are totally out of the question. I know mid-size to full-size is where our EV choices will be.

    My journey started with me asking myself, what are the Pro's and Cons of buying versus leasing an Electric Vehicle (EV).

    pros-and-cons-of-leasing-vs-buying-a-car.jpg

    This image above pretty much wraps up what I came up with for leasing versus buying an EV and there was just one last thing to consider, technology. Battery Technology, controller boards and software are all in their infancy and as such will be probably changing greatly over the next few years. Do I take on the risk of buying and having the OEM stop updates to my EV or do I lease and go with trading it in and getting current technology in a new EV two or three years later?

    EVs.jpg

    2023 was an explosive year for auto companies as everyone was pushing to get an EV on the marketplace. Some made it with less than stellar results and others delivered. Trucks, SUVs and cars pretty much allowed one to have a selection of what style of EV they wanted. For my wife and I we had already decided to ignore the cars and focus on the SUVs and Trucks. With that in mind we made up the following list of EV companies to consider.

    • BMW
    • Cadillac
    • Ford
    • Genesis
    • Hyundai
    • Kia
    • Mercedes
    • Rivian
    • Tesla

    A busy weekend ensued and the experiences of driving so many different EVs showed where some succeeded and others fell short. Clearly some are still holding onto ICE (internal combustion engine) legacy engineering approach and others delivered on what is called a clean sheet design. Here was our weekend experience with the following brands:

    • BMW - iX was a nice drive, interface experience was fine, it actually had plenty of room in the front, a little tighter in the back but for short drives, another person my size could sit behind me and would be fine. Exterior is a styling love / hate experience. Wife is not a fan of the huge kidney bean grill; she said it looked like a pig nose on steroids. The side profile was fine, and the back end looked like it was pinched in molding the design. Android Auto / Apple Carplay supported, overall, it would still be considered. Salesperson was polite and not pushy.
    • Cadillac - Lyriq was the quietest drive of the day, Cadillac has nailed it, fast, solid and overall, a luxury EV ride. Interior over all was good, a little tight on head space with the sky roof, but the seat goes down far enough to adjust for that, interface of the dash was good. Android Auto / Apple Carplay is supported for the 2024 model year but is supposedly going away for the 2025 model year being replaced with the GM play store. Exterior styling my wife was fine with, better front end looks than the BMW. Would be on the consideration list. Salesperson was polite and not pushy. Nice balance of buttons to touch screen.
    • Ford - Test drove an F150 Lighting and the Mach e, interior was fine, she liked the space and comfort. Was hoping for a midsize pickup truck, so ruled out the Lighting. Mach e she liked, both fit comfortably and clearly anyone could sit behind me my size and smaller. Android Auto / Apple Carplay supported. Major dislike was the salesperson who was very pushy and made comments that told my wife he was a male chauvinistic pig. He actually told me to man up as the wife would drive whatever I decided since I was the man. Big mistake as we do everything in equal partnership, so his approach failed to work. Mach e is still in consideration, we will go with another salesperson, maybe even another dealership.
    • Genesis - GV60 / GV70, exterior was fine, though the GV60 she did say reminded her of a jellybean. Interior was very luxurious, but no one could sit behind me in the GV60, would be fine for short trips in the GV70. Android Auto / Apple Carplay supported. Interface was easy to use. She loved the interior but had reservations on the exterior but could not put her finger on it. GV70 would be in consideration. Nice balance of buttons to touch screen.
    • Hyundai - Ioniq 5 SUV. She was not wowed by the exterior, felt it was sitting a bit low, bunker style, yet interior had plenty of room, Android Auto / Apple Carplay supported. Solid candidate to consider. Salesperson was nice, normal pushy attempts to have us make a decision, but as we told him, we still had others to test drive. Nice balance of buttons to touch screen.
    • Kia - EV6 / EV9 - Exterior was not bad, was clearly different than many of the other EVs we had seen. EV6 is super tight inside for me, was fine for the wife as was the interface of their dashboard. No one could sit behind me. EV6 was out she said. EV9 was great, more room inside than our Escalade. Anyone could sit behind me, spacious for both of us and would transport anyone in comfort. Liked the exterior styling much more than many of the others we had test drove to date. Android Auto / Apple Carplay supported. Salesperson super nice and not pushy. Solid candidate. Nice balance of buttons to touch screen.
    • Mercedes - EQS, interior was nice, driving was the second quietest behind the Cadillac. Interface was fine, but lower menus seemed cluttered. We liked the interior for the most part, the hard part of this EV was the exterior lack of any real styling. The worst Jellybean style around. Android Auto / Apple Carplay supported, Salesperson was super nice and not pushy, but as we told him when we thanked him for his time, the auto needs an identity. Wife said for her daily driver, this was a hard pass.
    • Rivian - R1T / R1S - Exterior was a win for the wife right up there with the EV9 from Kia. Interior was also a big win as it was spacious and comfortable front and back. Interface was easy to use, over all a nice balance of buttons to touch screen. Sadly, Rivian is off the list as she asked the counselor about Android Auto / Apple Carplay, no support, no plan to support it. Must buy your apps from the Rivian store, failure big time we felt. Bummer as Rivian was a leading candidate for us.
    • Tesla - Due to friends who have Tesla, even with her knowing my dislike for the Tesla CEO, she wanted to check out the Y / X. Overall the experience in talking with their counselor was good, good people skills, they went over the interface with the wife, in the meantime she saw that while I could fit in the Y, no one could sit behind me. in the X I could also fit, but only about 2 inches of space from the back of the seat to the back seat. Wife asked about Android Auto and Apple Carplay, they told her no plans, they offered her a test drive and she passed. Told me it was a bit weird in how you used the single interface in the center of the dash and a few other things, minimalist failure to her. Pass on Tesla.

    Now that we had spent a long weekend driving so many EVs, I asked her what her thoughts were on what she was leaning towards. She told me give her a few weeks to digest the information and she would let me know. While the wife digested the EV overload of info, I moved onto researching the EV technology of these auto makers.

    Snag_195829b.png

    Auto EV Platform Info 2024.pdf

    One key item is that I do not want to be behind the 8 ball of technology standards. In this case, I am talking about companies that are on 400V platforms versus 800V platforms. in this case, this brings us down to the following, Cadillac, Genesis, Hyundai and Kia as everyone else is on 400V platforms and already have announced that 2025 and 2026 model years will be the conversion to new 800V platforms.

    Knowing my wife, one does not rush her, when she is ready, she will let me know, weeks passed by and finally one day at breakfast, she said I have an answer for you. I like the Cadillac Lyriq and the Kia EV9 the best. I want heated seats, steering wheel and AWD, otherwise I could care less about other features.

    In looking on the websites for my local dealerships, the Cadillac dealership that I have bought from before was sold during the pandemic to Brotherton Cadillac of Renton. So Brotherton Cadillac NW is the dealership near me, and the wife and I reviewed all the Lyriqs and settled on the following:  Cadillac Lyriq Sport 2 AWD Celestial Metallic. This paint color is a color shifting paint that covers purple to silver / grey spectrum depending on the light of the day and especially as I discovered sun versus rain. In the sun it is a radiant purplish color and under dark raining weather a serious silver/dark grey.

    2024-Cadillac-Lyriq-Sport-Configurator-Celestial-Metallic-GJY-Front-Three-Quarters.jpg

     

     

    Chuck Olson Kia which is less than a mile away from Brotherton Cadillac NW on HWY 99 here in the greater Seattle area had a nice assortment EV9s in Wind, Land and GT versions. They had the traditional blue GT and an Ice Green that the wife really liked. So I settled on the Ice Green to test drive and see what the final price would be.

    20240426_141116.jpg

    Again, like the Lyriq, the ICE Green metallic paint job has a dominant blueness but turns various shades of lite green to greenish blue depending on the light of the day.

    At this point we get to the nitty gritty of the dealing, Price paid, rebates, final pricing to determine what the deal ends up being. Over dinner, the wife and I discussed the options of buying versus leasing and to both of us, it made sense at this early stage to lease rather than buy an EV. The addition of the IRA $7,500 rebate also played into our decision. For Cadillac the Lyriq qualifies again for the full $7,500 rebate whether you buy or lease, in the case of the Kia, due to manufacturing in Korea, the EV9 only qualifies for the rebate if you lease. This fall, Kia and Hyundai start manufacturing in the US allowing their EVs to get the full $7,500 rebate if buying.

    For me, I wanted to see what a zero down Lease deal would be as a starting point before paying down. Depending on credit rating, most auto leases require anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 down and of course the more you pay down, the lower your monthly payment is.

    The nature of my work allows me flexibility and as such, I was able to go on a Friday morning at 10am to the Brotherton Cadillac NW to test drive the Lyriq Sport 2 edition. In fact the EV is still on the lot now almost two weeks later.

    New 2024 Blue Cadillac 4dr Sport w/1SJ LYRIQ for Sale North of Seattle, VIN = 1GYKPVRL1RZ127387 (brothertoncadillacnw.com)

    Upon driving onto the lot, I parked and saw the Lyriq as it shinned in the morning sun giving that purplish glow that my wife liked. I walked up and checked it out externally and it looked great. After about 10 minutes of checking the Lyriq out, I was still not approached by anyone, so I went into the sales floor and asked if I could talk with someone about a Lyriq. First salesperson said I needed to talk to their EV specialist and walked away, a second person came out of a side hallway and asked if I was being taken care of and I told them what just happened, and I was still standing here. He did apologize and asked me to wait just a moment and he would get the specialist. 

    A young man came out, introduced himself and asked me if I had any special model in mind and if I wanted to take a test drive. I took him out to show him the one I was interested in. He took down their special code and left to get the keys. At this point, over all experience with the dealership was not bad, neutral for me as it is nothing personal, just business and some do it better than others.

    The sales rep returned with the keys, he opened up the Lyriq and took me on a tour of the auto pointing out many of the features and explaining the functional differences between how it works on the EV versus an ICE auto. This I have to say was very welcomed as it showed me the man had knowledge of the auto and could show / explain to me how it was to be used. I appreciate this as my wife is not a tech person but show her how to do it and she it set, so this was a good start. We did the traditional driver's license and insurance validation, signed on the dotted line and I then took off for a road trip in the Lyriq. Android auto works as expected, over all interface was easy to understand and use with a nice balance of common used items in physical form right under the screen. Steering wheel had all the expected buttons and dials for using the auto. The Noise canceling of the auto gave it a quiet ride that I have never experienced before and still to this day is the best yet of all the EVs I have test driven. 

    Negative of the Lyriq is that it is not a true SUV, you sit lower more car like and headroom while I would be fine, required me to drop the seat to the bottom of it's settings which makes my driving position even lower. Knowing that this is the wife's auto, I returned to the dealership to talk price.

    Here is where things started to go south and why people hate dealerships.

    I tried my best to negotiate in good faith for a fair price on the EV. The dealership replied that it was the hottest ride available and as such no discounts, you paid the price they had on the auto which was MSRP plus $5,000. I informed them that no I was not going to pay over MSRP for an auto that shows over 300 are available in the greater Seattle area. 

    The Dealership then said fine, they would sell it at MSRP to me. Knowing that I get $7,500 off I was not put off by this but also not happy that they would not go down on the price. I told them at this point I was interested in leasing and wanted to see what the lease rate would be for 15,000 miles a year for three years. Here is where it got ugly. 

    The sales rep came back to me and had a handwritten piece of paper with a TRD (Total after Rebates and Discounts) price, Lease money factor number, Residual price and monthly payment including tax. The monthly payment was a little over $1,200 a month. I asked to see firm numbers showing the selling price minus the IRA rebate, tax, etc. all lined up so that I can understand the numbers. I was informed this is how leases are done, your rebate is figured into the residual amount and that this is all the accurate info they provide the buyer. If I agree to this, they can then process and sell me the Lyriq.

    I told the man that this handwritten paper did not explain any of what I asked to verify and see, so they would need to properly print out or hand write all details in order for me to make a decision. The rep left and was gone for about 10 minutes and then came back with another salesperson who reminded me of a traditional wild west snake oil salesman who tried to use the same paper I was shown and yet tell me I was not able to understand the complexities of leases and should trust him on this awesome monthly cost.

    When I told him I would not accept that vague random info, he then moved into the terrible game of "What can you afford a month?" Here is where many people either give up and accept or leave as they feel overwhelmed, I on the other hand laughed and told him that I would not play his game. Show me the valid real numbers with a final price on the Lyriq before processing for the Lease monthly amount. 

    My wife always told me I was a very frustrating person when it came to buying an auto as I would push for facts and have on more than one occasion made salespeople cry when they could not get their way playing their monthly afford game. This is how people get ripped off and taken advantage of. The two folks left and came back with the sales manager who tried again with the paper to spin a different tale. At this point, I said fine, I would consider this as I needed to talk with the wife, and she would need to drive the auto anyway before we would buy. 

    Leaving the Cadillac dealership, I drove south to Chuck Olson Kia, figured I would see how the EV9 drove again and see what kind of deal I could get.

    Arriving at the dealership, I saw the EV9 I was interested in on the lot, looked it over and turned around to see if I can get some help and a young man greeted me and said he was with another customer, but would let another salesperson know I was looking at that EV9. Only a few minutes later, the sales rep came out, greeted me and had the keys so he opened up the EV and showed me the SUV. 

    Here the experience was similar in that we took the EV9 in Ice Green for a drive. As I drove it, I was informed about the various features and how they all worked. An overview that was enjoyable as I drove the near silent EV locally. I did notice that it was not as quiet as the Lyriq, but most would not really notice the difference, everything else on the road was far louder.

    We returned to the dealership and sat down; I asked the rep for the best price on this EV9 he could give me. He left to talk to his manager. Now I was comparing the price of the Lyriq Sport level 2 to this EV9 AWD Land edition and the MSRP price between the two was within a hundred dollars of each other. The EV9 had a number of features that the Lyriq did not have unless I paid substantially more and go to the top end Sport Level 3.

    At this point the Kia was winning on features giving it a better value due to the two being priced nearly the same.

    The sales rep came back to the table with a price that was $5,000 off MSRP. I felt based on internet searching that this was a fair price and felt it was good. I asked him then at this price with my IRA rebate of $7,500 what would a three-year lease with 15,000 miles a year cost me per month. The rep said give him a few minutes to have the manager put this in the system and he would come back with a detailed price for me.

    The salesperson returned about 10 minutes later with a Deal Sheet for me to review. Here is where the difference became clear between this Kia Dealership and the Cadillac Dealership. The Deal Sheet had all the numbers listed out clearly. Any person could walk through this in full understanding.

    The lease deal, started off with the Stock number for the EV9, had the MSRP listed, discount, then Selling price of the EV9. This was followed by a blank field for accessories or add on sales items as the sales rep explained. The rebate for $7,500 was clearly listed, blank space for Trade, cash cap reduction, license fee, doc fee ending in a final price of the EV that was then broken down by 36 months @ 15,000 miles a year for a Base monthly rental cost and then the sales tax on the whole deal which was broken down into monthly tax rate added to the monthly lease amount. Residual value at the end of the lease, a residual money factor that is a decimal number used to figure out the monthly lease rate.

    All in all, a very clear understandable deal and the monthly price for the EV9 was $837 per month compared to $1,200 plus for the Cadillac. I told the salesperson that I would need to talk to my wife when she got home tonight and would give him a call back. As I was getting ready to leave, I realized I had forgotten to ask an important question. Could the front driver and passenger windows be tinted to match the rest of the auto. Due to having had skin cancer, blocking out UV plus just having it darker is what I prefer. The sales rep said he believed so but would have to check with his manager and could call me if I gave him my number later. I left him my cell number and headed home.

    Sitting at home, I was thinking about the experience at the Cadillac dealership and wondering, can it really be that bad at any other dealership? So, I did a search and found the identical Cadillac Lyriq Sport 2 AWD Celestial Metallic at the Bellevue Cadillac dealership and much farther away at Larson Cadillac of Fife. Off to Bellevue I went.

    Arriving at the Bellevue Cadillac dealership, I was promptly greeted and professionally questioned on the auto I was interested in. The young man was always polite and more than happy to help me. This dealership is one of the newly built from the ground up dealerships that truly echo's Luxury and what I would expect from a luxury dealership.

    20240426_171646.jpg20240426_171434.jpg

    Due to the knowledge of the salesperson like the other dealership, it started off positive, went out to check and see if the auto their website stated they had on hand was actually there. It was, Identical to the one at Brotherton Cadillac NW in Shoreline Washington. At this point, I gave him the same info I had given the other person to see what the pricing would be.

    Ten minutes later he returned with a printed sheet of paper, that was better than handwritten. Had a set sale price that was a couple thousand off the MSRP, had a rebate of $1,000 showing a reduced price, document fee, licensing and a theft engraving that he said they do on all autos sold there so nothing I could do about not wanting it. The total at the end showed a lease money factor, term, mileage and residual with a base payment of $1,042 dollars. with no money down. 

    Now two things I noticed, one was that the IRA rebate was not showing anywhere on the paperwork and the second item was that at least their price was over $200 less than the other dealership. I inquired about the $7,500 rebate and he said he did not know and would go ask. Upon returning he said it was factored into the residual value of the Lyriq when I traded it back in.

    I pointed out that the rebate does not go into a value of the vehicle but is paid to the dealership and so comes off the price of the auto. Things continued to go downhill from here as I was told by him that I did not understand how leasing worked. His sales manager stopped by, and I pointed this out, same response, I do not understand how leasing works. I informed them that I would need to present this to my wife and discuss it with her. They attempted the pressure response of get her on the phone, we can explain it and you can drive home in your new EV. They were not happy with me and would not let me have the paperwork. When they stepped out to talk, I snapped a quick picture of the printed paperwork.

    Two Cadillac dealerships, two different lease prices on the identically spec / priced Lyriq Sport 2 and no honest showing of where the rebate would end up at. 

    Heading home this made me wonder about Cadillac and their EV focus which we have since learned in the news has changed to having ICE and EV through 2030 and beyond.

    At home, I explained my day of EV shopping to the wife, she was disappointed that Cadillac was not forthcoming with their pricing. She liked the looks of the Lyriq as much as the looks of the Kia EV9. At this point the phone rang, and it was the sales rep for Kia. He informed me that yes, the doors could be tinted and that his sales manager if we were willing to move forward with the deal would throw in the front window tinting. We setup an appointment for Saturday morning to go and test drive the EV9 with the wife to ensure she would be happy driving it.

    For full details on our EV9 Purchase read this story:

    Now at this point, I figured I would relax for the evening, but I got another phone call from a sales rep at Larson Cadillac who informed me that the Lyriq I was interested was already sold at their dealership, but he could make me another deal on a like existing Lyriq, different color. I informed him that my wife liked the 800V Lyriq in the Celestial Metallic. The man on the other end of the phone said he could see if they could do a trade to get what we were interested in, but he wanted me to understand that the Lyriq was not a true 800V EV. I was surprised by his comment and asked him why it was not a true 800V EV. I learned and have verified that the only EV GM makes that truly can handle 350 kW fast charging is the Hummers, the Lyriq has an 800V electrical system, but the battery packs are first generation and as such only rated at 400V meaning they have a top charging speed of 150 kW. GM is planning to roll out 800V battery packs starting with the Chevrolet and GMC full size pickups. All other EVs will continue to use the 400V battery packs for now. At this point, I thanked the man for his time and would think on it and get back to him.

    As a person wanting to be current, this takes me to the Kia EV9 only. I did not say anything to my wife about the tech and hoped she would be happy with how it drove. Luckily that was a success the next day.

    I have spent half my life on the sales side and in training new sales folks there is a pretty basic 5 step process in sales:

    1) Greet the customer inquiring what brought them in today 2) Qualify the person on what they want 3) Trial close to see if they are ready 4) Clarify questions and overcome concerns 5) Close the Sale.

    To accomplish this basic 5 steps, you first have to fully train the individual in what they are selling. Here Cadillac clearly is not or possibly the dealerships are not wanting to ensure everyone know how to sell an EV.

    Recap of this whole shopping experience is that Kia is nailing it with a professional sales experience, knowledgeable people on their products and a sales / lease process that is clear hiding nothing from allowing you to commit to buying or leasing a new auto.

    Cadillac on the other hand has left me with the feeling of snake oil salespersons at both dealerships with vague pricing, vague rebates and me wondering just how much they really want to earn my repeat business as I would love to replace my current Escalade with an Escalade IQ, but at this point, Genesis the luxury brand for Hyundai / Kia will reveal their Full Size GV90 ICE/Hybrid/Electric SUV summer of 2024 and I might just be replacing it with a Genesis.

    Any questions, ask away.

     


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    17 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    "Tired of the Voom, Voom, Voom of a performance Borla exhaust, ... "

    Nope. 

    Thinking on your response, I realize we all change as life happens. You have a new kid and are in a place that the Voom, Voom, Voom of the Borla exhaust still excites you. For me, I am in a different place as my kids are grown, into their own careers, bought their own homes and are now starting families of their own.

    This is where change happens, as we go through listening to our kids and talking with them and still the performance exhaust was fine to me then. Now with my kids having kids of their own, actively being a part of their life and my grandkids life, listening to the grandkids as I help with picking them up and dropping them off at schools before coming home to work myself, Silence is golden. I am at that stage where performance while I enjoy it, has changed in how I enjoy it and so having the silence with no other noise to enjoy my music or have a conversation with the wife, kids, or grandkids makes it one where you choose to give up on certain things. I have chosen to give up on the sound of the old ways of performance autos and embrace the new ways of performance autos. 

    Enjoy what you have now as time does change how you view things and what one wants.

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  • Posts

    • Yeah, it doesn’t pass the sniff test at all. No vehicle, not even a full size SUV, takes even 10 minutes to fill up much less 22. That doesn’t even qualify as making sense to believe it takes 22 minutes to fill up ANY vehicle that only has four tires on it. 
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