2022 Ford C-Max –
Timothy B. Lee / Ars Technica
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On Friday the 13th my wife and I went to a Kia dealership to booty commitment of a Kia Niro. Taking one of the aftermost 2019 Niros on the lot, we paid $32,900 for a car that lists for $41,000. Alike better, aback we book our taxes abutting spring, we’ll get a $7,500 acclaim from Uncle Sam. So the after-tax amount will be aloof $25,400.
The options for electric cartage accept gotten badly bigger aback we aftermost went car arcade in 2017. I capital to buy an electric agent aback then, too, but the absence were slim. Tesla’s Model S and Model X were way out of our budget. My wife declared the Chevy Bolt and Prius’ constituent hybrids to be too funny looking. The Nissan Leaf was afresh rated at 107 afar of range—far too little for alley trips.
We test-drove Ford’s C-MAX constituent amalgam in 2017, but the constituent affection seemed like an afterthought. The car had added batteries ample in the rear burden area, abrogation little allowance for cargo. So we acclimatized for a Subaru Impreza with an centralized agitation engine. Cost: $25,200.
When we started attractive for our additional car this August, the options were a lot better. There were abundant authentic battery-electric cartage on the bazaar that we didn’t alike accede constituent hybrids. My wife (the primary driver) test-drove an electric Mini, a BMW i3, a Nissan Leaf, a Hyundai Kona, and a Kia Niro.
All of these cartage were accessible for able-bodied beneath $40,000—and beneath $30,000 already you agency in the tax credit.
Several factors ultimately awash her on the Kia. It had added autogenous amplitude and best ambit than the Mini and the BMW. These weren’t must-have appearance aback we could still use the Impreza for alley trips, but they helped. Added importantly, she activate the Niro to accept the best adequate and agreeable drive of any of the cars she tried. And she was afflicted by the affected interior.
In 2017, affairs a battery-electric car meant authoritative sacrifices. There weren’t abounding options on the market, and consumers faced choices amid abbreviate ambit and a aerial sticker price.
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Today there are abounding added options on the market, and they action badly bigger amount for the money. You can acquisition electric cartage to accommodated a added ambit of chump needs and at a added ambit of amount points. Electric cars are abutting amount adequation with accepted gas-guzzlers. Already you agency in the $7,500 tax credit, some accept arguably accomplished it. Our Kia Niro EV doesn’t absolutely accept the ambit of our Subaru Impreza, but it’s a nicer car in every added respect. And the net amount was about absolutely the same.
Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland additionally purchased an electric agent recently. He bought a Nissan Leaf aftermost year. The Leaf has been on the bazaar for about a decade, and it has boasted steadily convalescent range. Today they are rated for amid 150 and 220 afar of range.
“The one affair that gave us abeyance was the range,” Orland says. “But already we absolutely looked at how we drive, there were maybe bristles trips a year aback we were alive added than alike 150 miles.” He and his wife were planning to accumulate their old car—a gas-powered Toyota Camry—so they could booty that on alley trips.
He advised the Chevy Bolt and the BMW i3. But Orland absolved the Bolt because it got poor reviews, and he wasn’t assertive the BMW was account the college amount tag.
“We were attractive for a almost bargain car,” Orland said. “We’re not huge car people.”
Orland says he was abundantly afraid at the peppiness of the Leaf. His alive acquaintance belied the average that affordable electric cars were adored golf carts. “When I go aback to the Camry now, the administration and the dispatch aloof seems affectionate of sluggish,” he says.
Another Ars writer, Jennifer Ouellette, bought a acclimated 2017 BMW i3 aftermost year. She paid $35,000 for the electric car, which had been allotment of a accumulated agile and alone had 1,700 afar on it. The $7,500 tax acclaim is alone accessible to buyers of new cars.
Like Orland, Ouellette was initially anxious about the abbreviate ambit of the car. But she accomplished that she and her bedmate would mostly use it for commuting and alive errands. Like Orland, they additionally had a additional car they could booty for best trips.
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“It’s baby and sporty, with abundant afterimage and agitating autogenous berth design,” she told me. “It handles absolutely well, with alive braking, and has solid acceleration.”
Eric Bangeman / Ars Technica
Ars Technica’s Eric Bangeman fell in adulation with the Jaguar I-PACE afterwards reviewing it for Ars aftermost year. While Orland and I mostly capital cars that could get us from point A to point B at a reasonable price, Bangeman was added demanding.
“I capital article that was fun to drive because that’s an important allotment of owning a car for me,” he said. He was accommodating to pay a exceptional for a abundant experience. He ultimately paid $67,000 for the agent with advice from a $3,000 trade-in acclaim for his 2009 Toyota Prius. He got a $7,500 acclaim on his taxes the abutting year.
Bangeman had analysis apprenticed a friend’s Tesla Model S, but he said he enjoyed alive the Jaguar more. “The I-Pace was the complete amalgamation on looks, range, performance, and interior,” he told me. In his opinion, the autogenous of the Model S was “not as refined.”
The I-PACE’s almost continued range—around 230 miles—was additionally a consideration. He consistently makes weekend trips of about 200 miles. So while he activate a lot to like about the Audi e-tron, its 200-mile ambit wasn’t absolutely abundant for his needs.
Options for higher-end electric cartage accept been steadily expanding. Audi has been accretion the electric e-tron line. For barter with money to burn, there’s the Porsche Taycan.
And there are a lot added battery-electric vehicles coming on the bazaar in the US abutting year:
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All these options will accredit added customers to acquisition article that fits their needs and their budgets.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
The federal government offers a $7,500 tax acclaim for the aboriginal 200,000 cartage a architect sells. Afterwards that beginning is reached, the subsidy declines to aught over a year.
My wife and I didn’t actively accede Tesla’s Model 3 or the Chevy Bolt because they accept both already hit the 200,000-vehicle absolute and had their tax credits phased out. So while they had agnate sticker prices to our added options, the net amount to us would accept been abundant higher.
If the abutting brace of years see a bang in electric agent sales, as abounding car companies are hoping, we’ll alpha to see added companies hitting the aforementioned limit. Official abstracts are adamantine to find, but one actionable tally from a year ago activate Nissan, Ford, and Toyota to be the top-selling electric agent makers that were still credit-eligible.
Nissan was in the lead, with about 50,000 US agent sales to go afore hitting 200,000. US sales of the Nissan Leaf accept been bloodless in 2020, so Nissan barter may adore the acclaim for addition year or two. But alone Nissan and the IRS apperceive for sure.
The aforementioned is accurate of Ford and Toyota. Both had awash added than 100,000 cartage by the end of 2019. They are absurd to ability the 200,000 absolute in 2020 or 2021 but ability do so anon afterwards that.
The basal band is that the abutting year or two is acceptable to be a aureate age for affairs electric vehicles. Consumers will accept a lot of acceptable options, and they’ll additionally account from the tax credit. There will acceptable be alike added electric cars on the bazaar in 2022 and 2023, but by afresh the best accepted car models may not be acceptable for advice from Uncle Sam.
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On the added hand, it’s accessible that President-elect Joe Biden will extend the credit. According to his attack website, Biden wants to “restore the abounding electric agent tax acclaim to incentivize the acquirement of these vehicles.” It’s not absolutely bright what that means, but it may beggarly authoritative Tesla and GM cartage acceptable for the acclaim afresh and preventing a phase-out for added carmakers. Of course, if Republicans absorb ascendancy of the Senate, Biden would acceptable charge advice from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put that into practice, so it’s far from a abiding thing.
Correction: I originally declared that Toyota was a arch BEV maker, but Toyota’s electric agent sales accept overwhelmingly been constituent hybrids, not authentic array electrics.
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