Author Topic: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives  (Read 2739 times)

Aardvark

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Okay... This is going to be a dense case study. I'd love to get this community's insights on the best way to proceed.

***Please let me know if there is a better place to post about EVs***

Context:
I am currently living in Colorado. Next year, I will move to Boise, ID, and I will need to commute to the office. It’s a 20-25 minute / 15-mile commute (I know this is un-mustachian – but I have my reasons for keeping this job, and I don’t want to have a discussion about that right now). My wife and I don’t have kids at the moment, but we think we will start trying towards the end of next year. We currently have a Ford C-Max energy – which is a plug in hybrid. It’s an absolutely great car, but the EV range is inadequate for my commute. In the summer I use 100% of the battery to get myself to work. In the winter I expect it to only get me halfway there. So, I want to buy a full EV with enough range to get me to work and back on some cheap and relatively clean Boise electricity.
The main reason that I am buying an additional vehicle is for the commute – because of this I originally planned to go full mustachian and get an old Leaf for like $6k and use it for nothing but the commute, keeping the C-Max as our main car for weekend missions into the mountains and also having it serve as my wife’s main car if she needs a vehicle while I’m at work (unlikely, even in winter, given how great Boise’s bike infrastructure is). BUT… Then I realized that I can get a bucket load of EV incentives, and I started wondering whether I shouldn’t max out on the incentives and buy something a bit more fancy-pants than an old Leaf. The incentives that I am aware of at the moment are listed below:

1-   My company will give me $3,500 if I buy a full EV, and $2,000 if I buy a PHEV. I am not currently open to a PHEV, but I include this in case somebody want’s to try and convince me to buy a PHEV instead of a full EV. These numbers apply regardless of whether I buy a new or used vehicle.

2-   Colorado has a state tax incentive of $5,000 according to this website: https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/transportation/grants-incentives/electric-vehicle-tax-credits
This incentive applies ONLY to new vehicles.
At first I felt conflicted about using the Colorado tax incentive and then immediately moving to Idaho. But upon further reflection I actually think I feel fine about this. As long as I buy the vehicle before the end of this year I will not be breaking or bending any laws, and I will simply be using the Colorado tax incentive while I am a Coloradan. If you want to give me a hard time about this feel free, but I have paid taxes in CO for a few years now, and I don’t think you’re gonna convince me to not access this credit.

3-   Federal incentives are more difficult to understand. The whole “critical minerals requirement” and “battery components requirement” thing trip me up a bit. Based on this website, it seems that most of the new cars that I’d be interested in qualify for both of those.
https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/tax2023.shtml
If that is true, then the federal program would give me $7000 for a new EV. For a used EV, “The credit equals 30% of the sale price up to a maximum credit of $4,000”.

Assuming that I can max out all of these, I should be able to get $15,500 worth of incentives if I buy a new car before leaving Colorado at the end of this year. That seems absolutely wild, and I’d love for people to poke holes in this if there are any holes to be found.
So… Based on the above, my key questions are:
1-   Do you know anything about the Colorado incentives that I should know about or factor into this thinking?
2-   Do you know anything about the Federal incentives that I should know about or factor into this thinking?
3-   Assuming that I get a $15,500 discount on whatever I end up buying – what are the best cars for me to consider buying? I am especially interested in sufficient ground clearance (so that I can take dirt roads in my stride), electric efficiency (I assume this is measured in something like miles/kWh). Ideally an all wheel drive would be nice so that I don’t have to worry about seasonal tire switching, but that’s not the end of the world either.
4-   Insights around Tesla vs the rest
5-   How long does it take to actually buy a car?! I’ve heard horror stories about 9month waiting periods. If I want to access the Colorado tax incentive then I need to be able to make the purchase before the end of the year.
6-   Insights around new vs. used. If used, how do I assess battery health?
7-   Unknown unknowns – what am I not thinking about?

I will update this original post with highlights from the answers below 😊
« Last Edit: November 02, 2023, 12:43:46 PM by Aardvark »

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2023, 12:56:19 PM »
Some thoughts:

Used Bolt:
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?zip=80302&inventorySearchWidgetType=AUTO&sortDir=ASC&sourceContext=carGurusHomePageModel&distance=50&sortType=PRICE&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity=d3116#listing=368026610/NONE/DEFAULT

Battery charge time (240V):7 hr
Battery range:247 mi

Price:
$25k - $3k work rebate - $4k federal tax rebate = $18k

New Bolt:
$29k -$3k work rebate - $7k federal tax rebate - $5k Colorado rebate = $14k

Used Tesla Y:
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/inventorylisting/viewDetailsFilterViewInventoryListing.action?zip=80302&inventorySearchWidgetType=AUTO&sortDir=ASC&sourceContext=carGurusHomePageModel&distance=200&sortType=PRICE&entitySelectingHelper.selectedEntity=d3044#listing=363988537/NONE/NATIONWIDE_SHIPPING

Battery charge time (240V):10 hr
Battery range:316 mi

Price:
$33k - $3k work rebate - $4k federal tax rebate = $26k

New Tesla Y:
$44k - $3k work rebate - $7k federal tax rebate - $5k Colorado rebate = $29k

New Tesla 3:
$39k - $3k work rebate - $7k federal tax rebate - $5k Colorado rebate = $24k



The new Bolt seems to be a really great deal based on the above. But the benefits of the Superchargers might make the Model 3 a competitor. If money were no fator I am pretty sure that the Model Y long range AWD would be my dream car
« Last Edit: November 02, 2023, 04:11:27 PM by Aardvark »

parkerk

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2023, 10:33:13 AM »
Question about the AWD / ground clearance issue - what percentage of your driving time do you expect to spend on dirt roads and/or in winter driving where roads are not sufficiently cleared for the average vehicle? In my experience many people overestimate how necessary off-road capability is in their driving, but you know your situation best, obviously. Proper winter tires and careful driving will go an extremely long way before AWD becomes an actual necessity vs a nice-to-have.

Also I'd say that just about all of this is moot if you can get a used Leaf for 6k, unless you can find a qualifying vehicle that will end up costing you less than 6k out of pocket after incentives. Free money isn't free if it causes you to spend more.

Alternatively, what about buying a new car with the incentives, selling it for a profit and then buying the Leaf? I know that's a little cheeky but as long as you genuinely qualify for the program I don't see why not. Make sure to factor in all the dealer fees if you explore this route.

Also also, how much will you spend in fuel if you just keep using the C-Max for your commuter, and how long will it take to recoup that cost in fuel savings vs. the up-front costs of buying a new car? If you only need to pay for 15 miles of fuel for half the year that's pretty low, and with the C-Max's mileage (39mpg according to Google) and the current cost of fuel you might only end up spending $200 on fuel for commuting in a year. Compare that to your lowest-cost scenario of buying a used Leaf for 6k and it'll take you 30 years to make up the cost difference.

reeshau

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2023, 11:22:02 AM »
You mention at the beginning of our post that you are looking tomstart a family.  But I don't see anything that factors into your decision-making process.  Particularly if you are possibly buying new, then expect to keep it for a while--presumably, while you have kids.

I also see something missing on your comments about range.  If this is for city driving, is there no place at or near work to charge during the day?   You only need to make it one-way, really.

With those thoughts in mind, I have to say I love my Chrysler Pacifica hybrid.  I bought mine in April 2021, with a $7,500 federal credit under the old program, and a good old-fashioned manufacturer incentive of $6,500.  For prices at the time, this placed a new vehicle about the same price as a 4-year-old used vehicle with 60,000 miles.

It has a battery range of 32 miles (yes, not in cold--or very hot--weather).  We get 32 mpg on extended highway road trips, even without that.  Room for a family, of course.  And I can give it a full charge overnight, even off 110V.

About the only ding is that you lose any towing capacity.  That, and Chrysler, having booted TomTom for map updates, has not yet figured out how to deliver said updates itself.  But you have your phone with you, anyway, so that's fine.

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2023, 11:29:41 AM »
@parkerk

I agree with your assessment of a lower-than-expected need for AWD. The reasons I want AWD are (1) I am not from the US and I am scared of icy roads and (2) I would strongly prefer to not deal with the hassle of seasonal tire switching... But maybe both of those are stupid reasons.

"Free money isn't free if it causes you to spend more" - bloody GREAT line! Thanks for bringing me back to reality :)

About buying and selling at a profit - not a bad idea, but seems like a lot of effort unless I am somewhat sure that there is a big enough ROI. I don't know enough to have a sense of this, so I didn't consider it thoroughly.

Calculating the pay back period of the capital investment vs the addional fuel that I'd burn in the C-Max is another great idea.

Thanks for the thoughts! Super super useful!!

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2023, 11:31:42 AM »
@reeshau

No chargers at - or close to - work. No plans either as far as I'm aware.

Buying a Pacifica before my wife is pregnant feels a bit silly.

parkerk

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2023, 11:43:11 AM »
@parkerk

I agree with your assessment of a lower-than-expected need for AWD. The reasons I want AWD are (1) I am not from the US and I am scared of icy roads and (2) I would strongly prefer to not deal with the hassle of seasonal tire switching... But maybe both of those are stupid reasons.

"Free money isn't free if it causes you to spend more" - bloody GREAT line! Thanks for bringing me back to reality :)

About buying and selling at a profit - not a bad idea, but seems like a lot of effort unless I am somewhat sure that there is a big enough ROI. I don't know enough to have a sense of this, so I didn't consider it thoroughly.

Calculating the pay back period of the capital investment vs the addional fuel that I'd burn in the C-Max is another great idea.

Thanks for the thoughts! Super super useful!!

Happy to help! And no such thing as stupid reasons, the goal is to identify what you need and then figure out the most efficient way to get it. 

For seasonal tire switching, getting separate snow tires (actual SNOW tires, not all-seasons) is reasonably affordable for a small car and will extend the life of your tires anyways - i.e. you'll replace 2 sets of tires half as often. If you have the storage the easiest thing to do is get your winter tires on a separate set of rims and then just change them over twice a year. You can do this yourself fairly easily with a jack and a couple of jack stands, or a mechanic can do it pretty quickly and inexpensively. Not sure what charges in your area would look like so check into that.

And you're right to be wary of winter driving if you're not used to it! Usually in cities like Boise that get a lot of winter weather they have a pretty good infrastructure for clearing and salting roads - ask the locals what the road conditions are like in your area in the winter. The thing with AWD is that while it can help prevent you from getting stuck in the snow it doesn't help at all with STOPPING in the snow, which is far and away the more common and dangerous cause of accidents. If you're totally inexperienced with winter driving I'd actually suggest a couple lessons either from a driving school or a friend. Getting used to how a car feels and handles on ice is super helpful.

Edit to add: To be crystal clear having AWD doesn't remove the need for snow tires. If anything snow tires are more useful than AWD for the reasons above - they grip the ice better to help with traction and braking. If the hassle is really that big of a consideration the best thing to do would actually be to just run your snow tires year-round and replace them more often. They're softer than regular tires though so they wear down faster in the summer, meaning you'll get less life out of them than you would with switching to summer tires.  Edited again - it's been pointed out below this is a potential safety hazard so removing that advice. Best to just suck it up and change the tires twice a year. It really is the smart, safe, and cost-effective thing to do.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2023, 01:51:56 PM by parkerk »

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2023, 12:53:38 PM »
Thanks again @parkerk

This brings up a question I've been wondering about - Is it dangerous to drive in hot weather with winter (not all-weather) tires? Specifically - is braking distance reduced if you use winter tires on a hot road?

Bartlebooth

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2023, 01:03:08 PM »
Edit to add: To be crystal clear having AWD doesn't remove the need for snow tires. If anything snow tires are more useful than AWD for the reasons above - they grip the ice better to help with traction and braking. If the hassle is really that big of a consideration the best thing to do would actually be to just run your snow tires year-round and replace them more often. They're softer than regular tires though so they wear down faster in the summer, meaning you'll get less life out of them than you would with switching to summer tires.

Dubious advice IMHO--stopping distance of winter tires in summer is bad.  Better to use all season tires year round.

parkerk

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2023, 01:49:40 PM »
Edit to add: To be crystal clear having AWD doesn't remove the need for snow tires. If anything snow tires are more useful than AWD for the reasons above - they grip the ice better to help with traction and braking. If the hassle is really that big of a consideration the best thing to do would actually be to just run your snow tires year-round and replace them more often. They're softer than regular tires though so they wear down faster in the summer, meaning you'll get less life out of them than you would with switching to summer tires.

Dubious advice IMHO--stopping distance of winter tires in summer is bad.  Better to use all season tires year round.

This is entirely fair - sorry, I live in a climate where the roads don't usually get very hot in the summers so I should have considered that would be a factor!

314159

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2023, 06:51:57 PM »
Paging @BuffaloStache, a Colorado resident who bought a new Bolt this year!

cincystache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2023, 08:32:26 PM »
I'd probably do a brand new bolt for 14k if you can get it. It seems like a reasonable compromise between the 6k leaf and the 30k tesla. I wouldn't want a 10 year old+ leaf with a baby on the way. Get the bolt, enjoy the modern safety features, the fancy heated and ventilated seats, the warranty, the super good range (relative to a 10 year old leaf), not having to worry about an old battery with questionable longevity etc etc. Valid arguments can be made either way but 14k for a brand new bolt seems like a phenomenal deal.

Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2023, 11:05:11 PM »
You're lucky with the generous state and employer incentives!  With all these, I think it makes a lot of sense to buy a new EV.  For the federal credit, other than the vehicle itself, I think the main criteria is that your income needs to be under $300k assuming you file taxes MFJ ($150k for single).

I bought a 2023 Bolt EUV earlier this year.  I did not get any state or local incentives, just the federal $7500 tax credit.  I wouldn't have bought it without the credit.  With an additional $8500, it's really a no-brainer if the car works for your needs.  I love it.  I don't drive very much since I bike everywhere.  But it's nice to have a decent car for once.  The acceleration is great.  It's super smooth and quiet.  One pedal driving is nice and really easy to pick up.  It has lots of features compared to my old 2005 car that didn't even have cruise control.  I lucked out in getting the Bolt within 5-6 weeks of placing an order.  But only because someone gave up the car they ordered and I was first on the list when that deal fell through.

As far as efficiency, I was getting 3.9-4.3 miles/kwh for most of the summer with quite a lot of freeway miles.  That gives a range of ~260 miles.  I did a shorter road trip that was mostly 55-70mph driving and got 3.7 mi/kwh.  So I'm doing better than the EPA estimated ranges in summer.  But in the winter, I think I started at around 2.5 mi/kwh.  Range definitely drops a lot in the cold, and fast-charging can take longer because it needs to heat up the battery.

I think a Bolt would absolutely be the best value.  The downsides are no option for AWD if you really want it, and it has a pretty slow fast-charging speed so would be harder to take on road trips.  If you're just planning to use it mainly for commuting, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.  And hopefully the fast-charging infrastructure will continue to develop.  Chevy announced they'll be switching to the Tesla NACS connector in a year or two, and adapters should be available for old cars that would open up the Tesla Supercharging network and make longer trips more feasible. 

The other main issue is availability.  I think it's better now than it was early in the year.  But they're going to stop making the car soon, so you'd need to try and find one soon.  It's probably even harder to find one in CO because everyone wants to take advantage of all these incentives.  Finally, the Bolt is a pretty small car.  For some people, that's a good thing.  But make sure it's a size that works for you.

Another incentive is Chevy is offering a free home charging installation.  Since you're moving soon, that may not matter too much to you.  If you own a house and will be selling, it's possible it'd add a bit of value to your house.  Or I believe you can get a $500 credit to EVGo for charging.

The other main competitors eligible for the federal tax credit and in a moderate price range would be Tesla or VW ID.4.  These would be at least $10k more than the Bolt, but you have the option for AWD and better fast-charging speeds.  And they're bigger vehicles.  So it depends on what you want and how much you want to spend. 

As mentioned, snow tires are more important for winter driving than AWD.  But I've lived in MN my whole life and never had AWD or snow tires.  I was using a winter-oriented all-season tire (Toyo Celsius) on my old car.  I've read some good things about the Michelin CrossClimate tires from Bolt owners.  That's probably what I'll go with when I wear down my tires or if I really suffer this winter.  I generally just try not to drive until the roads are plowed and take things slowly in the winter.   Luckily, I have the flexibility.  If you drive enough, putting on real snow tires makes sense though.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2023, 08:13:23 AM »
Paging @BuffaloStache, a Colorado resident who bought a new Bolt this year!

Thanks for the page! I'm pretty wrapped up in work stuff today/tomorrow, but I will respond to this thread before the end of the week. Sneak Peak: The Colorado incentives are pretty awesome, I don't think Idaho has as many/good ones, you have to do a couple of things to make sure your ducks are in a row when buying the EV to get ready for tax season, and finally, I love my BoltEUV and think it's the most-mustachian BEV choice as long as you don't plan on driving more than ~200 miles/each-way more than once a week in that car.

More to come, I promise! and nice to forum-meet you, @Aardvark ! I may drop you a PM after I follow-up as well.

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2023, 09:30:43 AM »
All of these responses are so great!
Thanks everybody!

I look forward to the longer reply from @BuffaloStache

I am slowly getting over my resistance to seasonal tire changes. I think FWD is good enough for my needs and I can make a plan for storage.

A new worry is that I am wondering whether buying a mid-class EV, like a Bolt, in December 2023 is a bad idea simply becuase the tech is moving so fast that waiting a year or two would provide some game changing options. I think this is probably a silly worry - but I am feeling these feels.

The key question at the moment is whether we actually need the second car or whether we can make do with only the C-Max. This is a difficult question to answer, but due to the CO tax credit it is a question that needs to be answered right now. We can't first move and figure it out.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2023, 09:57:38 AM »
I don't think Boise gets a huge amount of snow. It looks like it only averages 3-5 inches per month in the winter. I went to college in that region and while it did get cold and snow, the roads were basically free of snow within a day. I made it an entire winter driving a mid-size FWD sedan with regular tires and no chains even driving up and down hills by just driving a bit slower. There was one time I almost didn't make it up a hill right as it was snowing, but that was it. Meanwhile I'd see SUVs and trucks with 4-wheel drive skidding off the road because the driver's got overconfident and drove too fast.

pdxvandal

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2023, 12:31:00 PM »
I grew up in Idaho and never once owned chains or snow tires (although a few times I wish I had them). Front wheel drive and all-season tires got me by fine most of the time.

Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2023, 08:03:47 PM »
A new worry is that I am wondering whether buying a mid-class EV, like a Bolt, in December 2023 is a bad idea simply becuase the tech is moving so fast that waiting a year or two would provide some game changing options. I think this is probably a silly worry - but I am feeling these feels.

The key question at the moment is whether we actually need the second car or whether we can make do with only the C-Max. This is a difficult question to answer, but due to the CO tax credit it is a question that needs to be answered right now. We can't first move and figure it out.

Sure, you'd be investing in old tech.  The Bolt tech is almost a decade old now, since the first model came out in 2017 (and likely engineered in 2013-2016, based off of the Volt designed even earlier!).  There was a redesign in 2022, but no increase to the charging speeds or really any change to the drivetrain.  They upgraded the infotainment, and it still feels like a luxury car to me compared to my 2005 Elantra!  But other than charging speeds and better batteries, I'm not sure how much new EV tech will really change.  If it's mainly a commuter car for you, none of that should matter.

So we can agree it's old tech...but you'll be getting $15.5k off the price of this old tech, and you'll be getting a brand new car for ~$14k.  That seems like it more than makes up for it in my opinion.  I personally think the Bolt will always be a decent value.  It's cheap to run and I don't think the battery will ever degrade to the point where it's worthless (unlike an early Nissan Leaf for example).  It's definitely not the pick for road trips, but a lot of people don't need that or will be able to make use of it as a second commuter car.  If you decide you want newer tech in a few years, I think there's a good chance you'll be able to sell a lightly used Bolt for around the price you'll pay now for a new one ($14k).  Maybe not to someone in Colorado, but probably somewhere without the giant extra incentives.  The used EV incentives may also help it hold it's value.  I would've loved to find a used Bolt for that price.  When I was looking in January, even the 2017 models were ~$25k so I decided to go new.

Maybe at least start looking, test drive a Bolt (if you can!), and decide from there.  $14k is still a lot if you don't need a car.  But it's a seriously good deal for a brand new car that's cheap to run.  So if you think you might want it and can afford it, now really seems like the time to go for it. 

FINate

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2023, 09:01:47 PM »
I live in Boise. Welcome to the area.

RE winter driving. The Treasure Valley is flat, with the exception of a few small benches to the south and some neighborhoods in the foothills. We don't get a lot of snow. Our typical event is around 3" overnight, with the roads clear by midday. The snow is usually very dry (we're in a desert), so none of that snow-over-ice stuff like they get in Portland and Seattle. The highway district (ACHD) is pretty on top of sanding hills/corners and salting intersections. If we get a bigger event (e.g. 6+ inches) just stay home... even if you have a capable vehicle the roads will be a mess.

You don't need a lot of ground clearance. Higher clearance is really only useful if you're driving our many forest service roads outside town. In the city, FWD with all seasons are generally fine unless you live up a hill. AWD + winter tires (different than snow tires - you want winter tires) is a good idea if you're going to be heading up the mountain for winter sports or making trips out to McCall. Whatever your tires, carry a set of tire cables just in case.

If you really want better winter traction but don't want to deal with changing wheels seasonally then get some CrossClimate2 tires. Almost as good as a true winter tire, but can leave them on year round.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2023, 07:56:39 AM »
Wow- so much great info here and a lot to read through. I'll try to be efficient/brief in providing this initial information, and then I can answer any questions that may come up. @Holocene seems to be in a similar boat to me (purchased a 2023 BoltEUV this year!), and he has a lot of useful stuff too. Ok, I'll start answering your initial questions from the first post in this thread (apologies for not getting to them all now, I will come back later today!):

1. Colorado Incentives: They are pretty good compared to other states, and most of the cars that have been mentioned here (as long as the MSRP of your selected/optioned vehicle is less than ~$80k) will net you $5,000! I've found this website (https://evco.colorado.gov/whats-new/ev-tax-credit-eligibility) to be extremely helpful, and I've even emailed the people associated with the site (email address at the bottom of the page) and they have been very responsive in answering specific questions.
1a. Local/Utility Incentives: This one may not be as pertinent to you since you are moving to Boise, and it depends on your living situation. But Xcel energy has some incentives for installing at-home EV charging systems, and some of the larger cities also have incentives. I haven't done the ROI analysis, but if you own your current home there is a possibility that you could get an Electrical Panel upgrade + Level 2 EV Charger unit installation in your home for a significantly reduced price, and that may result in a higher market value for your home. Some more info can be found at https://ev.xcelenergy.com/, and check with your local city/town for any local stuff.

2. Federal Incentives: I think most of this has been covered- you just want to make sure you are eligible via AGI/income caps, and you can get up to $7,500. What I'll add is two websites that can be helpful. The overall program website is- https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/credits-for-new-clean-vehicles-purchased-in-2023-or-after, and then this website where you can actually put in the make/model of any EV you are interested in to see how much of a Fed rebate it would qualify for- https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/tax2023.shtml

3. Lots of great discussion here about cars. I agree that you very likely don't need AWD and/or high ground clearance as much as you think you do, especially if you plan on still keeping a gas/hybrid car as a 2nd vehicle. We have an AWD Volvo station wagon (I know, facepunch-worthy but we did buy it used!) as our 2nd car, and that is exclusively our Mountain/Camping/Adventure car whenever the weather isn't good. I'll also note that your work situation may factor into this. Are you able to Work-From-Home at all in your current role, for bad weather reasons? For example I currently go into my office ~2 days a week, but on any day that there is more than a dusting of snow on the ground, I can easily WFH, even if it was supposed to be a day I went into the office. Finally, 2 points of reference on this item (that I can expand upon either if you'd like in later posts):
  • I went to college in Buffalo, NY, and only drove a FWD Toyota Camry while there. I think All-Seasons and/or Snow tires are key, but also just practicing/getting experience with winter driving is key. I recommend going to find an empty parking lot after a snow-storm, drive around and get a feel for how the car slides and turns (obviously never going above ~20 mph so you don't have a roll risk).
  • When I was doing my EV search, I test drove lots of cars: Chevy Bolt, Chevy Bolt EUV, Nissan Leaf, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Volvo C40, Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2 and the VW ID.4. I did a lot of looking at Ford Mustang Mach-E's, but could never get behind the wheel for a test drive. I have lots of notes on each car model, but what it came down to is: The Bolt or Bolt EUV has 80%+ of all of the fancy features (or performs for each feature >80% as good as) on the more luxurious EVs, but >$10k less in overall price. I picked the Bolt/EUV over the Leaf because of the longer range (>200 mi), and the fact that it really does have a lot of the great features that most new/luxury cars have.

4. Tesla vs the Rest: This one boils down to a lot of personal preference. I think Tesla makes very cool cars that are engineering marvels. I also have Zero respect for their leader (Musk) and how he treats his employees, so I knew I didn't want to get a Tesla. I will say that if you only want have 1 car in your family and you do want an EV, the convenience of the SuperCharging network would make me consider a Tesla in that situation.

5. How long: This one varies a lot by car make/model, but also by completely random things. I would recommend just starting to call dealers (don't go in, and you get less pushy car salesmen-ness) and ask. For me it took ~3.5 months to get my BoltEUV, but my understanding is that it's a lot better now. For context, a friend just picked up a Toyota Bz4x and told me that there were several just sitting on the dealer's lot.

6. New vs Used: {more to come]

7. Unknown Unknowns: {more to come} Carseats is a big one here. We have two massive carseats in our BoltEUV and there is plenty of room to install them. Also, at-home Charging; as mentioned the Bolt/EUV comes with either a credit for at-home charger installation, or a $500 credit on the EVgo charger network. Because the Xcel Energy/Local city incentives for me added up to be more than the Chevy charger install, I elected to get the $500 EVgo credits and they last for several years. https://www.evgo.com/



Finally, CPR recently published a good article about all of this. See: https://www.cpr.org/2023/08/04/colorado-electric-vehicle-discounts-guide/


Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2023, 09:39:25 AM »
Thanks @BuffaloStache  that was a Soooooper useful post!

Some notes in response:

1 - I dodn't know about the CO low-cost EV tax credit. That should add another $2.5k discount if I buy the car in January. Given that I am moving to Boise in Jan I don't expect the utility incentives are going to apply to me, but in general I agree that they are good to know about.

2 - The Federal INcentives seem simple enough.

3 - I am certainly able to work from home on snow days, and I generally see your point that between some experience and some good tires I should be fine. The truth is that I do still think in a perfect world I would want a car with a bit more ground clearance because I do end up driving dirt roads in both summer and winter for back country adventures. HPWEVER - My Blizzack tires have gotten my C-MAx up and down a hill that a pickup truck and a Subaru Outback failed on (they both undoubtedly had 4WD/AWD and bald tires)... But I was literally belly-dragging through the snow and feeling stupid abut the stunt.

4 - There are three attractive aspects of Tesla: 1 - the supercharger network, 2 - the model Y has a higher clearance, 3 - the supercharger network

5- this is the latest and greatest worry... I need to pay for the car before I file taxes to maintain eligibility for the CO taxes. So, I need to decide ASAP whether I want to move forward with this, and even if I confirm that TODAY - I am probably still running on a tight timeline.

6 - If you have something useful to say here then I look forward to it, but at the moment I can't imagine any used options outperforming a 2023 Bolt EUV at around $12k?!!

7 - both the at-home charger installation and the $500 credit on the EVgo charger network are great! I doubt that the charger installation would apply to Boise, so I'd probably go for the EVgo credit.


The CRP article is great!


It seems that I really have two questions left:
1 - Given that I'm not sure whether we will need two cars in Boise, is it stupid to buy the Bolt before we move there? Or does the MASSIVE discount justify this move. I am leaning towards saying that buying the car now and maxing out on the CO incentives is a good idea becuase (1) the Bolt EUV is probably a better car than our C-Max in many ways, and (2) there is a very low financial risk given that I can probably sell the car for more than I pay for it.

2 - Assuming that I do want to buy a car and I do decide on the Bolt EUV: (a) is the lowest trim sufficient, or should I pay for any upgrades? (b) how can I make sure to get the car in Jan or Feb 2024 - I suppose I just need to start calling around, but any more advice on this would be great.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2023, 03:20:42 PM »
It sounds like you're trying to avoid using gasoline for the 15 mile ride back from work in the Cmax. To solve this problem ($1.50 in gasoline per day at 30 mpg and $3 per gallon?) you're talking about trading the Cmax for a vehicle that will depreciate $2,000 per year, or about $5.48 per day. Is that accurate?

Or is the goal to just get a newer car?

BuffaloStache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2023, 03:44:36 PM »
I was originally going to modify my post above, but since you provided a really good response with some extra questions I figured I'll just continue my thoughts and answer your questions (as best as I can) in a 2nd post. Also, @ChpBstrd 's comment is a valid point, so it may invalidate some of the points below.

6. New vs Used: I came to the same conclusion as you, but the three minor things to add.
A) I took a look at used EV prices, which are probably a bit better now than they were in ~December '22/January '23 when I was looking, and it informed my decision. With the lower rebates/incentives I was going to pay only a couple thousand less to get a used car, so I viewed the opportunity cost of getting my EV new/maxing out rebates to be good.
B) Per #5, I think that you should be prepared to spend anywhere between ~$12k-$20k. If you want to get a car before the year end, you may not be able to pick exactly which model/trim-level/features you want. I was super lucky with my Bolt EUV in that someone had ordered the exact same car that I wanted (trim level, features, everything), and then cancelled their reservation. I merely swooped in and picked it up.
C) If you do decide to switch and look at used (or for others reading this thread), this is a great video on how to check a used Nissan Leaf before buying- https://youtu.be/2xLBLhGwlX0?si=-6LwjlUSey-ErQMB. It's made by a guy living in New Zealand and has some NZ specifics to it, but I think the methods/messages hold true.

7.  more Unknown Unknowns: The Chevy at-home charger installation is through a company called QMerit, and is a nationwide perk of buying a Chevy EV. Qmerit works with local Electricians/installers, and if you buy the car in one state I don't think there is any restrictions on getting the charger installed in another state. This is something I'm not too familiar with, however, so I'd recommend asking Chevy Dealers or searching on Reddit. You should also double check that there are EVgo stations near where you want to live in Boise- they aren't as ubiquitous as ElectrifyAmerica, ChargePoint, or some of the other charging networks. Other unknown-unknowns:
 
  • I mentioned it above but the Carseat thing is pretty big if you are thinking about starting a family. I think you could definitely do it, but it may be hard getting 2 rear-facing behemoth carseats into a Nissan Leaf. We have no issue with the Bolt or Bolt EUV. There are a couple other Bolt/ BoltEUV driving families amongst his grade at school, something I didn't realize until after we bought ours.
  • Cargo area is not great in either car. Despite being bigger, almost all of the Bolt EUV's extra space goes to rear seat leg-room. Note that both the Bolt and Bolt EUV have less trunk cargo space than the Ford C-Max. For us, this has resulted in Costco runs where we put some of the big items across the floor in the rear-seats -vs- in the trunk. This is actually one of the few things I've complained to Chevy about with this car (and hope they'll change in the new version of the Bolt coming out in a couple of years!)
  • It seems like you may have already figured this out, but in my opinion the 2 biggest weaknesses of the Bolt are the slow charging speeds, and the lack of an AWD option. These are totally something you can mitigate with some planning/patience/ability to avoid driving on the worst-weather days, but still things to remember.
  • I know lawmakers are working to change this, but please remember that you don't get any of the EV purchasing credits/incentives at the time of purchase. I ordered my car in December '22, "purchased" it and took delivery in March 2023, and I still haven't seen either the CO state or the Federal tax credit rebates. I'll get those in the form of a big fat tax rebate when I go to file my taxes early next year. It won't affect you as much if you can buy a car before year-end and then do taxes a few months later, but still something to know about.


And to answer your new Questions:

1- That's mostly a personal choice. I think there is a high likelihood that the resale market will be good in Boise, but it definitely isn't certain.

2- This one is really a personal choice. Many people here would say it's un-mustachian to buy the higher trim levels, but I took a different view: All of the EVs I was considering (except for the Leaf) were significantly higher in price, so even with the higher trim levels/more features my overall cost was still much lower than it would have if I had selected a more expensive EV (like the Mustang Mach-E, Polestar 2, or even Model 3). For the Bolt EUV specifically: I think the "premier" package is probably worth it, the "Sun and Sound" package is mostly personal preference, the "SuperCruise" option (only included on Premier trims) is more of a novelty than anything but can be useful, and the "Redline" package isn't worth it at all [literally just Red-colored accents, no additional horsepower/traction/performance-upgrades]. but Your mileage may vary.

Finally, I'm going to send you a quick PM so we can continue the discussion, but if you have any follow-up questions that you think could benefit the entire community then don't hesitate to ask. I may just be slow on the response! Good luck!
« Last Edit: November 09, 2023, 03:51:47 PM by BuffaloStache »

314159

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2023, 06:49:53 PM »
It sounds like you're trying to avoid using gasoline for the 15 mile ride back from work in the Cmax. To solve this problem ($1.50 in gasoline per day at 30 mpg and $3 per gallon?) you're talking about trading the Cmax for a vehicle that will depreciate $2,000 per year, or about $5.48 per day. Is that accurate?

Or is the goal to just get a newer car?

How do you figure $2000/yr, @ChpBstrd? Naïvely I would assume a net purchase price of, say, $15k this year; and a value in 10 years of >$0. That gives a maximum yearly linear depreciation of $1500. Am I wrong because depreciation is so nonlinear? Or are you saying though the net purchase price is $15k, the value is greater?

ChpBstrd

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2023, 07:35:38 PM »
It sounds like you're trying to avoid using gasoline for the 15 mile ride back from work in the Cmax. To solve this problem ($1.50 in gasoline per day at 30 mpg and $3 per gallon?) you're talking about trading the Cmax for a vehicle that will depreciate $2,000 per year, or about $5.48 per day. Is that accurate?

Or is the goal to just get a newer car?

How do you figure $2000/yr, @ChpBstrd? Naïvely I would assume a net purchase price of, say, $15k this year; and a value in 10 years of >$0. That gives a maximum yearly linear depreciation of $1500. Am I wrong because depreciation is so nonlinear? Or are you saying though the net purchase price is $15k, the value is greater?
Depreciation can be expected to occur off the gross purchase price, not the net. The brand-new-car tax credits which got the price down to a net $15k will not be available in their entirety to the next purchaser. For example, the federal tax credit drops from up to $7500 max for a brand new EV to just $4000 max for a used EV, and that's if the resale price is <$25k AND the car is >2 years old, AND only people buying from a dealer can obtain that credit.

So already, the buyer of a few-months-old old EV from a dealer receives a tax credit that is $3500 less than they could receive on a new car, so they should be willing to pay that much less, plus wear-and-tear less, for the used car. Maybe a $5000 total discount is close to fair for an almost-new EV with 1,000 miles on it? Many private party buyers will demand a bigger discount because you can't offer financing at the dealers' subsidized rates.

But wait, there's more! We haven't even begun discussing the state incentives that are lessened the moment the car becomes "used" as it drives off the lot. And finally, if you are not a car dealer your private party buyer can't even get the $4000 used car tax credit per the rules posted on the IRS website. Thus, in addition to all the above they should be willing to pay $4000 less to you than to a dealer for the same used car. At that point, you're probably best off selling or trading your car to the dealer, who will know you're at their mercy and will rip you off for at least $4000 themselves.

And that's the best case scenario, where you kept the car for at least 2 calendar years past its year model. If the car is a lemon, you just don't like it, or you get in a financial bind, the person buying your used car that is <2 years old has no federal incentive at all. Their willingness to pay should be the net cost of a new EV minus wear and tear.

So let's say the car depreciates $10,000 from the gross price on the day it is purchased, mostly due to ineligibility for tax incentives. It's probably still a decent deal, but you're absolutely married to the car for the long haul, or else you face some severe financial consequences. The buyer of your used EV presumably has the same options you have to buy a new EV, so that makes the used one not very interesting.

Also, new car depreciation is never linear. It's a curve that is steepest when the car is young and flattens out over time. Tax incentives won't change that. If anything, they cause a sudden drop-off in resale value on day 1 of ownership.

The ole Cmax will have to burn a lot of gasoline at $1.50 per day to match $10k in near-immediate depreciation. Plus it's cheaper on taxes, insurance, and probably repairs. Financially, the OP should drive the Cmax till it dies, even if the battery only lasts one leg of their commute.

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #25 on: November 09, 2023, 08:19:09 PM »
Thanks @BuffaloStache, once again these are great points.

@ChpBstrd - I 100% agree with what you are saying. There is a bigger question underlying this and creating risk/uncertainty. This is the question of whether we need a second car. Boise is VERY bike friendly, and we think there is a good chance that my wife would be okay at home without a car for 90% of the year. However, there is a change that we are wrong about this for whatever reason and we find that she does indeed need a car (maybe we decide to have kids sooner than expected, maybe she develops a routine that isn't as car friendly as we expect, ...).

If we could answer this question now then things would be easy. If we need a new car - buy it before we leave CO. If we don't need a new car - don't buy a new car.

But we can't answer this question now. So, do we (a) buy a new car using the CO tax credit and hope that was the right move, or (b) not buy a car using the CO tax credit and hope that we don't need a car in Boise.

You are right in bringing the conversation back to this, because this really is the foundational question that needs to be answered before I get stuck in other details.

I disagree with you on one point, though. It seems wildly improbably that paying ~$14k for a brand new Bolt EUV would lead to anything that can be called "severe financial consequences".

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #26 on: November 09, 2023, 09:57:50 PM »
@ChpBstrd I understand what you've written, but you still haven't convinced me of the conclusion and I'm trying to figure out if you're saying one's net worth will take a dive upon buying this car.

Say that in a fit of consumerism, I buy a Bolt tomorrow with a gross purchase price of $29k, of which $14k will be refunded via tax credits. I drive it home and upon waking the next morning realize that I have no reason to own this car and resolve to sell it on the private market. Which do you deem most likely: I sell it for a substantially more than $14k, close to $14k, or much less than $14k?

If it's the first or second option, can you explain how that is a problem for me? By my math I either come out ahead or even. If it's the third, then can you point me to an ad for a Bolt for that price or explain why one can't be found?

reeshau

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2023, 05:53:58 AM »
One thing that has been in favor of used cars over the last few years has been immediate availability.  Yes incentives have been cool, but do you no good if you can't get a vehicle for 3 or 6 months.  But that has changed substantially this year, particularly for EV's.

In 2021, I flew to Ohio to get my Pacifica hybrid.  You might think that's extreme, but the dealer briefly couldn't find the keys to the vehicle as we discussed the purchase, because someone had taken it out for a test drive.  I could, airfare was cheap ($250 same day, one way) and there were dealer incentives at stake, in addition to the old federal incentive.  No brainer.

Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2023, 09:13:14 AM »
I don't get why $10k instant depreciation on gross price should matter, if you're getting $15.5k off the gross price...  That would mean you can still sell the car for $5.5k more than you paid for it, right?  Depreciation is certainly more unpredictable on an EV, but I think getting a brand new car for $14k kind of mitigates a lot of the risk.

Just because OP is eligible for $15.5k off doesn't mean everyone will be eligible for the same.  Colorado has some of the best EV incentives.  Idaho doesn't seem to have many.  So I think a gently used Bolt would sell pretty well there.  I would've loved to buy a 1-2 year old used Bolt for $14k.  The only ones I found in my area were older and $10k more.  The market has changed a lot this year, so who knows what will happen.  But with the amount of incentives that the OP is eligible for along with lower fuel and maintenance costs, I really think it's hard to lose on this purchase.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the current Bolt production is ending very soon.  People will not have the opportunity to buy this same car brand-new in 6 months.  A new Bolt is supposed to be in the works with improved Ultium battery and probably faster charging.  But who knows when it will be available and if it'll be the same fairly low price, starting at $27.5k.  It also may be hard for OP to find a new Bolt to buy right now.

People may buy used for many reasons.  The big one is availability.  But also, some people do not have incomes high enough to make use of the full $7500 federal tax credit, but could make use of the $4k used tax credit.

I did a used car search within 150 miles of Denver and the cheapest Bolt is a 6 year old base model with 50k miles for $15k.  There were only 5 EUVs available with the lowest at $23.5k.  So even with the big CO incentives, used Bolt prices are not in the dumps.  It's also possible OP could sell the Ford CMax if they decide the Bolt works for them and they only need one car.  If they can do this while used car prices are still a bit inflated, then it won't matter as much if the car market cools off.

Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2023, 09:28:38 AM »
For Bolt trim choices, I went with the EUV LT (base model) with Driver Confidence Package (rear and lane change alerts with blind spot monitors) and Comfort Package (power driver seat, heated seats, heated steering wheel).

I'm in MN, so heated seats and steering wheel is a real luxury.  It's also more efficient to heat my body than the whole car, since the heat is pretty inefficient.  I figured the safety package was worth $500.  I hate the visibility in cars these days, so the blind spot monitor is definitely nice to have.  There's another package that upgrades you to leather seats, but once you add all these in, I think it makes more sense to just go with the Premier.

I actually preferred the cloth seats.  If you go with the Premier, you get ventilated leather seats.  The Premier also has a lot more cameras (including a cool overhead camera view and camera rearview mirror), adaptive cruise control, rain sensing wipers, and some different exterior aesthetics (wheels and front grill mainly).  Personally, the only thing I wish I had from the Premier is the adaptive cruise.  The cameras would be nice, but not that big of a deal.  The rearview camera is great and that's really all I need.  The $3k extra cost for the Premier was not worth it to me for how much I drive.  With all the extra incentives you get, maybe I would've gone for it though if I were in your shoes!

BuffaloStache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2023, 07:10:13 AM »
Very interesting, Holocene! Thanks for sharing.
...  The $3k extra cost for the Premier was not worth it to me for how much I drive.  With all the extra incentives you get, maybe I would've gone for it though if I were in your shoes!

This is exactly what I did- I figured that the incentives more than paid the difference for premier, and I really wanted the adaptive cruise control/the 'birds-eye-view' backup-parking camera.

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2023, 06:41:31 PM »
Hey everybody - I went into a bit of a wormhole with work and holidays over the last few weeks... And now I have 5 weeks to make up my mind and take action... Let the year end in a bang!

I was super convinced that if I move forward with buying a car, then I would buy the Bolt (probably EUV, but maybe EV).

BUT ... I just came across some unexpectedly cheap Ioniq5 options. The Ioniq seems to be a superior car in many ways, and I am trying to figure out whether it would be worth a few extra grand (exact price prmium would depend on what Bolt I manage to find and what Ioniq I manage to find, but let's assume the premium to be less than $5k based on the links below).

The one thing that freaks me out about the Ioniq is that it is Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)... I thought that RWD is super dodgy on snowy/icy roads and generaly diminished performance - is that not true?

Any thoughts on the Ioniq and how it compares to the Bolt qould be very much apprecaited!

Links to cheap Ioniq5:
$33k: https://stivershyundai.com/sale/hyundai-ioniq-5-se-standard-range-columbia-sc/2023-hyundai-ioniq-5-se-standard-range-km8km4ab1pu186618

$34k: https://www.hdhyundai.com/new/Hyundai/2023-Hyundai-IONIQ+5-a5a0e8e60a0e094a189464dacb09aea8.htm?utm_source=kbb.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=kbb_listings

Paper Chaser

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #32 on: November 28, 2023, 07:19:26 AM »
The Ioniq 5 is a larger vehicle than the Bolt. Pics can be deceptive, but it's much closer to a Toyota Rav 4 or Honda CRV in size. Google says it's over a foot longer and 4 inches wider than the Bolt EUV and 20" longer than the standard Bolt. It also has nearly an inch more ground clearance than the Bolt EUV.

I'd say that the FWD vs RWD discussion is probably more relevant with ICEs than EVs because of weight distribution. In a FWD ICE, the engine and transmission sit right over the drive wheels which can improve traction on slippery surfaces. Most RWD ICEs would suffer from a lack of weight over the drive wheels. But with an EV, most of the weight is more centrally located because of the heavy battery in the floor.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2023, 03:37:09 PM »
Paper Chaser hit most of the high points for me- it's a larger car that is overall less efficient (lower average mi/kWh). I also did a lot of thinking about my specific EV use case; since my family has an All-Wheel Drive ICE car that we were always going to keep (and use as our primary mountain/hiking/roadtrip/camping car), I knew the "EV Road Trip" scenario was always going to be <1% of my typical driving. So I chose the Bolt EUV to really optimize the majority of the driving I planned to do with that vehicle (commuting, kid-hauling, around-town driving), while also going after what I thought was the best value.


Finally, I won't say it was a major contributor but the rise in Kia (which is owned by Hyundai and shares a lot of design aspects/common parts) car thefts and the terrible design choices that led to that occurring also weighed on my decision. This video does a good job of summarizing it- https://youtu.be/bTeVgfPM0Xw?si=6U4r2thx60dZ89O9 . Now, I understand the Ioniq5 is a different car and that even all Hyundai's are different than all Kia's, but I gotta think that a poor design choice like that could speak to a company that allows those types of decisions to be made across all of their vehicles. And Kia/Hyundai's response to it has been night and day when compared to the Bolt-Battery recall: Chevy ate their words and made good on their promises by replacing thousands of battery packs over the past couple of years; Kia updated some of the parts but my understanding is that the ''fix' doesn't really fix the issue entirely...

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2023, 06:58:54 PM »
Buckle up EV-ery body!
I'm buying an old LEAF!!!

As tempting as the Bolt EUV is - it just doesn't feel justified at this point in my life. I don't even know whether we need a second car at all, and @parkerk's words, "Free money isn't free if it causes you to spend more" have been ringing in my ears like the nightclub speakers of my youth.

New Case Study:
Buy an old Nissan Leaf with enough range to comfortably do my commute + an errand or two (any longer distances will be covered in the CMAX).
This should cost less than $10k. Probably more like $8k based on some very quick research.
https://www.edmunds.com/nissan/leaf/2014/vin/1N4AZ0CP2EC339258/?radius=100

If I buy the car in that link before the end of this year then I get a $3500 cash refund from my work, and I harvest the $4000 tax incentive in a few months from now.
$8k - $3.5k - $4k = $0.5k

So I get the car for like $500. Lets add another $500 for registration, and whatever else. I still get the car for ~$1k.

This price is low enough that it's very easy to pull the trigger. If we end up needing a car, we are SUPER stoked to have one. If we end up not needing a car, we sell it and make a bit of money (basically harvesting the federal and corporate incentive).

A big factor here is that this strategy sets me free from various things (1) I don't have to worry about exactly which new car and which trim I want to buy, I just need to find a cheap leaf with a good Recurrent score and relatievely low mileage, (2) I don't have to worry about money becuase there is so little on the line, (3) I can execute this plan very quickly and easily. No need to call a bunch of dealers and try to find a Bolt that is both the correct model and the correct price in the correct location.

I will be paying insurance on this car, and there will be some maintenance, but on balance, this seems like a calculated risk because I will happily pay these things if we need the car - and if we don't I'll sell it!

What am I missing?

@ChpBstrd - are you proud of me?

Does anybody have any advice on buying an old LEAF? :)

ChpBstrd

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2023, 08:38:28 PM »
Buy this one: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/353496790506129/

2013
88k miles
50-60 miles range
title in hand
$2,650 cash

For that money you could put a battery in it and still come out ahead. Or just run errands for the next 8-10 years.

Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2023, 08:53:34 PM »
Old Leafs have notoriously bad batteries.  The 2014 model has an estimated range of 84 miles.  I'd assume that's down to 70-80% capacity or less on a 10 year old car with poor thermal management of the battery.  If your commute contains freeway driving at >60mph, you probably won't get the estimated range.  If it gets cold, your range may be cut in about half.  So even a 30 mile round trip commute with some freeway driving might start to be pushing it in the winter.  And unlike your CMax where you just use up a bit of gas, the Leaf could leave you stranded.

Also, the federal used EV tax credit is 30% of the sales price up to $4k.  So if the car costs $8k, you only get $2.4k back.  So your cost would be more like $2100.  Not as great as $500, but not bad.  But also note that the income limits are lower for the used EV tax credit - $150k for MFJ, so make sure you are below the limit if you're expecting the credit.

Your $3.5k refund from work still makes this a decent deal.  Are you staying at the same employer when you move to Idaho?  If so, I think it might make sense to just wait until you move and figure out if you actually need a second car at that point.  You no longer need to try and buy while you're still in Colorado since you're no longer getting that rebate.  If you're switching jobs, then it could make sense to pull the trigger while you still have the $3.5k credit.

Personally, I'd much rather go with the new Bolt for $14k over a 10 year old Leaf for $2k.  But if you don't really need the car, then $14k is still a lot to spend and you don't lose much on the Leaf.  If you only need one car, commuting in your CMax and burning a bit of gas is still the best option.  Maybe lobby for an EV charger to be put in at your workplace to be able to charge and fully run in EV mode with your current car.

If you're looking used, it could make sense to consider a used Bolt for ~$15k - $3.5k - $4k = $7.5k.  2017-2019 Bolts will have a brand new battery or be eligible for one due to a recall.  Bolt batteries degrade much less than Leafs since they are liquid cooled rather than air cooled.  And they are much bigger batteries, so even with degradation, it will likely always work as a normal commuter car without the range anxiety of a Leaf, and probably cheaper than putting a new battery in a Leaf.

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #37 on: December 01, 2023, 07:08:39 AM »
Thanks for the reality check @Holocene

I have not considered the used tax credit until recently, and you are right - I would not be able to access it due the $150k for MFJ limit.
Unfortunately the credit from work is only available to me until December 31st.
Are you aware of Recurrent? Their battery report on this car says that even in winter the range would be around 76 miles. Do you think they are off target?
https://www.recurrentauto.com/vehicles/1N4AZ0CP2EC339258


@ChpBstrd - I like your vibe... But that seems like a hassle. I would theoretically love to do this as a project on the side, but it doesn't feel like the right thing for me at this point in my life. Any suggestions that are a bit less DIY?

BuffaloStache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2023, 07:37:39 AM »
Holocene covered most of the points that I had, and I tend to agree with them about preferences. But that's the thing about preferences, you can have different ones than mine!

One factor for me in getting the Bolt is that I have a fairly long commute, and I didn't want to need to depend on charging while at work. I did some calculations where I assumed a worst-case roundtrip commute (plugged in the max mileage via Google Maps for when it re-routes me to go the longer mileage way due to traffic), and then added 50% to account for potential range degradation in cold weather, etc. Next, I assumed a 3% conservative battery capacity loss each year of ownership of the car (for you, you'd need to add 3% loss for each year from the date of manufacture of the car). I did this across multiple makes and models of EVs to determine "how long" I could reliably count on the EV to be a good commuting car at my current job. For me, for a new Leaf (150 mi range), I determined that after the car was ~9 years old I couldn't reliably count on it to make my commute. If your commute is short, and you can be relatively certain that your commute in Idaho will be short, then I think this is fine.

Also, the $3.5k work credit is definitely enticing, and so I could easily see this more as a: [buy old Leaf] -> [use it solely for commuting for a while] -> [sell within 1-3 years and try to break even and/or make a little money due to the work credit]. And that is totally reasonable if you want to get the feel of buying a BEV/have this as a 2nd car option for your life!

Final note- if you do get a used Leaf with sub-80 mi effective range, just make sure you treat that car like the tool that it is. Earlier in this thread you mention ground clearance and taking this EV into the mountains, but I think the reality for a used Leaf will be 99.999% Commuter and 'around town errand running' car. Trying to use it outside of those tasks too often could be annoying, frustrating, and turn you off of EVs.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2023, 07:54:45 AM »
Are you aware of Recurrent? Their battery report on this car says that even in winter the range would be around 76 miles. Do you think they are off target?
https://www.recurrentauto.com/vehicles/1N4AZ0CP2EC339258

Wildly optimistic per this study:
https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/201803.0122/v1



https://www.theautopian.com/i-bought-a-2000-electric-car-with-a-failing-battery-heres-how-bad-it-is/

Early Leafs (Leaves?) have earned a very rightful reputation for losing large amounts of battery capacity thanks to a lack of battery temperature managment. On top of any range reduction caused by age, using the HVAC will reduce range probably another 30%. If we follow the trend line for the 24kwh battery and a 2014 is now 10 years old, you're probably sitting around 70% of the original rated range. What may have originally been 84 miles of range could now be 60-ish at full charge, and that could drop another 30% in cold weather.

If we look at the dash in the link for the Leaf you're considering, it shows 11 bars of battery health. There were 12 originally, so the battery may be fairly healthy without too much degradation. But it's also showing 62 miles of estimated range, and what appears to be a fairly full charge which aligns pretty well with the trend line from the study above:



If that is fully charged, and you see around 30% less range in cold weather with HVAC use, you're under 45 miles of "real world" range, and the range is only going to get worse over time.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2023, 08:10:51 AM by Paper Chaser »

Paper Chaser

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2023, 08:02:26 AM »
To illustrate the impacts of weather and HVAC use on short EV range, I'll use my Fusion Energi PHEV as an example. It has an air cooled battery like the Leaf that's rated to have an EV range of 21 miles when new. In warm months, the onboard display can read as high as 23 miles with a full charge, and in cold months it can read as low as 14 miles with a full charge. That's before any range robbing HVAC use. Need to turn the defrost on? Range goes down. Need AC in the warm months? Range goes down. Seat heaters aren't cutting it and you need to turn the resistive heat on? Range goes down.

So a vehicle that might be rated for 21 miles of EV range in ideal conditions might actually end up with more like 11 or 12 miles of "real world" EV range in cold weather with the heat on. These drops might not be significant enough to matter very often if you've got an EV with hundreds of miles of range. But when you're starting with less than 75 miles of range, and there's no ICE backup to get you to a fuel/charging stop taking a 30% bite out of the range leaves (ha!) you with some anxiety.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2023, 08:14:25 AM by Paper Chaser »

Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2023, 09:36:51 AM »
Thanks for the reality check @Holocene

I have not considered the used tax credit until recently, and you are right - I would not be able to access it due the $150k for MFJ limit.
Unfortunately the credit from work is only available to me until December 31st.
Are you aware of Recurrent? Their battery report on this car says that even in winter the range would be around 76 miles. Do you think they are off target?
https://www.recurrentauto.com/vehicles/1N4AZ0CP2EC339258

I'm not familiar with Recurrent, but I think there's about a 0% chance that you'll get 76 miles of range in that Leaf in the winter.  Even in my brand new Bolt with better battery thermal management, my range drops at least 30% in the winter.  I've been at around 2.8 mi/kwh lately with temps in the 20s-40s.  In the summer, I was getting up to 4.3 mi/kwh.  Most of my regular driving is on the freeway at 65-70 mph.  I don't trust the estimated range on my Bolt in the winter.  I drive 25 miles and the estimated range drops 40-50 miles.  I don't often drive more than 50 miles at a time and have a big enough battery so I don't worry about it.  In an old Leaf, I think I'd have constant range anxiety...

If that Leaf is really at 11 bars of battery health, then that's actually really good for a 10 year old Leaf with 70k miles.  I assume that's where Recurrent got their range estimate (84 *11/12) = 77 miles.  But keep in mind that the battery will continue to degrade, and this one is currently bucking the normal trendline a bit if it's really at over 90% of original capacity.  And you will absolutely lose range in the winter.  I have no idea why the Recurrent estimate shows almost no range loss in the winter.  You have a PHEV now.  I assume you see this with that car?  I don't think there are any EVs that don't lose significant range in the cold, especially if you want to use the heat.

It looks like this Leaf could work for your commute at least most of the time.  You could monitor it as it gets colder and decide if it'll keep making the commute.  Switch to the CMax if the range starts getting close.  Since you're not sure if you need 2 cars, I assume your wife won't need a ton of range in the winter and that swapping cars would be an option.

Without the used tax credit, that makes this less appealing.  And it's a bummer that you need to use the $3.5k employer credit by the end of the year.  That doesn't leave you with much time.  I really think a new Bolt is worth the extra $10k if you can find one.  It will hold it's value a lot better.  Otherwise, I'd probably just keep the one car, unless you think chances are good that you want a 2nd car.  Then the Leaf is not a terrible option, if you get one that's still showing decent battery health like this one and the $3.5k employer credit takes away a bit of the risk.  You just have to understand that it will have very limited use.

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2023, 04:48:11 PM »
With a heavy heart, I am planning to give up both the Federal and Colorado incentive and use only the Corporate $3.5k incentive to buy one of the following:

2014 LEAF @ $8k - $3.5k = $4.5k
https://www.edmunds.com/nissan/leaf/2014/vin/1N4AZ0CP2EC339258/?radius=100

2018 Bolt @ $14k - $3.5k = $10.5k
https://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/bolt-ev/2018/vin/1G1FW6S03J4111007/?radius=200

Comaprison in attached image.

The bottom line is that the Bolt is way nicer but double the price. I need to think about what I want and how much money I'm willing to spend. At the moment I am leaning towards the Bolt just becuase the LEAF looks like such a sad car that will genereally leave me feeling frustrated after each driving experience, whereas the Bolt actually seems really nice and something that I can get excited about. The Whiplash of originally thinking I can get a new Bolt for $14k is and now looking at an old one for @10k is a bit tough though.

I am goiung to sleep on it. Thoughts would be appreciated.

PS: The New-Bolt option collapsed because:
- I ran out of time. I would need to buy the new car in the next week or two.
- Dealerships have minimal stock of the Bolt, and what they do have is typically the Premier version with a bunch of silly bells and whistles that I don't want to pay for
- fear of DMV asking me for proof of residence in CO when I no longer have a rental agreement (and I don't own property in CO). I could almost certainly swing thing by using some mail or a bank statement as proof of residence, but the stress and potential downside is a bit too much for me right now.
- I am moving to Boise TOMORROW and there is just too much on my plate right now to juggle this. So the decision is largely driven by the intention to make life a bit easier right now.

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2023, 07:10:57 PM »
Hahaha, the journey continues!
I just found this: https://www.fowlerchevrolet.net/certified/Chevrolet/2022-Chevrolet-Bolt+EV-210cf5050a0e0a9a608e246517057df7.htm

Brand new 2022 Bolt EV. It was a demo model or something, but I confirmed that it still qualifies for the state and federal tax because it has never been registered. It should be available in the next week. If this option pulls thorugh then it would be:

$30k +$2.7k tax - $5k (State) -$7.5k (federal) - $3.5k (corporate) = $16.7k

It is a pretty basic trim. But I don't think that matters for me. There doesn't seem to be a difference between the 2022 and 2023.

Does anybody have anything to say? This seems like a clear winner to me... ... ... Or am I missing something?


Thanks for going on this ride with me everybody - I'm super grateful for all of these insights!!


Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #44 on: December 01, 2023, 09:52:37 PM »
I didn't realize you were moving quite so soon!  Between that and the limited time to make a decision, I can imagine it's a bit stressful.

That new Bolt is listed as "Certified Pre-Owned" on the website.  Between that and it being a 2022 model year, I'd be a bit concerned about trying to claim the tax credits.  If it's truly never been registered and you are the first on the title, then you should be ok.  But I'd want some proof from the dealer that this is true.

When I bought my Bolt in February, I got a form from the dealership that stated that it qualified for the new EV tax credit.  It looks like this:


See: https://www.reddit.com/r/BoltEV/comments/11g8r1r/gm_ev_tax_credit_form_reference_number/

So hopefully you can get some kind of proof like this.  If so, I'd jump on this before it's gone!  This looks to have the same packages as my EUV and I think it's sufficient.  I don't really think there were any changes from the '22 to '23 model years.

Do you know what Colorado checks to get the state tax credit?  Will your paperwork when you buy the car show an address in Idaho rather than Colorado and will that affect this?  Do you need to register it in CO first, then again in ID?  I'm not sure what the rules are on the CO state credit.  I figured you'd still be actually living in CO when you bought it.  The fact that you're moving tomorrow complicates things (along with trying to buy a car as you're moving!).  So I'd just try and make sure that you'll actually qualify.

Would this car qualify for the Chevy Qmerit promotion for a home charger installation or EVGO credit?  I'm not sure if it's demo status would qualify it or not.  Worth checking into, but I wouldn't reject it at this point for that.  Maybe see if the dealer will give you an extra $500 off it it doesn't qualify!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2023, 10:02:42 PM by Holocene »

Aardvark

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #45 on: December 02, 2023, 04:13:48 AM »
Thanks @Holocene, all great points.
I was going to ask them to just write me a letter on the spot. This is a great template.
CO basically just needs the car the be new (never been registered) and for the first registration to be in CO. I don't foresee issues with registering it in CO, as I do technically still live in CO. I have been there for 3 years until about 3 months ago when I started working remotely and travelling around the country. There is no "working remotely" option at the DMV, and I even spoke to a guy at the Colorado Dept of Revenue and he said "yep, there's no other option, just use your old address". So although this is very bloody tight it feels doable.

For all the Bolt fudi's out there like @Holocene and @BuffaloStache :
Personally, I would love to have a "self driving" car that can safely stay in a lane, regulate speed according to traffic, and maybe change lanes. I love using this feature in my Father-in-law's Tesla, and I think it would actually be a genuinely nice to have feature. In the Bolt it seems that I'd need to pay about $6k extra for a car that has Super Cruise (https://www.chevrolet.com/super-cruise).
This is OBVIOUSLY a luxury, and I am not considering it. But - theoretically - what would you be willing to pay for this? My mind is all over the place about this. On the one hand I think - gosh that would be something actaully worth spending money on becuase it will improve my life by decreasing the stress of my daily commute. On the other hand I think - this is stupid and uncessary, stop being lazy and drive yourself around like you've always done!
I'd appreciate some philosophizing here :)

Paper Chaser

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #46 on: December 02, 2023, 08:24:12 AM »
Thanks @Holocene, all great points.
I was going to ask them to just write me a letter on the spot. This is a great template.
CO basically just needs the car the be new (never been registered) and for the first registration to be in CO. I don't foresee issues with registering it in CO, as I do technically still live in CO. I have been there for 3 years until about 3 months ago when I started working remotely and travelling around the country. There is no "working remotely" option at the DMV, and I even spoke to a guy at the Colorado Dept of Revenue and he said "yep, there's no other option, just use your old address". So although this is very bloody tight it feels doable.

For all the Bolt fudi's out there like @Holocene and @BuffaloStache :
Personally, I would love to have a "self driving" car that can safely stay in a lane, regulate speed according to traffic, and maybe change lanes. I love using this feature in my Father-in-law's Tesla, and I think it would actually be a genuinely nice to have feature. In the Bolt it seems that I'd need to pay about $6k extra for a car that has Super Cruise (https://www.chevrolet.com/super-cruise).
This is OBVIOUSLY a luxury, and I am not considering it. But - theoretically - what would you be willing to pay for this? My mind is all over the place about this. On the one hand I think - gosh that would be something actaully worth spending money on becuase it will improve my life by decreasing the stress of my daily commute. On the other hand I think - this is stupid and uncessary, stop being lazy and drive yourself around like you've always done!
I'd appreciate some philosophizing here :)

For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure that SuperCruise is only avaiable on the Bolt EUV

Holocene

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #47 on: December 02, 2023, 11:05:56 AM »
For me, I still have a hard time trusting a car to drive itself.  Even with adaptive cruise (on rental cars since my EUV doesn't have it), I get a bit worried that it won't detect the car in front of me and slow down in time.  Basically, I like to be in control when I'm driving and not rely on the car sensors and control algorithms to keep me safe.  And if I'm constantly paying attention and ready to intervene if the car screws up, I feel like that's almost more work than just driving myself...

Most of my driving is <30min at a time without traffic, and driving the car myself is not burdensome.  I only drive maybe 3k miles a year so it's even less worthwhile for me.  I could see this feature coming in handy on road trips.  But the Bolt is not a good road trip car anyway.  So it feels less useful on this particular car, unless you have a long commute everyday that's on supported roads.

Supercruise only works on pre-mapped roads so it might not even be available for your commute.  It's more limited in the Bolt than in other models.  It does not change lanes for you on the Bolt.  It disengages if you look away from the road too long.  But it is hands-free and it seems to work fairly well on the mapped roads.  After 3 years, you need to pay a monthly fee to continue using it.

Check out the map at https://www.chevrolet.com/super-cruise
There is a Bolt EUV toggle.  The mapped roads look pretty limited near Boise.

I've read about an alternative for the Bolt (and many other cars) - comma AI and openpilot.  You'd have to install it yourself.  But it's cheaper and will work on all roads and I think even change lanes for you if you hit the turn signal.  I'd trust this even less than a manufacturer self-drive though, so not sure I'd ever go this route.  But a lot of people rave about it and say it's better than Supercruise.  It also requires adaptive cruise control though, so won't work on the lower end Bolts.  Supposedly there may be a pedal interceptor you can get, but who knows about the safety of that.

My commute is usually a de-stressor: 5 miles each way on my bicycle.  And I only work 3 days a week now and sometimes from home.  So I can't really relate to what a self-drive feature would be worth as far as decreasing stress.  Driving just doesn't cause me stress.  And I generally DIY as much as I can, so paying more for a car to outsource my driving to my car doesn't seem worth it to me personally, along with the safety considerations.  But that's just me, at least for now.  I could see looking for a self-drive feature in my next car in another 15-20 years since I assume it'll be somewhat standard at that point, or at least more widely available and mature.

NorCal

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #48 on: December 02, 2023, 11:30:11 AM »
The Bolt looks like a good find.  I haven't driven one, but everyone seems to love them. 

The downside of the Bolt or Leaf versus more expensive options is the slow charging speed.  It's not going to be a road-trip car.  Which is absolutely fine for anyone in a two car household.

For a little inspiration, here's someone that drove a Bolt to Alaska:

Part 1: https://niche-canada.org/2022/12/05/bolt-to-alaska-energetic-lessons-from-a-4300-mile-electric-road-trip/
Part 2: https://niche-canada.org/2022/12/08/bolt-to-alaska-energetic-lessons-from-a-4300-mile-electric-road-trip-part-ii/

BuffaloStache

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Re: Buying an EV using $15,500 worth of company, state, and federal incentives
« Reply #49 on: December 03, 2023, 09:12:37 PM »
...
For all the Bolt fudi's out there like @Holocene and @BuffaloStache :
Personally, I would love to have a "self driving" car that can safely stay in a lane, regulate speed according to traffic, and maybe change lanes. I love using this feature in my Father-in-law's Tesla, and I think it would actually be a genuinely nice to have feature. In the Bolt it seems that I'd need to pay about $6k extra for a car that has Super Cruise (https://www.chevrolet.com/super-cruise).
This is OBVIOUSLY a luxury, and I am not considering it. But - theoretically - what would you be willing to pay for this? My mind is all over the place about this. On the one hand I think - gosh that would be something actaully worth spending money on becuase it will improve my life by decreasing the stress of my daily commute. On the other hand I think - this is stupid and uncessary, stop being lazy and drive yourself around like you've always done!
I'd appreciate some philosophizing here :)

Sorry for the late reply- I think we chatted about this separately, but while I love SuperCruise and did get my Bolt EUV with it, I really feel like it's a novelty more than anything. Now that I've had my car for ~9 months, I only use it occasionally for many of the reasons Holocene pointed out. I also never use it when my kids are in the car... at all.

But to more directly answer the question- I think getting SuperCruise was a ~$2k add-on when I bought my Bolt EUV, and it gets you unlimited SuperCruise access for 3 years (not forever). Since I was getting all of the rebates I'm still happy with the fact that I bought it, but not getting it would definitely not have been a deal breaker for me. I may feel differently in 2.75 years from now, but as of today I don't think I'll buy a recurring SuperCruise subscription once my free 3 years runs out. If I really have an itch to continue using an Autopilot system I'd probably check out something that wasn't a recurring subscription like the Comma AI autopilot: https://comma.ai/

Hopefully everything worked out! Give us an update either way.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2023, 09:29:22 PM by BuffaloStache »