State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

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letsgobobby
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State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:39 am

I’m not in the market for a vehicle today - I have a 12 year old vehicle with 185k miles I imagine will drive well forever. I was hoping to drive it 4 more years, which would take it over 250,000 miles.

My next car is going to be an EV, especially if the federal tax credits remain. I’ve been eyeing the Bolt. I have an 80 mile roundtrip highway commute. We also have home solar and dirt cheap electricity.

Our state tax credit is that EVs are not charged sales tax, which would save a buyer over $3000. However that is forecast to expire in two months.

The federal tax credit begins to phase out when the manufacturer has sold 200,000 plug in vehicles. According to this website, that could be this year for the Bolt:

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/10 ... its-expire

Bottom line, it seems that waiting even one year to buy a Bolt would cost me $10,000 more.

Is there an argument to be made for buying the Bolt today, even though such a vehicle is not needed for, say, four years? In practice I’d end up driving it regularly to work, and maybe using my old car for all other purposes.

ronno2018
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by ronno2018 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:50 am

I don't know, I think you should pass and wait for the technology to mature. We leased a Kia Niro this year for the mileage and safety features and will likely turn it in and buy a Leaf or something similar in three years. Or keep it if we can get a deal on the buy out. Or consider a used Nissan Leaf or other electric now. The 2015's were really cheap for awhile. https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-Nissan-Leaf-d2077

Self driving will be better in a few years too.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:59 am

Buying it four years early seems like a long time. I would expect EV technology to change a lot during that time. It wouldn't surprise me to see electric vehicles drop in price as the technology becomes more mainstream, thus offsetting some of your savings. Plus you would have the carrying costs like insurance and licensing. How would age affect battery life? I'm not familiar with the Bolt warranty but it seems like you would use up a lot of your warranty period during those 4 years.

OTOH, there are no guarantees that your 185k mile vehicle will make the four years. With an 80 mile commute, it seems like the Bolt could save you a lot of money on the commute starting now.

I think for me it would come down to the relative costs of continuing to drive the existing car vs. supporting two cars and the relative convenience of having one or two cars.

ofckrupke
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by ofckrupke » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:00 am

Also there is $10k of government largesse on offer today, but how much of it do you capture and how much ends up with the manufacturer and dealer? WRT the state's part, how much does the subsidy differ from what's available to those who live/buy across and up the river, and how much does your favorite measure of out-the-door cost (mean,median,mode,other) differ for this model between the two nearby markets? Does this suggest that struck prices might change (and if so then how much) when the federal credit decreases?

stan1
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by stan1 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:54 pm

I would never buy a depreciating asset ahead of need, even with a government subsidy.

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ray.james
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by ray.james » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:59 pm

I was considering a phev/everyone as well due to 5 mile radius Max of everything we do except a weekend. 4 year s is too long in battery tech imo. What's stopping from using it right now? Especially given such a long commute.
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

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ray.james
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by ray.james » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:00 pm

ronno2018 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:50 am
I don't know, I think you should pass and wait for the technology to mature. We leased a Kia Niro this year for the mileage and safety features and will likely turn it in and buy a Leaf or something similar in three years. Or keep it if we can get a deal on the buy out. Or consider a used Nissan Leaf or other electric now. The 2015's were really cheap for awhile. https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/l-Used-Nissan-Leaf-d2077

Self driving will be better in a few years too.
Niro phev is the exact car that I am interested in right now. The other being clarity phev but that is not a hatchback. Do you like the car Niro? How is the power on it?
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

sandramjet
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by sandramjet » Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:40 pm

I bought a Bolt early for much the same reasoning, however, by "early" I mean only about 6 months earlier than I had planned (late last year vs this summer). I would NOT buy one any earlier than that. I expect EV's in general to get much better in the future, and be worth buying even without a subsidy. There is also the possibility that the subsidies will be extended in some form.

letsgobobby
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:22 pm

What about battery life? Assume I drive the vehicle from time to time but not regularly. Though it seems like once I buy it, I should drive it to kill my gas costs

madbrain
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by madbrain » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:50 pm

IMO, there is no reason to buy a vehicle that early. The costliest component in the Bolt is the battery pack. It is warrantied for 8 years and 100,000 miles. If you buy it 4 years early, you will only have a 4 year warranty on it. Also, the battery pack could still degrade over time if not used regularly. Lithium ion battery have really funny properties. You will have registration costs for 4 extra years also. These are now over $500/year in California for our Bolt after the legislature added misguided EV surcharges. These fees might be less in your state, but could go up over time. They will eat into the government incentives you collect now. And of course, there will be huge depreciation, regardless of whether you drive the car or not.
Unless you don't drive it a single mile, there will be insurance costs as well.

Still, I would question your statement that your vehicle with 185,000 miles will "run well forever". Surely there will be maintenance issues and downtime. Those may not be nearly as much as the cost of a new car, but could still be significant, and donwtime can be very inconvenient.

The Bolt - especially a loaded one - has great safety features which your older vehicle does not have, and could save your life or that of others. Hard to put a price on that until you have an accident. It is also a great car to drive. Not everything is strictly about $$$.

As far as electric cars getting better, yes, they absolutely will, but battery prices are still fairly high. No one has matched the price of the Bolt yet in terms of $/mile of range with such a high range. Until the Bolt was released, EV cars in mere mortals price ranges (meaning, excluding Tesla) were not improving very much over since the original Leaf in terms of range/$. The Volt for example added a whole 5 miles of range between Gen1 and Gen2. Leaf went from a 24 kWh to a 30 kWh. These were fairly marginal improvements.

Nobody can predict what the range and prices of new EVs will be in 4 years. But both will be primarily driven by battery costs still. Much of the other technology will be improved for sure (safety, entertainment systems, etc) with likely little to no extra cost.

IMO, buy a Bolt to drive it now, otherwise, it doesn't make sense. Another poster said (in the Tesla thread) that he got a base Bolt with DC option for $27K after incentives. That is below the average cost of a new car nowadays, and a steal.

madbrain
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by madbrain » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:56 pm

ronno2018 wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:50 am
Self driving will be better in a few years too.
Yes, but I am not sure that anyone will offer full self driving within 4 years.

letsgobobby
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:10 am

madbrain wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:50 pm
IMO, there is no reason to buy a vehicle that early. The costliest component in the Bolt is the battery pack. It is warrantied for 8 years and 100,000 miles. If you buy it 4 years early, you will only have a 4 year warranty on it. Also, the battery pack could still degrade over time if not used regularly. Lithium ion battery have really funny properties. You will have registration costs for 4 extra years also. These are now over $500/year in California for our Bolt after the legislature added misguided EV surcharges. These fees might be less in your state, but could go up over time. They will eat into the government incentives you collect now. And of course, there will be huge depreciation, regardless of whether you drive the car or not.
Unless you don't drive it a single mile, there will be insurance costs as well.

Still, I would question your statement that your vehicle with 185,000 miles will "run well forever". Surely there will be maintenance issues and downtime. Those may not be nearly as much as the cost of a new car, but could still be significant, and donwtime can be very inconvenient.

The Bolt - especially a loaded one - has great safety features which your older vehicle does not have, and could save your life or that of others. Hard to put a price on that until you have an accident. It is also a great car to drive. Not everything is strictly about $$$.

As far as electric cars getting better, yes, they absolutely will, but battery prices are still fairly high. No one has matched the price of the Bolt yet in terms of $/mile of range with such a high range. Until the Bolt was released, EV cars in mere mortals price ranges (meaning, excluding Tesla) were not improving very much over since the original Leaf in terms of range/$. The Volt for example added a whole 5 miles of range between Gen1 and Gen2. Leaf went from a 24 kWh to a 30 kWh. These were fairly marginal improvements.

Nobody can predict what the range and prices of new EVs will be in 4 years. But both will be primarily driven by battery costs still. Much of the other technology will be improved for sure (safety, entertainment systems, etc) with likely little to no extra cost.

IMO, buy a Bolt to drive it now, otherwise, it doesn't make sense. Another poster said (in the Tesla thread) that he got a base Bolt with DC option for $27K after incentives. That is below the average cost of a new car nowadays, and a steal.
Thanks for weighing in, really appreciate your expertise as an EV consumer.

It does seem like if I'm going to buy the Bolt, I should drive the Bolt. Waiting is pointless.

Dealer near me has the Bolt Premier with the high tech package and DC charging for $37,000. $29,500 after incentives, no state sales tax, and $2000 yearly in gas savings net of electricity costs. huh.

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just frank
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by just frank » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:57 am

The answer is simple: go take a Bolt for a test drive. Try to arrange for an 'extended test drive' like 48 hours, and run your commute in it.

--If you love the EV driving experience and the tech vs the old car, pull the trigger. Yes there IS a local optimum for buying this year vs buying next.

--If you miss your old car during the test drive (maybe its very nice, i don't know), then don't.

The Bolt is a great car for commuting in 2018. There will be better EVs in 2022.

I personally don't get the 'I'm gonna drive my 12 year old car 4 more years thing', passing 200k miles. I have happily driven a bunch of cars that far, and then did this :oops: when I actually traded them in.

You spend a LOT of time in a car with that commute (>500 hours/yr), you deserve to be comfortable, safe and to enjoy it.

letsgobobby
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:46 am

madbrain wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:50 pm
The Bolt - especially a loaded one - has great safety features which your older vehicle does not have, and could save your life or that of others. Hard to put a price on that until you have an accident. It is also a great car to drive. Not everything is strictly about $$$.
.
Have you researched how effective or proven all these new technologies are, or aren't? How helpful are they, vs, say, annoying? I'm imaging constant beeps, chirps, lights, and alarms every time I try to back up, change lanes, set cruise control, etc.

My current vehicle doesn't even have a backup camera and with kids and a dog, that alone is going to be nice. (Course I could add an after market one for just a few hundred bucks). The rest?

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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by mmmodem » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:52 am

I had a 2006 Honda Civic with 170k miles when I gave it to my mom for a 2012 Prius PHEV. The Civic was only 6 years old and would have lasted a few more years. I didn't need to buy the Prius. However, I did the math and the Prius would've broken even with the Civic and give me solo HOV access.

The argument that in 4 years, EV's will be better. The same can be said about EV's 4 years from now too. You're not going to buy a Bolt and leave it in the garage. You're going to drive it. Crunch the numbers and see how it compares to your current vehicle.

Ignore the fear, uncertainty, doubt (FUD) about EV's and lithium batteries from people who've never owned an EV or hybrid. Lithium-ion is a mature battery technology. Modern electric vehicles have been around for over 2 decades. I've got 2500 charge cycles on my Prius and only experienced 15% battery degradation. Read: EV batteries are not the same as cell phone batteries because if they are that means my batteries have only lost 15% capacity after the equivalent of 7 years of daily charge on a cell phone. Few cell phone batteries lasts this long. An EV battery is not the same as a cell phone or laptop battery. Do listen to FUD from EV owners that say you have no spare tire when you are far from home and don't leave the car parked at the airport for days at low state of charge. Phantom electric draw will empty the battery in days.

Good luck.

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bottlecap
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by bottlecap » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:21 pm

The tax credit is a subsidy to the manufacturer that permits them to sell more vehicles at an inflated price.

As such, when the tax credit expires, the manufacturer will have to drop the price accordingly, or sell less cars.

I don’t think you have anything to worry about after the tax credit expires.

JT

TravelGeek
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:33 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:46 am
Have you researched how effective or proven all these new technologies are, or aren't? How helpful are they, vs, say, annoying? I'm imaging constant beeps, chirps, lights, and alarms every time I try to back up, change lanes, set cruise control, etc.
Can't speak for the Bolt's systems, but here are my 2+ years of experience of Subaru's EyeSight system (2016 Forester):

- adaptive cruise control: absolutely love it. Will not buy another vehicle without it.

- lane keep assist and sway warning: beeps when I am leaving my lane unless I signal my intent. Has been useful on occasions, just like a rumble strip.

- pre-collision throttle management / braking: I have not experienced this :sharebeer

- pre-collision warning: It has been semi-useful on one or two occasions where it beeped at me right about when I realized the car in front of me was slowing down unexpectedly. I say "semi-useful" because I could imagine a scenario where this happened when I was not paying enough attention.

- "traffic light alert": not sure what the actual name for that feature is, but when I am stopped behind another vehicle at a red light and the car in front of me starts moving, the Subaru alerts me after a couple of seconds if I don't start moving. Saves me from the honking of the driver behind me :)

Katietsu
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by Katietsu » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:19 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:33 pm
letsgobobby wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:46 am
Have you researched how effective or proven all these new technologies are, or aren't? How helpful are they, vs, say, annoying? I'm imaging constant beeps, chirps, lights, and alarms every time I try to back up, change lanes, set cruise control, etc.
Can't speak for the Bolt's systems, but here are my 2+ years of experience of Subaru's EyeSight system (2016 Forester):

- adaptive cruise control: absolutely love it. Will not buy another vehicle without it.

- lane keep assist and sway warning: beeps when I am leaving my lane unless I signal my intent. Has been useful on occasions, just like a rumble strip.

- pre-collision throttle management / braking: I have not experienced this :sharebeer

- pre-collision warning: It has been semi-useful on one or two occasions where it beeped at me right about when I realized the car in front of me was slowing down unexpectedly. I say "semi-useful" because I could imagine a scenario where this happened when I was not paying enough attention.

- "traffic light alert": not sure what the actual name for that feature is, but when I am stopped behind another vehicle at a red light and the car in front of me starts moving, the Subaru alerts me after a couple of seconds if I don't start moving. Saves me from the honking of the driver behind me :)
+1
Not a Bolt or a Subaru. But very glad I prioritized safety features last year when purchasing a new vehicle. I would add that the blind spot warning when signaling a lane change and pedestrian warning when backing out of a parking spot have made driving less stressful. Over the years, I have had a few close calls where an accident was avoided because of the alertness of another driver. Now we need to get these features on all cars so that I will not be run off the road and into the snow filled median again.

madbrain
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by madbrain » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:16 pm

I will speak for the Bolt since I have been the secondary driver for over a year.
TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:33 pm
- adaptive cruise control: absolutely love it. Will not buy another vehicle without it.
Unfortunately, the Bolt does not have this yet.
- lane keep assist and sway warning: beeps when I am leaving my lane unless I signal my intent. Has been useful on occasions, just like a rumble strip.
I think the warnings are not overly useful. There is also a feature in the Bolt where you can take your hands off the wheel, and it will stay between the lines if you are on cruise control ... I tried it a couple times when there was no one else on the road. It is really scary. If the road is not straight, the car just swerves from one line to another and really struggles to stay between. And of course if the paint is a bit off, it stops working. Not sure what they call this feature, but I will never use it again.
- pre-collision throttle management / braking: I have not experienced this :sharebeer
I have had this happen while on cruise control (around 35mph) on a city street. Someone turned left at a stop sign in front of me without looking for traffic. It slowed down the car and took cruise control off.
- pre-collision warning: It has been semi-useful on one or two occasions where it beeped at me right about when I realized the car in front of me was slowing down unexpectedly. I say "semi-useful" because I could imagine a scenario where this happened when I was not paying enough attention.
Have had it trip too. I find it useful. Though the Bolt warning is really annoying with the red flashing. I prefer the implementation in my Volt.
- "traffic light alert": not sure what the actual name for that feature is, but when I am stopped behind another vehicle at a red light and the car in front of me starts moving, the Subaru alerts me after a couple of seconds if I don't start moving. Saves me from the honking of the driver behind me :)
Don't have this. Sounds useful for those drivers who use their cell phones while stopped at a traffic light in their car. But it won't save them from a ticket, as this is now illegal in California.

The safety feature I like the most in the Bolt is the blind spot monitor in the front side mirrors. It lights up if there is a car in the adjacent lane, and flashes if there is a car not far behind int he adjacent lane. I think that's really useful.

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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:34 pm

madbrain wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:16 pm
I think the warnings are not overly useful. There is also a feature in the Bolt where you can take your hands off the wheel, and it will stay between the lines if you are on cruise control ... I tried it a couple times when there was no one else on the road. It is really scary. If the road is not straight, the car just swerves from one line to another and really struggles to stay between. And of course if the paint is a bit off, it stops working. Not sure what they call this feature, but I will never use it again.
I didn’t know the Bolt has it. Sounds like the ProPilot from Nissan. I played with it when I test-drove the 2018 LEAF. And yes, I found it somewhat scary as well. Not because it was swerving from one side to another; it seemed to do a good job keeping me in my lane on a freeway in Portland. But as a software engineer I spent the entire time looking for possible scenarios that could cause it to misbehave and cause me to plow into the median. And you have to keep your hands on the steering wheel to be prepared to take over as needed (eg when the lane markers disappear). So in short, not something I am at this time interested in.

Some might argue that adaptive cruise control is equally scary. I didn’t find that to be the case. I don’t rely on it to come to a complete stop when traffic in front of me stops. It is incredibly useful, though, to adapt to slight speed changes. I still maintain full attention, but I don’t have to brake, then speed up again, all the time.
Don't have this. Sounds useful for those drivers who use their cell phones while stopped at a traffic light in their car. But it won't save them from a ticket, as this is now illegal in California.
I don’t use my cellphone while driving, but I might on occasions select a new podcast or program the vehicle’s GPS while at a red light. In any case, not a big feature (I wouldn’t pay money for it), but the hardware is there anyway and the software presumably pretty simple compared to other features.
The safety feature I like the most in the Bolt is the blind spot monitor in the front side mirrors. It lights up if there is a car in the adjacent lane, and flashes if there is a car not far behind int he adjacent lane. I think that's really useful.
Agreed, I have had that on several rental cars and like it. Mostly when other people have it, because after a close call in my youth I have made it a habit to always look over my shoulders before changing lanes. But I have more than once been nearly hit by others changing lanes into me.

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just frank
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Re: State and fed tax credits - buying a Bolt electric vehicle before it’s needed

Post by just frank » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:04 pm

My bolt has the blind spot sensors on the side mirrors. Pretty nice, and silent.

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