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Want to buy an electric car? Read this first

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Now that the price of gas is rising, are you thinking more seriously about buying an electric car? You and everyone else.

EVs are hard to find, especially now. The war in Ukraine has not only increased the price of gas. It has also hampered car production in Europe, which exports to the United States. And U.S. companies like Ford are “blindsided by how many people want to buy their cars” and EVs can’t make it fast, Chris Harto, senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports, told me.

When my friend and I moved to Los Angeles last year, we knew we had to buy a car, and we knew we wanted it all to be electric.

After much research, we managed to test all the cars we wanted to see in one day and drive home that night with our top pick.

Here’s what we learned:

Electric cars are in such high demand, few dealers are putting vehicles around for a test drive – we had to drive an hour to find a model. (Oh, and be sure to specify if you want all-electric, so you’re not surprised with hybrids like us.)

We We met the day before. On the day, we called forward to make sure the car was not sold. There is no guarantee that most of the cars listed on the dealer’s website will be available.

We saw a handful of cars, but we bought the first test drive, the Kia Nero.

Markup on the Ford Mustang Mach-E, one eye popping was $ 15,000. If we wanted a Volkswagen ID.4, we would only have to wait six months, our salesman said. The Chevrolet Bolt has been out of production for months, and many other models are nowhere to be found.

But we didn’t buy the Nero as soon as we saw it. C’est la vie, we thought, and moved on anyway.

We were afraid the federal government would redeem up to V 7,500 incentive for EV buyers. This is not an immediate discount; You have to wait until the tax season.

We were willing to finance the purchase, but the dealer offered us a lease, which included a full government incentive discount, as well as a small additional discount that covered the administrative fee for the lease. Our agreement allows us to purchase the car for the remaining price and $ 300 fee at any point during the lease period, so we will do so in a few months to avoid expensive lease charges. We calculated that we could come up with a few hundred dollars, but the real value was that we got credit immediately.

However, it was a risky move. Chris Harto, senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports, told me that there could be more. “I would definitely not do this without checking all the paperwork,” he said.

Of California Clean Vehicle Discount Project Is also confused. First, the program, which offers a discount of 2,000 or more if you buy all electric vehicles, Is Despite the old messages on the fund and its website, there is no waiting list.

But the income cap has changed recently: if you earn more than 5 135,000 (or $ 200,000 joint filing) you are not eligible – your dealer may not know or may tell you. And the manufacturer’s suggested retail price range also changed to more than $ 45,000 for sedans and $ 60,000 for SUVs and trucks. This means a newly purchased Tesla Are not qualified. And those statistics may change again.

There are other breakouts, including the $ 750 credit that California merchants apply to checkouts and Incentives from power companies.

We looked. If you do not want to buy older models of lower range, there are very few used electrics.

The Hyundai Kona we tested was the cheapest slow used model we found electric – and was listed at over $ 40,000, thousands more than its original suggested retail price. And used cars are not eligible for federal tax credit.

Gas is not cheap, but neither is electricity.

At about 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, it would cost about $ 11.50 to fully charge our car’s 64 kWh battery. This is a lot better than paying Sub 70 for our Subaru Forester to cover the same distance. But with the cost of the car, especially with the markup, we can’t save a lot of money on a traditional car.

That’s not the only reason we buy electricity, as we mentioned last week’s special smoky day. And we hope to save on repairs: no oil changes or spark plugs.

Compare prices per mile When using gas and electricity. The The Department of Energy also has a good calculator It shows you the lifetime cost of different cars.

One option: Hybrids are much less in demand than full electrics. They are also very cheap; You can save up to 10,000 to $ 15,000 at the dealer. Depending on your driving habits, you can still save a lot on gas.

In the end, we were glad we were able to do it all in one day. And when we drove a new car to our neighborhood, we were further convinced: the price of gas in the corner had risen another 10 cents.

For more:

Today’s tip comes from Pelle P. Smits, who recommends the town of Sonora, about 90 miles southeast of Sacramento:

“After the Gold Rush brought many Mexican mines to Mother Lode based on the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the early 1850’s, they founded the city of Sonora. The architecture is well preserved and invites visitors on foot to see Sonora’s archeological buildings, including the County Courthouse, the home of the Union Democrats, and the Toulumne County Museum, all of which tell the story of the region’s fascinating past. There are countless atmospheric restaurants and coffee houses where the local population mixes with tourists visiting the breathtaking Stanislas National Forest in Tuolomne County.

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.


The South Asian Network, an advocacy group based in Artesia’s Little India in Southern California, will soon receive 200,000 to expand its programs on mental health, citizenship assistance and small business support.

Bank of America today announced five winners of the Ethnic Equity Award, part of its philanthropic efforts. One of the honorees is Manjusha P. Kulkarni, who co-founded Stop Nation Asian Anti-Harassment Tracking Stop AAPI Hate in 2020.

The award allows Los Angeles-based Kulkarni to direct मन 200,000 to his favorite nonprofit organization – and he decides on the South Asian Network.

A portion of the fund will be used to create a small business mentorship program to help local South Asian small businesses fight the negative effects of epidemics and anti-Asian hatred. The program will begin in a few months with at least 50 mentors.

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