Discover more from Julie Gammack's Iowa Potluck
...our new electric vehicle
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The electric vehicle market is topsy turvy now thanks to the new announcement of federal electric vehicle purchase incentives.
To help sort out the plusses and minuses between two of the most popular options, here's some advice from folks who owned a Tesla Y and just purchased a KIA EV6.
Since we bought, but did not keep, a Tesla Y after a 6,000-mile road trip, we have searched for an electric vehicle that didn't scare us with 'phantom braking' at unpredictable moments. My column on the Tesla Y: Braking Bad
We had loved the Y, for the most part, and today more than ever, with a recent reduction in price coupled with a $7,500 incentive (some eligibility requirements apply), it's tempting to swallow disdain for Elon Musk's antics on Twitter and buy another Tesla. We almost did.
Before you do, I have a few comparisons to share from personal experience.
We have been trying to do our part to address global climate change by moving toward an all-electric vehicle and were close to giving Tesla another shot. Only this time, we were going to buy a used Tesla S through Carvana. The phantom braking issues seemed to be found in newer models, so we figured that problem would be avoided if we purchased a 2019 or older vehicle.
We came close to pushing the 'buy' button, then Musk would Tweet or say something outrageous, and I'd pull back, not wanting to add one dime to his empire.
Exploring other options, we test-drove several electric vehicles currently on the market.
This VW Beetle-loving aging hippie was hoping the Volkswagon I.D. Buzz would become available in the U.S. It's a revival of the V.W. van concept, but the U.S. market's production dates are delayed. It's all-electric and has generated a ton of buzz, but the availability date seems unknown, and waiting has never been my long suit.
We also wanted to 'buy American' and had made a deposit on a Cadillac Lyriq, only to be informed months later that our order wouldn't become available until 2024.
But G.M. lost me when as Phoebe Wall Howard -- an Okoboji Writers' Retreat faculty member - reported last week in the Detroit Free Press and USA Today, the auto company is phasing out AppleCar Play in future vehicles.
Dumb move, G.M. Dumb move. Bye bye.
We test-drove an electric Volvo, Volkswagon, Mercedes, Nissan, and a Ford plug-in hybrid. Since we had had the experience of driving a Tesla Y, the comparisons were disappointing. And the salespeople needed help to answer basic questions about the cars. I wonder why they don’t learn about what they are selling.
Even if they had been knowledgeable, the range and performance of the cars were disappointing.
Still, all of those we drove are preferable to buying another internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE). An overnight electrical charge is all a metro driver needs for in-town driving. And you won't have the ongoing service needs of oil changes etc., plus, if we all move in this direction, we have a shot at slowing the planet's destruction. There is that.
We hadn't considered a KIA. It may be snobbery, but the brand had a cheap connotation. Still, the local dealer had a few electric vehicles in stock, so we headed out to try one more option before buying a used Tesla.
Gus Danso greeted us as we approached the dealership. He was informed about electric vehicles in general and his inventory specifically. This was refreshing.
We looked at the so-call performance EV6, but when we spotted the long-range AWD model, we decided to try it.
The interior was roomy, the dashboard user-friendly, and there was one pleasant surprise after another. I was delighted to discover the perfect place to store an easily accessible purse - a (presumably) male-engineered automobile design rarity.
The EV6 checked all of the comparable boxes to the Tesla Y. The all-important power range is 310 miles, similar to the Y.
The dashboard screen was intuitive, and the seats were comfortable; a wireless phone charger was within easy reach. We inched the car onto the road, and regenerative braking appeared when we approached the first stop. I'd become accustomed to and now favor regenerative braking, so I was delighted not only to find it in the KIA, but levels of regen strength can be set.
We had driven the Mercedes EV two days before, but the KIA was a better fit, and the finishes were more appealing to us. Plus, the KIA EV6 has a better range and (of course) price.
Frankly, we were in disbelief. We liked the KIA.
Gus laughed at our jokes, but most importantly, he knew his product. He could tell we were potential buyers but didn’t push.
We said we would process the decision over lunch and get back to him, but if we make an offer, it will be lower than the over-sticker price being asked. Yes, that's a thing - there is so much demand for electric vehicles, and limited inventory, car dealers are getting prices over the MSRP.
Still, KIA dealers are in an unenviable position at this moment because they do not fit the criteria for the federal tax incentive offered to cars where components need to be manufactured in the U.S.
Think about it, though. If you spend a lot of time in a car, how are each vehicle's various amenities comparable? How will you feel if you sacrifice comfort, ease of use, performance, and range, over time? An additional 50-100 miles of range will come in handy.
We prefer the KIA over the Y for dozens of reasons. The KIA has Apple and Android Bluetooth functionality. Without this, it’s a deal-breaker, and that’s the first item on our Y versus KIA list of comps.
Equally important, the KIA has a familiar windshield washer stick, instead of what you have in a Tesla Y, where the driver must find the function on the dashboard tablet or use a voice command. This isn’t immediatley intuitive when dealing with a sudden squall.
Service. We can go to a KIA dealership, and folks are available to answer questions. And, unlike our Tesla acquisition experience, where someone handed us a key, pointed to where our new car was parked, and said if we had any questions, go to YouTube for answers. In contrast, our local KIA dealer had a team member walk us through the technology basics, and paired our phones to the vehicle before we left.
For more information, YouTube does have countless video tutorials on how the KIA EV6 techology works, and several comparing the EV6 to a Y.
Tesla's remaining advantage over all other electric vehicles is extensive, proprietary network of Super Chargers. It’s a big deal and almost tipped us into that direction.
After our first long road trip in the KIA, we’ll offer more of a report on how we finding charging stations, without the Tesla Supercharger network. This will spell the difference of whether our new car is a reliable road tirpper, or just a fun local daily driver.
States like Iowa need to catch up in charging capabilities. I imagine those in the business of shoeing horses tried to block and stop the automobile industry from taking hold back in the day, too.
Electric vehicles are the future
We held a spontaneous in-person focus group in our condo garage the night we brought Evie to her new parking spot. One of our neighbors (hi John) had just ordered a Ford Mustang Mach E, and another ordered a Tesla Cyber Truck (good luck, Joe!). There are already four electric cars in our garage, so it’s a matter of time before the sea-change from ICE to EV is complete. You know evolution is in the air when most car ads on sports games are for electric vehicles.
Consumer Reports has rated 62 of 165 models available. We learned after we bought our KIA EV6 that the April issue of C.R. voted our new car the number one choice—another pleasant surprise.
This ranking will mean eliminating a KIA buyer's disadvantage in competing with cars that qualify for the federal incentive today because when it comes time to resell the KIA, the better car will win.
The electric car movement is here to stay. A year ago, according to information on the Iowa DOT website, over 10,000 electric and hybrid vehicles were registered in the state. Those numbers are outdated, but it’s a growing market.
If you believe in a free market, hop on board. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve when you first get behind the wheel of an EV, but go for it! Be brave. Be bold. Save the planet, one killowatt at at time.
Make some green off the Green Revolution
Commercial property owners who offer public charging stations have both a captive audience of potential customers and an employee retention tool.
I don’t know how the federal program in Iowa will be implemented. The Iowa DOT website information isn’t current, and it is unclear how the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) funds will be deployed in Iowa, but let’s hope we can find out soon how the $51.4mm in federal dollars allocated for Iowa will be put to work.
Here’s a webinar from the IDOT. It’s interesting: https://iowadot.gov/iowaevplan/Learn-about-electric-vehicles-in-Iowa
Ask the DOT: firstname.lastname@example.org and see what they say.
And here’s a link to a form to fill out for more information:
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