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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I wanted to see if some of you would be able to chime in. I’d like to time a purchase and settle down on a model, I am still lacking clarity regarding what path to take.

Here is my current situation:
- Currently own a paid off 2014 Volt, 1st owner, 70K miles on it
- California HOV Stickers expire on 12/31/2018
- 40 miles daily round-trip commute (the car is almost exclusively used as a commuter car)
- Budgeted $45K for a new car
- Love my Volt (size, handling, acceleration, tech)

Here is what I need, listed in order of importance:
- California HOV Stickers
- Min 200 mile range (can be a combo of energy sources)
- Drive (handling/acceleration/tech to, at least, match 2014 Volt)
- Budget fit (see above)

Given all of this I think a 2019 Volt and Tesla Model 3 (if tax refund applied) fit the bill.

Do you think there are any other options here?

Also, I am not sure when to pull the trigger – if I buy before 12/31/18 I will be getting HOV stickers through 1/1/2022… Buying after 12/31/18 will give me an extra year (expires 1/1/2023)… This timing will likely mess things up with the federal tax rebate (Tesla’s will be cut in half and not sure about Volt)…

Any words of wisdom here?
 

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I'm in the same boat, with the same requirements and priorities, with the slight difference that I drive 50 miles/day. Additionally I've been waiting until the 2019's are on the lot and hoping the remaining 18's will drop in price at that time.

My understanding from reading the DMV info about the CA HOV stickers is that you get the additional year if you file for the sticker after Jan 1 - and not if you buy the car before then.

I bought my 2013 new and was planning to do the same with the new Volt. But my EV-savvy colleagues insist I should lease, given the depreciation due to the rate of improving technology. Assuming I wait until Jan to file for my new stickers, I'm additionally concerned about being able to keep the car (and stickers) that additional year. I'm wondering about the cost of a 4-year lease vs. buying.
 

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You can either create some equations to figure out which option (of many) might be cheapest, or you can do what most people do when they buy a new car -- get what you like best. That's what's going to make you most happy -- not saving 500 bucks based on timing or anything else.
 

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Appreciate the input. I'm not going to sweat anything under a couple thousand, but was assuming the options I'm weighing were more substantial than $500. But I could be wrong; haven't been down this road before.
 

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Why was Bolt not included in there? My nephew in Ventura drives 3 hours a day to and from work and has a Bolt. Yes the depreciation will be a bit higher because of advancing technology and new models coming out to put pressure on older used models but don't forget to calculate depreciation on discounted actual purchase price and not on the MSRP.
 

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The Bolt EV also fits the criteria, but you may not like the style as much. It's not quite as sleek but is a more practical vehicle.

You won't get a deal on a Model 3. You just won't. They're just barely getting to the point where they can produce enough to meet the demand.

You may be able to find a used Model S in your price range, if you're open to that idea.

I'd think now would be a good time to buy a 2018 (or 2017 if you can find one) Volt. They're very similar to the 2019 model, but lack the faster charging option (which only matters if you regularly use level 2 charging), and there's no power seat on the Premier. Obviously, you're used to both of these things from your 14 Volt. However, I think with the Volt, the slower charger is much ado about nothing for most buyers. Who cares if you can recharge a full battery in 4 hours or 2.5? Regardless, it's recharged before your commute the next day. It obviously would make a much bigger difference for a Bolt (9 vs. 18 hours with no gas backup) I could see it being a benefit for traveling consultants and salesmen who drive a lot with shorter appointments throughout the day, but a marginal one even at that. I know California is a bit of a different market given the incentives, but most places, you could easily knock $6K or more off the MSRP of a new last model year Volt. One strategy I use is sorting by time on the lot using the autolist app/website to find dealers who aren't able to move Volts within a fairly wide radius. I found a '17 that sat on the lot for more than 2 years and was able to get $10K off MSRP. If you're looking at a Volt, I think you could get a 2018 model before incentives for around $29K for the base, $36K for a loaded Premier with ACC. If that's a good end game for you, I think the time to buy a Volt is now. After credits you're looking at ~$20,000 for a base model LT, and ~$28,000 for a Premier. After the 2018s clear off lots, 2019 pricing will jump much closer to MSRP.

It might be best to wait a little, if you have the option and you like the Bolt or the Model 3. Right now, before incentives, you're spending a minimum of $49,000 before adding on autopilot (an extra $5,000) for a Model 3 with 310 miles of range, which is way more than you said you need. While a lot is still unknown about the options that will come packaged with the standard range (220 mile) Model 3, it sounds like they should start rolling off the line in January 2019, but who knows how long the wait list will be. I would also not be shocked if they came with a drab cloth standard interior and charged a boatload ($5K+) to step up to leather.

However, Tesla's Federal tax credit is scheduled to drop from $7,500 to $3,750 on January 1, 2018. With the CA tax credit, you're looking at a $3,750 price jump. So you'd end up at $39K out the door before tax for a long range Model 3 with premium interior but no autopilot right now. If you wait you'd pay $35K (standard) + $5K (estimate for leather) - $6250 (reduced fed credit and state credit) =$33,750 for a standard range equivalent in January 2019. So the question is whether 90 extra miles of range and the security of having your car and savings now is worth $5,250 to you.

Right now, the Bolt is really the only player in the game for 200+ mile EV range in a sub $40,000 MSRP car. You may be able to find some discounts, but it's unlikely in California. Still, with an MSRP of $36K for the base and $41K for the premier, you're looking at $26K-$31K purchase price. Over the next six months or so, it will see competition from the standard range M3, the Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona EVs available in more popular crossoverish body styles. I think that will push the Bolt's actual sale price down considerably as these options with the same range but a more widely appealing body style hit the market.

So your choices seem to be, after incentives are applied:
Now:
2018 Volt LT -- $20,000
2018 Volt Premier -- $28,000
2018 Bolt EV LT -- $26,000
2018 Bolt EV Premier -- $31,000
Tesla Model 3 Long Range -- $39,000

Q1 2019 or later (all estimates):
2019 Volt LT -- $22,000
2019 Volt Premier -- $30,000
2018 Bolt EV LT -- $24,000
2018 Bolt EV Premier -- $28,000
Tesla Model 3 Long Range -- ~$42,000
Tesla Model 3 Standard w/ Leather (estimate) -- ~$33,750
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi @mjones21 and @Lemans @FI Spyder - thanks for the lengthy responses, this is very helpful - it's good to learn that stickers expiration date depends on the date applied not the date purchased - this will likely accelerate my purchase decision. Heavily leaning towards 2018 Volt right now, will go over my numbers and lease/purchase options...

Thank you all...
 

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It seems like a good time to buy. I paid $25999 after incentives/before state/federal tax credits for my '18 Volt LT w/ Cajun Red tintcoat, LPO all weather trunk liner, LPO cargo mat, and LPO black bowtie emblems. It wasn't a hard deal to negotiate. Their internet price was $26999 (including a $1500 rebate for current lessees, which I am not), I threw out $24/25k, they countered $25999, and I accepted. It was 8/31, so maybe end of the month or Labor Day weekend helped. The car was manufactured last month, so they're not sitting around on the lots (which was the case with the Ford I bought in March 2014...mfg July 2013!).

The only bummer is unique to my situation: I sock away a ton of money in my tax shelter, so my tax liability (and the amount of Fed tax credit I can get) is only $4k-$5k.
 

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It seems like a good time to buy. I paid $25999 after incentives/before state/federal tax credits for my '18 Volt LT w/ Cajun Red tintcoat, LPO all weather trunk liner, LPO cargo mat, and LPO black bowtie emblems. It wasn't a hard deal to negotiate. Their internet price was $26999 (including a $1500 rebate for current lessees, which I am not), I threw out $24/25k, they countered $25999, and I accepted. It was 8/31, so maybe end of the month or Labor Day weekend helped. The car was manufactured last month, so they're not sitting around on the lots (which was the case with the Ford I bought in March 2014...mfg July 2013!).

The only bummer is unique to my situation: I sock away a ton of money in my tax shelter, so my tax liability (and the amount of Fed tax credit I can get) is only $4k-$5k.
You should consult your tax advisor. If you have a traditional IRA/401k and convert part of the IRA/401k to a Roth IRA this will generate additional income for tax purposes that you can use to claim more of or the full $7500 tax credit.
 

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If you don't think you will get the full federal tax credit, that should make the lease economics better. The finance company gets the tax benefit and should factor that into your lease. Plus, if you plan to get a new car every few years for the HOV sticker, leasing should work better.

Look at the one pay options as well if you have the cash. The CA deals are quite attractive.
 

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You should consult your tax advisor. If you have a traditional IRA/401k and convert part of the IRA/401k to a Roth IRA this will generate additional income for tax purposes that you can use to claim more of or the full $7500 tax credit.
Thanks for the suggestion! I'm going to call Fidelity on Monday to ask if I can do it (I have a 403(b), because I work for a university). And then I have to back-of-the-envelope it to see if I gain more in a higher EV credit than I lose by having a higher student loan payment (the same higher AGI that gets me more EV credit also gets me higher student loan payments) for a year. What a pain! ;-)
 

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If you don't think you will get the full federal tax credit, that should make the lease economics better. The finance company gets the tax benefit and should factor that into your lease. Plus, if you plan to get a new car every few years for the HOV sticker, leasing should work better.

Look at the one pay options as well if you have the cash. The CA deals are quite attractive.
I almost did! The original plan was to do a onepay lease on a Volt or Bolt. I decided on a Bolt lease that was offered at $12000 for 36 mo w/ 10k mi/yr (onepay lease, quote included all taxes and fees), and I was going to sign on 8/30. I decided at the last second that I'm not the type to lease...I like owning things rather than renting, I would never use up the mileage allotted (generally drive 6-7k/yr max), and I couldn't stomach the idea of paying $12k and not having anything to show for it at the end of 3 years.

So the next day I ended up purchasing a Volt. Still can't help but fantasize about what it would have been like to have that Bolt instead though...that thing was a rocket!
 

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Just a little update...I wasn't able to rollover $$ from my tax shelter to a roth IRA to use up more of the tax credit. Apparently the rules for a 403(b) are slightly different from a 401(k), and this is one. I can only do a rollover if I'm 59.5 years old or if I'm no longer employed by the sponsoring employer.
 

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I'd hold off and buy a 2019 Volt Premier! I just bought a 2018 Volt Premier and while I do love it....I am frustrated because I was told the 2019's may not really hit the show rooms by December 31 after all, so I jumped ship and bought the 2018 a couple of weeks ago. Guess what? I just saw on my dealer's website that and another dealer close by that they both have a 2019 Chevy Volt on the lot for sale today! So as a "Volt buddy"...I encourage you, if you want faster charging and a power seat and a few other nice things (that Pacific Blue color is gorgeous), wait a week or two and get the 2019. You'll be happy you did. They aren't any more expensive then the 2018 models, really. I strongly encourage you to go full throttle and get the Adaptive Cruise Control, Driver Confidence Packages I & II. Good Luck and let us know what you end up with! I'm also interested in the Bolt Premier, but still have a little range anxiety for now...enjoy having the gas as a backup. I have the same commute as you do.
 
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