Thursday, November 26, 2015

Nissan, Chevy, Tesla; Where To Go?

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 All!!

New reports of stronger commitments to EVs from a growing list of manufacturers has really generated a lot of excitement in the community along with a lot of speculation.  Some a "bit" of a stretch;  From Facebook.

Have to think "B" is referring to the Tesla III but a $20,000 Tesla??  but then again; it could be starting there and finishing in the mid 30's...

The other thing is the exorbitant cost of that extra 30 kwh of option "E".  What happened to volume discounts?   But its all a dream right now. None of these cars are here yet but the Chevy Bolt "might" be appearing on the streets within a year.  Well at least the current word is production will start sometime in 2016. I personally don't think they will make it out to this corner of the World until closer to end of 1Q2017 but we shall see.  Cost? who knows...

But right now the two most active discussions seems to be centering around Tesla's $35,000 III and Nissan's 60 kwh IDS.  No real word on what the Nissan will cost but many feel that a LEAF version will debut sometime between mid 2017 and early 2018.  This syncs up well with the Tesla III rollout. So the big question has become what car will be "the one?"

Well first off; the Tesla III will not be $35,000.  Musk has made a habit of advertising the price after incentives along with some other creative math.  Remember he was the one who showed how cheaply an S could be leased after adding in fuel savings? It was also rumored that the T3 would have access to the Supercharger Network. I don't think this will happen without a cost that will likely be significant.  There is already signs of abuse by Tesla S owners. So expect most of the T 3's to be in the mid 40's to low 50's. Still a bargain for luxury line. Tesla is killing the luxury market and I think it would be a mistake to put the T 3 into the mass market.  There is a HUGE niche in the entry level upscale market and that should be Tesla's target.  Either way; with rapidly changing incentives with no guarantee that many will still be available, I really have zero confidence that Musk will provide an "affordable" option to me. Plus I feel of the 3 front runners, they will be last to market. I do have a time crunch to consider.

Nissan will be a lot tougher to predict. Their reputation of being closed mouth up until the very last second makes their 60 kwh IDS concept announcement a bit suspect to me. Nearly everyone assumes this will be LEAF II but I just can't get on board with that. What I do think is that Nissan was more than a bit concerned with the excitement that was generated by the Bolt/T3 announcements so continuing to be secretive up to the last second was likely to lose current LEAF owners to their competitors.  Now the LEAF is a great product at a great price but its becoming increasingly apparent that a great majority of current EVers would gladly pay for more range.  Nissan's 30 kwh offering today is a nice jump considering its only a model year refresh and does show the public that the batteries are significantly better in that they can be put into the existing platform.

My prediction for Nissan is more like my wish list.  I expect the LEAF II to debut Summer 2017.  The S will now come standard with the 30 kwh battery pack and quick charging. By now, I think Nissan will realize that fast charging will have populated enough that too few will order an EV without it.  Pricing on the S I predict will be the same.  The real changes will come with the SV/SL which will have the  45 kwh pack standard with a 60 kwh option.  A fully loaded SL with the largest battery option I expect will come in the low 40's.  I also think that Nissan's EV options will explode with an expanding eNV-200, a 6 passenger vehicle  and a sports car.

This is what I am expecting. What I really want is the option to get the biggest battery in the cheapest trim option.  I fear I will be out of luck.  My true wish is at least 40 kwh in a car out the door under $35,000.  You see, WA State has changed their EV incentives to only EV/PLEVs under $35,000 qualify for the sales tax waiver. So its an all or nothing incentive.  This also marks the first time the Chevy Volt qualifies for the tax waiver and I can't tell you how happy I was to hear the 2016 Volt came in priced just under the $35,000 limit. This means car manufacturers are paying attention and consider WA to be an important market. Hopefully Nissan, VW and others are also paying attention!

Finally, the Chevy Bolt will start building in 2016 (Dec I am predicting and that will be insignificant since the company is rarely very active during the holiday season) with an announced "early 2017" availability.  No real info on specs other than it will have a 200 mile range for $30,000.  Now the question becomes is it $30,000 before or after incentives which was answered by Chevy; the Bolt would start "around $38,000."  Now this announcement was made before the change in the WA State incentive so I can only hope that Chevy does what the did with the Volt.  I do expect them to do it so it remains as part of my options to mull over.  It is also the only that is seems insured of being available within my very tight time frame.  The "start at" concerns me but at least there is an implication that 200 miles would be available in the cheapest trim.

My current lease ends December 2016 so none of the 3 will likely be ready then. Chevy has not put WA as a priority for new product rollout despite our top rung EV adoption rates so I suspect the Bolts to not be here before Q2 2017.  But neither will anyone else. VW? Who knows? They have made some noise but not sure I can really get behind anything they do just yet...

So a lease extension will be required.  Nissan was offering great incentives but those seemingly dried up and besides those required a specific time frame which I will not do. So I will go month to month. Now this could go on forever?  Not sure what the upper limit is but that is not the issue. It will be the degradation factor. So far my LEAF has held up very well only losing about 5% of its range after nearly 30,000 miles but then again, my 2011 did very well early before losing chunks of range near the end of that 3 year lease.  This would not be something I could easily manage without some improvements to the local public charging infrastructure; something that has not quite stagnated but all I seem to hear about is new charging stations in areas that already have dozens near by...

Either way, I do know what will be tops on my 2017 New Year's Resolutions!


  1. Very interesting read. I had not thought about things turning out this way in the car market. I am always fascinated by the changes that are made each and every year. I was also surprised that more people were not excited about the hybrid cars. It makes me question whether people will jump on board with the newer Tesla models.

    Newton @ Fiesta Nissan

    1. Actually Hybrids did enjoy the spotlight for years. I can remember being on a 6 month waiting list for my 2nd Prius back in 2006. I was a die hard Toyota fan but their lack of enthusiasm for the battery market turned me away from them. They did realize their mistake and the 20+ mile range of the new Prius plug in shows that but too little too late. You see, I met a guy who installed a 3rd party battery pack to get 30 miles of range back in 2008! Sorry Toyota but too little too late!