F*ck ( Plug In Hybrid Market and Tax Incentive Woes )

my lease ends in December and i think i may have to buy out this car and keep using it

because the buy out price is locked in when you sign lease agreement, and while it was a crap price at the time ( dealers set the buy out price for their own benefit ) a lot has changed in the past 3 years … namely the hyperinflation … so the price that was crap 3 years ago is probably great today.

i actually haven’t checked if my lease agreement does have this provision but they usually do, so whatever price it says i can buy it out at is a price from right before the hyperinflation started …

if i get anything else i will have to to deal with post-hyperinflation prices as well as post-covid inventory issues … if i get my own car i side step all of that plus i don’t have to pay for scratched up rims and so on …

i hate this so much ! i want a new car but how do you justify paying the inflation tax when you have the ability to dodge it ?

this is a good car but with the rate cars have been evolving i really thought in 3 years i would get something else … but there really isn’t anything better without spending 2X what i can get my own car for … because of inflation …

It’s never going to get better.

technology is getting better but politics are getting worse …

What are you driving? Yes there is little point to get into new leases or finance anything new right now as the inflation + higher interest rates will make payments pretty much x2 what you are paying now for a similar vehicle. You can of course buy out the lease and then flip it the next day for a nice premium to any of those “we buy cars” companies I have plenty of friends who did just that and then switched to EVs for example w FED and State tax credits amounting to about 10k like model 3 or Y. So if you are not going EV route, you either keep the car for a few more years or you need to spend x3 in reality to get something decent nowadays from ICE offerings (if you want it to move).

this is what i am realizing - that EVs are actually now the bargain option when you want something quick, at least if the EV is a Tesla.

from this paper:

the dashed grey line is projected price of regular ICE vehicle ( not accounting for inflation )

the dotted lines are for plug in hybrids with 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 mile EV range

solid lines are for EVs with 150, 200, 250, 300, 350 and 400 mile range

what the chart shows is that eventually EVs will be cheapest and Plug-In hybrids most expensive, while regular cars will be in the middle ( except of course they will be banned )

personally i believe in driving the slowest car that can safely merge, pass and do evasive maneuvers like the moose test:

i think all this which car is fastest on the track or 1/4 mile shit is a scam same as how off-road vehicles are a scam. it’s just a way to signal that the car is expensive but doesn’t serve any real world function outside of bragging rights.

in the old days cars with more power were more expensive because they used more fuel so poor people bought cars with 1.5 liter engine and rich people bought cars with 6 liter engines. you spent 4X on fuel and also 4X on the car ( mainly in profit margins for automakers rather than manufacturing cost ) but everybody knew you were a baller.

today cars with more power are more expensive because they are electric, and batteries cost money. so rather than low displacement vs high displacement you now have ICE vs EV. high displacement ICE cars are dying ( outside of pickup trucks, which trail smaller cars by a few years in EV adoption ) because EVs serve that baller / horsepower segment better.

in the near future ( 3 years or so ) ICE will be for cars up to 300 hp, PHEV for cars 300-500 hp and EV for cars with 500+ hp …

but 20 years from now ICE will be banned and working class will have to sell their homes and move into 15 minute cities, EV will be for middle class in suburbs just outside the city, while PHEVs will be for the rich people who have mansions in the countryside 50 - 100 miles from the city …

the rich will pay for PHEVs to avoid waiting in line for superchargers like peasants …

i’m now thinking buy it out and drive it until something comes out that i actually want, then trade it in.

when i was getting my plug-in hybrid i expected that in 3 years i will upgrade to EV. but what i have decided since then is that i want to stick with plug-in hybrids for the foreseeable future.

a lot of EVs came out in the last 3 years but no PHEVs worth writing home about …

PHEVs frankly are dying … for three reasons:

1 - people are too stupid to understand them. period. regular ( non plug in ) hybrids are very similar to PHEVs in operation but the difference is people buying regular hybrids don’t need to know they’re buying a hybrid since there is nothing special they need to do - just drive it. the average joe blow just compares MPGs on cars and buys one with better MPG perhaps without even knowing they bought a hybrid. PHEVs are not like this because they cost more than regular hybrids but have worse MPG so you will not accidentally buy a PHEV. 90% of people who buy PHEVs do it for tax reasons or as “company car” in Europe.

2 - PHEVs cost too much. 90% of all PHEVs are from European brands ( in Europe they get good incentives ). nobody will accidentally buy a $60,000 car when all they need is a $40,000 car. in the past you could get tax credits in US to narrow the price gap but with recent changes to the rules few cars still qualify. my car qualified 3 years ago but doesn’t qualify now for example.

3 - 90% of people don’t plug their PHEVs in, which makes it hard for Automakers to argue that PHEVs reduce carbon emissions. people buy PHEVs for tax breaks then never plug them in - this is a bad situation. lots of organizations ( such as ICCT i linked above ) call for decimating incentives for PHEVs - in such a climate automakers are reluctant to commit to PHEVs choosing to focus on EVs as the only option with guaranteed medium term future.

still, PHEVs won’t die completely … because rich people need cars and won’t be suckered into their own EV scam they have perpetrated on the rest of us …

but the price of entry for non-laughable PHEVs is pretty steep …

there were some affordable PHEVs over the years but every single one was TRASH and many were discontinued because nobody wanted that garbage.

for example:

chevy volt was the original PHEV, but to keep price down power seats were not available ON ANY TRIM EVEN AS OPTION.

prius prime was next but only came with 15 inch wheels !

then came honda clarity ( now discontinued ) which had something like 9 second acceleration when most other cars in that price range were about 7 seconds including Camry Hybrid, which was a direct competitor ( though not plug in )

chrysler pacifica PHEV … only came with yellow dim headlights - no LED or HID in any trim even as an option !

rav 4 prime … no passenger power seat

the new Prius Prime … no AWD

new Lexus NX PHEV … 2 year wait time ! ! !

and so on …

i have exhaustively studied each of those cars and test drove most of them and a pattern started emerging … you can’t get a PHEV at a good price that isn’t gimped / nerfed in some way and is also available …

it costs money to make a PHEV so any PHEV that is priced like a regular ICE will either be missing some important features or have a 2 year wait time for it …

this is why i ultimately had to get a Volvo even though what i really wanted was something in the Honda / Toyota price range … but at that point i simply realized it wasn’t going to happen.

the Volvo PHEVs are close to a no-compromise vehicle but not 100% there … one minor nit pick is they don’t offer ventilated seats ( which you can get on an entry level Hyundai, though not a Tesla ! ) …

the bigger issue with Volvo is the torque steer as the combustion engine only drives the front wheels, while electric motor only drives the rear … which means that the car’s handling characteristics change depending on whether you’re being propelled by motor or the engine …

so the handling and overall driving characteristics change based on battery state of charge for example and whether the engine has kicked on or not and so on.

this is pretty aggravating and obviously inferior to German offerings - even Audi.

Audi is notorious for NOT handling as well as Porsche, BMW or Mercedes but i will easily give it an edge over Volvo in the handling department … or really in any department except seats.

i really feel like Volvo seats are the best - better than even Mercedes. exterior styling on Volvo is competitive with other European brands. fit and finish is good. Volvos are good cars … but not as good as German offerings.

there is a certain crispness to German cars that Volvo doesn’t have. and i don’t mean just driving dynamics but things like interior design and infotainment system.

American cars are cushy but sloppy

Japanese and Korean cars downright uncomfortable ergonomically

Lexus good but soul-less and drives like Toyota

Volvo is a quirky oddball - i only like the seats and exterior styling of it - and i only got it because it was a pioneer in PHEV space - years ahead of competition in that one aspect due to the particular situation it was in where it was sold by Ford and had to reinvent itself, and came out with solid PHEV tech in 2015 before anybody else … thus by 2021 MY ( when i got it ) it was the only proven PHEV platform while everybody else was still just dipping their toes into electrification …

However it is really the Germans who offer cars that feel complete. From driving dynamics to exterior styling to interior design to infotainment and tech - only Germans make complete cars.

one area where Germans struggle is maintenance costs and long term reliability. in this area Lexus has them handily beat.

still, i feel like once you understand cars at a high enough level you can’t really accept anything that isn’t German except begrudgingly to save money.

and most PHEVs are in fact German. but with the exception of BMW 330e they all cost more than Volvo.

the “30e” drivetrain is unfortunately nerfed in the same way as bmw 320i is nerfed versus the 330i.

the 330e is basically a PHEV version of 320i, but nobody buys the 320i …

most people understand that 340i is the REAL 3-series ( outside of M cars ) …

the new 2024 BMW 750e PHEV is solid, but it’s a six-figure car.

next year the new 5 series PHEVs come out and there should be multiple PHEV options in that line up from 300 hp to perhaps over 600 hp … however i don’t have a good feeling about how much they will cost LOL

then for 2025 model year new 3 series will come out but it will be EV centric platform, so PHEV options are uncertain, especially in US where they lost tax incentive except for X5 which is built in Spartanburg, South Carolina …

bottom line: everything is very bad