Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aarg, the ambivalence is killing me!

So, I don't know know if I can get Justin to actually have Nissan of Chantilly to take the loss on the $850 Destination Charge or the $4xx (dang it, every time someone tells me the exact amount I totally forget it!) Processing Fee.  In fact, I spoke to Justin earlier this week and he was pretty set on the Processing Fee but I decided this is not the time to push.  But with all my other calculations I really am thinking bugger it, it's just not worth it when I could just keep socking away about $1,137 a month in my savings account and finance the rest for a Tesla or 2013 LEAF.  It especially turns me off that I've help so much to attract business for them and I would never, ever feel that a car dealership didn't deserve a profit on a vehicle but given my legwork $1,582 pure profit at my expense seems a bit to much.

My main mark against Tesla apart from its outrageous price and dodgy delivery record is simply that I do believe in efficiency and honestly, if I only need 125 mi (200 km) a day range 95% of the time, what's the point of a 300 mi (483 km) range car.  I know I could get the base model which has 160 mi (257 km) range would therefor save me about $20,000 and better suit my needs, but I've a fast EVSE and I love the idea of using it to go far.  Bad American!  Bad me and my wanderlust instinct!

I often make fun of the difficulty people have getting their $5,000 deposit back from Tesla if they change their mind about the car, but I guess reading the terms of reservation agreement, clause 2 pretty much says you can.

  1. Nature of Agreement; Non-Binding Reservation Payment The Reservation Payment is fully refundable by us to you at any time (for example, if you choose to abandon your reservation, or if we decline to maintain you as a reservation holder). This Agreement does not constitute an agreement for the sale of a Model S and does not lock in pricing, a production slot, or an estimated delivery date. You are under no obligation to purchase a Model S from us, and we are under no obligation to supply you with a Model S or any other vehicle. If and when we notify you of the availability of a Model S and you wish to proceed with the purchase of a Model S, such sale and purchase will be governed by a separate and legally binding Purchase Agreement between you and us or between you and another authorized Tesla dealer (Tesla).

So I won't fault Tesla that though I still have my reservations that the reservation can be easily refunded.

I also seriously consider leasing one of the team 500 Smart EDs.  My main knock there was that I do mostly highway driving and 60 mph (97 kmph) on the capital beltway (I495), not that I ever go over 55 mph (89 kmph), when most traffic is going almost 70 mph (113 kmph), in that pokey, little Smart, is just a traffic hazard in this neighborhood.  But now there's a new Smart on the way that's boasting a 75 mph (120 kmph) top speed (any faster and your facing a Class 1 Misdemeanor her in the Commonwealth of Virginia) and a 87 mi (140 km) range.  Of course, that's cutting it very close given my 37 mile each way commute and doesn't leave much slack for traffic or bad weather and road conditions.  But it's definitely looking up and that spells an EV I really could love.

As for the 2013 LEAF, by the time that comes out, I'd guess the order process could be refined and become more traditional so the dealer can be more involved and negotiations may finally benefit the consumer since there should no longer be this quota system.  On the one hand, this benefits the dealer because he or she now has more control, but it also benefits the savvy consumer such as myself who knows what the car is really worth.

Anyway, I just don't know.  Some days I feel like I may as well allow my dealer that lovely profit and suffer the butt-ugly monster loan despite my avid savings.  And others, I say forget it, no need to keep my current car, trade it in and get a Tesla Model S and finance about 40% of the $77,000 cost.


If only the 2012 was more value-added than the 2011.  If only you could get it in Green or with Leather Seats and especially the coveted 6.6kW Charger.  If only…


  1. I feel your pain, but consider the value of the car for your drive. I put together an excel sheet that you can put in your numbers :

    For me, I drive about 1000 miles a year and my current car gets 25mpg (and takes premium). So for me, I'd save about $1,500 a year assuming gas and electricity stay the same. I found out from work that I may be able to plug in, but it was a "we don't know about it" kind of answer. I could save another $300 a year or so if I can get that worked out (free charge).

    Don't be too upset about the dest fee and "processing fees" - you know the dealer wants to milk this and knows they can sell your reserved car easy. Comparing it to a purchase of the Tesla is not even possible. With your commute, I'm guessing you do about 1,500 miles a month - your savings would be considerable. Don't forget the $7,500 tax credit as well.

    Take heart - if all goes well, you and I may be the first LEAF owners on the east coast!

  2. Well, Dave Davidson beat us to the title of first Mid Atlantic LEAF Owners with his fetching White LEAF shipped in from Washington State ( ) and I happen to know of a transplant in Florida who has been driving a 2011 for a while now. But we can still rule Virginia with our EV prowess. :)

    I just wish Fairfax County would get their act together and stop making us pay twice for an over-priced car ; why the hell I can't get the board of supervisors of one of the richest counties in America to support a separate class of Personal Property Tax for EVs under Item 40 of ? Believe me, I'll have more to say about this in the near future with the election pending.

    Now, as for spreadsheets, oh, believe me I could well out do you with my absolute to the penny calculations of various Dominion Virginia Power rate schedules and all kinds of contingencies. I currently estimate 23,792.94 mi per year driving, because I do more than just drive to and from work (I have the writing group I run and the one I help run, the EVA/DC, maybe even start going to the NoVaDWVS again never mind meeting with friends). I know, for instance, that if my car averages 28.5 mpg I use 834.84 gallons of petrol a year for a total of just over $3000 if gasoline remains at $3.599/gallon. Compare that that with the LEAF 3.3kW charger under the new (as the Fuel cost increased recently) Dominion Schedule 1: $686.16 assuming 7.137 882MWh electricity per year, but $486.65 annually under the Schedule EV optional pilot program rider or $460.33 under the Household Schedule 1EV. Now, with a 6.6kW charger on the LEAF, those new ToU rates reduce the annual cost to $404.88 under EV and $384.78 under 1EV. Put another way, the 6.6kW charger that I keep complaining about ( ) would save me about $75-$80 a year! That, plus the fact that I spent over $4000 (but refunded $2000 through the credit) on an EVSE that can handle 19.2kWh charging ( ). What's more, I've even calculated $120/year for the green technologies subsidy, which unfortunately includes methane (natural gas) and am in the process of writing new Photo-voltaic rules for my HOA.

    So believe me, I know the advantages of an EV. There will always be something better but if it was just a case of no 6.6kW charger, or just a case of no Green color, or a single case of a slight jack-up in price in return for some other feature, I'd not be so hesitant. But add all this together and you make one of the top EV bloggers out there rather dissatisfied.

    But don't get me wrong, I love the LEAF as a car, and think the 2013 LEAF will be kick-a**! I love the Smart ED as the first OEM Highway-safe EV available in Virginia apart from the Tesla Roadster (and I saw one of those coming to Fairfax from Loudoun Co just Wednesday — what a sweet ride that!) so I know we've got EVs here. Ford is punting us behind NY and CA, just like we got snubbed by the Mini-E (which gives me even more love for the Smart ED for giving us the time of day). And the nasty 7 month delay that cost us the use of HOV on I66 single occupancy (as well as a better Clean Specialty Fuel plate design). It just leaves a sour taste, that's all.

    But yeah, an EV is gonna save ya, despite the higher car tax rates, despite the no single-occupancy HOV outside of the Toll Road, despite no 6.6kW charging, despite a nearly Henry Ford choice of color, despite all this and more, the LEAF itself is a good car. Just not as good as it used to be last model year, and not as good as it's going to be next model year.

  3. The BS processing fee is $499. I'm really annoyed at this quota system that Nissan has put in place because the incentive to provide a good price to the consumer has all but disappeared while this car is in high demand since the good dealers are not allowed to sell more than a few Leafs a month.

    I was also wondering about the car tax in VA. I read that they have the *option* of a reduced tax for EVs, but what I'm gathering from your statement is that nobody has actually implemented this option. That sucks. If we are helping to reduce the red air alert days we have here in the summer, I think we deserve some benefit besides the car itself.

  4. I was pretty long-winded in my last response and first I want to say Alex, you da' man! I like you my friend so I hope you didn't find my words harsh!

    Secondly, Grant, Loudoun County has taken advantage of clause 40 of Virginia Code 58.1-3506 and Arlington County of clause 22 (and my reading of their implementation is to also include clause 40 in that designation but I can't confirm this because the law clearly differentiates between the two. You can read more about the Loudoun subsidy here:

    Thanks also for the Destination Charge info. Are you referring to Nissan of Chantilly? If so, I'll change the text above to reflect your update.

  5. Jeff...I totally understand the rant. I dislike it as much as you do and the incentives in VA are nil. Even the wait time is irritating me. I'm willing to give Nissan nearly $40K for this car, yet have to wait (supposedly) 3-4 months?

    I don't know about the deal you got, but I have MSRP - $425 + $390 + $850 + tax/tag. They may be willing to negotiate that a little. I'm also expecting a fight with my trade-in as well. :)

    To be honest, I am considering buying an orphan 2011 instead. The ONLY reason I haven't is because they don't come with the battery warmer and cold weather package. I think that will be necessary for our winters.

  6. estimated delivery :
    month of December 2011


    BTW, I am moving toward the lease route. I found that the Nissan website's $409 lease number uses MSRP + destination + $389. Maybe this is actually something going to Nissan and the dealer wasn't lying when he said "as that goes straight to corporate". I have an excel sheet all put together and lets you play with lease vs buy numbers, let me know if you are interested in it.