Five electric pickup truck models are vying for first-adopter buyers; they all outperform most traditional pickups. This article helps you to decide which one is best for you.Read More
In a surprising move, Volvo announced that it will transition its sales offerings entirely to electrics by 2030 (no ICEs or hybrids after that date), and that it will sell the electrics online only. This online-sales only announcement is a surprise because Volvo has an established car dealer network (though the nearest to the Four Corners is Corley’s Volvo Cars in Albuquerque) and a majority of states prohibit non-dealership sales of new cars. My source is an AP wire report Mar 2, 2021 by Matt Ott (accessed from Greenwire – eenews.com – which is unfortunately behind a paywall).
Volvo did promise that dealerships “…will remain a crucial part of the customer experience and will continue to be responsible for a variety of important services such as selling, preparing, delivering, and servicing cars. However, a Four Corner’s buyer would be inclined to take purchase locally, and seek service locally, rather than have to return a potentially disabled car to Albuquerque for routine service.
The prevailing business model for car sales is that new cars are sold with minimal profit in exchange for creating a captive audience of owners beholden, or at least greatly encouraged, to use the dealership for highly lucrative service. This business model is under threat from EVs, both because so many upstarts (Tesla, Rivian, etc.) are not following the plan, and EVs themselves need very little servicing.
In response to previous economic threats to dealerships, several states, including Colorado and New Mexico, have restrictions or total bans on the non-dealer sales of new cars. Colorado recently amended its laws to allow several additional manufacturers to permit in-state sales of cars without dealers (Tesla has a dealership in Denver and is therefore exempt). Volvo’s plan may run afoul of the dealership-protection laws in some states.
In addition to shaking up the business relationship between manufacturers and dealerships, Volvo’s push into EVs is startling in its ambition. Volvo has stated that it expects 50% of global sales to be fully electric by 2025 (US sales of pure electrics are about 2% now; about 100,000 of Volvo’s global sales of about 600,000 vehicles per year are in the US). Volvo’s first entry into the all-electric field, the XC-40 Recharge (crossover SUV) is currently held up in ports of entry, as an essential software update is needed before they can be sold to the public. That hiccup aside, Volvo is getting good technical reviews for their EVs.
Although Volvo’s timeline for the phase-out of ICE (internal combustion engine) cars is among the most aggressive of the major manufacturers, others are not far behind. BMW expects 50% of its global sales to be all-electric vehicles by 2030 (versus 2025 for Volvo). BMW has not announced a date for completing the phase-out of ICEs; they expect to sell hybrids for some time. GM is more aggressive for the end of the phase-out of ICEs (2035), but GM expresses it more as an aspiration than a commitment. Jaguar, on the other hand, has promised the earliest phase-out (2025), but of course, if you could afford a Jaguar, why would you settle for anything less than an electric.
By Guinn Unger
In January of 2020 I received information from Ford that I could order a Mustang Mach-E. I just needed to put down a fully refundable deposit of $500. So I did. I had been waiting for an all-electric SUV of at least medium size, and having something with at least a little bit of Mustang heritage looked good! (I have owned several Mustangs in the past.)
In July of 2020 I was asked to put down an additional $500 to confirm my order. (I actually gave the local dealership $1000 and Ford refunded my original $500 deposit.)
I ordered the Mach-E with all-wheel-drive which is important since I live in a part of SW Colorado where we get a good amount of snow each year. I also ordered the standard range battery since it was not my intention to take road trips in the Mach-E. It would be used mostly for local driving. And of course, I ordered the Rapid Red color!
I have to say it was not easy to get information about the car directly from Ford or my local dealership. They could have done a much better job of having contacts that knew something!
I was finally told the car would be built the week of December 14, 2020, but they did not give any indication of when I might actually receive it. It showed up at the dealership on February 6, 2021, and my experience with the dealership during the actual sale (strangely enough) was actually quite good. Durango Motors gave me a fair trade-in, and we closed the deal.
Now that I have had the car for a month, I have to say I am very pleased!! Here are some things I really like about the car:
- It’s plug-in electric!! I don’t have to buy gas, and I’m not putting nearly as much carbon into the air.
- It drives great. Acceleration is dramatic, and the handling is very close to what I have experienced with “real” Mustangs.
- It’s great in the snow. I put winter (Nokian) tires on it immediately, and I have driven in fairly deep snow twice. The car has super traction in the snow.
- There’s lot of room inside. With the rear seats down, I can carry quite a bit. With them up, there’s still plenty of room. And of course there’s the frunk (front trunk).
- I like (not love) the styling. Lots of Mustang hints and styling that stands out.
- The displays are excellent. There is one directly in front of the driver and a much bigger screen in the center. Just about everything the driver needs to see is on the screen directly ahead, so you don’t have to look away from the road.
- The car comes with a portable charger which you can plug into a 120-volt or 240-volt outlet. (Charging with 120 volts is pretty slow, but it was all I had until I got the 240 outlet installed.)
- Ford EV’s still qualify for the $7500 federal tax credit, and Colorado has a state income tax credit for EV’s.
- The Mach-E is quite well built. The suspension is tight, the doors fit perfectly, and the wind and road noise is very low.
- There are lots of very nice features, too many to cover here.
There are a few things I’m not crazy about:
- Ford only supplies one key fob and expects you to use your phone as a key. It took me several days to get my Android phone working as a key. This has been a common complaint on the web.
- Support at Ford and the dealership is still pretty spotty. They could have handled this much better.
- There’s a pretty steep learning curve if you want to use all the features. I’m also not sure if I will ever have the courage to let the car parallel park itself!
- The FordPass app, at least for Android, takes quite a while to learn. It would be very nice if you had a way to group the things you commonly do in one place instead of constantly searching for them.
Overall, I am very excited about my Mach-E and I am really glad I bought it.
The Aptera will thrill efficiency seekers, and charge whenever it is parked in the sunRead More
They don’t, but neither does your internal combustion engine (ICE) car, and no one whines about their ICE car in the winter (if it starts). All vehicles lose some efficiency when they are cold, but alert reader Richard Grossman pointed out a recent article (link: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11022021/inside-clean-energy-norway-electric-vehicles/) on Norway’s adoption of EVs: 56% of new car sales, compared to 2% in the United States. This fact was highlighted in a recent Superbowl ad for Chevrolet, but remember this: the top FIVE countries for EVs sales are all near the Arctic Circle:
- Norway 56%
- Iceland 23%
- Netherlands 15%
- Sweden 11%
- Finland 7%
The linked article explores the reasons for Norway’s rapid adoption of EVs, which include celebrity endorsements, an early and rapid government-funded build-out of charging stations, and tax breaks that provide purchase price parity between regular cars and EVs. If you are interested in EV policy incentives, be sure to check out the lively article by Dan Gearino in the link above.