Taking the Dive

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Strahd, Mar 24, 2018.

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  1. Strahd

    Strahd New Member

    Hey everyone.

    First post, and first time considering an EV (or PHEV). I have two concerns, and I'm curious how many others have tackled them. My first concern is the rate that EV technology is increasing. At this pace, in 5 years or less the Clarity might be quickly outdated. This can obviously have an effect on its value, and how long I'd like to keep it. Perhaps that anxiety is unwarranted, but I'm admittedly ignorant to EV/PHEV despite general research. Second, I live in an apartment building and am wait-listed for a charger so how do others feel with public charging? I've never had to do that before, so I'm not even quite sure what people do while they wait the 1-3 hours to charge a vehicle in public.

    I'm a California resident so am thinking about this vehicle due to the financial incentives and the fact that I really only drive a 5 mile total commute each day. I could probably get away with charging once or twice a week if I had to.

    Thanks for the input, excited about the Clarity!
    WadeTyhon likes this.
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  3. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    I have no doubt the value of today's PHEV cars will depreciate drastically over the next few years. Battery technology is improving rapidly. When electric cars can be charged in 15 minutes or less it will spell the end of hybrid and PHEVs (and fuel cells but that is going to fail on its own).

    I never charge at pay charging stations. They charge too much. Gas is cheaper right now..

    With a five mile commute you should be good for 3 or 4 days.
  4. Kieran973

    Kieran973 New Member

    Hi Strahd,

    Not to turn you off from the Clarity, but with a 5 mile total commute each day, it's hard to justify the cost of any new car, let alone one that starts at $34K before incentives. Have you considered a used EV or PHEV, like a 5 year old Nissan Leaf, or Chevy Volt, etc? They're pretty cheap right now, partly for the depreciation reasons you mentioned. Or what about even just a used regular old hybrid (like a Prius), given the current lack of charging at your apartment? In addition to its excellent fuel economy, the Prius is one of the most reliable cars available, and has some of the lowest total cost to own numbers - the only maintenance you'd have to do over the first 150,000 miles would be basically just oil changes. Personally, I wouldn't rely on public charging on a daily basis - it's too expensive (some Level 2 chargers, like Blink, charge as much as 59 cents/kWh) and too unreliable (you get there, and someone else is already charging). Also, I'm assuming you would put additional miles on your car aside from just the work commute, but at 5 miles a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, you're still only at 1250 miles a year. At that rate, you could drive an F-150 pickup truck and your carbon footprint would less than someone in a Clarity PHEV who drives 15,000 miles a year - driving less is almost always better for the planet than driving with expensive EV/PHEV/hybrid technology.

    Anyway, given the situation you described, if you don't end up getting a charger at your apartment, then I wouldn't consider any PHEVs/EVs. I would instead go with a used regular hybrid (Prius, Honda Accord hybrid, Honda Insight etc). Or if you want the peace of mind of a new car, the Hyundai Elantra Eco gets insanely good gas mileage (way above its EPA ratings) and can be picked up brand new for $13K.

    If you do end up getting a charger at your apartment, then I would consider a dirt-cheap used Leaf, Volt, Prius Plug-In, Honda Fit EV, etc. that you could just drive into the ground before considering a brand new car.....
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
    loomis2 and PHEV Newbie like this.
  5. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, what Kieran973 said. I can't say it any better. Because of the depreciation that you were concerned about a used Leaf can be had for very cheap, but I would want a reliable, easy place to charge it, even if it is only once a week or so. With that in mind, maybe a regular hybrid would make more sense until your personal circumstances change a bit.
  6. barnesgj

    barnesgj Active Member

    The problem with a regular hybrid for short drives is that the mgp is very low. The engine has to warm up before the hybrid advantage kicks in. My Prius averaged about 29 on short hops in town.
    Better to have an electric that doesn't need to start the ICE.
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  8. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    Buy a used Leaf for your daily commute if all you do is your daily commute.
    35K for a Clarity sounds like overkill. There must be more driving you do.
    Even better ride your bike most of the time if it is safe. If you don't think you can do the bike ride just because then you will surprise yourself.
  9. Strahd

    Strahd New Member

    Thanks for the reply everyone!

    I think I showcased my commute incorrectly. Last year I put about 7500 miles on my car. My work commute is small, but between going out to eat, seeing friends or misc. drives I ended up at about 7500-8500 miles a year. Not a huge amount of driving, but not the 1250 I initially showed.

    Not sure if the above changes the situation at all. Perhaps I need to try my hand at having my complex install more chargers. In the lease contract it says that the chargers are actually for everyone, but they decided last year to assign them since people were unplugging each other's cars.

    Appreciate all the replies, informative community!

    Edit: Also, not sure if this changes anything but it's looking like the touring here can be had for about 35k. About a $2100 savings.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  10. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    Also, the Clarity is a big car compared to most electric and hybrid vehicles. Living in an apartment complex it might be easier to have a smaller car, but your place seems different than most if they are forward-thinking enough to not only install chargers but assign them to people to use. If the cost and size is not a problem, and you actually have access to reliable charging, then get whatever you want. What is your parking situation at this place?
  11. Strahd

    Strahd New Member

    The size isn't a worry, my complex has assigned spaces in a parking garage and it's pretty spatious. I worry about the charging stations, only because I think there's 4-6 and I am third in line. I wish they at least let others use those spots during the day, considering the spot owners get this benefit for no extra cost. My previous car was full sized and I had no issues, my main concern from reading this thread is becoming no personalized charger at this point and the depreciation.
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  13. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    I think depreciation is a given for a car with technology like this that is still evolving. Lease, maybe, and you won't have to worry about it. We bought our Leaf in 2013 knowing what we were getting into and it still depreciated much faster than I thought. But the plan was always to give it to our daughter when she turned 16 (She's almost 15 now). Depreciation is only an issue if you plan to sell it later, which we don't.
  14. LAF

    LAF Active Member

    unless charging gets to be as fast as gas fling (which is predicted to be 5-10 years) plug in hybrids with 50 mile ranges like the Clarity seem a good bet- also the 7500 rebate plus state rebates of up to 2500-3000 make the Clarity such a bargain depreciation should not be an issue
    loomis2 likes this.
  15. Feed The Trees

    Feed The Trees Active Member

    I don't think you need to worry about BEV or hybrid for 5 miles. You won't makeup the initial bigger carbon footprint through clean miles.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
  16. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    What are your rough calculations that led you to that conclusion?
  17. Strahd

    Strahd New Member

    Thanks for the feedback! I updated my mileage since that was disingenuous. I drove about 7500 miles last year.
  18. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Altho EV tech is advancing rapidly, it's only the Nissan Leaf on which we see the resale value plummeting, and that's because Nissan refuses to put a liquid cooling system into the car, which leads to premature loss of battery capacity in many Leafs. EV tech will almost certainly continue to improve relatively rapidly over the next 15-20 years, so waiting for EVs to stop improving rapidly would probably prove fruitless.

    In general, I would never recommend a plug-in EV to anyone who does not have a dedicated parking spot where he can install an EV charger. Altho you personally might be able to depend on public EV chargers, since you have only a 5-minute commute and thus won't have to charge often, you're probably not going to like how much you have to pay for public charging. Sure, you might find a charger which is free to use now, but how long will it remain free, how long will it be before it breaks and isn't repaired, and if it remains operational, then how long will it be before you find a waiting line every time you want to use it?

    If you decide to go ahead and buy a plug-in EV despite the fact that you have no reliable place to charge it at night, then I admire your dedication to the "green" cause, but don't be surprised if you wind up regretting the decision. You say you are "wait-listed for a charger"; can you be sure that you would eventually have one installed where you park? And how long will that wait be?

    At the very least, I'd recommend that you talk to the other EV owners who live in that apartment building, and see how long they had to wait before getting a charger installed.

    I think a better strategy would be either to get the apartment owner to commit to a firm installation date -- or pay a penalty in reduced monthly rental fee for you -- or else, look for some other place to live. Admittedly the first strategy is unlikely to be successful if the apartment owner can be sure someone else will soon rent the place if you don't.

    Oh, the woes of early adopters... :(
  19. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    For your commute, a 120 V outlet would be fine. Do they have anywhere where there are 120 V outlets in the garage? Let people use their own EVSE.
    AlanSqB and loomis2 like this.
  20. bfd

    bfd Active Member

    In two years you might get $25k for a used '18 Clarity PHEV. I'm basing that on a car that likely won't ever sell a huge number of units or be "in demand" and a car with less than 30k miles.

    By the time many will think about trading their Clarity in 5 or 6 years, they might get $10-15K. PHEVs don't retain value well - mostly because there's a small market. Great for buyers, bad for owners.

    All bets are off if there's some kind of crazy oil crisis that drives gas prices through the roof. If that happens, buyers will be knocking on your door!
    jdonalds likes this.
  21. jdonalds

    jdonalds Well-Known Member

    My plan is to keep it 5 to 10 years, replacing the battery if needed.
  22. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    Way off, what do you base those numbers on?
    A 2 year old Prius Hybrid private sale averages 26K+ so you are also saying that the Clarity with a 7K greater MSRP, more seating and more features + it is a plug-in is worth less than a 2 year old Prius?

    You are also saying the depreciation at 5-6 years is only slightly less than the first 2 if you considering a sale in Ontario.
    A BC Clarity might be worth more due to rebates.

    We all know new cars depreciate faster than used cars and the cheapest way to go is generally to keep you car and run it into the ground.
    Anyone selling their car after 2 years know they are paying the greatest depreciation years.
  23. prestoOne

    prestoOne Member

    15A 120V outlet.

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