One of the electric cars that I was eagerly awaiting was Jaguar’s I-Pace. I visited a local dealer one weekend when they had one on loan to show off; I went for a test drive in it at the San Francisco car show last year. And it was great. In fact, of the three cars I had been watching from the day their concepts were announced, the Jaguar was the only one that stayed true to the concept car in my mind.
Reviewers around the world also love it, and while its lower than expected range was a disappointment, it is still over 200 miles between charges, and it is capable of 100kW charging (if you can find a charger capable of delivering that).
Yet sales, even from the start, seem to be slow. When I first asked the dealer, they didn’t expect to have any available until early 2019 for those that had not pre-ordered. Just a few weeks after launch, they called to say they did have some in stock for immediate purchase, and that has been true every time I’ve checked their website. In fact, all the dealers here have them in stock. So what is wrong?
As the owner of a relatively short range EV, being able to plug in and get a charge from public chargers can either be handy, or in some cases essential. There are places we go where taking the EV would be risky unless we could get a charge while we’re there (and some where we wouldn’t get home without a charge). At least here in the SF Bay Area, EVs and plug in hybrids are now common enough that finding a public charging space empty is rare. When a large shopping mall has only 2-4 EV spaces, the chances of finding one empty when you arrive is essentially nil.
Last week Tesla Motors announced a new pseudo-lease program claiming a true cost of ownership of just $500/month. That would be considerably less than I am paying right now for a car that would be comparable to their mid range, but that low figure comes from the entry level model of course.
Unfortunately, their way of getting to that number is stretching the truth quite a bit, and the program they announced is not really a lease at all; just a relatively high interest rate car loan with a buy back guarantee. We'll get to that later though. First, I'd like go go through the calculator web site they presented to get to that figure of $500/month; I am going to use the mid range model though as I suspect that is a more realistic option (the low end model has serious range limitation as the price difference comes from cutting the battery capacity).
Here is what they estimated as my monthly cost on that vehicle, after I removed the dubious business tax allowance, but leaving the high monthly mileage and average gas price in place:
Quite a lot more than the $500/month, and quite a lot more than I am paying now.