The major purchase I don’t want to make until next year–if not later

Somebody with a 17-year-old vehicle in their driveway should be the easiest mark possible at an auto show. Any new car on display there should offer an immense advance in comfort and convenience–and an even greater leap in efficiency when the vehicle has a battery-electric drivetrain.

A charging port on the side of a Hyundai Ioniq 5

And yet my visit Thursday to the Washington Auto Show on its public-policy day left me relieved that our 2005 Toyota Prius–somehow still only the second car I’ve owned–keeps rolling along.

It’s not that this year’s show didn’t offer an intriguing selection of electric cars, even with VW sitting out the entire event. Multiple automakers now have not-too-big EVs on the market at not-crazy prices that offer decent range and charge quickly.

(If a tree fell on our Toyota tomorrow, I’d probably make a Kia EV6 and a Hyundai Ioniq 5 our first test drives.)

But the selection will only expand as automakers–here I have to note that decades of poor judgment at Toyota have left it shamefully far behind in EVs–race to bring more electric cars to the market. And each new model year represents another 12 months for manufacturers to improve on existing designs and for batteries to get more efficient. And each new month means more car chargers springing up along the nation’s roads, soon to be accelerated with nearly $5 billion in funding from the 2021 infrastructure law.

Our own house would need its own wiring upgrade before we’d want to park an EV in the driveway. That probably won’t get any cheaper and may cost a lot more than expected, depending on what kind of quirky work lurks inside our century-old abode.

Meanwhile, living in a walkable and Metro-served neighborhood, with no driving commutes for me or my wife, affords us the luxury of not having to use our vehicle that much. And of not even having to think that much about what’s become a relatively low-mileage old car–except, perhaps, when I’m surrounded by shiny new alternatives to it.

6 thoughts on “The major purchase I don’t want to make until next year–if not later

  1. I live in a townhouse development in Reston and getting chargers installed would be a major cost. We’d need new feeder lines, rewiring the carports, probably have to run new higher amperage lines under the sidewalks. I imagine lots of places have those problems.

      • I’m on the board and we just don’t see a way to raise the funds. The carports have one 20 amp circuit supplying the lights and one outlet each. Most of the houses don’t have parking right in front either. Heck, raising the funds to repair the 50 year old carport roofs and repave the parking lots is going to draw screams of rage from the residents.

        We’re keeping an eye out for any government funding that might be available but so far it’s not near enough.

  2. I also had a 2005 Prius. After 225,000 miles, I traded it in for a Honda Insight in 2018. And after moving and having access to a garage, I made the EV switch to a Tesla Model 3 LR. Wiring a detached garage in a house built in 1900 was not too difficult. Come to the EV side, you’ll never look back!

  3. We live in a condo building in Friendship Heights. We bought a Kona Electric as a replacement for my wife’s 2007 Camry, in June, 2021–and we LOVE it. It cost nearly $3000 (including the JuiceBox charger–great name, don’t you agree?) to get it installed in the building’s garage and have it wired to our electric meter. There are fewer than 10 charger installs in our garage currently (bad pun, I know, sorry) in January 2023, and currently the condo board is looking into how best to set up service for other residents who may want to get an electric vehicle.

    I agree that Toyota is behind the times–electric vehicle-wise. I think their idea of hydrogen power makes much more sense, but the infrastructure simply doesn’t exist except in CA and even then it’s incredibly limited.

    I currently drive a 2015 hybrid SUV and except for some of the more advanced electric controls and am quite happy with it. Maybe next time? Time will tell. We’re still taking long vehicle road trips so a fully electric car doesn’t appeal to me for that sort of thing. When the range gets to 500 miles / charge, no matter the weather and it can be recharged in 10-15 minutes, then I’ll be interested.

  4. Pingback: Weekly output: Samsung self-repair, FCC chair’s security concerns, tech-policy forecast, password managers, Google layoffs, electric-car progress, legal risks for security research | Rob Pegoraro

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