Published on March 4th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor


Story Of How An Electric Car Hater Came Around (Hint: Via The Cadillac ELR)

March 4th, 2014 by  

Jay Leno Reviews The Cadillac ELR – Video

Originally posted in the forum by forum member Blastphemy.

Had a great moment with my good friend and the ELR. He’s in his late 40s, never dresses down more than slacks and a button-down shirt, and has a PhD. He generally doesn’t care about how much money he would save with one product vs. the other since he’s rather loaded thanks to some choice stock picks over the past two decades. “Value” to him is what he wants, not what gets the best mileage or retains its value over the long haul. So he replaces his TV every couple of years, always has a new gun to show off at the range, and already has a 12-core Mac Pro fully loaded up (along with his crazy tricked-out Alienware laptop).

His contributions to the environment are (i) careful separation of garbage for recycling; (ii) turning off the water as much as possible in the shower, brushing his teeth, or washing dishes; and (iii) keeping the temperature in his house at a level that prevents the A/C or heat from turning on too often. However, despite the water rationing inside, he lets his sprinklers run as long as necessary to keep his grass green and plants flowering all year ’round; and due to the excellent insulation and windows in his house, the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much. Beyond that, he doesn’t really care about gas vs. electric or solar vs. fossil fuels.

Currently, he owns a BMW 550i. He’s been a passenger in my Volt and enjoys the linear acceleration and Star Trek start-up sound, but otherwise he doesn’t see the advantage over his 550i (because his car is faster, more comfortable, just as quiet, and has brand prestige). He rode in my wife’s RAV4 EV and was impressed, but found the interior quite pedestrian and the lack of customization a deal-breaker. Also, he needs more than 110 miles of range since he regularly drives long distances.

He’s never understood why I “downgraded” from an Infiniti M56 to a Volt. While he does like the prospect of only visiting a gas station a few times per year instead of twice per week, he doesn’t want to wait 5 hours for his car to charge every day just to get 38 miles.

He drove a Tesla Model S a couple of times since he saw it starting to have more cachet than his Beemer, but couldn’t imagine who would pay $100k for a car without “the luxury basics” like Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning, a key fob tied to his seat/mirror memory settings, etc. He wasn’t impressed that the Tesla accelerated so quickly, because his 550i was almost as fast, and some ICE cars costing half the price were faster. The fact that the Model S was electric didn’t impress him, since it meant range anxiety and being at the mercy of Tesla’s supercharger network.

So when I told him I was going to buy another EREV like the Volt, but upgraded, he laughed and just shook his head, muttering something about me deserving better. (I’m telling you – he really couldn’t understand me going from an Infiniti to a Chevrolet!)

Jump ahead to last week. I invited him as my +1 to an invitation-only business networking party I was attending. By then, he had forgotten that I was thinking about a new car, and was dreading arriving in my Volt. “Can I drive? Please? No one’s going to talk to me if they see me get outta that thing.” I told him I’d drive to his house and we could decide then what to do.

So here’s my rich friend standing outside in a suit waiting for me to pull up in a Volt, and instead I pull up in an ELR. By the look on his face, he had obviously never seen an ELR before. He just stood there staring, and finally spit out, “what…the…heck…is…that?!” Needless to say, we arrived at the event in my ELR, and to his utter chagrin, the valet parked it right out front while all the BMWs (and Teslas!) were driven into the underground garage.

During the drive over he kept asking, “does it have this?” And for the most part, every answer was, “yes.” He cracked up when he saw the cup holder. “Yeah, I bet this car took an insane bite out of your bank account!” When I told him it was less expensive than his loaded 550i, he didn’t believe me. “No way – this has got to be a $90k car!” Slowly but surely, charging went from a problem to a cool feature; the size of the car went from cramped to comfortable; and the prospect of having the newest high-end car on the market grew on him. Sure, he bitched like me about not having cooled front seats, a head’s-up display, and some customized features offered by BMW on the 550i, but after a while he didn’t seem to care so much.

To conclude this rambling story, my buddy called me from a Cadillac dealer on Sunday to let me know he found a red one fully loaded, and now it’s his. (He just had to have a cooler color than mine, dammit!) Naturally, he paid cash. Show off.

At least now he understands how one can go from a car that accelerates 0-60 in 4.8 seconds to one that does it in 9. (Although he had it easy because he didn’t go from an Infiniti to a Volt, but rather to a luxurious ELR.)

What’s really funny is that he’s going to be pissed when I finally show him the BMW i8! He can afford that puppy, and I suspect he’ll be replacing his ELR for that in a year.

Or maybe not… ’cause so far he really likes his ELR. And I’ll bet within two months he’ll start getting annoyed when he actually has to go to the gas station after a few longs drives.

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  • Jake Senco

    “What’s really funny is that he’s going to be pissed when I finally show him the BMW i8! He can afford that puppy, and I suspect he’ll be replacing his ELR for that in a year.”

    Okay, I understand the benefit of the rich taking up electrics first, to get the technology cheap enough for the masses. But, this makes me incredibly sad. So rich that he buys one luxury car after another, while the impoverished suffer and die.

    • Bob_Wallace

      That’s really a different issue, one that extends far beyond EVs.

      We have an election in November. If really wanted things to be different we could make it so….

  • Ralph

    Yet another douche-bag’s opinion. Why should anybody care?

  • Benjamin Nead

    I never imagined that I would need to have a vomit basin placed next to my computer while reading a Clean Technica web article. That changed today. The only thing I can take away from this article is that EVs (we’ll, the ELR is actually a PHEV) can appeal to even the slimiest and most contemptuous parts of the population. When I finally get to read a headline about a bank robber (is a billionaire Wall Street raider all that different?) using an EV as a getaway car, then I know we’ve “arrived” and that the electric car can be then declared a mainstream appliance.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m starting to appreciate the Caddie. It looks like it will grab a portion of the market that won’t buy a California-hippie Tesla.

      We can’t do anything about “got too much money” jerks. If we can get them driving on electricity rather than petroleum that’s a good thing.

  • Jim Seko

    The part that blew mind is when he said, “no one’s going to want to talk to me if they see me get out ta that thing”So I guess your friend would never talk to me because of the car I drive. He sounds like a real a-hole!

  • J_JamesM

    $75,000 is still a bridge too far for a luxo-Volt.

    • I’d take a Model S instead any day. but it is interesting that there are actually some people who can be pulled to EVs thanks to the ELR’s luxury (and Cadillac brand).

      • J_JamesM

        No accounting for taste, I suppose. For what it’s worth, I think the ELR is (very narrowly) the prettier car, and clearly the novelty gadgets are a deal-breaker for some.

  • Steve Baker

    A triple but they should have gone for a home run.

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