How To Haggle For Your Next Electric Car, & Other #ChargingConversations

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I met a new Chevy Bolt owner the other day (within his first 12 hours with the car). We were both at an EV fast charger. He shared his EV shopping style with me, a shopping style that led him to choose the Bolt over other EVs.

The new Bolt owner offered a similar story to one I have heard before: He told the car dealership if they could not sell him a Bolt for the price of a Prius, he was buying the Prius. I did not ask what kind of Prius. The car dealer came back the next day and sold him the new Bolt for the price he wanted.

The Bolt is one of just a handful of all-electric cars available at dealerships in Sarasota, FL — along with the Nissan LEAF (although, I have yet to see a 2018 LEAF in Sarasota), the BMW i3, and Tesla’s cars (which are quite popular here). Good luck getting any other fully electric car from a dealership in this area.

I’ve been told about a friend’s Tesla’s Model 3, that it will be arriving soon. At this time, the couple happily enjoys and drives the older, taller Nissan LEAF, but they are glowing about their new Model 3, Apparently, they got on the list early on. Once Model 3 production increases significantly and more people in this region start getting their electric cars, I wonder how the EV landscape (and EV charging landscape) will change. It’s nice to start seeing Bolts. I look forward to seeing a new LEAF in the flesh and comparing it to the one I drive. But I presume I’ll be seeing many more Model 3s on the roads and perhaps even at charging stations than either of those models. We’ll see.

Photos by me, Cynthia Shahan

The next time I stopped at the faster charger, I spoke with an all-electric Toyota RAV4 owner. He wanted something a bit outside of the smaller EVs that dominate the market. He needed an SUV or CUV for his job. The RAV4 EV was actually quite a well loved EV, but it relied on Tesla internals and the partnership eventually broke off. He used his knowledge of that Tesla underbelly to sport the information in a fun way on his EV. “Toyota on the outside, Tesla on the inside,” he said.

He got what sounds like a bargain to me — so keep looking is my advice. He appeared quite satisfied with the RAV4 EV, but he had to leave Sarasota to find this non-Tesla with Tesla batteries at a reasonable price.

Not his Toyota RAV4 EV, but a more complete look of the rare vehicle.

Back to the good deal on the new Bolt: I have heard such stories before. Bargaining works for some in the new EV market. Perhaps even if it’s not your thing, you should give it a shot when you go EV shopping (if you aren’t shopping for a Tesla, where the price is the price).

The new Bolt owner had to reset the fast charger 6 times to get it to work. It was his first charging experience. I explained to him that this particular DC fast charger was acting finicky of late. I thought it might be because drivers were not turning it off entirely after charging (but I’m not sure that makes sense). It only takes a moment, but there is an extra step I do that I find some of the other people charging do not do when done.

I was happy he knew that this hitch charging was one he could break through, as he did. I told him about some always reliable and relatively fast level 2 stations nearby. All level 2 chargers are not the same. There are a few that seem like a fast charger to me.

One more piece of advice I’ll give if you are going to be shopping for an electric car: Take the time to test drive plenty. There are a lot of electric cars out there now, each with their own benefits. Outside of California, of course, the offerings are narrower, but there are still several models worth testing out and driving if you can get the opportunity.

The long and short of it: take the time to test drive plenty of cars, and take the time to bargain.


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Emerging EV Sales Battle In The US: Prius Prime vs. The Bolt

Tesla Model 3 Review (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

Chevy Bolt Review (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor. Pronouns: She/Her

Cynthia Shahan has 947 posts and counting. See all posts by Cynthia Shahan