Should I stick to my car choice? I ordered a new Jaguar I-Pace. This is the latest version of the battery car I’m currently driving, but it looks like I’ll be waiting a while.
Jaguar cannot tell me when my car will be manufactured or delivered due to the shortage of microchips. I’m not good at waiting, especially in a queue of indefinite length. I placed the order last October and am still waiting. Should I cancel and buy something else or abstain?
Gone are the days when you could buy a new car and, within days, drive it off the court. The rules have changed. Supply issues and increased demand for electric vehicles have increased the wait time.
With low interest rates, it is wasteful for all but the wealthy to buy vehicles outright. Yes, smart money borrows, rents, leases or subscribes.
But then you’re stuck in ownership cycles and doomed to find a new car every two years.
High-end fossil-fuel vehicles aren’t much of an acceptable alternative anymore — they’ve lost most of their status-symbol cachet, which is why you can get a new one now. Only narcissists with more cash than savvy still opt for supercars.
The class buys battery performance that is future-proof and underrated.
Keeping my existing vehicle is not an option. I bought the car on a three year contract and I don’t feel like buying it outright or refinancing it at a stupid interest rate, especially when I was offered a offer 0% APR on a new one, saving nearly £300 a month.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a gasoline enthusiast, but only for classic cars and those meant for long car trips over the holidays. For my main car? I’m all about the electric vehicle. I’ve been a battery car driver since 2009. A G-Wiz (terrible, but fun), two Teslas (brilliant tech but poorly done and sterile interior) and now my Jag. Or is it Jaaaaggggg? Driving electric saves a lot of dosh. I admit my smugness has grown alongside rising fuel costs: the £750 annual electric bill is better than £100 a week at the pump. There is no road tax, parking in Westminster is cheaper, and there are no congestion charges or ULEZ environmental fees either. The economic benefits are clear.
They are reinforced by the tax situation. I’m no expert, but new and unused electric cars are eligible for 100% capital cost allowance in the first year, so the full cost can be deducted from the company’s profits in the first year. And you can reclaim VAT on leased cars; 50% if you use the car for a mix of business and social activities. And, yes, there are also perks that entice the owner of a company car. Get your timing right and kerching!
With rising interest rates, APRs for most new cars are between 4% and 7%. On an £80,000 purchase, that’s a hefty dollop. So 0% APR is worth hanging onto.
The decision to stay with Jaguar is reinforced by the fact that they have addressed my main complaint. The First Edition technology was horrible. Slow, unintuitive, and often behaving like it was unionized in the 1970s: inexplicably on strike mid-term, requiring lengthy negotiations or money to get it working again.
My final complaint is the lack of a sliding sunroof. What good is a fixed panoramic glass roof if not to emphasize that you park under a sticky lime tree, its branches busy defecating birds? Any. The result ? Frequent visits to the car wash. But try to find an electric car with a sunroof. They are few and far between!
The Jaguar I-Pace has a decent range of 260 miles. And Jaguar really knows how to design a great car. Admittedly, mine looks a bit footbally on the inside with lots of red leather and color-changing lights.
This is because the first owner was indeed a professional footballer. It was a virtually new car, with just 1,000 miles on the odometer and every conceivable extra, all for nearly £20,000 less than list price. It was an obvious deal that I would like to repeat but this time with specs of my choice and new, due to the tax benefits. The Jag has almost everything I want, at a price that makes sense. And that matches my personality. Not so cheap that my career seems to have collapsed and not so expensive that I seem to have more money than sense. Sober, if you like. I’ll let my Aston do the screaming.
If I quit the deal with Jag, what are my options? Electric cars fall into three general price brackets. Under £45,000, £45,000 to £80,000 and above. Of the cheap ones, a Mini would be fine, if the range wasn’t 145 miles. But it has a sunroof! The Honda e is cute, but plagued by the same range issues. These cars are only used by urban planners.
I don’t want Ford, Peugeot or Vauxhall either. I don’t work in a store. The only contender under £45,000 is the futuristic looking Hyundai Ioniq 5. It has a range of 300 miles and charges quickly. As always, the South Koreans demonstrate their technological mastery. Until you enter a cacophony of soulless plastic. Uncomfortable seats and no sunroof.
In the mid-range of cars, if I had no personality or self-esteem, I might opt for a Volvo or its sister manufacturer, Polestar. They have everything you need, but not everything you want.
They look like they were designed with Lego in the dark. And their color palette is a new level of dreary that I haven’t seen since leaving school. Tesla is out. There are too many of them, and their drab cubicles are depressing, like a doctor’s waiting room. BMW is an option but the waiting lists are as long as Jaguar’s and I’m not a real estate agent. An £80,000 Audi perhaps? No. The interiors are all shades of black and oppressive.
If Aston Martin, Bentley or Land Rover offered an electric car, I would buy one. But I can’t wait until 2025. That brings me to a real contender: the Porsche Taycan (pron. Tie-can). In saloon form it’s a nice car, but not practical if you have dogs – you can’t put the dogs in a trunk. However, there is a surprisingly elegant area, the Gran Turismo. It’s superbly designed, likely to hold its value, and with just two downsides: no sunroof and an APR of almost 7%. On a £120,000 car, the opportunity cost is two cases of vintage fizz per month.
And there is another problem. Everyone knows that a Porsche is fantastic. What they also know is that when you come out of it, you’re a shortened Richard. The car may be cool, but you’re probably not.
Increasingly frustrated, I considered the unusual. For £225,000 I could have a Land Rover electric car lovingly modified by North Yorkshire-based Twisted, but that’s too much money. Or for £80k I could pop into the SL Shop and go old school with the Mercedes R107 SL electric conversion. But do I want a sheep dressed as a sheep? Not like my main car.
Do I stick to my decision on the Jag, which is more me, fits my budget, and offers a great finance deal, even though it may never ship? Or stuff the extra costs and the inevitable midlife crisis jokes and go for the Porsche with a guaranteed delivery date. What would you do?
James Max is a radio host and real estate expert. The opinions expressed are personal. Twitter: @thejamesmax