To EV or not to EV

There were quite a few times in my early 20s when I left a dance party while I was still having a really good time, just to head off the risk of it getting a bit shit, and that being my final memory of it. So I definitely have a personality that errs on the side of ‘bad things are probably coming, so let’s get out while the going is good’.
Which brings me to our current car, a 2018 Skoda Superb wagon. It is without a doubt the best car I have ever owned. We’ve had it for 6 years and it has not missed a beat. It has taken us on roadtrips to Tassie, NSW and Nhill. In the summer months it’s transported the family, plus surfboards, plus dog to many a beach destination, and it has been the haven of warmth at the end of winter trail runs and taboganning trips to Mt Donna Buang.
And yet…and yet, I fear that the longer we keep it, the greater the risk of it having an issue that costs a fair amount of cash to fix.
As someone who would like to play a part in not destroying the planet, I also like the idea of taking any opportunity to move towards having a smaller carbon footprint, and so maybe now is the perfect time to get an EV?

*cut to montage of Chris falling down rabbit-hole of EV car reviews and way, way, waaaay too much information*

I won’t lie, if there is a perfect time to get an EV for a family, it certainly isn’t now unless you are someone who has a lot of cash, and a deep, abiding love of SUVs. I’m not sure if EV manufacturers heard Scott Morrison say as PM that ‘converting to EV’s would mean the end of the Aussie weekend and we would no longer be able to spend our weekends driving SUVs’ and said ‘No worries, we’ll only make cars in sedan or SUV variants…best of luck station-wagon lovers!!’, but I can tell you, brands like VW are actively not releasing the station wagon/estate/tourer versions of their EV cars here in Australia. So, as someone who views SUV’s as one of the 4 horsemen of the modern apocalypse (the other three are; screen addiction, polarised political opinion, and NFTs), I am having to do a LOT of mental and moral gymnastics convincing myself that this is a good idea.

Also, I’m someone who has always had an interest in cars…but that means very little in this brave new world of terms and features to get used to, not to mention new brands like Tesla, Polestar and Cupra…throw in Kia and you’re suddenly one of those people who finishes every sentence on an upward inflection.
Plus, whereas in the past if you bought a car and the new version came out the next year, it was probably going to have slightly different coloured side view mirrors or better cup holders…now a new version may come up with a 100kms of additional battery range, or brand-new ‘everything’ inside, or now it doubles as an aeroplane.
The tech in the cars is evolving faster than the tech in my cameras, and it makes it VERY hard to commit to something!!

The other problem is that there just isn’t the range of cars that exists in the petrol/diesel world. In petrol/diesel world, you have a price range, and then a range of cars in the price range. In EV world, everything starts more expensive, and there limited options in each price band. The EV equivalent of our Skoda Superb (albeit not in station-wagon form) probably costs about $85K, which is *checks down the back of the couch, and in pockets of jeans he wore last summer* a fair bit more than I have to spend.
So…problem solved! Don’t buy an EV! After all, it would be insane to sell a perfectly good petrol car in order to buy an EV that I can’t afford. I can just show the world that I’m a great person by talking about how much I would like to buy and EV…without actually having to commit any money to it, because I can’t afford it. Virtue signalled…cost of living crisis adhered to.

Except…except, novated leasing.
Now I realise that if I haven’t lost you with discussions of ‘preferred body shapes for cars’, then I almost certainly will with ‘discussions of tax-based financing of car purchases’. But here goes anyway…maybe you should imagine Margot Robbie explaining this in a bath.
A novated lease is basically where you lease a car through your work, and the repayments for it come out of your pay. The cool thing is that a portion of this comes out of your income before tax, so you pay less tax because your taxable income is less. If this feels like the sort of thing that really benefits rich people…then yes it is.
After all, if you go and buy a $200K car and can then claim the repayments as a tax deduction, that’s a pretty sweet deal that is only available to people who can afford a $200K car. So one way around this for the tax department, is to charge a ‘Luxury car tax’ for cars worth over about $80K.
Cool story so far, I know.
But the Govt is keen for you to buy and EV, and so they have made it so if you buy an EV then the full amount of the repayment comes out before tax (remember earlier how I said that part of the payment usually comes out before tax…well for EV’s it is now ALL of the repayment, which saves even more on tax), AND the luxury car tax doesn’t kick in on EV’s until just over $91K.
In short this means that you can get a $10K nicer EV car, and you’re going to pay less in tax. Plus, the repayment amount includes things like rego, servicing, tyres, insurance etc, so instead of those things hitting like a kick in the proverbials each year…they’re spread over the full year, like a firm massage. It is a pretty good deal, provided you and your employer are keen to continue your current practice of you giving them the majority of your waking hours…and them wanting to continue to pay you for it.

We’re currently on a holiday in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, where it has rained so much, we’ve actually had the time to sit down as a family and discuss the options. It was such a relief after having all of this info bouncing around in my head for a few months, to be able to explain that I really didn’t want to sell the Skoda, but if we did, our best options were the Polestar 4, and the Kia ev6. So let’s make a choice.
After about an hour of discussion, and debate we finally made a decision…we really don’t want to sell the Skoda, but if we do, our best options are the Polestar 4, the Kia ev6, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
So…yeah…somehow I’m now actually further away from a decision than I was when we started.
But we have hired a Polestar 2 for our holiday, and it has been great!
It took us everywhere we wanted to go, it handled like it was on rails, and there is something quite awesome about not having pay for petrol on a holiday!
So who knows, having already said good-bye to a manual gearbox on my last two cars…maybe it’s time to fully embrace middle-aged comfort, and get an EV.

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