Even with limited range, EVs are perfect for lifestyle of a group the media ignore

An all-electric car with a range of about 85 miles like the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3 is ideal for many senior citizens, whose driving is limited to food shopping, visits to doctors, volunteering, and driving to senior centers or the gym.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

A huge group of well-to-do Americans greeted the "reveal" of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt with a yawn on Wednesday.

Retired seniors already have a nice choice of affordable all-electric cars that fit their lifestyle and the limited driving they do, including the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

The Bolt, with a range of 200 miles and a starting price of $37,500 before options, will be a little late to the game when it goes on sale at the end of this year or early next year.

And if an affluent senior wants to reward himself or herself for a lifetime of hard work, they certainly would pick a jazzy red Tesla Model S over the pedestrian-looking Bolt.

That way they could take advantage of a network of free and fast Tesla Superchargers, which Chevrolet hasn't addressed.


The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt four-door hatchback can be mistaken for a lot of economy cars on the road today.

Tax-credit myth

The news media often repeat the claim of General Motors and other automakers that the cost of their plug-in EVs will be reduced by a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.

What they don't say is that you still have to lay out the 40 grand or more before you can apply for the credit in the following tax year.

The minimum tax credit is $2,500 plus $417 for a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, and it goes up $417 for each additional kilowatt hour, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Tesla Model S I bought last April has a 60 kilowatt-hour battery, and would qualify for the full $7,500 credit this year.

But if I don't owe the IRS the full $7,500 in taxes, than I'd get a lower credit or none at all.

Many retired seniors don't pay federal taxes so the tax credit is useless to them, and it may prove to be useless to me, too.

Jersey payoff

There is an immediate payoff, if you buy an all-electric car in New Jersey -- you don't have to pay the 7% sales tax.

That's a nice piece of change in your pocket -- $2,800 for an EV that costs $40,000 with options and about $5,600 for a Tesla Model S.

Limited driving

I'm retired and live in northern New Jersey.

On Tuesday, I drove my Model S about 50 miles, including a visit to the gym and supermarket in the morning, lunch at a Japanese restaurant in the afternoon and on an errand in the evening.

On Wednesday, I drove even less, making two stops in Englewood before returning home.

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