People who own and drive electric cars love them. Multiple customer satisfaction studies have found that owners of all-electric (EV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) are among the happiest car owners in the country. So if electric car owners love their cars so much, why did a different study find that only 29% of EV lessees chose another EV for their next vehicle (with most consumers moving on to a truck or SUV)? The answer probably stems from the same source as most car-buying decisions: dollars and cents.
The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is a great car. It offers all the style and comfort of a fully-loaded Sonata, the fuel-efficiency of a Sonata Hybrid, plus the instant torque, silent cabin, and high-tech features of an electric car. Only problem is, the Plug-in Sonata starts at just over $36,000, while a base Sonata will set you back just a hair over $21,000. The PHEV is well worth the price difference, especially if you consider the savings from using electricity instead of gas over the car’s life-cycle, but to the average consumer, that’s a pretty big jump to make. When gas is cheap, consumers are less eager to make the jump to electric.
As it turns out, there is one demographic that bucks that trend: luxury car shoppers. As EV sales in most segments fluctuate with rising and falling gas prices, EVs continue to make up ground within the luxury segment. The rise of Tesla Motors is certainly part of this, but there’s an argument to be made that Tesla’s success stems in great part from understanding a crucial advantage to luxury EVs: the luxury market, even at entry level, is comfortable spending a little more to get a lot more.
When you’re shopping for a car whose competition offers optional, $5,000 carbon-fiber cup holders, all of a sudden the price of an electric battery that will start saving you money the moment you drive off the lot sounds pretty manageable. Virtually every luxury carmaker is investing in EV and PHEV development, and we were thrilled to hear that Genesis, the luxury division of Hyundai, will be getting in on the electric action.
We’ll provide more details on the electric Genesis when they become available, but for now, imagine yourself behind the wheel of Genesis’ New York concept, pulling into your driveway, and turning off the ignition, only to be greeted by the efficiency numbers you got on your drive home: 999.99 MPG. Now that’s what we call value proposition.