To the surprise of absolutely nobody who’s been reading The Autopian, David is absolutely smitten with his BMW i3. So much so that he’s sending links to additional i3s into the work Slack, and recently proclaimed his desire to own an i3 “for the rest of my life.” Keep in mind, this is the same dude who helped engineer the current JL Jeep Wrangler, but his rationale for going with a carbon fiber BMW over the JL Wrangler he helped develop is very interesting. According to David, “I’m not buying a JL Wrangler because I think buying a new ICE today is a bad idea.” So, is buying a new gasoline-powered car a bad idea?
On the one hand, there’s life in the internal combustion engine yet. According to the analysts at iSeeCars, the average first ownership period of a vehicle lasts for 8.4 years, well shy of California’s 2035 combustion engine ban. What’s more, the average age of a vehicle on American roads is 12.2 years according to S&P Global, so we’ll still see combustion-powered cars doing everyday duty for years to come. The clock may be ticking on new gasoline-powered vehicles, but we’ll be experiencing used ones for years to come. Then there’s the infrastructure argument — outside of the Tesla Supercharger network, a reliable public DC fast charging network in America is about as real as Bigfoot. While a laundry list of automakers have inked agreements with Tesla on NACS connector adoption and Supercharger network integration, those changes aren’t here just yet. If you can’t charge at home or at work, an electric vehicle typically isn’t a practical proposition.
On the other hand, the list of pro-EV arguments is also long. If you’re able to charge at home, topping off overnight is so convenient compared to freezing your nipples off at a gas station. The lack of required warm-up is awesome, the minimal maintenance is incredible, and current incentives make something like a Tesla Model 3 a financially shrewd move. In addition, electric cars can do more than reduce pollutants — they can give you back the one thing that’s finite: Time. In certain jurisdictions, you can drive an electric vehicle in HOV lanes without any passengers. If that gets you home from work twelve minutes sooner, that’s 24 minutes per day round trip, or 120 minutes per week to see your family, savor your morning coffee, or enjoy the little things in life.
Of course, if you work from home, there are arguments both for and against EVs. If your annual mileage on a gasoline-powered car drops, the cost-per-mile typically increases as service intervals are based on both mileage and time, and lengthy sitting can cause fuel to go bad. In contrast, EVs require far less upkeep and as long as you keep them plugged in, are easier to store. The flipside is that if you’re a driving enthusiast who works from home, driving is likely more of a treat than it is for commuters, and rowing gears, hearing a characterful engine, or reveling in a lightweight chassis is a hobby rather than a utility-like expense.
So, does buying a new gasoline-powered car make sense in 2023? Now’s your time to take the wheel and steer the conversation. Sound off in the comments below, because everyone’s situation is different and it’s hard to categorize people into boxes.
(Photo credits: Tesla, Toyota)
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