May 15

Plug In America Invites Senators To Drive Electric on Capitol Hill

 

By Jon LeSage

Last week Plug In America staged an electric car ride and drive event to gain more support from federal legislators.

With the backing of a few automakers, the advocacy group hosted a day-long ride and drive event in Washington, D.C., for U.S. senators and their staff.

As Plug In America has found at National Drive Electric Week and many other ride-and-drive events, people’s attitudes change toward the positive after driving a plug-in electrified vehicle.

Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who can be seen in the photo above driving a Chevy Bolt, hosted the event on Capitol Hill for the Senate Auto Caucus. Other senators attending included Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) sent a few staffers to test drive cars. Plug In America said that others were scheduled to attend, but last minute votes and hearings led to a few missing the scheduled time. The advocacy group planned to work with schedulers to get senators out during the recess break.

Hundreds were in attendance, and they had the chance to take their first drives in cars run by batteries. Along with the Chevy Bolt, the Tesla Model S was a popular car for them to experience.

To set the stage, Plug In America staff had gone to every senate office in person to invite them to the event. The group and its members, along with a few automakers, do see two legislative issues at stake.

One of them is gaining support to extend federal tax incentives for purchasing PEVs. Automakers have been given a 200,000 unit cap before the credit, that ranges from $2,500 to $7,500 per vehicle, starts to run out. Tesla may be the first manufacturer to hit the 200,000 cap=, then see incentives cut in half, cut in half again, then go away. The 50 percent cut would take place two quarters after the 200,000 sales market is passed.

The second tax credit applies to charging PEVs. A 30-percent tax credit on electric vehicle charging equipment expired at the end of 2016. Individuals could tap into a $1,000 tax credit for charging stations and business could go up to $30,000 in tax credits for charger and installation costs.

“Our aim is for an extension of both policies, to ensure the transition of the EV market from early adopter to mass market,” said Plug In America in its blog.

SEE ALSO:  Plug In America Opposing California Bill Limiting HOV Stickers on All-Electric Vehicles

The PEV advocacy group has found support for the vehicles from both Democrats and Republicans in Washington. Yet, many of them had never driven one. Plug In America has found that driving a PEV surprises driver with how much power the car has, and the quiet driving pleasure it offers.

Currently, three senators drive PEVs: Merkley, Angus King (R-Maine), and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), according to the advocacy group.

Senator Alexander is known for driving a Nissan Leaf. He’d done his part years ago in convincing Nissan to manufacture vehicles at a plant in Smyrna, Tenn.

The Japanese automaker decided to move production of the Leaf over to Smyrna in 2011.

HybridCars.com

This entry was posted on Monday, May 15th, 2017 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

COMMENTS: 38


  1. 1
    MnVikes

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    May 15th, 2017 (6:30 am)

    Well it’s nice to see bipartisan support for EVs. I hope they can work together to extend the tax credits. The best way to get people interested is butts in seats.

    I still like the idea of switching the program to last until EV/PHEV reach a certain market penetration, say 10%. GM and Tesla should not be punished for being early adopters.

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    Harry Ballczak

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    May 15th, 2017 (6:34 am)

    Six percent of U.S. Senators drive electric vehicles; that is higher than the percentage of the U.S. population as a whole. Electric vehicles are here to stay.

    Nice coverage of the event.

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    MnVikes

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    May 15th, 2017 (6:40 am)

    How’s this for an idea to modify the tax credit.

    To qualify for the full credit, a car must be X% American made, be it manufactured or assembled. If the car does not make that target, it’s credit is reduced by up to 50% for fully foreign made cars.

    It fits right in with President Trumps Make America Great Again slogan and quite frankly I feel makes more sense. We need people buying American and supporting American jobs.

    Yea or Nay?

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    MnVikes

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    May 15th, 2017 (6:48 am)

    Harry Ballczak:
    Six percent of U.S. Senators drive electric vehicles; that is higher than the percentage of the U.S. population as a whole.

    I think from the article only three senators (3%) currently drive EVs. That’s still three times more than the general population.

    Or were you counting the other three who participated in the event?

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    Dan Petit/Petit Technical College

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    May 15th, 2017 (7:33 am)

    Getting members of both Houses into these events is critical, no matter how many of these events have to be held.

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    Jim I

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    May 15th, 2017 (7:39 am)

    Great article today. Now if some of these politicians would actually do something instead of just taking photo ops, we may be able to move forward!

    I think the program should be changed in these ways:

    1. Make it an up front credit on the purchase price of the car. Having to base it on your taxable income and then wait for up to a year to get that money prevents many people from purchasing a car and taking advantage of the credits.

    2. Instead of a 200K cap per manufacturer, make it 2 or 3 million cars total and then it stops. That way, the manufacturers who stepped up first are not penalized, and it may in fact get them to actually advertise and push the sales of their products.

    JMHO

    Jim – C-5277

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  7. 7
    Eco_Turbo

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    May 15th, 2017 (7:45 am)

    How about incentives based on how much oil is displaced, giving pickups and SUVs bigger incentives?

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    Loboc

     

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    May 15th, 2017 (8:07 am)

    The tax incentive can expire with zero impact on EV sales. The cat is out of the bag.

    States like Texas should embrace EVs with incentives. Our pollution levels are in the top worst in the country. We had an alt-fuel grant ($2500) a few years ago and it was not funded after the first year.

    The main issues with EV adoption are availability and initial cost. Cost is close to ICE TCO, but, there are no large EVs.

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  9. 9
    Fishhawk

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    May 15th, 2017 (8:27 am)

    Loboc:
    … but, there are no large EVs.

    This. SUVs and trucks are hot, sedans are not. Full-scale market penetration will only be possible when manufacturers introduce plug-in SUVs and trucks that are reasonably priced.

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    Kdawg

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    May 15th, 2017 (9:04 am)

    There have been roughly 615,000 plugins sold in the US since Dec 2010. Assuming an 80% factor of those getting the full $7,500 tax credit (different battery sizes & income levels affect this), that comes out to ~$3.6 billion over ~6.5 years. I know sales are much higher now than they were years ago, so let’s assume 600K sales/year for now. Using the same 80% factor, that again equals about ~$3.6 billion/year.

    If we do not increase the defense budget by $54 billion, that would cover plug-in incentives for the next 15 years at today’s rates. (and that’s just 1 year of a budget increase)

    Also in another 5 to 10 years, battery costs may be low enough that the incentives would not be required.

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  11. 11
    Mark Z

     

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    May 15th, 2017 (9:38 am)

    The manufacturers should give every senator an EV. A test drive isn’t long enough.

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    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (10:37 am)

    This is a great article, Jeff. And I may guess that the “senior Senators” liked the taller riding Chevy Bolt EV over the lower riding Tesla Model S, sine most “senior Americans” have mobility limitation.

    But, as other here have posted, I do expect to read good news on the EV tax rebate being extended and converted to a sale rebate, and not limited to those who have enough income to pay over $7,500 in Federal taxes. Many citizens pay less or no Federal taxes, especially the “seniors” under Social Security, so they should quality for that sale rebate.

    And that sale rebate should be only for North American branded EVs (not for their American content), because the foreign brands (Nissan for example) have no such rebates for the “foreign” brands in their country (does the Tesla Model S get a $7,500 rebate in France, Germany, Japan, or Great Britain? No!). If the U.S. citizens that pay their taxes are funding any EV rebates, that money must stay in the U.S. Let the foreign brands fund their own EV rebates!

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  13. 13
    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (10:39 am)

    Mark Z:
    The manufacturers should give every senator an EV. A test drive isn’t long enough.

    That would not be politically correct. They should lend them the EV for a short time only, not give them away!!

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    Kdawg

     

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    May 15th, 2017 (11:26 am)

    American First: They should lend them the EV for a short time only

    Chevrolet has their extended test drive programs at various dealerships and talked about overnight test drives with the Bolt EV about a year ago.

    http://gmauthority.com/blog/2016/03/chevrolet-intends-to-offer-overnight-test-drives-for-the-new-volt-and-bolt-ev/

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    George S. Bower

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    May 15th, 2017 (11:35 am)

    MnVikes:
    Well it’s nice to see bipartisan support for EVs.I hope they can work together to extend the tax credits.The best way to get people interested is butts in seats.

    right on. +1

    Sometimes I get people that start the political BS about EV’s trying to attach a left wing stigma to them.

    But I tell them I bot my Model S from a guy in Texas that listened to Rush Limbaugh on the radio and as we know ther’s no left wing bias to Rush Limbaugh .

    I also mention that 50% of the commenters on our blog are Republicans.

    This event was a great idea. Just look at the happy smiling face of Dean Heller in the drivers seat of that Chevy Bolt (R-Ohio)

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    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (11:35 am)

    Kdawg: Chevrolet has their extended test drive programs at various dealerships and talked about overnight test drives with the Bolt EV about a year ago.

    http://gmauthority.com/blog/2016/03/chevrolet-intends-to-offer-overnight-test-drives-for-the-new-volt-and-bolt-ev/

    That is what Chevy needs to put “butts in the seat” and get new buyers.

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  17. 17
    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (11:38 am)

    George S. Bower:
    But I tell them I bot my Model S from a guy in Texas that listened to Rush Limbaugh on the radio and as we know ther’s no left wing bias to Rush Limbaugh.

    You must have not eaten enough breakfast to leave the “ugh” out of “bought”, or the last “e” in “there’s”.

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    HVACman

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    May 15th, 2017 (11:44 am)

    MnVikes:
    How’s this for an idea to modify the tax credit.

    To qualify for the full credit, a car must be X% American made, be it manufactured or assembled.If the car does not make that target, it’s credit is reduced by up to 50% for fully foreign made cars.

    It fits right in with President Trumps Make America Great Again slogan and quite frankly I feel makes more sense.We need people buying American and supporting American jobs.

    Yea or Nay?

    American made. American powered. America’s electric vehicles are all-American, all the time.

    Yea!

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  19. 19
    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (12:22 pm)

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    tomjacques@charter.net

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    May 15th, 2017 (1:17 pm)

    And later that evening GM, Ford and FCA executives wined and dined these same politician at an exclusive and private steak house in DC where $600 bottles of wine and 10 year old Kentucky Bourbon flowed like water, the steaks were 2″ think and afterwards smoked Cuban cigars served by hookers wearing string bikinis while they chatted over the next round of CAFE fuel mileage standards the auto makers want reduced.

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  21. 21
    Tim Shevlin

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    May 15th, 2017 (1:32 pm)

    By all means, make the fed tax credit a rebate at purchase, using whatever formula works best. I attended a car show this weekend in which a Chevy dealer displayed two cars: a loaded Bolt EV and a loaded Camaro. Big, ungainly Camaro: about $36,000. Lithe, sporty Bolt: about $43,000. Ouch. To the average driver that’s mega sticker shock. Even worse when comparing Bolt lookalikes- Fit, etc.
    So, a price cut and extended test drives would seem to be the best way to sell more Bolts–or give a few to big taxi and rental fleets for cheap. (around here Prius seems to be the taxi of choice)

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  22. 22
    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (1:40 pm)

    Tim Shevlin,

    The Camaro isn’t “ungainly” at all. I drove a 1967 Rally Sport and later a 1969 Z-28.

    The issue isn’t the price. It is what you buy for that money. A BEV Camaro would cost over $50,000 so a Bolt EV is a good deal. If I wanted to pay less, I would had bought a gas only Fusion instead of the Hybrid. And if it was available, I would had bought the Energi and pay more.

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  23. 23
    Jim I

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    May 15th, 2017 (2:01 pm)

    George S. Bower: right on. +1

    This event was a great idea. Just look at the happy smiling face of Dean Heller in the drivers seat of that Chevy Bolt (R-Ohio)

    Pretty sure that is Rob Portman in the driver’s seat, also a Republican from Ohio

    Jim – C-5277

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  24. 24
    MotoEV

     

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    May 15th, 2017 (2:04 pm)

    Should Poor Customer Service Play a Major Role In Purchasing An EV?

    Full Disclosure: I have a deposit on the Tesla Model 3 but have been impressed by many positive reviews on the Bolt as well as owners sharing their experiences. Very soon, Tesla will show the final version of the Model 3 and the order books will open.

    Given so many unknowns about the Model 3, I decided to try to strike a deal on a 2017 Bolt. My local dealership have many on stock with $1600-2000 discounts on the windshield. Luckily there was a Bolt Premier in the showroom so I spent 10-15 minutes looking over the vehicle in great detail.

    During the 15 minutes, no salesperson was present in the showroom and the person at the reception desk never asked if I had been helped or needed help.

    Maybe Monday @ 9:30 AM is a slow period for a dealership but what I described has never been a problem when you enter a Tesla store.

    I’ve always liked GM products and the engineering but It costs very little money to have ONE person minding the store during operating hours Chevrolet.

    GM (IMO) is in no position to argue Tesla having stores nationwide until their sales / service improves and is consistent.

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    HVACman

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    May 15th, 2017 (2:52 pm)

    MotoEV,

    I dunno…that sounds like my kind of dealer. More often than not, my experience has been one of fighting off the gauntlet of hungry sales staff lining the exterior front entrance before I was within 50 yards of the show room. Some quiet time in the show room without disturbance would be refreshing…

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  26. 26
    Jackson

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    May 15th, 2017 (2:58 pm)

    OT:

    Remember this?

    n5m2r4.jpg

    The I-85 bridge collapse happened just 6 weeks ago, and today reconstruction is over. It is already open! Northbound opened late Friday, and Southbound opened early today.

    287eq09.jpg

    Atlanta traffic can now go from Nightmarish to it’s usual Awful again.

    High priority, 24-7 work and incentives for an early finish are credited with the speedy repair. And in case you wondered, inspectors were on the job site at every stage of construction.

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  27. 27
    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (3:00 pm)

    HVACman:
    MotoEV,

    I dunno…that sounds like my kind of dealer. More often than not, my experience has been one of fighting off the gauntlet of hungry sales staff lining the exterior front entrance before I was within 50 yards of the show room. Some quiet time in the show room without disturbance would be refreshing…

    It could be local or even cultural. Or that GM dealers aren’t as nice as Ford dealers.

    I called ahead to the Ford dealer and asked for the Fusion Hybrid. A young saleswoman answered and told me that “she was looking at the Fusion Hybrid from her office”. When I arrived at the dealer later, the saleswoman was waiting for me, presented me to the manager (who is also the owner), and showed me the Fusion within fifteen minutes. In less than an hour I had completed all the needed paperwork. In one day my credit union approved the loan, and the next day I drove home with my Fusion Hybrid.

    Some other members had to visit other dealers to get their Volt as they wanted it, and also got better deals. Maybe that is what MotorEV has to do. Call ahead and get a salesperson to give a quote on the phone. If you don’t like it, just give thanks, hang up, and call another dealer. But if it s close to what you planned, then have that salesperson give all their attention to getting a good deal.

    Don’t wander into a dealer and get chased by hungry salespersons!

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  28. 28
    Jackson

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    May 15th, 2017 (3:32 pm)

    2z8nrxe.jpg

    In other old news, I reported here that after the State of Georgia EV Tax Credit expired, former LEAF nationwide sales leader Regal Nissan was torn to the ground. I speculated then that perhaps they were just rebuilding, and this turns out to be correct.

    16gflw8.jpg

    They have now re-opened, and I have seen a newly purchased LEAF with it’s Regal dealership tag, in Atlanta’s Northern Suburb EV corridor.

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  29. 29
    American First

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    May 15th, 2017 (3:48 pm)

    Jackson:

    In other old news,I reported here that after the State of Georgia EV Tax Credit expired, the former LEAF nationwide sales leader, Regal Nissan, had been torn to the ground.I speculated then that perhaps they were just rebuilding, and this turns out to be correct.

    They have now re-opened, and I have seen a newly purchased LEAF with it’s Regal dealership tag, in Atlanta’s Northern Suburb EV corridor.

    Maybe they will sell the new Hybrid Note:
    http://www.hybridcars.com/nissan-note-e-power-hits-japanese-streets/

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  30. 30
    Mark Z

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    May 15th, 2017 (6:40 pm)

    Kdawg: Chevrolet has their extended test drive programs at various dealerships and talked about overnight test drives with the Bolt EV about a year ago.
    http://gmauthority.com/blog/2016/03/chevrolet-intends-to-offer-overnight-test-drives-for-the-new-volt-and-bolt-ev/

    Not enough time. The EVs break down, Tesla parts take months to get, and when you crash a Tesla, it may take months for repairs. Let the government learn about the whole experience, including the daily charging at work and the slow Supercharging that owners are upset over.

    Why should the senators only get a fun drive, they need to suffer like the rest of us!

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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    May 15th, 2017 (6:40 pm)

    American First,

    Koenigsegg KDD direct drive, would have been a better choice for the drivetrain, IMO. Of course with the same 3 cylinder engine and not the twin turbo V8.

    http://jalopnik.com/how-the-1-500-hp-koenigsegg-regera-hits-248-mph-without-1689181377

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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    May 15th, 2017 (7:42 pm)

  33. 33
    George S. Bower

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    May 15th, 2017 (9:32 pm)

    Mark Z: and when you crash a Tesla, it may take months for repairs.

    Please MarkZ. I don’t want to think about it. I have both ears covered with my hands:)

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    Mark Z

     

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    May 15th, 2017 (11:01 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    Having the Volt or other fine GM vehicle is the answer during a wait for body shop repair if necessary.

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    Dakster

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    May 16th, 2017 (1:11 am)

    Crash a Tesla and it could MONTHS and MONTHS before you can get it fixed. THAT is the one thing that worries me -and there are articles to this affect out there.

    IF the US was really serious about EV adoption – gas and diesel would be $15 a gal and you would be able to charge up for free… Even if SUVs and large trucks are hot, and not available as an EV they wouldn’t be for a vast majority of people under those conditions. Variety of reasons why that would be a bad idea overall though. We are not ready for that, just yet. I want to say Norway has really expensive liquid fuel and cheap power rates, since they generate a lot of their power using renewable/green sources, so it isn’t like we can’t work towards it.

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  36. 36
    Sam

     

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    May 16th, 2017 (2:50 am)

    Harry Ballczak:
    Six percent of U.S. Senators drive electric vehicles; that is higher than the percentage of the U.S. population as a whole. Electric vehicles are here to stay.

    Nice coverage of the event.

    Harry Balzack?!!!

    Seriously?!!!

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  37. 37
    Mark Z

     

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    May 16th, 2017 (9:55 am)

    Dakster,

    The time varies depending on what repairs are needed. A new windshield is still on backorder for the 2012, but I can drive the vehicle with the crack in the windshield until the windshield arrives.

    The 2017 was defective from the factory. A new small painted plastic piece was ordered in March. Two months later, the part, painted at a local body shop, is ready for install. I should find out later today if the part matches the original paint.

    Everyone I talk to is concerned that Model 3 have superior parts availability for those who only drive one car. Most Model S and X owners have a second vehicle to use during possible repairs. Anyone who has one car should make sure that their insurance can cover the cost of a loaner or rental car during the time of the non-use of the other vehicle. Worst case I have heard of is 7 months.

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  38. 38
    Mark Z

     

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    May 16th, 2017 (9:57 pm)

    The 2017 Tesla part does not match perfectly. A touch lighter while some other parts from the factory are a touch darker than the main color. Close examination may give some buyers a headache!

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