My friend thought I was crazy to lease the ELR
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Thread: My friend thought I was crazy to lease the ELR

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default My friend thought I was crazy to lease the ELR

    Had a great moment with my good friend and the ELR. He's in his late 40s, never dresses down more than slacks and a button-down shirt, and has a PhD. He generally doesn't care about how much money he would save with one product vs. the other since he's rather loaded thanks to some choice stock picks over the past two decades. "Value" to him is what he wants, not what gets the best mileage or retains its value over the long haul. So he replaces his TV every couple of years, always has a new gun to show off at the range, and already has a 12-core Mac Pro fully loaded up (along with his crazy tricked-out Alienware laptop).

    His contributions to the environment are (i) careful separation of garbage for recycling; (ii) turning off the water as much as possible in the shower, brushing his teeth, or washing dishes; and (iii) keeping the temperature in his house at a level that prevents the A/C or heat from turning on too often. However, despite the water rationing inside, he lets his sprinklers run as long as necessary to keep his grass green and plants flowering all year 'round; and due to the excellent insulation and windows in his house, the temperature doesn't fluctuate much. Beyond that, he doesn't really care about gas vs. electric or solar vs. fossil fuels.

    Currently, he owns a BMW 550i. He's been a passenger in my Volt and enjoys the linear acceleration and Star Trek start-up sound, but otherwise he doesn't see the advantage over his 550i (because his car is faster, more comfortable, just as quiet, and has brand prestige). He rode in my wife's Rav4 EV and was impressed, but found the interior quite pedestrian and the lack of customization a deal-breaker. Also, he needs more than 110 miles of range since he regularly drives long distances.

    He's never understood why I "downgraded" from an Infiniti M56 to a Volt. While he does like the prospect of only visiting a gas station a few times per year instead of twice per week, he doesn't want to wait 5 hours for his car to charge every day just to get 38 miles.

    He drove a Tesla Model S a couple of times since he saw it starting to have more cachet than his Beemer, but couldn't imagine who would pay $100k for a car without "the luxury basics" like Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning, a key fob tied to his seat/mirror memory settings, etc. He wasn't impressed that the Tesla accelerated so quickly, because his 550i was almost as fast, and some ICE cars costing half the price were faster. The fact that the Model S was electric didn't impress him, since it meant range anxiety and being at the mercy of Tesla's supercharger network.

    So when I told him I was going to buy another EREV like the Volt, but upgraded, he laughed and just shook his head, muttering something about me deserving better. (I'm telling you - he really couldn't understand me going from an Infiniti to a Chevrolet!)

    Jump ahead to last week. I invited him as my +1 to an invitation-only business networking party I was attending. By then, he had forgotten that I was thinking about a new car, and was dreading arriving in my Volt. "Can I drive? Please? No one's going to talk to me if they see me get outta that thing." I told him I'd drive to his house and we could decide then what to do.

    So here's my rich friend standing outside in a suit waiting for me to pull up in a Volt, and instead I pull up in an ELR. By the look on his face, he had obviously never seen an ELR before. He just stood there staring, and finally spit out, "!" Needless to say, we arrived at the event in my ELR, and to his utter chagrin, the valet parked it right out front while all the BMWs (and Teslas!) were driven into the underground garage.

    During the drive over he kept asking, "does it have this?" And for the most part, every answer was, "yes." He cracked up when he saw the cup holder. "Yeah, I bet this car took an insane bite out of your bank account!" When I told him it was less expensive than his loaded 550i, he didn't believe me. "No way - this has got to be a $90k car!" Slowly but surely, charging went from a problem to a cool feature; the size of the car went from cramped to comfortable; and the prospect of having the newest high-end car on the market grew on him. Sure, he bitched like me about not having cooled front seats, a head's-up display, and some customized features offered by BMW on the 550i, but after a while he didn't seem to care so much.

    To conclude this rambling story, my buddy called me from a Cadillac dealer on Sunday to let me know he found a red one fully loaded, and now it's his. (He just had to have a cooler color than mine, dammit!) Naturally, he paid cash. Show off.

    At least now he understands how one can go from a car that accelerates 0-60 in 4.8 seconds to one that does it in 9. (Although he had it easy because he didn't go from an Infiniti to a Volt, but rather to a luxurious ELR.)

    What's really funny is that he's going to be pissed when I finally show him the BMW i8! He can afford that puppy, and I suspect he'll be replacing his ELR for that in a year.

    Or maybe not... 'cause so far he really likes his ELR. And I'll bet within two months he'll start getting annoyed when he actually has to go to the gas station after a few longs drives.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    New Jersey


    Interesting story, and it's a pretty accurate portrait of the typical rich guy IMO. Glad you're enjoying the ELR so much. Me maybe in a year or two? I mainly want a better ownership experience than Chevrolet is providing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Fighting Illini country surrounded by bean fields


    Although I agree that the ELR is a drop-dead gorgeous car, I can't stand people like your friend who care more about image and how they look to other people. He obviously judges people by how nice (and expensive) a car they drive. There is so many more qualities that define a person. Amazingly, I live in an area in the middle of nowhere where there are many very wealthy people, but you wouldn't know it from the beat up pickups that they drive. There are those who look rich and spend almost as much as they make, then there are those who are truly rich (and that's not always measured in dollars). I hope your friend someday learns the difference.

    Enjoy your ELR, and I hope to someday trade up to an ELR from my Volt.
    LLninja (greenback troll #1)
    2013 Volt G1 white diamond tricoat

    If I can get the guy in the mirror under control I can be skinny and rich.
    If you don't have the money, don't buy it. Debt is hazardous to your wealth
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by doctorq Hidden Content
    "what kind of mental problem do you have? you should really get yourself checked out, are you on any type of psychotropic medications?
    R:IQ $2.2M, at $1.7M proj $4.8M

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Southern California


    @Blastphemy your rich friend just can't stand you having the coolest toy! Keep doing what your doing. Sometimes it takes a few step to convert a naysayer! Good job.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Irvine, CA


    Blastphemy - thank you for a very entertaining story. Very well written too
    I'm not sure how much your friend drives on a daily basis (perhaps he doesn't have to fight the LA traffic like some of us), but he'll love the HOV and HOT lane access (free HOT lane access started this week - just need the new transponder).

    I agree with your friend wholeheartedly regarding the acceleration "premium". It's overrated and should not be the key yardstick in cars that cost north of $80k. If one was only after sheer acceleration (sidebar - that and HP specs are some of the reasons manufacturers "require" minimum octane on certain cars), there are multiple cheaper options as you stated.

    And I guarantee you that ELR will stay more exclusive than Model S. I'm sure you see multiple Model S during your daily drive as I do in OC / South Bay drive. The exclusivity alone will be worth the price your friend paid for his ELR.

    As you eloquently stated, value is a very subjective criteria from one person to another. And for folks who aren't concerned with $80k sticker price, features and creature comfort of an ELR can outweigh Model S's "advantages" very easily. And yeah, no range anxiety!

    Just be sure you show him how to optimize the Mountain Mode and Hold Mode features

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Chicagoland VIN:B-01234


    Enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing it. Every plug-in sale is a good one in my opinion. The more word-of-mouth the better.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    I suppose it depends upon where you live. But I live in an area more like llninja. Where the rich will have a beer with anyone at the local pub and usually just drive a nicer pickup then others. Rich is a relative matter anyways. We are all rich compared to most of the world. I tell my boys that we can drive through the nicest part of town and find poor people living in some of the biggest houses. We can also drive through the trailer park and find rich people. Poor is not having enough money and some will never have enough. Rich is having everything you need today and being relatively sure you will tomorrow as well. Really poor hardly exists in this country and that is not having enough money to survive.
    2013 red with pebble R.I.P. 3/26/15
    best electric range 61.2 miles ending at same starting point
    2015 White with black 3/31/15

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    West Virginia


    Great story. I just hope there are thousands just like that in the hext year....

    I'm not sure that Blastphemy's friend is the typical rich American. A few years ago a great book came out called "The Millionaire Next Door" that described the average rich American as more like llninja described. The book claimed the typical millionaire American drove a F-150 pickup, bought their suits at JC Penny, and that their favorite drink was the one bought by someone else. The book went on to talk about the difference between having a lot of money and showing off a lot of expensive purchases.

    Red Volt #1715, MY2011
    47,000 miles and running well...

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Somebody that won't talk to me because of the make of vehicle I get out of isn't anyone I'm likely to want to associate with anyway. He can go ______ .

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  13. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Wisconsin USA


    "No one's going to talk to me if they see me get outta that thing."

    Your friend sounds like a real class act. Better not let him find out you're slummin' with the likes of us!
    My 2012 Blue Topaz Metallic Volt... "C YA OPEC"... is GONE!
    *bzzt* -- Lease over! Whatta bummer! We had 33,200 great miles together.
    Lifetime MPG 270+, 90% EV driving bliss! May she serve her new owner well.

    Her replacement: a new 2014 Black Volt: "C YA OPEC mk.2"!
    10,300 miles so far, 88% on electricity, and 250 lifetime MPG!

    Lookin' forward to finding NEW roads and a thousand more "Volt Smiles!"

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