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Discussion Starter #1
I'm still being strongly swayed towards an Ampera, my grumbles about bluetooth audio + weak satnav notwithstanding.

So I've been looking at ways to acquire one.

For buying outright (I'm an buy it, own it kinda guy), I consider the Ampera a bit of a risk. A £35k outlay with completely unknown residuals makes it hard to justify the extra £10K over the price of a Prius which would take 4+ years to recover the extra cost assuming equal depreciation. I suspect the Ampera would actually depreciate more since it's a higher value.

However, checking various websites yesterday, it seems that there are some interesting leasing deals.. they cost about the same as a Prius to lease (circa £400 a month).. but the good bit is that the Ampera will save me about £200 a month in fuel.

So back to back with the Prius, it's about two-thirds of the price (£400 vs £600) to run per month on lease without the worries of disposal at the end.

Even better, and this is what surprised me, if you lease an Ampera WITH maintenance, it's CHEAPER than an Ampera without maintenance.. go figure.. so that's a few £hundred quid saved over the 3 yr lease compared to a Prius. That's full maintenance, including tyres.
 

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Interesting point about lease cheaper with maintenence! Wierd.

On the point of residuals...

I share your uncertainty regarding residuals. It is new tech and completely unknown as far as residuals is concerned. However, I have a sneeky feeling that residuals will be weak in the early years (1-3) but will improve significantly after. My thinking on this is that the Ampera is a pricey car for most people and yet there seems to be quite a high interest in owning one. While secondhand prices reamain high (i.e. while the car is still newish) there will be few people buying in the secondhand market. But once the car gets a bit older then it starts to be more affordable to the masses and demand will sore holding the price of older cars well up when compared to other petrol/diesel cars. This will be doubly boosted because the saving that can be made with an Ampera will remain whilst the purchase price of a 3+ year old Ampera will be considerably lower than new thereby making it even more attractive than an ICE.

Of course if you are leasing then this matters much less but we decided that we were keeping the car 5+ years (we do that normally with our cars) so we are banking on 5+ year residuals being quite high.

OK, I'll put away my crystal ball now... ;)
 

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I got my Ampera on a Lease Purchase deal with a final baloon payment - it gives me the option to buy the car at the end, which I will do if the residuals are good and I can make a profit. Or return the car, keep up the payments and select a new model. I bought mine as a company car and used Network Vehicles but similar lease deals are available privately.

Interestingly comparing lease quotes there was much more variation than you would normally expect between providers. Their was concern over

a) What will happen to the price once the £5000 grant disapears - ie: will new models be then more expensive meaning used models are more popular or will GM and others drop the price to the subsidised one anyway because they have already jacked it up to get as much of the £5k as profit

b) Will technology have moved on ? (of course it will) but will there be an appetite for first generation electric cars simply because fuel costs will continue to rise ?

My own personal view below is based on my own research and some knowledge of acquiring green power for my business where we are seeking carbon neutral data centres to host computer equipment (without success).

So, other issues that I think will impact the EV future are:

Will after market battery rejuventation and replacement deals exist that are better than those on offer from the manufacturer ? Quite a bit can be done to breath extra life into LiPol batteries and battery reprocessing is promising to be a large, if specialist, business. This is the primary cost concern for the used EV buyer and if a used EV could be sold with an extended battery warranty then the market will be strong. nb: 10 year old Prius' are on the market at a good price. all with their original battery.

What constitutes advancement in this technology/market ?

Probably a reduction in the price of vehicles first and foremost as these must be considered as early adopter models. The market will mature when, instead of buying electric vehicles for green reasons folk buy them because they are more economical than petrol, diesel or lpg. Also will hybrid evolve into extended range EV ?

Secondly the advancements must come in improved range as batteries get a better power to weight ratio. The scientists have created several graphs (see wikipedia) showing how battery development improves year on year.

Thirdly, charging..., firstly faster charging this includes 32A (which would give you 100 mile range in 2hours on some models) and then DC charging which could potentially drop charge times to better that 30 minutes. But generally charging infrastructure will need to grow up. The electricity companies have admitted that there is a limit to the number of electric vehicles they can charge overnight and if there is a significant surge in ownership it would actually result in less green electricity because it extends the domestic demand pattern to 24/7 and makes it more dificult to even out the bumps from wind and other carbon free power. The other infrastructure worry is that the government's policy of handing over street charging to "the market" has resulted in several ventures that cannot pay their way and there is no incentive to create a single national infrastrcuture for chraging, perhaps not until higher speed charging is available at least. There are various things going on, like "plugged in places" but this often just offers a grant to create a chargepoint in a community that cannot afford these early models anyway. For me this is the elephant in the room - our country could not cope with a major migration to electric without addressing generation and distribution of power and crucially how to create greener electricity along the way, and if history is anything to go by this will be the one piece that will be behind the technology curve.

Finally the Government has published two papers recetnly on plans to recover up to £17BN in potentially lost tax revenue (road tax, fuel tax et al.) as motoring becomes greener over a 20 year period. So will cost be the same anyway in 20 years ?

Sorry to go on, I do have a habit of over thinking things, however I am reasonably certain that the residuals will be good. And what the hey, lifes too short anyway.

Regards


David
 

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Interestingly, many electricity companies , including Ecotricity, have denied that a major switch to EVs would challenge the grid in any way.

I think that the truth depends on timescales and the scale of the take up. I think we may have many years, or even decades of generating capacity even with a significant EV take up. Would it chanllenge the grid? No seems to be the opinion of Ecotricity at least until there has been a significant take up of EVs. By then the grid will have developed to the point where further take up is easily managed particularly when smart metering comes in where charging can be managed by the egenerating companies depending on grid load.

Right now and for the forseeable future it won't be an issue.
 

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David - an interesting post, thanks.

Paul C - I think one concern in the industry is the distribution network if a cluster of owners install 32A charging. I saw some details on this - if I can find I will post link.

Edit - See my other post viewtopic.php?f=19&t=226
 

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On the subject of charging, I had an overnight stay in London recently and had the option of (a) park in nearby car park and charge - cost £15 (b) park on street and no charging - cost £0.

I went with option b - I do like to be green, but I am not paying £15 to do 40 miles.

Perhaps other owners would have chosen differently? What is the solution? On street charging? Lower cost parking for EVs?

Comments?

Paul R
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The facetious answer, is that I wouldn't have taken a car into London in the first place.

However, given the choices, I'd have done what you did, there's no point being silly about it.
 

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I do often use public transport to go to London, but it was not convenient (and far too expensive) on this occasion.

The low cost of driving the Ampera in London could be argued to be counter the green objective. However, as I did not charge, I was in ER mode in heavy traffic and was very impressed with how infrequently the engine powered on.

I believe the tube in London is often operating beyond capacity and has little scope to scale. I guess this is one reason London is aiming for 100K EVs ASAP...

Paul R
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bit of an update.. I ordered an Ampera on Tuesday (White/Electron) and was told I'd be given a delivery date within a couple of days, apparently it was either going to be at the end of the month or mid-July, depending on which car I'm allocated.

Turns out there's a bit of a delay while Lex Leasing sort out the issue of the £5k govt grant.. it's the first Ampera they've ever leased and it's turning out to be bit of an administrative kerfuffle.
 

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My udpate for what it is worth:

I am collecting my new Ampera next Wednesday but I haven't yet decided how to pay for it. It will be through my business though to get maximum tax benefits. There are some risks regarding residuals but these rather depend on how long I intend to keep the car. My present car (BMW 330d touring) is now 8 years old and I have suffered £24k depreciation. That is £3k per year.

I have received a quote for contract hire from Vauxhall which will cost £20k over 3 years. The residual in this calculation will depend upon the interest rate built into the contract but it will probably be somewhere between £14,000 and £17,000. Whether the car will sell into the 2nd hand market for that amount remains to be seen. At the very least if I buy the car outright if I exchanged the car for a new one at £14k I would be no worse off than if I contract hired.

The other advantage in buying outright is that if the technology does not improve significantly or the residuals are too low then I have the option of keeping the car until selling or part exchanging is more viable.

I also obtained a much better quote from another provider that I found on the internet. When the dealer that I am buying the car from checked this out he found that the difference in cost was due to the other provider making an incorrect assumption about the VAT status of the £5,000 grant from the government.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Septerverius said:
I have received a quote for contract hire from Vauxhall which will cost £20k over 3 years. .
Your local main dealer will always be the most expensive quote you'll get. Go to ContracthireAndleasing.com (I have no affiliation, I'm sure there are other similar sites) it lets you search hundreds of leasing companies for the best deal. I see there's a Positiv advertised for £410pcm 3+35m) which works out at £15,500 over the 3yrs.

Note also, as I said above, these leasing deals are cheaper WITH maintenance than without. I don't know how much servicing and tyres will cost over 3 yrs but it's worth factoring in.
 

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The lifetime warranty appears very strict regarding ownership - there was a post on the forum saying even a husband wife transfer would break it.

How does this impact lease purchase as the finance company own the car until you make the balloon payment?
 

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Don't know for certain but you would appear as the 2nd owner after the balloon payment wouldn't you?

I think you may have answered your own question :)
 

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My car was purchased outright, I was asking the question to see if those considering lease purchase had thought of this and/or knew of a way round it, to help others.

I guess my post could have been clearer...
 

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Sorry... not trying to be funny or difficult. I just felt that as you said that the 1st owner aspect of the warranty is very strictly adhered to so I just assumed that then meant that for any 2nd owner (and a bought out lease would by definition be a 2nd owner purchase) so the warranty would not transfer.

Does anyone else know if a lease situation is given any different treatment by Vauxhall?

BTW I bought mine outright too ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
After test driving the Ampera yesterday I've called my leasing company to ask for a Positiv instead of an Electron because I'd use my TomTom anyway and the satnav would be redundant, so no point paying for it.
 

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I have made my decision. I am buying outright. Pick up on Wednesday. Several possible buyers have asked me for a running commentary to inform their decision.
 
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