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Hybrid, EV, or PHEV for a ski car?

Magnatude

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
We bought a Polestar 2 dual motor (4wd) this year, specifically for skiing and distance driving. We live in Christchurch, NZ, which is around 114km (71 miles) from Mt Hutt, and a bit closer to Porters and the club fields. We also have a place in Queenstown, which is a short half-hour (or less) drive to either Coronet Peak or the Remarkables, plus around an hour to Cardrona, and an hour and a half to Treble Cone. In an ICE car it's just under 6 hours' drive to Queenstown from Christchurch, but you can add an hour or 2 to that for an EV. Ours (which was a 1-year-old used vehicle) has a 380km range (at 100% charge, which is actually not recommended on a regular basis -- Polestar advise 90% max charge, which for our car is currently 340km).

The Christchurch to Queenstown trip is 482km (300mi) but there are 2 passes, so the hills take their toll. You can get away with one charge (usually at Twizel), but there won't be much charge left on arrival, if you need to make a trip to the shops etc. And if the Twizel charger -- there's generally only one in each of the small towns -- is busy, your options start reducing fast. So I generally stop before then, ideally Fairlie, or Tekapo, and instead aim for another one at Omarama, to get me through the Lindis Pass safely.

The dogs are stoked about the new car -- they are well walked while the car is charging, and I enjoy strolling around some of our small rural towns, which I'd never previously done. So yeah, it does take you back to the old days of travel in some ways, but I feel like I'm adapting to that quite happily. There has been a noticeable uptake of EVs here since our previous government brought in a subsidy to buy them, so there has been a recent squeeze on the public fast chargers, although the network is expanding, I think.

In terms of 4wd capability, we've had no issues getting up Mt Hutt (which can be challenging if it's snowed), and the Polestar got a bit more of a testing on the Mt Cheeseman road, which is somewhat more gravelly and rutted, given that it's run by volunteers with more limited machinery resources. We haven't had to put chains on it yet, though we will do for sure, and they will need to go on the back wheels due to clearance issues. Regarding clearance underneath, I don't think it has as much as our old Subaru Outback, but looks like a bit more than the Subaru Legacy. I'd hesitate to drive it up the Mt Olympus road, but it should be fine for the other clubbies.

If I lived in Salt Lake City, or Banff, or many other US or Canadian ski towns, it would be a great car. For Christchurch NZ, it works, just. It's not an SUV, and only barely a hatchback. There's not a lot of storage room, and it wouldn't work that well for a family packing for a holiday with skis. We didn't put on roof racks this year because of the drag/reduction in range, but will look at getting something easily removable next year. We can get in 4 or 5 pairs of skis up to 180cm by pushing down a rear seat, but that means 4 people maximum and the front seat passenger better have short legs.

The locality of charging stations varies -- in some towns they can be in Warehouse (NZ Walmart equivalent, I guess) parking lots, or they can be in nice parklike or lakeside settings (Fairlie, Tekapo, Wanaka), and increasingly gas stations are now installing them, though not in many rural locations in the South Island ... yet.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Second, I think that while there may be more technological advancements to be made in terms of charging speed and battery capacity, I don't think those are necessarily the things that will make long-distance EV road trips viable in general. Instead, I think the future is "destination-ish" charging points, with attractions of their own; think Wall Drug in South Dakota. A 12 minute charge was great, but I would've also taken a one-hour charge where I had the chance to sit down and eat a delicious dinner.

After yesterday, I have this vision of a new American road-trip style that's almost a return to the mid-20th century. In comparison, I grew up in the '90s and '00s, where a family road trip meant 12 hours a day straight in the car, with sandwiches from a cooler and stopping every five hours for however long it took to fill the tank and use the restroom. I think the challenges posed by EVs present a unique opportunity to make road travel much better.

I have discussed this with my husband (re: EVs bringing a 'return to the classic pre-highway' road trip). We take our EV frequently on long road trips and when we charge, we often time that stop with visit to a locally owned restaurant or shops etc. I think a lot of people who are anti-EV don't realize the commerce having an EV chargepoint could bring to these small towns. We are frequently exiting highways and going to small towns, charging in a lot behind a hotel/gas station etc and while the car charges, walking around that downtown and finding good regional food etc. Some places have their charging stations adjacent to museums etc, so we might visit those as well. If I was in a gas car, I'd be filling up, grabbing a snack in the gas station, and hitting the road again.
 

Magnatude

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I have discussed this with my husband (re: EVs bringing a 'return to the classic pre-highway' road trip). We take our EV frequently on long road trips and when we charge, we often time that stop with visit to a locally owned restaurant or shops etc. I think a lot of people who are anti-EV don't realize the commerce having an EV chargepoint could bring to these small towns. We are frequently exiting highways and going to small towns, charging in a lot behind a hotel/gas station etc and while the car charges, walking around that downtown and finding good regional food etc. Some places have their charging stations adjacent to museums etc, so we might visit those as well. If I was in a gas car, I'd be filling up, grabbing a snack in the gas station, and hitting the road again.
So true. Long trips by EV are bringing a shift away from the destination being the entire point of a trip. Of course, that might change again once battery technology evolves to longer ranges.
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
So, we ended up going the plugin hybrid route, and are taking delivery of a Volvo S60 Recharge tomorrow. It has 40 miles of electric range, has AWD, is shaped and sized like a car (a priority for us), and has seat heaters for four people at once as well as a ski passthrough. We got it at a discount that made it more than competitive with our backup PHEV option, the RAV4 Prime (all that, still from a reputable manufacturer, but an SUV, and undergoing excessive markup in the Bay Area).

I want to be clear: I think one of a couple different electric cars on the market would have served our needs. However, we ran into serious issues with the way the local dealer of those cars acted during our shopping process. Test drive requests were ignored, a salesman made racist comments, a manager insinuated that we actually wanted an SUV despite our clear statements otherwise... it was a mess.

We ended up in a place where we had one very good PHEV option at a dealership where we had had a great experience, and one very good all-electric option at a dealership where we had a terrible experience.

It really goes to show the extent to which the people you trust to sell your product matter. I'm excited for our new Volvo—my first ever brand new car. And I'm excited for the coming season that it'll enable.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
It really goes to show the extent to which the people you trust to sell your product matter. I'm excited for our new Volvo—my first ever brand new car. And I'm excited for the coming season that it'll enable.
Looking forward to your first trip report when you take the PHEV to the mountains. Enjoy!
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
@gingerjess My husband drives a 2015 gas S60 and he loves his, so I'm interested to hear your assessment after owning the hybrid version for awhile.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Yesterday, I bought a new car. It was kind of a whirlwind situation. I am *hoping* it's good in snow like my previous car was! (It is AWD.)

Although I thought my next car would be a hybrid or electric, due to some crazy sudden issues w my Buick, I sold it (after fixing engine components that I paid to replace before selling bc I'm an honest person!)

After extensive research online by hub and myself, I bought a 2023 BMW X1. I did a test drive and multi-hour visit sitting in the vehicle and talking about it at the dealership before committing.

I needed another small SUV, because it had to have a very specific height. I'm a part-time caregiver to my disabled Mother in Law. She struggles getting "down" into our Volvo S60 sedan, and no way I'm lifting her UP into a taller SUV or our GMC conversion van. This vehicle was chosen among all in its class because it was an IIHSA "top safety pick," it had the most horsepower (and better fuel efficiency) than others in the class, best ratings by most automotive review media, and unlike the Volvo XC40 (which was my 1st consideration) the remote start is NOT a subscription item, it's standard w the vehicle (a very important feature in my chilly climate.) Basically, among those in the running, it suited our family needs the best and fit my budget. Since it's the end of the model year, I was able to wheel & deal on price, AND since it's new, I qualified for a promotional finance rate that beat even my credit union's lowest auto loan rate.

Last night I was having second thoughts about it. I've never really aspired to a "luxury brand" or, for that matter, a European brand. I've had 2 Buicks, which were both lovely in terms of trim levels and features. I was... a little...uncomfortable? embarrassed? I dunno... I just felt like it wasn't "me." But after driving it extensively this weekend, the vehicle specifics really suit my driving style (lead foot, lol) and comfort.

So that brings me to my next vehicle-related task: selling our beloved 2005 GMC Savana Conversion Van. Because it is older AND a custom conversion, after looking at comps online, I realized I would do much better selling it privately. I've discussed this van in this thread. I guess I won't be camping in it after all, but it's hogging up driveway space and we don't have much need for it as empty nesters. Hopefully someone else will have some fun road trips in it soon!
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Test drive requests were ignored, a salesman made racist comments, a manager insinuated that we actually wanted an SUV despite our clear statements otherwise... it was a mess.

How in the world do they expect to sell cars if they act like that??? Yikes.

I feel somewhat ridiculous saying this, but I love the miniature Swedish flag stiched into my XC40's passenger seat. It's adorable. I bet you have this too.
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
How in the world do they expect to sell cars if they act like that??? Yikes.

I feel somewhat ridiculous saying this, but I love the miniature Swedish flag stiched into my XC40's passenger seat. It's adorable. I bet you have this too.

I know, right? It was just overall awful—if I ever want a car of that brand, I would be willing to travel just to avoid this dealership.

I'm looking forward to seeing the little Swedish flag! Sounds cute!
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
@Christy @gingerjess my salesperson used an ethnic slur that just so happened to be my ethnicity!! I told him so! He backpedaled by explaining he is the same ethnicity (or at least in name, as he explained he was adopted) so I let it slide bc among "ourselves" we sometimes use that term in a self deprecating way. And also, some of "us" don't even think it's an offensive term (I do, however.) I won't say what the word is, but I am of Polish descent.

But still! Very, very risky word choice on his part. Not sure if he knew my background from my driver's license (I use my maiden name as my middle name) and he was trying to be "affable" to put it in Larry David terms? But other than that weird slip (he was using it specifically in reference to his dad's extended family) he was very gracious. Actually everyone at the dealership was super helpful, low key/low pressure, and the services I have coming up to customize the car a little bit I don't even have to do anything - they will fetch the car, bring me a loaner, and deliver the car back.

Christy, I drove an XC40 recently when my hub had it as a loaner from his dealership. It's really cute and probably terrific for both city and "country" driving. Besides the remote start issue, ultimately I wanted a little bit larger back seat, as next September, I'm going to be shuttling a lot of folks from the airport for the wedding. I was conflicted bc our Volvo dealership has a nice little snack buffet in the waiting area for when you are getting service work done, and the BMW dealership only offered water and coffee! I mentioned it MULTIPLE times at how lovely the Volvo dealership waiting area is...maybe they will put out a basket of chips/cookies or something next time I'm there, LOL. :wink:
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
@Christy @gingerjess my salesperson used an ethnic slur that just so happened to be my ethnicity!! I told him so!
Yikes, what an unpleasant thing to be shocked with! Feels like there must be something in the water at dealerships of that brand. I don't feel the need to repeat what we heard when we went to the one in SF, but it was pretty gross.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
@gingerjess I know! I yelled at the young guy while in the middle of my test drive. I think I got my point across and he was contrite and so I figured he learned his lesson. But, whew, WHAT THE HECK are these sales "professionals" thinking?!?
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Christy, I drove an XC40 recently when my hub had it as a loaner from his dealership. It's really cute and probably terrific for both city and "country" driving. Besides the remote start issue

The EV is a different animal. We can turn on the heat, the seats, steering wheel warmer, etc, in advance via the phone app. No subscription needed. Maybe because there's no engine that needs to be on?

But most importantly--there was no snack area at my dealership!! To be fair it was a very small in-city dealership probably about the size of a suburban 7-11 and with a 7-11 sized parking lot. Still.

if I ever want a car of that brand

Just fyi in my mind we are talking about Tesla. :smile:
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
@Christy Oh, good to know about the EV version! I briefly looked at listings for it but was way out of my budget this time around.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
Yikes, what an unpleasant thing to be shocked with! Feels like there must be something in the water at dealerships of that brand. I don't feel the need to repeat what we heard when we went to the one in SF, but it was pretty gross.
Wow, in SF? Wouldn't expect it..... well it's been years since I lived there.
 

gingerjess

Angel Diva
Just fyi in my mind we are talking about Tesla. :smile:
Oh, this was BMW. Although based on what I've heard out of Tesla I wouldn't have been surprised by that. :frown: With everything going on, Tesla didn't even make our list of candidates.
Wow, in SF? Wouldn't expect it..... well it's been years since I lived there.
I definitely didn't expect it either. It's sad to encounter it here.
 

Susan L

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I want to be clear: I think one of a couple different electric cars on the market would have served our needs. However, we ran into serious issues with the way the local dealer of those cars acted during our shopping process. Test drive requests were ignored, a salesman made racist comments, a manager insinuated that we actually wanted an SUV despite our clear statements otherwise... it was a mess.

I still remember my experience with buying my first car out of college. I wanted a Toyota Celica so I went for a test drive. When I arrived at the dealership, the salesman I had an appointment with pretty much ignored me, then came to ask if I was ready to buy today, in which I replied “I wouldn’t know unless I test drive the car”. He then told me he was busy with “other customers who are ready to buy” and to come back with my parents later when I was ready. I am not sure why he assumed I needed my parents to be there (my mom was actually with me but she was on the lot browsing), so I left without a test drive. Didn’t even get to see the inside of the car! I still remember the cockiness of the salesman.
Well, we went next door to the BMW dealership and received completely different treatment. An hour later, we left the dealership with a brand new BMW. A week later the Toyota salesman called to follow up and I told him I had already bought a car next door after he was too busy to entertain me...this was also in SF!
Since then, I have never dealt with another salesman. The subsequent 4 car purchases were made over the phone with the fleet managers instead of walking in talking to a random salesman. The most recent 2 purchases were with Tesla where I ordered the cars online, paid for them sight unseen and took delivery without any test drives. They service my cars at my home so I have never even been to the service centers. I really like not having to interact with anyone!
 
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Amie H

Angel Diva
I have to write an update bc my BMW dealership contacts have been AMAZING with myriad questions and concerns I've had over the past few weeks, helping me hook up accessories, getting some little extra things done on the vehicle, etc. Super generous with their time, and it has made me feel great about my purchase decision.
My client advisor knows I am a ski enthusiast. Yesterday for my appointment w him, he was decked out in Montcler which made me smile. I had to tease,"The folks I see at Beaver Creek decked out in Montcler and Bogner are usually the worst skiers!"
His reply, "I NEVER wear this to snowboard!" :laughter:
 

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