Joshua M, Editor-in-Chief
I am buying a Polestar 2. Or a Genesis G80. Or...something else?
My three year lease just ended and I am in the market for a new vehicle. The question is, am I ready to break up with the status quo and go all electric?
My automotive journey started in 2005, back when 16 year olds cared more about passing their drivers-ed exam than, say, becoming internet famous for creating a meme about Elon Musk and Grimes' newborn child's name. I purchased my first car, a red 1993 Nissan Sentra, for $1,400 after saving my minimum-wage paychecks from my first job at Taco Bell. As grateful as a poor, gay, food-stamp wielding mixed boy from Indiana could be to purchase a car at all, it didn't come without moments of embarrassment. Let me explain.
My sister and I were fortunate to have a mother who loved us unconditionally and worked hard to ensure we had a roof over our head and food in our bellies. By a stroke of luck, our government-owned housing project was within a very affluent (read: rich/white) school district. As excited as I was to no longer need to ride the bus, driving myself to school and parking a used, dented, 10+ year old car amongst new Lexuses and BMWs (in addition to being one of ~30 black students, closeted, and poor among 2,000+ wealthy, white Christians) didn't come without jeers and leers from peers.
This was also the year I became OBSESSED with cars. Dialing up the internet service provided by the local library on our HP desktop computer with an ahead-of-its-time 15" monitor my mom purchased with her tax refund, I visited Toyota's website and built a 2005 Camry - my "dream car". I vowed to work hard, make decent money, and one day afford a brand new car of my own. I also steadily began to visit other automakers' websites and configured cars I hoped to one day own. Since the Sentra, I've owned/leased/financed a few cars: a 1995 Ford Taurus, a 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI (which was a lemon, AND (separately) eligible for VW's diesel scandal buyback, both of which I became ineligible for after someone hit me and totaled my car... an entire story within itself), and my latest vehicle, a 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid EX. After fifteen years of configuring vehicles and working my way from Section 8 housing to upper-middle class, I know more about automotive news, specs, pricing, and culture than anyone I know - and, my dream car(s) have evolved to reflect my income level.
And herein lies my dilemma. I now live in Los Angeles, CA - a city/state with a robust EV charging network and government incentives for owning/leasing an electric vehicle. There are two electric vehicles within my price range which have the looks and features that interest me: The Tesla Model Y, and the brand new Polestar 2. I test drove the Tesla Model 3 before social-distancing began and yes, it is as cool as all of the fanboys and homogenous owners say it is. However, in light of Elon Musk's recent Twitter outbursts and the abundance of quality control issues with the Model Y (just search YouTube for them), my confidence in Tesla has all but waned to zero. Back in January, I put a refundable $1,000 deposit down on the $70,000 (before incentives) Polestar 2 - a financial decision that did not come easily considering my Kia lease ended in March and the Polestar 2 won't be available until "late summer" - quite a time gap for someone who has relied on a vehicle for 15 years. On top of that, some very compelling gas-powered models are on the market, including the all-new Cadillac CT5, Mercedes-Benz GLB, and the mouthwatering Genesis G80 (which is my top choice if I decide EVs aren't yet for me). I anticipate the cost of the Polestar 2 after federal and state incentives kick in will nearly match the cost of a loaded G80 (and when I say "loaded", whew, is it LOADED: power soft closing doors, suede headliner, a 21-speaker Lexicon sound system, a head-up display, remote "smaht" park - including parallel parking! - and much more.) The Polestar 2 - while nicely equipped with Pilot Assist, a fixed full length panoramic glass roof, a stunning visual (and functional) performance package with large wheels and gold seat belts, and more - doesn't quite compare to the lush surroundings of the G80.
At almost 31 years old, I don't want to become set in my gas-guzzling ways, nor do I want to continue contributing to the depletion of earth's natural resources. At the same time, I am pretty damn fiscally responsible and want some bang for my buck. What would you do: Leap into the electric vehicle revolution with the Polestar 2? Or, for the same (tbd) price, slide into a very comfortable comfort zone (that parks itself) with the Genesis G80? Or, consider other alternatives?