I Sing the (Car) Body Electric

I’ve been thinking about electric vehicles, and I want the internet to check my work

I’m turning 50 this year,1Whether I want to or not and I had big plans for a year-long banger of a mid-life crisis. Grow a wiry, dingy-graying ponytail. Get more age-inappropriate earrings. Pick up a new, ridiculous hobby. And pointedly: get a convertible.

Not a muscle-car convertible, because I may be a soon-to-be-50-year-old man, but I’ve got the heart of a sophomore sorority pledge. I wanted a convertible VW Beetle. I’m a big fan of the 2011 redesign, and I rented a convertible in Florida for a work trip, and it was a ton of fun. Plus I’ve spent the last 20+ years driving practical, fuel-efficient sedans — two of them hybrids — and I just wanted something dumb, fun, and completely impractical.

But getting an internal combustion engine in 2021 just feels a little too irresponsible. Assuming you’re in a position to do otherwise, of course: a lot of very rich people have spent an awful long time and an awful lot of money making sure that electric vehicles were prohibitively expensive for most people. Even now, they’re eye-wateringly expensive. But when even fuel-efficient cars are putting out tons of emissions per year, it feels gross to keep doing it just for fun.

So I’ve got the extremely privileged “problem” of having to decide what car I want to get when my current lease runs out. Some requirements:

  • I’m a big boy, and I want a big cereal. And at least a mid-sized car. My fiancé has a Fiat 500, which I like a lot and which is surprisingly comfortable, but my getting the electric version would make us one of those unacceptably insufferable matching couples.
  • Absolutely no Tesla, almost solely because I think Elon Musk is an insufferable asshole. Also because I despise the way they’ve sold their cars, specifically, the tactic of listing a bullshit price that included federal tax cuts (which no longer apply, as I understand it), and their completely made-up “fuel savings.”
  • Also no Tesla because I’m just not a fan of the design. I just plain don’t like the big screen and the “minimalist” dash.
  • I’d want a minimum range of around 250 miles. I’d been hoping they’d come out with one with enough range to get me to Disneyland, but since that’s unlikely, I need one that can give me a week of commutes (post-COVID) on a charge.
  • It’s got to have Apple CarPlay. There’s no way I’d go back to a car without it, and it’s ridiculous that any company is still putting out cars without iPhone or Android support.

Based on that, here are the electric cars that look like I could make a somewhat-convincing argument that I could almost afford:

Volkswagen ID.4

This is my current front-runner. After the TDI fiasco, VW became my second-most-hated car manufacturer after Tesla, and I swore I’d never buy another Volkswagen again. (The convertible Beetle felt like a reasonable-enough compromise, since I’d have to buy it used). But since it was an ecological scandal, I figure maybe I could rationalize buying an electric vehicle from them.2Bookmark this post to consult in a few years, once it’s revealed that VW’s EV base is actually built by burning koalas or something.

From all the reviews I’ve read and watched so far, it sounds like the ID.4 isn’t going to blow anybody away, but it’s a solid car that should have wide appeal. The point I keep hearing is that VW is pitching the ID.4 as a kind of successor to the Golf, instead of a crossover SUV.

Since I’m not a “The Joy of Driving” guy, that sounds like exactly the right approach for anybody trying to sell me a car. The ID.4 seems like a decent car with just enough gimmicks and add-ons to hook me: the custom-color interior lighting, the screen, that panoramic glass roof that I tell myself will make up for not having a convertible, wireless device charging, even the dumb “ID light” idea.

Another point in its favor: VW’s been investing in a charging station infrastructure that’s not nearly as ubiquitous as Teslas, but is included for three years for ID.4 buyers.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

This would be my second choice, just because all accounts I’ve heard say that it’s a hell of a lot of fun to drive. I couldn’t be any less interested in whether it’s “really a Mustang”3But I mean come on. It’s not. but it makes me happy to see a company other than Tesla selling EVs on the basis of wanting to drive them, instead of resigning yourself to drive them.

But like I said, I’ve never been a particularly good or adventurous driver, so that whole part of the Mustang’s appeal is lost on me. Back when I got my Altima Hybrid, I test-drove a Mustang convertible as well, after deciding that I wanted it to be a black-or-white choice: practicality or fun. I went with the car that was more comfortable — and which had a dashboard that lit up blue and red like TRON! — because I realized I wasn’t realistically ever going to be driving it over 60, and rarely on a road more winding than I-5.

The main issue with the Mach-E is that it’s out of my comfortable price range for a car. This definitely feels like Ford targeting Tesla owners instead of trying to make a “people’s car.”

My other gripes are all in terms of aesthetics. You only see it in video reviews, but the door handles are just plain weird. I hate the giant screen stuck on the middle of the dash, even if it does have a physical volume button embedded in it, which is objectively rad.

And I’ve got to say I’ve never sat in a Ford of any kind that felt comfortable to me. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but there’s just something about them that always feels like I’m borrowing someone else’s car, even more than when I’m driving a rental.

Hyundai Kona

If I really were being practical, the Kona would be my top choice. It looks like it checks off all the boxes. It’s an average-looking small crossover with a front that’s just weird enough to be interesting. It’s got a pretty good range. The interior looks comfortable enough. It’s got pretty much every one of the features I’d want, both in terms of convenience/technology and safety. And it’s probably the most affordable one on the list.

It just seems kind of boring. I don’t like acknowledging that I’m shallow enough to buy a car based on a big glass roof and some colored interior lighting, but I guess some day I’m going to have to face that fact.

Kia Niro EV

This seems… fine, I guess? I’m not sure why anyone would choose it over the Kona, unless they loved the Kia brand for some reason. (I’m not being sarcastic; I’ve heard from several people over the years who seem to really like driving a Kia).

As far as I can tell, they went the farthest in trying to appeal to the traditional crossover SUV crowd, since I suspect I wouldn’t even know this was an electric car if you hadn’t told me. It’s not just because I’m shallow — it’s mostly because I’m shallow, but not entirely — that I want EVs to try and do something different. This seems like an opportunity to reinvent what we expect from personal cars, so why not experiment?

Nissan Ariya

This one looks by far the coolest, even more than the Mach-E. They’ve even got a dark green color in the lineup that seems like I’m being directly targeted. It seems like a step up into luxury territory. Plus I drove an Altima for about ten years and liked it a lot, and Nissan’s not a newcomer to electric vehicles.

The problem for me is that it’s just a promise for now, and it’s unlikely to be available before the end of the year. More significantly, it looks like they’re targeting the Tesla crowd, so I’m expecting it to be way out of my price range.

What Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Kia are doing right is targeting the people wanting to buy a traditional crossover, not the people wanting to buy a Tesla. That is what’s going to drive the shift to electric vehicles, more than selling status symbols (no matter how well-designed their batteries are!) to the affluent.

None of the Above?

This is getting to be the most appealing option. The pandemic has made reconsider how and where I want to live, and that includes my long-held belief that I was a die-hard suburbanite. There is very, very little that I miss about living in San Francisco, but one thing was the ability to walk to most everything I needed. The only reason I needed a car was because I never worked in the city when I lived in the city.

As much as an EV would be a step in the right direction, it’d be even better if I could somehow eliminate the need for a car at all. But the pandemic has shown me two opposite things about myself: first is that I don’t actually need to make 90% of the trips that I always just assumed were essential. Second is that although I’m not a muscle-car guy by any stretch, I still like driving. There were several days in 2020 where being able to get out and drive somewhere, just for the sake of driving, helped save my limited sanity.

I think my pledge for post-COVID life is to take fewer trips where I’m driving because I thought I had to, and more trips where I’m driving because I didn’t realize I wanted to.

17 thoughts on “I Sing the (Car) Body Electric”

  1. The id.4 and Mach-E are interesting choices, given your criteria. One thing I’d question is your reluctance to be all matchy-match re: cars though – if you like the 500e, it’s the best deal out there by leaps and bounds. It just has absurdly limited range compared to cars that are coming out now. But they cost next to nothing, and the difference between bright-orange 500e and not bright-orange 500e are pretty big. 😀

    Is the Mini-E out of the question? Same general design space as the 500e, but newer. It’s quite expensive for what it is, but still not $$$. I’d stay away from all Nissans at this point – it’s a company in its death throes, and unlikely to be making major investments in new technology, given that they completely squandered their initial lead with the Leaf.

    Have you checked out the BMW i3? If you hate how it looks, that makes sense, but I had one as a loaner while my car was in the shop, and I found it surprisingly pleasant to drive. It’s really nice inside – neat materials & design, and it’s a very open and airy car (also, suicide doors!). You can get really great deals on them used, since a wave of them just came off-lease.

    You’d mentioned the Hyundai SUV-e, but have you considered the Ioniq? My cousin has one, and loves it. It’s smaller, but still feels like it’s on the low-end of an acceptable size for you.

    Last, while I don’t want to convince you to consider a Tesla, just one note, which is that the difference in “range anxiety” given a vast network of Superchargers vs. literally anything else is still like night and day. I agree that Musk is an insufferable asshole (one reason we sold all our TSLA stock, which for purely monetary reasons I now regret, but for moral reasons I absolutely don’t), and I agree that Tesla’s pricing is BS – but their infrastructure is unparalleled, and it’s a huge part of making EVs functional on a practical basis for almost any use. A friend of mine’s made the trip during COVID from Chicago to LA multiple times in his Model 3, and doing so in any other EV would be a *nightmare*. So if you’re going to an all-EV household, it ends up being more relevant than it would be if you’ve got one EV and one ICE car…

    1. Thanks for all the info! That’s exactly why I made this post. I didn’t know about Nissan’s issues, and hadn’t considered that the Leaf also means they’ve used up all their potential tax incentives for new EVs.

      The BMW i3 seems WAY too expensive for what it is. If I’m paying $48k for a car (spoiler: I’m not), I might as well get over my aversion to Musk and get a Tesla. Thanks for letting me know about it, though; BMWs are generally off my radar, so I just looked at the website for the first time. No joke, when I saw that it was $45k for less than 200 miles range, I said “FUCK YOU” out loud.

      I should’ve made clear that Jason’s got a traditional Fiat, and not an EV. He did the sensible thing, which is pay cash outright for one on Carmax, and it’s been *relatively* problem free with no monthly payments ever since. And when I said that it was surprisingly comfortable, I should’ve emphasized that it’s surprising considering how small it is — it’s great for parking, but I’d want something bigger. The Beetle was the smallest I’d be willing to put up with, and it still felt a bit cramped unless the top was down. And that’s why the electric Mini doesn’t appeal to me at all; I really like the look of them, but I’ve ridden a good bit in a co-workers Mini convertible, and I was surprised by how much it felt like sitting in an airplane seat. Surprised because I didn’t understand how they took basically the same space as a Beetle or a Fiat and somehow managed to make it feel MORE cramped.

      I looked at the Ioniq back when I was comparing hybrids, and I wasn’t aware that they made an all-electric version. The price is good, and the interior looks all-but-identical to the Honda I’m currently driving (and which I like a lot except for its complete lack of power). I just feel like I’d have constant range anxiety.

      One thing I didn’t mention is that I can’t plug it in at the house, and can’t install a charger because we’re renting. That’s the main reason I got the Honda Insight instead of the Clarity (their plug-in hybrid). A potential advantage of the ID.4 is that they’ve got a charging station right outside the Target in Alameda, and I’ve never seen any cars using it.

      And finally: if it weren’t for my dislike of Musk, I’d get over my minor complaints about aesthetics and rumored build quality, and probably get a Model 3. Even with their bullshit “potential incentives and gas savings,” it’s still cheaper than most of the other cars that I’m looking at. (The Model Y is too pricey for me). Anybody who denies that they’re ahead of everybody else in terms of range and charging network is just lying. The reason I list “infrastructure” as a point in favor of the VW is that Volkswagen owns Electrify America, so even though it’s nowhere near as good as Tesla’s network yet, they’re heavily incentivized to roll out more locations ASAP. They keep repeating how they want to sell in terms of Golf numbers instead of luxury car numbers, and the only way they’re going to get ICE drivers to switch over is to build exactly the kind of ubiquitous network you’re talking about. If I didn’t live in the Bay and intend most of my long trips to be down the CA coast, I wouldn’t even consider an EV.

      1. Oh – BTW, I’d *never* recommend an i3 to buy new. But the first batch of ones that were leased out came due not super long ago, and I was assuming that you could probably score some pretty good deals on used i3s.

        One interesting reason that the 500e is such a screaming deal is basically that Fiat had to make it, but they lost a ton of money on each one sold. They had to sell them to essentially offset Ferrari fucking up their corporate average fuel economy numbers, and it was cheaper to take the loss on the 500es that it was to pay the fines for blowing those numbers. So they were cheap to begin with, but a niche car, so used prices on them are obscenely low. Or at least were the last time I looked.

        Honestly, though, if I didn’t have a place to plug in every night, I don’t think I’d get an EV. I think you made the right call with the hybrid (which might be another point in the i3’s favor – there’s a hybrid model as well that’ll optionally run pure EV for some distance). We recently had some work on the house done, and we couldn’t get the car in range of the plug since building materials were in the driveway. I charged a bit at South Shore in Alameda, and for a bit at my parents’ place off of 110v, which was incredibly slow.

        One of the best benefits of owning an EV and having a place to charge is that you get a full charge every morning, which essentially cuts practical charging time to zero. Even with the Supercharger, which is really fast, the idea of spending time at random chargers that aren’t at my house is pretty bleh, and would get really annoying (and consume a lot of mental bandwidth). Even if you’re just renting, do you not have a window you could toss a 110v extension cord out of to a driveway? For us, most days we’d drive (back before we got the 240v outlet installed) enough that we could still top up on 110v before morning.

        re: Mach-E and id.4 being interesting, I don’t mean “Oh, that’s interesting…” it was more, they are interesting cars. I think VW has the capacity to build something competitive to Tesla, they’re just a decade behind. Ford, my guess is, has built an interesting *car*, but like everyone else, they don’t have the infrastructure in place to make it feel properly supported. Which was my same problem with the Chevy Bolt, which otherwise was a really good car. I’d really like both of them to succeed. Hey, if you’re looking at the id.4, have you considered the eGolf? One of my friends has one and likes it a lot.

        1. Back when I got the Insight, I was actually so impressed with the Clarity that I tried to figure out any way I could run a cord out of the house to do 110V drip-charging on it. This house is an almost comical perfect storm of home-charging hostility: not only can we not open the old horses-and-carriages-style folding garage door, but there’s not even an electrical outlet in the garage. (Which was bad for resin printing as well!) Plus there are no vertically-opening windows on the ground floor of the house, so we can’t even run a plug out a window without leaving it dangerously opened.

          I’ve driven a hybrid for about 13 years now, and even when I got the first one, I had slight ethical reservations about it, because non-PHEVs always felt like stopgap technology that was just letting manufacturers and oil companies keep punting the ball instead of genuinely committing to renewable energy. At this point, even a PHEV feels symbolically like running out the clock, so if the choice is between that or being slightly inconvenienced in charging with a full EV, I feel like I should choose the latter.

          My assumption now is that ~250 mile range was the minimum acceptable for me since it’d be a week’s worth of commutes. (Outside of COVID, and still at the same house and same job, obviously). I figure before the virus, I’d get groceries at least once a week, and it always took at least an hour no matter how little I was getting, so doing the bulk of the charging then would be all right. Especially if I’m able to top it off at work over the course of the week.

          1. Yeah, I think having the chargers at work makes it tolerable. Our friends with the eGolf do that, since they live in an apartment that has no charging options. That’s hilarious about the house, though.

    2. Also, I’m curious what you meant by “The id.4 and Mach-E are interesting choices, given your criteria.” Because of their size, or SUV-ness, or something else?

      I’m realizing that a big part of why I keep going back to the ID.4 is simply because I like Volkswagen’s *typography* on their gauges and touchscreen. Yes, it feels like what Apple would do if they made an electric car.

  2. I work with a couple of folks who ultimately got rid of Teslas because they were tired of quality issues, mostly on the software side. And since the car’s usability is even more strongly tied to its software than a normal car, it made for constant issues that they ultimately couldn’t live with. One described it as feeling like he was driving something that was always running a beta.

    I was going to suggest the Bolt, but it looks like they’ve finally merged the inexplicably confusing Bolt/Volt models into the “Bolt EV”, which is probably no great improvement over any of the others you listed. The old Bolt Hybrid-ish car had good range and was mostly-electric (since the ICE was just for charging and not driving). Oh well.

    1. I was surprised to hear complaints of build quality on the Teslas, because most people I know who drive them (including Seppo) seem to love them. I didn’t even know that was a common thing until I saw Marques Brownlee’s YouTube video about it recently; it surprised me, because he’s always struck me as such an effusive fanboy of Tesla and Elon Musk himself that it’s annoying.

      My aversion to the Chevy Bolt is 100% that I hate the way they look. It’s a shame that they discontinued the Volt, because that one and the Honda Clarity were my front-runners a few years ago, but I went with the Insight because I was paranoid about not being able to charge it at home. Before I got a Bolt, I’d want something that looked less like a Prius, or alternatively, just get a Prius and try never to let the ICE take over.

      1. We’ve had a lot of issues with the Model S over the years. While under warranty (and in part because they hadn’t hit massive volume yet), Tesla’s service was exemplary. I knew it’d have issues, since decided to be an early adopter, and honestly, it hasn’t been worse than I expected. Or better. Now that the car’s out of warranty, we’ve ended up replacing the dash screens (both of them), and had some water seal issues on the trunk that ended up being something that was a design change not long after we got the car. So it hasn’t been hassle-free, but at the same time, even with the amount we’ve paid on various out-of-warranty repairs, this has been *by a lot* the cheapest car to maintain I’ve ever owned. Like, by an order of magnitude.

        Their manufacturing issues with the 3 and the Y are absolutely real, though – scaling up to selling 100x the number of cars they were selling was a huge challenge, and there were some rough spots along the way. My friend bought a 3, and on the drive home from picking it up, the underfloor fell off. Like, 5 miles from the pickup. So – quality issues for sure. But for me, the difference between the Model S and every other car I’ve ever driven was pretty huge. I’ve really soured on Musk since 2015 – early on I was willing to forgive his assholishness because he was really pushing into new territory against a lot of people pushing back against Tesla, saying it’d never work, blah blah blah. But after 2015, I think he’s not gotten enough sleep, and he’s accumulated too much power, and it’s less annoying and more … frightening, in a way. But I’m still a huge fan of Tesla, as an endeavor. They drove ALL the progress on EVs over the last 10 years, and have so comprehensively beaten every established carmaker that it’ll be another 10 years before anyone makes something that’s competitive with them.

        And I hope they do get competition. I think the VW group will bring the fight to them in a meaningful way. I think Ford *may*. I think Chevy has essentially failed, as has Fiat. But at the same time, right now almost every hypercar in production is either electric or hybrid, because they’ve realized that the performance gains they can make are significant. So like the initial plan for the Roadster/S/X/3, the adoption of high-end $$$$ tech will quickly make its way down to consumer cars that are affordable. Trickle-down that *actually works*. Who’d have thought.

  3. As someone with a build week of Feb 14th for his Mach-E, I’m going to be biased about which one you should get. 😉 If you have a chance, sit in one. I can’t really say with certainty you’d like it or not, but it is a different feel than other Fords. I was also super impressed at how much room there is in the back seats.

    A clarification about charging networks: While each manufacture is making investments in charging networks, you don’t need to worry about it. Just as you don’t need to worry about Shell vs. Arco for gas stations. All you really need to remember is there are two types of plug classifications (in North America): Tesla, and everyone else. For example, Ford invested in Electrify America, but all of the other cars will work just as well (Teslas can use an adapter).

    I don’t know your home situation, but it’s worth the investment in a 240v home charger. With the IRS 8911 was extended to end of 2021, giving you 30% pack on all install costs for a charger. I was able to convince my landlord to pay for it! It also allows “pre-conditioning” for supported cars. You leave the car plugged in overnight and set a time you plan to drive. Then the car draws on plugged in power to cool (or heat) the cabin, not the car’s battery power. Not to mention the costs are way cheaper.

    Do feel free to reach out to me if you want to chat about electric cars, tax stuff, and the like. I’d be nice to catch up anyway!

    1. Thanks for the tips! All the “first-drive” videos I’ve seen for the Mach-E make it sound like the one to beat in terms of fun driving, so I hope you enjoy it. And that’s a good tip about sitting in one before I make a judgment; even without COVID, it wouldn’t be easy because I don’t think they’re widely available yet. Years back, I was fully ready to buy a Mustang convertible until I test drove it and realized I just wasn’t comfortable sitting in it, so I should learn not to make snap judgments until I’ve felt it in person.

      That’s interesting about getting the landlord to install the charger; I’d instantly assumed it would be impractical because we’re renting. I’m very skeptical we could get our landlord to pay for it, though, or really make any kind of significant investment in the property — over the past 5 or 6 years, we’ve asked several times for a key to the garage and still have never gotten one.

      1. Re: Mach-E
        It’s a crossover SUV, so comparing to the coupe is not accurate. I was pleasantly shocked at how much room there is. Again, not saying you’re guaranteed to love it, just that it is different.

        I’m locked into Ford products due to my access to Z-Plan, but I was able to sit in one in October when they were touring vehicles. If I was able to give links in comments, I’d show you photos. I’ll let you know if that opportunity happens again, which may be in three weeks or so. Mine’s scheduled to arrive in late March, so there’s that option as well.

        Re: Chargers as renters.
        There is California law on your side if the property has 5 or more units: The landlord can’t say no to a charging station. Doesn’t require to pay for it, it is required to be permitted and licensed electrician to install, but they can’t say no outright if it’s done to code. A few other notes, but that’s the gist. Civil Code §1947.6 for more info.

        That didn’t apply to me (3 unit property), but I did ask to get a quote first and see where that would go. They agreed and it turned out the install was going to be simple, $1100 including permit. I had enough room on my circuit breaker for 40amp and connecting to the outside wall was easy. With the quote, I proposed that I buy the appliance and the landlord pay for the install, of which they get 30% off via IRS 8911. Whenever I leave, the landlord will be able to say the unit is EV ready which stands out from most units in Alameda, let alone East Bay.

        As a resident of Alameda, I’ll get $800 from Alameda Power for buying the appliance. Only the customer can get it, which is why I bought it. The ChargePoint Home Flex cost me $717. Yes, I made money doing this.

      2. You also might want to look into what you’d need to install for a “charger”. For us, we got a 240v dryer plug in a box in our driveway. Was a couple hundred bucks for an electrician to run some conduit to the panel and install the box. But it’s not an “ev charger” – it’s just a plug. Might be an easier case to make to the landlord, since it’s not proprietary or vehicle-specific.

        1. Huh, I actually hadn’t considered requesting an external plug. That does seem like a lot easier proposal than one dedicated to a car. I get a vague sense that our leasing company might be inclined to accommodate us, since we don’t make many maintenance requests, and they’re probably not excited about doing all the renovations that would be required to make this place better.

          I’m more pro-working-from-home than you are, so I’d love it if somehow the “new normal” after COVID is spending less time at the office. But if the claims of manufacturers are true, and you can get a full charge in around an hour, it wouldn’t take that much.

          1. If going to plug route, get it as a NEMA 14-50. Handles up to 60amps and is the long-term standard. It’s already the plug used for “shore power” from RV parks, which EVSEs are defaulting to.

            My original proposal for my apartment charger was to have a plug. As my parking spot is outside (no garage), the electrician was against having an outdoor plug. I honestly had to agree with them. Hardwire install was negligible for the costs of the install (to the landlord). If you’re in a garage, then this security factor is not an issue.

            If you do make a pitch to the landlord, make sure to mention IRS 8911, which got an extension to the end of this year. 30% off the costs is nothing to sneeze at.

  4. I don’t know if you’ll like this YouTube channel, but I watch a lot of Fully Charged: https://www.youtube.com/user/fullychargedshow

    I remember liking both the Niro and Kona after watching their reviews.

    We bought a new Prius Plug-In Hybrid back in 2015 and I really like it. It was our first new car purchase so maybe my brain has to like it. Around 20% of our miles have been electric but we both work at home. I want to get a full electric for our next car purchase. That probably won’t happen for a while and I’m hoping there will be a lot of used choices available here in the Bay Area when it does.  🙂

    1. Thanks for the link, I have just started watching that last year! I kept thinking that the host looked familiar, and one day Jason just walked in and said, “Oh, is that Kryton from Red Dwarf?”

      I spend so much time watching videos from gadget & tech blogs that it’s really nice to see people still focused on the “latest and greatest in tech!” but approaching it all ethically first. The one that excited me the most was actually about the solar-powered charging service center w/included coffeeshop etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoN4WCpuxHY

      My current car is the first one I’ve ever leased, and I’m planning to do the same with whatever I get next, assuming it’s a new car. It still feels weird to be paying for something and not “owning” it, but I keep hoping that the technology will have advanced enough in three years that by that point, I can see whether they’ve built my Forever Car yet.

      At this point, I think the biggest advantage to just saying “screw it” and getting a Beetle Convertible isn’t about fun, and is just about being able to pay cash for a used one and not make any car payments again.

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