Today In EVs: Prices go down? BOO! Prices go up? BOO!

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Making EV news today: Hyundai and Tesla generate price dissatisfaction… but for opposite reasons!

Tesla Prices Go Down? Some Existing Owners Angry

In response to Tesla announcing a massive reduction in prices in the Model 3 to launch the $35k variant,  most people were pleased by the price reduction. Some people, however, who recently purchased the vehicle at the previous prices have been taking to social media to vent. A prime example is tweets from comedian Christopher Titus:

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In China, a group of angry customers staged a protest against the price cuts in front of a store:

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Tesla, for their part, has promised to match the Autopilot price cuts and feature changes for existing owners. However, the company is not “backdating” the vehicle price declines for previous purchasers.  The most massive declines have been on the cost of the performance versions of the Model S and Model X in Europe and China — cuts worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Hyundai Dealerships Gouging For The Kona Electric

On the opposite side of the coin… Hyundai has a problem (the good kind!). The Hyundai Kona Electric ($36,4k unoptioned, $45k fully optioned in the US) has generated significant demand in the markets it has launched in, with long preorder lists (1-2 years in some markets).  The problem is that Hyundai earns only minimal profit margins on its electric vehicles, which makes it hard to justify producing in high volumes.  While they’ve increased production over initial plans (from 20k/yr to 40k/yr, and some suggesting as many as 50k/yr), this is a far cry from Model 3’s 500k/yr annualized rate target for this year.

Hyundai, for its credit, has not responded to the demand by increasing its prices from what it promised. Hyundai dealerships, however? Not so much.

There are multiple reports coming in now of $5,000-$8,000 markups over MSRP, which makes the Kona Electric way less attractive, especially when you wait for those few available units.

One of our readers sent us a note stating that he was going to buy Kona Electric in California, but after selecting the model, the dealer added $5,000 to MSRP. A similar situation played out in a second dealership.

Another InsideEVs’ tipster told us a dealer is adding even more – $7,500. That reader decided to give up on the idea and picked up another model. The choice fell on Honda Clarity Electric lease.

Honestly, I’m not sure what the solution is. I think that on one hand it’s good for Hyundai to stick to what it promised — although with a higher price it could actually turn an acceptable profit on its vehicles, which is essential to the cause of EVs taking over the marketplace from gasoline vehicles. But seeing dealerships gouging $5-8k on the vehicle — aka, them earning the extra profit — leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The situation with the Kona Electric has broadly played out similarly to that of Hyundai’s previous market entrant, the Ioniq Electric — solid demand, but vastly insufficient supply and limited market availability.

Hyundai knows how to make respectable EVs and generate interest in them. Here’s to hope that they put forth the investment in the coming years to make them profitably and in volume.