The Flop Before it Doesn’t Sell

  • January 3, 2024

It doesn’t auger well for a vehicle when those trying to sell it find it necessary to discount it. But this discounting doesn’t usually happen until after it’s clear the vehicle isn’t selling.

Not before it’s even available for sale.

Kia’s 2024 EV9  isn’t for-sale yet. But you can already pay thousands below sticker ($54,900 to start) for this device. It’s “as if these things have been on the lot for months and they can’t be moved,” says an apparently boggled writer for Jalopnik, the Huffington Post-bankrolled web page that says it is “obsessed with the culture of cars.” The writer goes on to state that people who are “in the market for the EV9” are “in luck.”

This assumes there are people in the market for this device.

A California Kia dealer, the writer notes, “has five EV9s currently in their inventory; each has $3,750 in Kia Customer Cash on the hood. It’s the same situation just over 20 miles away at Riverside Kia with its four EV9s. Head west, and Car Pros Kia of Glendale has even bigger discounts. A few of the 13 EV9s in its inventory have $7,184 off their MSRPs.”

As if this were indicative of something enticing. As opposed to evidence of desperation.

The Jalopnik writer admits this, grudgingly and then says something interesting – because he apparently doesn’t realize what he’s saying: “While these prices are good for shoppers, it’s a reality check for the EV market. EV sales grew in the U.S. in 2023, but it would seem their sales are plateauing or outright slowing down in some cases. And a brand new model that hasn’t even officially been launched yet getting hit with discounts should worry anyone in the industry that’s watching. If you can afford it though I’d take advantage of these price drops while you can, the EV9 looks to be a good value.”

Italics added.

“Good for shoppers”?  A “good value”?

How is it good for a shopper to buy something that isn’t worth buying?

This new device from Kia is about the same size as (and looks like) the company’s popular Telluride crossover SUV. But the Telluride stickers for $35,990 to start – or $18,910 less than the base price of the device Kia calls the EV9. And for not spending the additional just-shy of $19k on the device, you get a crossover with a standard 291 horsepower V6 engine that can take you almost 500 miles on the highway (376 in the city) as opposed to a device packing 215 horsepower that can maybe go 230 miles, if the road is flat and it’s not too cold or hot out and you’re careful to keep your speed below the flow of highway traffic.

The EV9 also lacks the one attribute – quickness – that devices typically tout because it is both massively heavy (5,093 for the base single-motor device vs. 4,248 lbs. for the Telluride) and underpowered. The EV9 device has 76 fewer horsepower to move 845 more pounds – not counting the weight of driver and passengers. Even with the immediately available peak-torque-advantage of its electric motor, the EV9 takes about 8 seconds to reach 60 MPH.

The Telluride is much quicker.

A new Prius is quicker.

Both go much farther than the EV9 – and neither chains you to a receptacle, either. In the case of this device, you’ll be chained to the receptacle more often, too – because it doesn’t go very far before it runs out of charge. In fact, it will probably go about 20 percent less far than advertised – as is typical for these devices in real-world driving. It being almost impossible to drive in “just right” conditions – not too hot, not too cold – and teeth-achingly difficult to keep it under the speed limit in order to eke out the maximum-possible range.

See here for a story about a Tesla True Believer’s experience regarding that.

So – realistically – this device has a useable driving range of about 184 miles (230 minus the 20 percent “real world” factor) and you’ll only be able to recover 80 percent of that at a “fast” charger unless you have an hour or more to hang out waiting for a full charge.

You can, of course, charge it at home – but then you’ll be waiting overnight (or all day) and the next day, you still won’t be able to go very fart before its Receptacle Time again.

This is one of the collateral problems with these devices that’s not often mentioned. It’s not just the having-to-wait a preposterously long time to get a partial charge at a “fast” charger; it is having to wait a preposterously long time more times than the usual one time it takes to fill the tank of a vehicle such as the Telluride – which provides enough easily transferable liquid energy to not have to wait again for several days at a time or even a week. But the owner of the device Kia calls the EV9 will probably be doing Receptacle Time several times a week – if not every day of the week.

Enter the “reality check for the EV market” mentioned by the Jalopnik writer – who apparently does not understand that there is no EV market. There is a Soviet-style plan to force these devices into production. The distinction is important. In a market, people are free to buy what they like at prices agreeable to them – and sellers design and offer products people want at prices they can afford.

The plan to push EVs into production is running afoul of the remains of what was once a market in that buyers are still free to not by the devices the planners have forced into production.

That’s the reality check, my Jalopnik amigo.

And it’s just about to bounce.

. . .

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