Wednesday, September 28, 2022

EV Pricing: Nissan Ariya vs. Nissan Rogue

I've wanted to buy a small electric SUV with AWD since 2019. I was initially put off by the cost, but last year I realized that money was not actually the problem. The problem was that nobody was making an EV with the features I want, at least not for the United States market.

Thirteen months later, nothing has changed. You still can't buy an EV that satisfies my basic criteria: a compact SUV with AWD, an openable moonroof, a 360-degree overhead view, and an EPA-estimated range of at least 235 miles.

Nissan is supposed to start shipping the Ariya in the coming months, and it checks all the boxes. So does its gas-powered sibling, the Nissan Rogue (except for the electric part). Since they're compact SUVs from the same manufacturer, if you equip them similarly, you can ballpark how much it costs to switch from an ICE drivetrain to one based on electrons.

Nissan's Ariya (left) and Rogue (right)

The least expensive Rogue configuration that includes AWD, an openable moonroof, and a 360-degree overhead view is the SL trim. MSRP (with destination) is $36,295. 

The corresponding Ariya is the Evolve+ e-4ORCE. Its MSRP is $55,485. 

That's a difference of $19,190. The Ariya is built in Japan, so the federal EV tax credit doesn't apply, though there may be state and/or local incentives. Based on MSRPs, going from a gas-powered Rogue to a comparable battery-powered Ariya incurs a premium of about 53%. That's more than twice the 25% limit I consider reasonable.

Last year, I noted that Volvo's XC40 Recharge has AWD, an openable moonroof, and a 360-degree overhead view, but its EPA range was only 208 miles. That's since been improved to 223 miles, but it's still short of my 235 mile requirement. The forthcoming Mercedes EQB looks to tell a similar story. It's got AWD, a moonroof, and an overhead view, but estimates of its EPA range generally fail to hit the 235 mile mark.  (The EPA hasn't yet published its official range.) Both the Volvo and the Mercedes have MSRPs that exceed that of the Ariya, so they look to cost more and deliver less, at least in terms of range. 

For the fourth year in a row (since 2019!) I find myself waiting for the automobile industry to produce an electric car with the features I want for a price I'm willing to pay. I've never had much trouble finding a reasonably-priced ICE vehicle with an acceptable feature set, so I don't understand why it's so hard this time around.