It's Taking Years To Get a New EV and Owners Are Losing Patience

Traditionally, a customer wanting a car would walk into a dealership, haggle with the salesman and leave with their new model that day. But due to many factors, including low volume vehicles, chip shortages, and supply chain crunches, many manufacturers are now taking reservations for new vehicles.

Reservations have become the trend for ordering a new vehicle in a world of limited supply. Automakers have been routinely opening up reservation windows on new models to allocate what they can build with current supplies.

In those windows, customers can pre-order a vehicle, which is usually followed up by contact with the automaker to confirm a reservation (usually with a deposit). On automaker websites, opening up the option to build your own model will usually give you the option to search for similar models that are sitting at dealerships.

Due to the ongoing chip shortage, electric vehicles (EVs) are especially susceptible to long waitlists as the industry deals with production that was already limited having a slower manufacturing cadence than anticipated

Ford F-150 Lightning
The first deliveries of the F-150 Lightning are expected this spring. Ford Motor Company

Compounding things, gas prices are at record highs with the current national average at $4.252 per gallon at publication time, according to AAA. Customers with reservations for EVs are understandably more anxious than most as they are waiting for the opportunity to save money on routine fill ups.

Los Angeles-area resident Nick Bencivenga drives a 2018 Ford F-150. FIlling up his tank costs around $200. AAA marks the California average for a gallon of gas as $5.855.

For six months, he's been waiting for the 2021 Mustang Mach-E he ordered. He was just told that the wait is going to be another three or four months.

"Having a truck adds to the sting," he told Newsweek. "Eighteen to 20 miles per gallon is not great. I would also love to sell my truck as I know it's in high demand but I can't do so until I get my new car."

Volkswagen ID.4
The average wait time for an ID.4 reservation holder is four months. Volkswagen AG

He could go and buy an EV today, but he doesn't want to pay a potential dealer markup.

"It's a bummer, but I suppose that's the cost of hassle-free pricing and a good product in high demand," he posited.

In New Jersey, tradesman Nick VanHorn and his wife have been waiting for a Rivian R1T since they put in an order in 2019.

They drive a 2007 Honda Fit. In an interview, he said that while it's not as expensive to fill up as a pickup, it still smarts at the pump.

"The last time we filled up I paid $40 for nine gallons of fuel," he said. "Obviously it was painful to spend that knowing that the EV, with our solar roof, would be essentially free to charge."

He added that while he doesn't drive as much as some commuters, he understands that they must be suffering even more to pay to fill up each week.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition
The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition is the sportiest Mach-E yet. Ford Motor Company

In the Baltimore area, where $3.82 per gallon is the average, Pieter Jongbruer is a registered nurse. He's been waiting for months for his Volkswagen ID.4, but he's done waiting. He says that his car has been sitting for two months at a port 70 miles from his house.

After waiting for so long, he switched tracks and bought a Hyundai Ioniq 5 off of a dealer lot.

He currently drives a 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML350, which he just started filling up with regular fuel instead of the recommended premium. He last paid $104 to fill the tank.

"It's infuriating," he said. "That's why I'm actually driving 200 miles away from my house to pick up an EV I should have already had."

Mark Gilles, a product and technology communications senior manager at VW of America, told Newsweek that the average wait time for an ID.4 is four months. Normally, when a car reaches port, it's put on a truck or train and transported to a dealership shortly afterward.

"Regarding the holdup at the port that you heard about, we do sometimes have delays when cars are reworked if they get damaged in transit or if there are software upgrades, etc., to be made," Gilles explained. "Also, getting trucks to ship vehicles to the dealers has been an issue. Generally, though, we try to get cars to the dealers as soon as we can because of the demand."

VanHorn says that he thinks the EV community can tough out these long waits.

"I think the EV community at large is ok with waiting a bit longer for their cars, as we all will need to wait a bit longer to 'fill up' when on long drives."

2022 Rivian R1T
The Rivian R1T entered the market as the company's first model in 2021. Rivian