Cars First World Problems Personal


I traveled to Austin on Monday, and picked up my new Polestar 2. Hooray! It’s part 6 in my Electric Car series.

This is going to be such a long one, I split it in two more pieces.


I needed to get there without driving, and public transportation in Texas isn’t great. The usual option is to get a friend to drive you; for some reason most Texans, and Midwest transplants , seem to think that driving three hours each way is nothing. My spouse doesn’t drive long distances, and my friends are busy, so that was not a real option.

To make a long story short, I took at Vonlane bus. It’s a small Texas company that serves Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and nothing else. They travel from downtown to downtown, which is quite handy, and have huge quilted leather seats, WiFi, and an honest-to-goodness attendant that’ll bring you snacks or, in my case, an unlimited stream of coffee. It’s not cheap, but I’ve used them before and like them.

Once in Downtown Austin, I took a Lyft to the dealer.

The dealer

It’s a truth generally acknowledged that luxury car dealers are slightly less crappy than normal car dealers. In my experience with Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes, Acura, and now Volvo, this bears out.

The only sign that there’s something special about this Volvo dealer

The “Polestar Space” in Austin is virtual; it’s just a sign in the Volvo dealer. It’s not a separate space at all. It does have its own salespeople, and they were pleasant to work with, if hard to find; they kept scurrying off to meetings and generally being kind of absent. The sale process was slow but mercifully free of upselling or ‘dealmaking’ or sneaky fees. The sale price was what was on the website, and that was that. Since I had done everything through the website, there wasn’t much for the salesperson to do other than verify that I had insurance, confirm the details, and give me a COVID-appropriate fist bump.

Polestars lined up outside the Volvo dealer

Except that then he handed me off to “the finance guy,” who took a long time to arrive.

I don’t know why, but as much as I fear the salespeople, dealmaking, and getting generally taken advantage of by dealerships, the finance guys don’t scare me at all. They just bore me. It’s probably the “the deal is done and this is all strictly optional” aspect, but I have no problem turning down the slightly ludicrous stuff they offer. The best one was, IMHO, something like a $2500 maintenance package… for an electric car that doesn’t even need a first maintenance visit until it hits 2 years or 20,000 miles. No thanks.

The only surprise here, and I think this was a genuine error, is that the website miscalculated the sales tax on the car by omitting them. I’d be more suspicious of this, but it also double-counted another item, inflating the price artificially, which the finance guy actually caught and lowered. It took us both about 15 minutes of reconciling statements to make sense of all this. I mentioned before that the website was terrible. It can’t even add properly. Apparently they’re redoing it from scratch. I very much hope so.

Then, more waiting. The car got a software update, a last checkup, detailed, and charged. This whole thing took hours so they loaned me a different car to go get lunch. After I returned, I spent my time working from their lobby (terrible WiFi) and chasing the stealthy salesman to ask him when my car would be ready.

Get to the car already!

Next: Fine.