Yes, You Can Save Money Buying Your Electric Car Out Of State

MAR 23 2015 BY STAFF 23

Buying a car is usually pretty easy. It can be as simple as going on AutoTrader, finding a car you want in your area, then going and buying it. Sometimes, however, finding the right car in an area near you can be very difficult. This is especially common with very rare or specific cars. Say someone wants a BMW M235i, with a 6-speed manual, but there aren’t any around. Or perhaps you live in a big city, like Chicago, so you want something new, small and economical, but also exotic and fun.The BMW i3 is perfect, but sometimes, you might not be able to find the right specs or even the best price locally . These scenarios can be very stressful, but don’t have to be disappointing.

Sometimes finding a car out of the local area can get you more of what you want in a car, and often result in a lower price or tax savings. In the case of my BMW i3, I found the perfect one, with the exact specs at a great price, at JMK BMW in New Jersey. Manny Antunes has once again come through for us.

That’s where a shipping company comes in. Instead of flying there and driving my car back– not really doable today with an i3 Range Extender–I decided to have it shipped to my home in Chicago.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG.  Check it out here.

buy bmw i3 images 08 750x563 How To Save Money By Shipping Your Car

BMW i3 REx

If you’ve never shipped a car before, the idea can be intimidating. If you had just bought a brand new car, especially something luxurious or exotic, you don’t want any Joe Shmoe picking up your newly acquired vehicle on the back of an old, rusty flatbed. You must search high and low for a reputable shipping company that will provide shipping insurance and expert care for your vehicle.

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BMW i3 REx

A reliable and established shipping company will ship your car to you in either an enclosed or open carrier. Enclosed transport is a bit more expensive, but the safer if you prefer extra care to accommodate your special vehicle. Open car transport is what you see most often on the highway. Open vehicle carriers aren’t unsafe, per say, but they don’t shield the car from the elements. It is, however, the most common and economical shipping service. During transport, the car is exposed to elements like rain, sun, and dust, but this is no different than when you are driving it on the highway yourself.

You want a company with a good reputation they’re willing to stand behind. After doing research, I decided Montway Auto Transport was the best choice to deliver my new car. They’ve grown from a family-owned company started in 2006 to become one of the largest car shipping companies in the country. They’re also one of few “A+” rated by the Better Business Bureau with a 5-star rating on over 1190 reviews on TransportReviews.com.

All of that info is necessary when searching for a company to transport your beloved vehicle, like my new i3. And be ready to pay for it, as a quality shipping company won’t accept twenty bucks and a bottle of Rumple Minze, like the independent guy with the flatbed. However, the payment is worth the quality when it comes to shipping a prized possession. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a mover based only on price. After giving you a seemingly incredible low price, less-reputable shippers will add fees, ransom your car, refuse to make good on damages they cause, or have even vanish once they get a hold of your new car.

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BMW i3 REx

Montway is fully licensed and insured broker and carrier, with a network of over 25,000 experienced and dependable drivers. They provide full insurance coverage for your vehicle during transport and their customer service agent will address any of your concerns seven days a week. The price you get may seem a bit higher, but you know there won’t be any surprises later, and that you can depend on the service and protection you’ll receive.

What Montway would do for this exact situation, is provide the kind of truck requested to pick up the purchased car up at the dealership and deliver the car right to your door, anywhere in the country. Now, it can do this multiple ways. If you cannot wait for your car and must have it immediately, Montway will send a specific truck to pick up only your car. This, however, is obviously more expensive. If you have the luxury of waiting a week or two, your car will be picked up along with others being shipped to the same area, and then delivered to your house. Before the truck gets to your house, the Montway agent calls to give you a two-hour window time, enough for you to make the necessary arrangements. It usually takes between 3-5 business from the date of pickup to arrive at your house.

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BMW i3 REx


I chose to go with open carrier transport with Montway, mainly because it was more cost-effective, but even dealerships regularly ship new cars across the country primarily by open trailers, so I wasn’t concerned.

I spoke with a logistics agent to set up the pickup details, drop-off location, timeline, and, of course, payment information. After I had booked, until they had assigned a carrier and could give me the set pick-up date ,the agent called to keep me updated on my order status and estimated time of arrival. When the car was picked up, I received an automated email , outlining my order details and information on the carrier.

From pick up in New Jersey to delivery in Chicago, it only took 48 hours, despite some weather issues on the East Coast. With the i3’s built-in GPS tracker, I was also able to monitor the transport in real time. Before the carrier got to my house, the Montway agent called to give me a two-hour window. The i3 was delivered in perfect condition and after a quick wash, it looked just as new as the one from the local showroom. A day later, Montway called to follow up and ensure that the transport process was up to my standards. Shortly after, I also received a customer satisfaction survey via email.

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BMW i3 REx

To have an i3 delivered from New Jersey to Chicago, it costs around $800, depending on where in the state your car is being delivered. Now, if the price of the i3 in question is thousands of dollars cheaper, then this works out quite well. It can also work out even better if you purchase the car in a state with no sales tax. So using a shipping company like Montway can not only save you quite a bit of money, despite having to pay for the shipping, but it can make purchasing the exact car you want at the right price a little bit easier, as there would be no distance restriction. This can come especially in handy when looking for a classic, rare, or exotic car, where finding one in proximity to you can be a problem.

So car shipping is more viable of an option than many people think. It can take the stress out of buying the perfect car as well as allowing you to find the best price. But make sure you use a quality company like Montway and not Rusty-Flatbed-Rick.

*Disclosure: BMWBLOG has been offered a small discount on the shipping because of the delivery time frame, the open carrier and cool story angle. But the payment came from their accounts.

*Additional note: Though this example is of an i3, similar out-of-state deals can be found for the majority of electric cars.  Regional differences in pricing (largely due to demand) can lead to significant savings if you look out-of-state for electric car deals.

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23 Comments on "Yes, You Can Save Money Buying Your Electric Car Out Of State"

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My current plan is to buy a used electric car in one state and drive it 100 to 500 miles to my home state. This is the main reason why I’m watching the construction of the DC Quick chargers nervously.

You can’t buy a car out of state to avoid/reduce sales tax. I’ve bought three vehicles out of state, and every time when I registered it in my home state of WI, I had to pay WI sales tax.

Yeah, I was wondering about that..

Same for me. You either pay the tax, or pay the difference.

And if you buy in a state that charges MORE sales tax than the state you are registering the car in, you don’t get back the difference.

If that is true, it is not true for all states. Oregon has no sales tax, and when you buy a car in Washington you don’t pay sales tax if you are an Oregon resident registering a car in Oregon. There are high volume car dealerships in Vancouver WA (part of the Portland metro area) that sell cars to lots of Oregon residents. Oregon buyers don’t pay the difference in sales tax.

Buying in Oregon and transporting to Washington has the special twist that your Oregon 21-day permit is valid for 24 hours in Washington.

Sure, you can just hope for the best until the dealership handles the paperwork and you can register the car in Washington in 3 or 4 weeks. But if you’re actually intending to not get a ticket, and intending to keep your insurance in force by having a properly registered vehicle, you’re going to have to park that new shiny car for a month while you wait for the paperwork.

The author’s New Jersey temporary tag was good for 20 days and is not renewable. You can bet that a New Jersey temporary tag is going to be a cop magnet in Illinois.

Sometimes the hassle isn’t worth the savings.

On a new car purchase you pay sales tax in the state in which you REGISTER the car. If you buy a car in a state other than the one in which you plan to register it, you pay ZERO sales tax in that state, but you do pay the dealer $5 to $10 for a 30-day temporary plates and registration so that you can drive home and register it in your home state, and pay your home state’s sales tax at that time in your local DMV. The only reason that a new car dealer collects sales tax at the time of purchase is because they pay the sales tax when they register your new vehicle and get plates for it from the DMV. If you plan on registering in another state and the dealer will not be going to the DMV for you to get plates and a registration, then there is no need for them to collect sales tax. You just pay $5 or $10 dollars for a 30-day temporary registration and cardboard license plate.

@sven,
I don’t think that’s true in Ca. It varies state to state.

I live in Michigan and bought my LEAF in Ohio. The tax went to the state that registers the car, in my case, Michigan.

Ohio got a few bucks for a temporary plate, and that’s it.

@Matt,
I bought in Utah and brought it back to AZ and had to pay sales tax in AZ but it was a slightly lower rate like 5.5% instead of 8.

This seems like an ad for Montway.

$800 for shipping New Jersey to Chicago? That doesn’t seem cheap at all to me. Maybe for something used, it would be OK.

I find it hard to believe that there isn’t a single dealer in Chicagoland that wouldn’t get within $800 of the New Jersey price.

Michael said:

“This seems like an ad for Montway.”

Rather blatantly so. Note the disclaimer at the end of the article: “Disclosure: BMWBLOG has been offered a small discount on the shipping because of the delivery time frame, the open carrier and cool story angle.”

I guess “cool story angle” sounds more professional than “because we gave them such a good advertisement”.

And how odd that the subject of the article had nothing to do with the subject specified in the headline.

Watch out when purchasing a car out of state in California and you try to pick up the car in person.

If you take delivery in California, you WILL be charged California taxes by the dealership, and you cannot get them refunded back or waived.

On the other hand, if you buy from the exact same California dealership, and have the car shipped out of state and you take delivery out of state (even if it is just on the other side of the border in Nevada) then the California taxes can be waived.

Make absolutely sure you do your homework with whatever state you are buying from before buying, because they each have their own laws.

@Nix

You’re right. Get it shipped right across the border. When I was looking in Ca (I’m in AZ) the dealers offered to do this….for a price of course.

PS there is a Spark EV in Atlanta for 16K. Sounds like an OK price. Perfect example where shipping would work well.

Another thing to consider when buying an EV out of state is whether or not you can get it serviced in your home state.

A number of EV’s are CARB state only, and only dealerships in the CARB participating states where the cars were originally sold have dealerships who can officially service them. They only trained mechanics in limited markets, and only provided special diagnostic/repair tools to limited dealerships.

If you are outside the original sales region, getting work done on your car could be more complicated than you might want to deal with. The BMW i3 in this story doesn’t have this problem, because it is sold nationwide. But something like a RAV4 EV would be a different story.

Thanks for that clarification, Nix.

It’s a bit irksome when people post how the laws work in -their- State, then argue with those who say it works differently in another. Welcome to America, where laws really do vary from State to State.

Sorry, I also think this story is out of place. While InsideEVs didn’t get paid for it, BMWBLOG did ,so this is straight advertising (there isn’t even a list of several leading shippers as an excuse).

There is also no EV angle here whatsoever to justify the story.

I bought mine out of CA and had it shipped to WA. Even after shipping it saved me around $1500. I agree the story seems more like advertising.

Two related questions…

1) As an Illinois resident, could I buy a Tesla in Louisiana to take advantage of their $13,600 state incentive, then drive it home to Illinois and license it here?

2) Last month, Tesla’s web site reflected the $4000 “Illinois Green Fleets” rebate that I used when buying my Volt.

http://www.illinoisgreenfleets.org/rebates/vehicle

Now Tesla’s web site shows no incentive for Illinois. Any guesses why?

Thanks.

I may have found my own answer to #2 here:

http://www.illinoisgreenfleets.org/rebates/

“Important Notice: The Alternate Fuel Rebate Program is currently suspended. Due to the suspension of the program, applications received by the Illinois EPA for calendar year 2014 are not being processed at this time. Please check back for future updates.”

I’m happy to support this and deliver electric cars anywhere in the US or the world, just email me at nicklittlejohn@gmail dot com

Off course, the electric car is a smarter choice than gas cars. I am also thinking t buy a car in Alabama and later will transport it via Reliable Auto Transport
to WY.