by George Upper
Would you pay over $7,000 to replace a set of taillights?
According to Car and Driver, that could be the cost — depending on local taxes and the prevailing labor rates where you live — to replace the taillights on the new GMC Hummer EV SUT.
That expense, of course, would come only after you’d shelled out $110,000 to buy the thing in the first place — or, perhaps more likely, while you were repaying the bank for shelling out that amount on your behalf.
Of course, if you can afford that sticker price, maybe $3,045.48 per taillight plus labor and taxes wouldn’t mean much to you. Maybe you replace your car every time the ashtrays get full. (I know; it’s an old joke. I can’t remember the last time I saw a new car with an ashtray.)
The issue came up when an owner posted in a Hummer EV Facebook group about needing a “new passenger side rear light” for his vehicle, according to The Drive. (If I paid $110,000 for an automobile, I’d probably need to join a support group, too.)
That driver was quoted $4,040 for the part alone, plus labor.
Even at the MSRP, The Drive noted that replacing both taillights would run an owner more than 5 percent of the total purchase price of the sport-utility truck. That’s … something else.
The Drive was unable to confirm the reason for that pricing, but the website’s speculation seemed reasonable.
“The taillights in the Hummer EV have small microcontrollers installed within them,” they wrote. “These chips control unique lighting functions in their respective lights, like the animations in the headlamps.”
OK, cool, I guess. But it makes me wonder if I could get a cheaper, animation-less version that just, you know, tells drivers behind me when I’m braking and turning and stuff. Cars did that pretty well 60 years ago before microcontrollers were even invented, I believe.
“Additionally, the Hummer EV is a fairly limited-run vehicle thus far, meaning parts are generally more expensive until economies of scale kick in,” The Drive added. That I can understand, and it provides at least some reason to hope that parts prices will moderate over time.
That’s a reflection of the newness of the electric vehicle industry overall, in part. Another reflection of that newness has been the problems with electric vehicles that keep making the news.
One Hummer failed in spectacular fashion in the middle of the road when it inexplicably went into “safe” mode and had to be towed before someone rear-ended it.
That vehicle was reportedly brand new, with only 250 miles on it.
Then there was the Hummer that managed to pull a trailer only 128 miles before needing a recharge — which would require unhitching the trailer if the driver wanted to use the faster, more powerful charger.
Of course, electric vehicles are cheaper to run than gas vehicles in most cases, and if you have solar power to charge yours and do a little careful planning, you can practically drive it for free — locally at least. That’s assuming you can afford to buy it in the first place.
Obviously, fuel cost isn’t the only point at issue when choosing a new car, but it’s certainly not an unimportant one.
So, the question remains: Would you pay over $7,000 to replace a set of taillights?
Yeah … me neither.