Hybrid v Electric: what you need to know in 2024
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Hybrid v Electric: what you need to know in 2024

With the electric vehicle revolution upon us, here’s everything you need to know about owning a battery-electric or hybrid vehicle.

By Josh Bozin
Mon, Mar 25, 2024 3:26pmGrey Clock 4 min

You don’t have to be an automotive expert to know that the future of the automotive industry at large is going to be heavily reliant on battery-electric power – “electrification” is the new buzz word in town. But while car manufactures look to transition to this exciting new electric future, there are still a few key factors to consider when entertaining the EV conversation.

The biggest debate in the car industry right now is the hybrid v electric discussion: which to consider in 2024? Is one option better than the other? For the uninitiated, sales of hybrid cars, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles, remain the obvious choice for consumers in Australia, with new sale records reached in 2023. Data published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported that 98,439 hybrid and 11,212 plug-in hybrid were sold in Australia in 2023, up 88.8 per cent from the previous year. Sales of fully-electric vehicles, on the other hand, also saw massive growth, with a total of 87,217 vehicles sold in 2023. Out of the three main types of ‘electrified’ vehicles in Australia—hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric—plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles were the least popular.

According to Jeff Mannering, Audi Australia CEO, it’s one of the most exciting times to be a part of the automotive industry.

“Australia is undoubtedly in the midst of a significant transition towards electric mobility. Whilst the journey to a fully electric industry is ongoing and advancing at a rapid rate, we’re lucky to be in a unique situation whereby we are seeing technological advancements in both hybrid and fully electric platforms,” explains Mannering.

“At Audi, we see this transition as a multifaceted evolution, with both hybrid and electric vehicles playing pivotal roles in shaping the future of sustainable transportation.”

In the luxury sector, Audi is making waves with its offerings, seeing the demand for its electric models hit an all-time high in 2023, delivering more than 178,000 fully electric vehicles to customers globally, with particularly strong demand for the Q4 e-tron, Audi’s compact electric SUV offering. 

So, with all the buzz around electric vehicles, are consumer’s ready to take the plunge into the world of electrification? Mannering seems to think so, but a number of considerations still need to be factored in.

“Consumer readiness varies based on numerous factors, just a few of those being accessibility, infrastructure, and individual preferences. However, if sales figures and sentiment are anything to go off, we’ve seen a growing interest in, and uptake of, both hybrid and electric vehicles,” says Mannering.

“This increased demand results in the introduction of a number of new models and choice for Australian consumers, with more and more electric vehicles arriving on each incoming ship. It’s crucial to acknowledge that consumers are increasingly considering these options as viable alternatives, especially with the expanding availability of charging infrastructure and the advancement of battery technology.”

If you’re entertaining a new vehicle and want to make it electric, here’s some things you might want to know beforehand…

Audi
Audi

What is an electric vehicle?

An electric vehicle—or ‘EV’— is powered by electricity and uses one (or more) electric motors powered by a battery pack to accelerate and drive, as opposed to traditional fossil fuels like petrol or diesel. Depending on the type of EV, the electric motor(s) either assist a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) or power the car completely.

What are the different types of electric vehicles? 

In the grand conversation of electrified vehicles, there’s three main types to consider: battery electric vehicles (BEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV).

Are hybrids better than electric?

It depends on your individual needs, and as Mannering mentioned, on various factors such as accessibility, infrastructure, and individual preferences.  While both hybrid and electric vehicles respectively present as great alternatives to your traditional combustion engine, factors need to be assessed, including driving habits, distance and range, access to charging infrastructure, and budget constraints. However, considering that 110,000 new car sales in Australia in 2023 were hybrid or plug-in hybrid—compared to 87,000 electric vehicles—it’s obvious hybrid vehicles present as a viable solution for those seeking to steer away from traditional cars, but might not be ready to plunge fully into the electric world.

“Hybrids offer a transitional solution for those who may not yet have access to extensive charging infrastructure or require longer driving ranges,” adds Mannering.

What is the downside of a hybrid car?

As we’ve made clear by now, hybrid cars offer several advantages, such as improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions compared to traditional petrol-powered vehicles. However, there are some trade offs, like:

  • Cost: currently, hybrid models are associated with more complex systems across controls and batteries. While they incorporate both an internal combustion engine and electric motor, such complexity can often result in higher manufacturing costs (and potentially maintenance costs, too).
  • Not fully electric: As most hybrid vehicles typically have a limited range of electric-only propulsion before the combustion engine kicks in, the environmental benefits of using electric power and somewhat limited, both short-term and long-term.
  • Charging Infrastructure: As hybrid cars do not require charging from an external power source—unlike plug-in hybrid vehicles or fully electric vehicles—owners won’t be able to take advantage of the growing infrastructure of charging stations around the country.

Should I choose electric or hybrid car?

Again, it depends on your particular needs and circumstances. Currently, hybrid vehicles offer improved fuel efficiency without the range limitations of electric vehicles—you won’t need to rely on finding or planning for a recharge station on your next trip—but electric vehicles will, sooner or later, be the most prominent form of automotive transportation.

“On the other hand, electric vehicles represent the pinnacle of sustainable mobility and a high level of uncompromised performance, offering zero-emission driving with advanced battery technology and an ever-expanding charging network,” concludes Mannering.

Is charging an electric vehicle easy?

Easy enough! In fact, EV charging can be as easy as plugging in your phone to charge. However, you need to ensure there is a suitable charging station available. While a lot of car manufactures will offer you a charging station to install at home with your purchase, such as Tesla and Polestar, in recent years, there has been wide concern over the scarcity of electric charging infrastructure in Australia.

Typically, you will find electric charging stations at different public locations, like supermarkets, public carparks, highway service centres, and some accommodation venues. However, with the growing number of EV sales in Australia alone, the system needs stronger charging infrastructure that is robust and reliable—and readily available— and this will come down to a number of industry stakeholders and government bodies coming together to supply the demand.

 



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Millennials Are Coming for Your Golf Communities

Living on golf courses has surged in popularity since the pandemic. Many courses have upgraded facilities and broadened amenities. Now the 40-year-olds want in too.

By JESSICA FLINT
Sun, Apr 21, 2024 8 min

Gabrielle Sloan, 30, and her husband, Brandon Sloan, 30, never thought they’d live on a golf course. Gabrielle doesn’t even play golf—yet, at least.

But in January 2020, the Sloans spent $660,000 to buy a three-bedroom, roughly 1,960-square-foot ranch house on approximately 0.25 acres that backs up to the course at Tequesta Country Club, a private golf club in Tequesta, Fla., a village on Palm Beach County’s northern border.

Gabrielle and Brandon Sloan with their son and dog at their house in Tequesta, Fla. PHOTO: JAMES JACKMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“We loved how family-friendly the neighbourhood is,” says Gabrielle, noting that the club is catering to a younger crowd. “That lifestyle is something we wanted.”

Across the U.S., millennials like the Sloans are moving to where the grass is greener: private golf communities. “Millennials are starting to solidify their lives,” says Cindy Scholz, a real-estate broker with Compass in New York City and the Hamptons, on New York’s Long Island. “And they are strategically using real estate to shape their lifestyles.”

In Texas, about 10 miles west of downtown Austin is Barton Creek, a community where the Barton Creek Country Club is a selling point. “Before the pandemic, millennials were sporadically buying in Barton Creek,” says Stephanie Nick, a Douglas Elliman sales agent. “Now it’s a full-bore, ‘let’s get going on the country club lifestyle’ movement.”

In Barton Creek, Nick says millennial house hunters typically budget about $3 million to $4 million. In 2023, she sold a millennial a four-bedroom, 5,500-square-foot house for $3.5 million. Recently, she showed a $5 million house to a young couple with one child.

Nick believes millennials—born between 1981 and 1996—are tired of paying more for less in the city. In Austin, $3 million might buy a roughly 3,000-square-foot house on a small parcel, she says, whereas that same price in Barton Creek might buy a 5,000-square-foot to 6,000-square-foot house on a half to one acre in a community with easy access to four 18-hole golf courses, tennis, workout facilities, swimming and more.

In Georgia, Mary Catherine Smith, a real estate agent with Corcoran Classic Living, says millennials are moving to Jennings Mill Country Club, less than five miles south of downtown Athens. In March, Smith listed a typical Jennings Mill property—a five bedroom, 4,984 square foot house on 1.07 acres—for $965,000.

One reason Smith thinks young homeowners gravitate to the club is for its social life. “Many Jennings Mills residents have golf carts,” she says. “They’ll trolley around together on the weekend.”

“There are millennials who have never picked up a golf club, and a country club neighbourhood is still the only place they want to be,” says Byron Wood, a real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty – Westlake Village Brokerage, about 10 miles from Los Angeles’s city limits.

Millennials moving to private golf communities is a trend that might have seemed unthinkable before the Covid pandemic, when such enclaves seemed destined for the rough due to waning interest in the sport, especially among young people.

Then an unlikely coincidence occurred.

A bucket of balls at the Bermuda Dunes Country Club. PHOTO: OLIVIA ALONSO GOUGH FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Golf play surged during the pandemic and continues to grow: In 2023, more golf rounds were played than any other year on record, according to the National Golf Foundation.

Meanwhile, since the Great Recession, there are private golf clubs that have been transforming themselves into amenity-rich lifestyle hubs, whose resort-style pools, sports facilities, fitness centres, dining and social programming have broad appeal, says Jason Becker, co-founder and CEO of Golf Life Navigators, an online platform that connects golfers to golf clubs and golf communities across the U.S.

At the same time, during the pandemic, millennials started turning 40 years old. Research from Club Benchmarking, a private golf club business intelligence firm, shows that the average age of new private golf club joiners is early 40s, says Michael J. Timmerman, the company’s chief market intelligence officer.

That means at the same time golf and private golf clubs came back into style, the next generation of Muffys and Skips were primed to start their country club years.

Consequently, the NGF has seen a shift toward younger private golf club members on the heels of the pandemic. Since 2019, the number of golfers at private golf clubs has increased by approximately 25%, from just under 1.5 million to 1.9 million, according to the NGF. Adults under the age of 50 comprise 60% of those memberships, with young adults, ages 18 to 34, representing about 30%. The latter can include adult children of members, typically up to a certain age.

There is no one-size-fits-all U.S private golf club community. Some clubs have housing within their gates; other clubs are integrated within regular residential neighbourhoods. Roughly speaking, a top-tier club’s golf initiation fee could be $250,000 or much more, with annual dues in the mid-tens of thousands and up. However, there are also clubs with golf initiation fees and annual dues in the low thousands or less. Typically, there are lower-priced membership options that don’t include golf, such as social or pool- and tennis-only memberships.

In December 2021, Tyson Hawley, 37, and his wife, Maital Hawley, 40, paid $1.15 million for a turnkey four bedroom, 4,272 square foot house on 0.4 acres backing up to the golf course at the Bermuda Dunes Country Club. It’s located in California’s greater Palm Springs area, which has more than 110 golf courses, of which more than half are private.

“I leave my house and I’m on my club’s first tee in two minutes,” Tyson Hawley says. Hawley is a real estate agent with Desert Sotheby’s International Realty. He says within a prestigious desert club’s gates, houses might be in the multi-millions. However, there are lower priced golf community options that work for his millennial buyers, who typically have house budgets of about $800,000 to $1.2 million, he says.

undefined “It is very possible to buy a house at $350 per square foot in a golf community and be super pumped about what you get for your membership,” he says. “There are clubs that understand that millennials are in a season of their lives where they can’t hang with the big dogs paying $250,000 for an initiation fee.”

Golf Life Navigators’s Jason Becker says some private clubs have invested in their amenities, golf course and branding, while others have not and rely upon their historic status. “Millennials are very cautious by nature in terms of their finances and investments,” Becker says. “Industry officials are seeing very in-depth questions coming from millennials pertaining to the club’s financial health and long-term plan to remain healthy.”

Becker says there are, of course, golf communities where there aren’t many younger members, specifically those in the U.S.’s Southeast or Southwest that are geared toward retirees or second-home owners. “There’s just so much demand from the baby boomers,” says Becker, noting that since the pandemic, generally speaking, membership wait lists are now lengthy, fees associated with being a member are up, attrition rates are down and tee time availability is compressed. He added that the cost of being a member at some clubs can be prohibitive for younger people, especially in an era when the average initiation fee at a private club has increased 50% to 70% since 2021. In the Sunbelt, the average age of private golf club searchers is between ages 55 to 57, according to Golf Life Navigators’s data.

That’s not a hard-and-fast rule, though. In the Phoenix area, Lisa Roberts is a real-estate agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. She is working with a young millennial couple at McCormick Ranch Golf Club, in Scottsdale. They recently went into contract for $1.1 million on a three bedroom, 2,550 square foot house on 0.21 acre. “They plan to upgrade once they have children and a more established income,” Roberts says, “but this house lets them lay a foundation within the club’s gates now.”

Becker says whether younger people will be battling generational stereotypes hinges on the club’s culture, which sets the tone for all members. “It is up to the club’s board and management team to lead the way of established culture, such as playing music on the golf course or wearing a hat in the clubhouse,” Becker says. “For younger, new members, the club’s culture has to be understood or frustration will likely surface.”

Club Benchmarking’s Michael J. Timmerman says, “It really depends on how the club is designed, whether the club wants to focus on programming that will attract different members.” Timmerman adds that clubs catering to younger members and families will develop social programming specifically tailored to that age group.

Around the communities of Monterey and Carmel on California’s Central Coast, there are storied golf courses including the public Pebble Beach Golf Links and the private Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Nic Canning, managing partner at Canning Properties Group with Sotheby’s International Realty – Carmel Brokerage, says retirees and second-home owners typically live around these premiere courses, where he says properties can range from roughly $15 million to $35 million around Pebble Beach, and $3 million to $10 million around MPCC.

However, the area is rich with golf—there are roughly a dozen public courses and a half-dozen private clubs—and Canning has seen an influx of millennials buying in  family-friendly private golf communities such as the Club at Pasadera, Santa Lucia Preserve and Tehama Golf Club, and the semi-private Carmel Valley Ranch. He says since the pandemic, the area has particularly attracted tech workers migrating from Silicon Valley, with San Jose being only about 70 miles north.

At these clubs, Canning has recently sold millennials properties such as a three bedroom, 2,717-square-foot house on approximately 0.23 acres for $3.792 million, and a house with roughly similar specs for $2.7 million. Another house that has three bedrooms and 4,396 square feet on 13.3 acres just sold to a millennial for $4.42 million.

“Millennials are less driven by ocean views and care more about the community, the school district and access to things like restaurants, grocery shopping, trails and beaches,” Canning says.

Similarly, millennials want to equip their private golf-club houses a certain way. Kate O’Hara, CEO and creative director of O’Hara Interiors, which is based in Minneapolis and Austin, says the country club houses her firm works on might include everything from golf-simulator rooms and yoga studios, to outdoor-access showers and expanded mudrooms for equipment storage.

Back in Tequesta, Fla., the Sloans spent about $150,000 to optimise their house to fit their lifestyle, including adding durable furnishings and built-in cabinetry and jazzing up their outdoor entertaining area. They did so with the help of local interior designer Victoria Meadows Murphy, 35, who has a knack for taking the Bob Hope vibes out of country club homes without losing the martini spirit.

Meadows Murphy and her husband, Evan Murphy, 35, are building their own house, a project budgeted at $2.8 million, on a tear-down lot on the Sloans’s same golf course. “It’s exciting seeing the turnover of houses as young people are moving in,” Meadows Murphy says.

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