Three Reasons Why an Electric Vehicle Should Be on Your Wish List This Year!

Tesla electric vehicle charging station at Stonefield Commons in Charlottesville

Tesla electric vehicle charging station at Stonefield Commons in Charlottesville

If you’re in the market for a new car, the end of the year is a great time to buy! And with a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, why not make it an electric or plug-in hybrid?

December brings a bevy of end-of-year auto price reductions and holiday discounts and let’s just say... dealers are in the mood to negotiate to reach their sales goals and move old inventory. Add to that the variety of state and federal incentives available to buyers of EVs or hybrids, and well, you’re in a solid position to score the deal of the year on a new fossil-free ride.

1. Financial Incentives

The state and federal government offer a range of incentives on “alternative fuel vehicles.” The federal tax credit of up to $7,500 on purchases of all-electric or plug-in hybrids is especially enticing.

And for our neighbors in NoVA, vehicles that are “exclusively powered by clean fuel, including compressed or liquified natural gas, electricity, or solar energy” are exempt from city- and county-specific emissions inspections.

Have you had your eye on the Nissan Leaf? If you’re a current employee or customer of a Virginia utility, you may qualify for a $3,000 rebate on this particular 2018 all-electric car model. (Rebate expires on January 2, 2019.)  

And we recently got to test drive the Chevy Bolt and share CleanTechnica’s enthusiastic and positive review of this EV that can go 238 miles on a full charge!

Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles “Green Driver State Incentives in Virginia” section for more info on all available ways to save on EVs or hybrids.

2. Driving Perks

Another perk to going green with your vehicle: If you have a qualifying eco-friendly car that runs on “clean special fuel” (electric, compressed or liquified natural gas, methane, solar or hybrid gasoline/electric) and its displays the Virginia Clean Special Fuel license plate, your vehicle will be exempt from occupancy requirements on select HOV lanes. Again, this may be most useful for our Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads neighbors, unless you commute in that direction often.

3. Environmental and Other Benefits

  • The average EV gets 100 to 125 miles per gallon (equivalent). EVs cost about 3.5 cents per mile for fuel, while the average gas car that gets 25 mpg costs about 8 cents per mile for gas. Talk about fuel savings!

  • EVs have low-cost maintenance. Since EVs don’t have a gas engine, there are no oil changes, spark plugs or transmission service. Maintenance is mostly the tires. Batteries generally come with warranties of 8-10 years.   

  • EVs are fun to drive! They’re fast and quiet and with direct power from the batteries to the wheels, they accelerate quickly and are very responsive. Leave the muscle car next to you at the stop sign in the dust!

You can read more about the energy-saving perks of buying an electric vehicle or hybrid vehicle at our Home Energy Challenge website.

Charging 101

At home, you can just plug your EV into your regular socket. However, that may trip your circuit breaker, so it’s optimal to have an electrician install a 240-volt socket (the kind that your dryer likely uses).

You should also know that there are three EV charging speeds — basic (level 1), regular (level 2) and fast. We detail the differences in speed levels and more of the FYIs of charging here.

Away from home? You can charge your new Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, or whichever clean fuel-powered make-model you choose at one of the more than 20 EV charging stations in the Charlottesville area. Another source for longer trips: The Department of Energy maps available public charging stations across the country. We also like to reference Plug In America’s charging station map.

Grey McLean, C3’s founder loves his electric car. “My EV is super, super fun to drive,” he says. “And I love saving money and time every week by not going to the gas station!”

The dashboard of the EV Chevy Bolt that allows you to monitor your charging settings.

The dashboard of the EV Chevy Bolt that allows you to monitor your charging settings.