plug in that car!

I've had my current (and, well, only) car for almost 10 years now. I keep saying that I'd love to keep my car for a few more years, as long as it holds out, and get an electric car once they are more mainstream and a bit less expensive.

In the past few weeks, amidst a friend almost buying a hybrid vehicle, and my own car taking two expensive trips to the shop, the thought of getting a new car has been forefront. I've always been a fan of hybrids, but my real dream is to own a fully electric vehicle.

I researched the availability of charging stations in my town, of which there is 1 - at a Nissan dealership. Car Stations provides a search feature for charging stations by zip code, and the US Department of Energy provides a search feature for all alternative fuel stations, including compressed natural gas, biodiesel and electric.

But, you can actually purchase your own charging station via Home Depot's website. It's a hefty chunk of change, but it would allow you to charge your vehicle while you're at home, and according to the Nissan Leaf website, the average homeowner should only see a moderate bump in their home utility bill. Most electric vehicles use a 240v charging dock.

The other big key to electric vehicles is the tax rebates. lists tax incentives for some electric vehicles. The US Department of Energy has an index of all federal and state laws and incentives. For example, the current Louisiana incentive is:

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Fueling Infrastructure Tax Credit

The state offers an income tax credit of 50% of the cost of converting a vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel, 50% of the incremental cost of purchasing an original equipment manufacturer AFV, and 50% of the cost of constructing an alternative fueling station. Only dedicated AFVs registered in Louisiana may receive the tax credit. Alternatively, a taxpayer may take a tax credit of 10% of the cost of the motor vehicle, up to $3,000. For the purpose of this incentive, alternative fuels include compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (propane), biofuel, biodiesel, methanol, ethanol, electricity, and any other fuels that meet or exceed federal clean air standards. (Reference Louisiana Revised Statutes 47:6035)
Practical Environmentalist has a comprehensive list of electric vehicles, but I'll simply focus on the more popular ones.

The Nissan Leaf is probably the biggest name in electric vehicles, and I believe is the best-selling. They have a range of 62 to 100 miles between charges and start at $35,200. Much of the interior fabric is made from recycled plastic water bottles. The Leaf also works with the Carwings app, allowing you to essentially control your car from your iPhone.

The Chevy Volt is another mainstream option. They have a range of 25 to 50 miles between charges and start at $39,990. They can also be charged through a 120v outlet, though 240v charges them faster. The Volt does contain a reserve gas tank for extended range.

Ford has made an electric version of their popular Focus. It gets a range of around 100 miles between charges and starts at $39,200. The Focus Electric boasts a cloth interior made of 100% recycled materials. The car also takes advantage of the MyFord app, which allows you to monitor and schedule charging your car, and can give you remote charging status updates.

And while not nearly as mainstream, but extremely adorable, is the Smart Electric. I've always been a fan of Smart Cars, but have never gotten to experience riding in one. The regular ones are plenty eco-friendly, but the electric version takes it to a whole new level. The vehicles are not officially out for sale yet, but you can peruse some of the features on the Smart website.

But while all these cars have great features, sleek designs, no emissions and tax incentives, are they actually going anywhere? My next post will explore that.

No comments

Back to Top