Marin County is known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to environmentalism in the United States. Are we the greenest we could possibly be? No, of course not; but, on average, we do our best to do right by the planet, especially when there is an incentive to enjoy a solid ROI while doing so. That is the case with the growing number of electric vehicles you’re seeing in Marin County. If you’re considering the switch, we’ll help you out with a few pointers.
What to Consider When Considering an EV
We’ve all heard the buzz around electric vehicles, but how much of the hype can possibly translate into real benefits for the average consumer? Today, we’ll break down a few of the major pros and cons of electric vehicles as things stand in 2017; recognizing, of course, that the future offerings could be wildly different in as little as a year.
Federal Subsidy Hype
If any among us remember the mad dash to car dealerships caused by the Bush administration’s “Cash for Clunkers” program, then you know well the power of government subsidies on vehicle purchases. In case you don’t remember it, the government was providing reimbursements in the form of a subsidy to dealerships that took in “clunkers” as trade-ins toward a new modern, fuel-efficient upgrade. Within weeks, the nationwide subsidy was used up and numerous clunker owners were the proud, subsidized owners of more energy-efficient alternatives.
Today, we’re looking at a different version of the very same type of subsidy: The federal subsidy on EVs. This subsidy allows for a tax credit of up to 7,500 dollars upon successful purchase of an EV. Sounds great, right? 7,500 dollars toward a new vehicle purchase is enough to get anyone wondering about the efficacy of such a deal, especially when one considers that most states also tack on a stackable incentive in the form of an additional tax credit or instant rebate. Don’t get your checkbook just yet, though, as there are some major setbacks to this program as it currently stands, including:
- A strange 200,000 vehicle limit on the subsidy imposed upon the manufacturer that will take years for most vehicle brands to reach, but run out for EV titan Tesla within the year of 2017 by most projections. After the 200,000 subsidy mark is reached, every vehicle bought after that is (currently) ineligible; meaning there will plenty of disappointed folks once the 400,000 backordered Model 3s hit the market.
- It is a tax incentive, not an instant rebate. This is a huge distinction, as you may not be eligible to receive the full amount in the form of dollars if your household’s owed income tax is under 7,500 dollars. The government isn’t paying you this money in the form of a delay, just offsetting your income tax owed up to the amount qualified for with the vehicle purchase.
- Plus, if you buy in January 2017, you won’t see that money until you file taxes in 2018 – which means a year or more in payments on that extra 7,500 dollars. Yes, this means that purchase price of the vehicle is the same; you can pretend your 37,500 Chevy Bolt really costs 30,000, but you’ll still pay income tax on 37,500, borrow or spend up to 37,500, and be stuck paying 37,500 if your tax credit doesn’t come through for some reason.
- Not all subsidies were created equally, meaning that your 7,500 credit on a Volt may only amount to about 5,000 dollars on a hybrid EV, or 2,500 on a different model – so be sure to get the specifics on that make and model.
In short, be careful about only getting an electric vehicle for the federal subsidies. These incentives should be seen as a delightful perk to a family already interested in EVs, but are hardly worth the effort for those just looking for a new Cash for Clunkers-style deal. That said, putting upwards of 10 grand in your pocket for a new car purchase is far from the worst thing in the world!
The Actual Perks of EV Ownership
If you’re looking at why to buy an electric vehicle, look no further than your wallet. On top of the “fixed” costs of vehicle ownership, which include payments and insurance premiums, the variable costs of vehicle ownership primarily center around gasoline and “tune-ups,” a bizarre word for regular oil-based engine maintenance. EVs largely cut out the variable costs of vehicle ownership; as the oil-based engine is removed, so too are the need for gasoline and oil changes. Most EV owners receive very minor maintenance much less often and for far less cost, often including only tire rotation and changes, windshield wiper upgrades, and other “minor” things. Ditching the need for fuel filters, regular oil changes (and mechanic upsell opportunities), and the weekly/bi-weekly need for a gas fill-up are really, really enticing to most people.
Beyond the lack of an oil-based engine, the other major perk of EV ownership is the environmental benefit. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of climate change, we can all agree that a cleaner, more breathable air in our home and community is a benefit worth tacking onto the bill of an EV. For those that believe in man-made environmental impact on a global scale, an EV is a great way to take one small step in the right direction without having to sacrifice your quality of life or make major sweeping changes in any way; simply trade out your vehicle to an EV, and you’re already doing better by the planet.
Budget for a Level 2 Charger
Whether or not you’re able to take advantage of regional or national incentives on the purchase of an electric vehicle, you will absolutely want to consider installing a level 2 charger in your home. While new car purchases will come with a charging cord, they are often not strong enough to even fully charge your EV throughout the night, taking up to 4 times as long to fill your battery than a Level 2 EV charger would.
For those in Marin County, contact Divine Electric for hassle-free, experienced EV charger installation in your home. We have numerous 240-volt charging stations to choose from and can provide you with a solution that will work for your current and future EVs, including all major brands! Plus, they can even be dismounted and re-installed in your new home, should you choose to move. Contact our team right away for more information on our electric car charger installation services throughout Marin County!