You might think that meant he had to invest in an expensive charger for his garage (called a level 2 charger – LVL2). It hasn’t, he says he has been able to do almost all of his charging from a regular household outlet, or around town in Keene or Brattleboro using a LVL2 or DC fast charger. Some LVL2 chargers cost and all DC fast chargers do but he doesn’t use them much, and he still is saving lots of dollars over a gasoline-powered car.
He can use his standard outlet plug directly into his car for 5-6 hours for about 25 miles of added range. Being retired, and traveling mostly around town, that is all he needs most days. His car has a range of about 200-250 miles, so charging overnight works out except maybe when he needs to go to Concord or beyond. (Note – winter driving lowers range – thus 200 miles in the winter and 250 miles in the summer).
If he needs to do a trip to the ski slopes or to Concord, a quick trip to a LVL2 or DC fast charger beforehand to “top off” and he is on his way. He says he wishes Eversource would provide incentives for EV purchasers to install LVL2 chargers in their garages. That would make it even easier for him to take longer trips without charging up at local stations in nearby cities or towns.
COST – CHARGING VS. GASOLINE
How much does he spend on electricity charging his car? Well, that’s tricky because John already invested in solar and paid for his array years ago. He is getting free energy from this sun these days. His annual bill from Eversource pre-EV was about $350/yr. This past year it was $500. He can’t say for sure it was all due to the new EV – some fees went up – the weather isn’t always the same – but he figures it is safe to say that it cost him about $200/yr to charge his car. He compares this with about $500/yr for his Prius. So, he is seeing savings even compared to his previous hybrid engine.
SAVINGS – FEDERAL TAX CREDIT
He also was able to take advantage of a federal tax credit for electric vehicles. The Bolt no longer qualifies for this credit, too many were sold, but other vehicles do. Check out the list on the federal site and see if there is a car that interests you that still is available for tax credit savings. Also worth noting is that until the end of 2020 you can install a LVL2 charger in your garage or outdoor parking area and also receive a tax write off. Look at the PluginAmerica article here that offers specifics and links.
CHARGING UP YOUR VEHICLE
How easy it is to find charging stations? Well, even for someone like John who doesn’t have every app on his phone it hasn’t been difficult. For those more tech-savvy likely even easier. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to go out on the road prepared as some areas in NH are charging deserts. He says he likes to rely on EVGo and Chargepoint, the two big EV-charging companies in the northeast, and a good bet to find coverage. Plus, places like hotels often offer free charging, at least for a limited time. He takes advantage of free charging when he can. A hotel he frequents in Boston offers four hours of charging, that’s 100 free miles, so John is happy to go out and unplug in time to enjoy the extra range.
Check out FCM page for links to Apps that help you find charging locations.
IT’S GREAT TO OWN AN EV
Finally, John wants everyone to know how much he loves his vehicle and his new lifestyle. Not only is he saving money, but he is also helping reduce air pollution and reducing greenhouse gases. EVs are three times more efficient than a gasoline engine, have instant power off the accelerator, and are so quiet to drive. (Don’t worry, car companies are working on outside noise for pedestrians to know they are there while keeping the cabin quiet.) Plus, his last maintenance was less than $50, an air cabin filter change. He sat in the car dealership and felt sympathy for those who were experiencing much higher priced check-ups.
MAINTENANCE SAVINGS – FLEET MANAGERS KNOW
EVs only have about 200 moving parts, gasoline engines have thousands. It is easy to see how more things can go wrong and drive up maintenance costs. In fact, New York state government analysis shows that comparing the two types of vehicles there is about $1600 annual difference maintenance fees (see the article with the embedded link to data). That is why fleet managers are working to green their fleets and bring charging infrastructure to their locations in cities like Boston and New York. It is only a matter of time before these vehicles transition to NH fleets. The first request for proposal (RFP) came out May 2020 to electrify a municipal lot in Concord.