Why Drive Electric?
With passenger vehicles making up to 35% of Newton’s greenhouse gas emissions, switching to an electric vehicle (EV) is one of the best ways to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint and impact on the environment. The benefits do not stop there, however. There are many other reasons your next car should be electric:
- Convenient charging at home: no more trips to the gas station or dependence on oil
- Fun to drive: electric cars are whisper quiet and with no internal gear shifting, the acceleration is fast and smooth
- Cost savings: EVs can save as much as $1,200 per year in fuel costs according to the Department of Energy. They also do not needoil changes, and have no transmission fluids, fuel pumps, timing belts and other components of a gasoline engine that need to be maintained
- Better for public health: They reduce harmful local air pollution that contributes to respiratory illnesses. Particularly in times of COVID-19, clean air matters. No smelly fumes and no need for hand-washing after using dirty nozzles for refueling either!
With financial incentives making it even easier to afford an EV, and an ever-growing number of EV models on the market at every price point, the time has never been better to electrify your ride.
What are My Options?
With more EV models available each year, there is truly something for everyone. See here for the latest guide from our partners at the Newton EV Task Force that shows the most current cars available with their base prices and range (updated April 2022). You can also use the Green Consumer Energy Alliance’s Electric Car Shopping Tool where you can enter what you are looking for in a car and they will provide a list of models that fit your criteria, as well as dealer discounts that are discussed in more detail below. Green Newton and the Newton EV Task Force also have several EV Expos around Newton throughout the year where you can view various models in person and talk to their owners about why they love their EVs.
If you’re not quite ready to make the switch to a fully electric vehicle, there are also plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). Unlike traditional hybrids, PHEVs run on only electricity for about 15 – 50 miles before the gas kicks in. If you drive short distances each day, you will never use gasoline, although it will be there in case of need. You may also consider a bicycle for short trips, and many models of electric bikes are now available for longer commutes or heavy loads. A list of PHEVs available on the market can also be found on the Newton EV Task Force guide.
While electric cars generally cost the same as gasoline-powered cars, there are currently several incentive programs to make the price of an EV even lower, whether you buy or lease!
- Federal tax incentives: The purchase of some electric vehicles qualify for federal income tax credits of up to $7,500 (excludes Tesla and GM models). The amount depends on the vehicle’s model, battery size, and, of course, your tax liability.
- Massachusetts rebate: In Massachusetts, the purchase of qualifying EVs under $50,000 are eligible for a $2,500 rebate through its MOR-EV program. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with an all-electric range of 25 miles or greater are eligible for a $1,500 rebate.
- Dealer discounts: You can receive substantial discounts on the purchase or lease of many brands and models of EVs through Green Energy Consumers Alliance’s Drive Green program, which partners with local dealerships to bring discounts straight to the consumer. If interested in leasing, the federal tax credits go to the dealer, which is why they will often offer attractive lease terms. To view deals, check out their Electric Car Shopping Tool, and upon selecting a car you will be able to view any Drive Green discounts available. These deals change on a regular basis so be sure to check the Drive Green website often, and bring the website information with you when you go to the dealership.
How does the Federal tax credit work?
A tax credit means an EV buyer will receive up to a $7,500 reduction in their tax liability for the year. However, it is only worth the full $7,500 if the tax bill is at least $7,500. If an EV buyer has a lower tax bill, the tax credit will only be for the lower amount.
How Does Charging Work?
Technically, you can plug your EV into any standard 110-120v outlet. This is sufficient to
completely recharge your car if you only drive up to 50 miles a day, since it will add about 5
miles of range per hour. If you regularly drive more, then you should install a Level II 240 volt charger, which will add up to 25 miles of range per hour. This should be done by a licensed electrician, and should cost approximately $1,000 to $1,200. If you are making multiple electric upgrades to your home, like installing an electric heat pump, you may need to also upgrade to 200amp service if you do not already have it. To really go green, opt up to 100% renewable energy through Newton Power Choice (current default is 80%) or consider putting solar panels on your roof so that the electricity you use to power your car comes from renewable sources.
And on the road…
Concerns over range and lack of charging stations used to be barriers to switching to an electric car, but no longer. While fully electric vehicles are constrained by their battery capacity, battery range has been improving each year. Most EVs now have ranges greater than 200 miles on a single charge, and some even have greater than 300 miles!
And with the network of charging stations expanding rapidly and the many apps to locate public charging stations, all it takes is a little planning for longer road trips. All it takes is 30 minutes to add between 90 and 250 miles to your car. Enter “charging stations newton MA” into a maps program or app and you’ll see all the charging stations already in your neighborhood. We particularly like the Plugshare and ChargePoint apps to find nearby charging stations.
Whether you are interested in driving electric or are already a proud EV owner, be sure to visit our Take Action! page to keep track of this and other climate actions you plan to take in order to reduce your carbon footprint.
If you already own an electric car, consider becoming an EV ambassador to encourage other Newton residents to join you. To help out, contact Newton EV Task Force, an organization that promotes EV driving in Newton and volunteer to showcase your car at one of our upcoming EV Expos!
Newton’s EV Task Force: [email protected]
City of Newton’s Energy Coach: https://newtonenergycoach.org/
Green Energy Consumer Alliance: [email protected] or 617-524-3950 ext. 7