You can’t put a price on the joy of never having to go to a gas station again. That alone pretty much convinces me to go electric for my next (hypothetical) car purchase.
An EV purchase is admittedly more expensive upfront compared to buying most new gas-powered vehicles. But for those who want something practical to bite into when mulling the decision, there’s a whole list of benefits, perks, incentives, cash money, whatever you want to call it, that awaits you.
Tesla prominently features all these savings for you directly on the purchase section of its website just to show how important they think it is. Even though Tesla’s federal tax credit has expired now that it’s 2020 (and Chevy Bolt’s tax credit expiration date is quickly approaching), going electric doesn’t mean constantly draining your bank account, especially with creative programs out there to promote cleaner vehicles. There are plenty of ways to save when you buy an EV (you’ll never throw away $50 at the pump in minutes during a quick pit stop).
One new EV incentive comes from Audi. Starting Tuesday for the next 3,000 Audi E-tron buyers (pre-owned qualifies you as well), you get a free solar power credit for the next 10 years. Through a community solar program subscription with Arcadia, your energy bill credits you for renewable energy generated from a nearby solar project. As part of the subscription, you’ll get up to 2,400 miles worth of electric charging knocked off your energy bill each year. The subscription is free for the next decade.
Yes, it’s an expensive $75,000 upfront investment in a new E-tron, but you have to think about savings further down the line. Looking beyond Audi — there are more affordable starting prices for EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and some Tesla models — you can go state by state and find different state, city, and utility offers. Charging network ChargePoint has a guide that includes state programs with available EV benefits. Many states still don’t have any programs (we counted 20 from Alaska to Wyoming), but with EVs gaining popularity, that’s expected to change soon.
Anne Smart, ChargePoint’s vice president of public policy, told Mashable about data and studies from states and nonprofits that link more EV benefits to increased EV adoption. “This will become even more relevant as more electrified models become available in the coming years,” she wrote in an email.
“Incentives help to increase adoption, generate awareness, and motivate initial growth in an early market to help create a firm foundation for future growth. In the next five to 10 years, we anticipate a significant increase in new EV models, which will continue to spur demand and accelerate adoption,” she continued.
In places where local governments and utilities want you to go electric, a bevy of perks are on offer. States like California give free HOV or commuter-lane access to EV owners. Free parking, or “premium” parking closer to entrances, is offered to EV owners in other places. In Hawaii, all parking meters are free for EV drivers.
Tax credits, electric bill credits, and discounts and rebates for new EV sales and leases are also common in states like California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, and more. Car-specific rebates, like Nebraska’s deal with Nissan Leaf and Audi E-tron purchases (that’s $1,000 off the purchase price) are usually available through energy companies.
There’s always a downer in the bunch. Places like Illinois want it to cost more for electric-vehicle owners. Like, $250 a year more. (This was originally proposed as a $1,000 annual fee for EVs, so things are improving somewhat.)
So, while Tesla’s calculations might seem like fuzzy math, those perks can add up.