Ah, fresh spring air and that new car smell. Both are just around the corner. For many, this time of year represents a start to travel season, visiting family and friends, adventuring to new places, or enjoying the usual vacation spot. But, how are you going to get there? Many are opting to hit the road in an electric vehicle, enjoying a quiet ride and rapidly accelerating through the great outdoors.
For the first year ever – plug-in SUVs are available — along with sedans, hatch backs, luxury and sports cars. More than 25 models from major automakers are available. Some are all-electric with travel range from 82-265+ miles. Others are plug-in hybrids, which enable electric travel for most daily trips, but also extended ranges of 500+ miles with a small-efficiency gasoline engine.
Improvements in vehicle performance and new models are driving this increased interest in electric vehicles. The low price of electricity has also helped drivers’ wallets. But, the other big announcement driving electric vehicle demand this year is that automakers are preparing to deliver a handful of new electric models that have a range of more than 200 miles that are priced below the average price of a new car. In many cases, after incentives, the cost of a new electric car is between $20,000 and 30,000. If you don’t usually purchase a new car, consider a lightly used electric vehicle coming off a lease. Because electric vehicles have now been offered for more than 5 years, getting a previously leased vehicle is another affordable option.
Vehicles with 200+ miles of range and priced under $35,000 — like the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt — won’t be available until 2017 or 2018. But in the meantime, local non-profits and communities are working with auto dealers to negotiate excellent discounts of more than 40% off of existing models. Drive Electric Minnesota teamed up with Nissan in March 2016 and increased sales up to 4 times the monthly amount. Boulder County and stakeholders are currently working with Nissan and BMW, through June 30th, in a similar promotion after huge success at the end of 2015. Combine those deals with the low cost of electricity – which is about $1 per gasoline gallon equivalent – and you’ve got a fun and affordable new car to drive.
Finally, when it comes to charging, it’s easy in Xcel Energy’s territory. Most EV drivers plug in to a common 120V outlet, in their home, or upgrade to a 240V charger — like an electric clothes dryer. For those who want to charge on the go or live in multi-unit homes, there are more than 500 public EV chargers, including more than 40 fast chargers that can refuel your car in 30-60 minutes. Visit XcelEnergy.com/EV if you have any questions about electric costs or charging capacity, or if you are looking to install a charging station for your home or business.