Electric vehicles: your top questions answered
Electric cars can save you money on fuel and reduce your carbon footprint. More Vermonters are plugging in, but there are a few things to consider before you make the switch. Below, we answer your most frequently asked questions.
Many people associate electric cars with high-end brands like Tesla, but there are a wide variety of models and price ranges available right here in Vermont. New cars retail for $23,000 or more, with used cars as low as $6,000. Leases can be as low as $200/month.
If you purchase a new electric car, you can receive up to $7,500 back as a federal tax credit, bringing Vermont’s lowest-priced model cost down to $15,500. Additional local rebates and special offers are available.
In Vermont, charging an electric car costs about the same as paying $1.50 per gallon of gas. You’ll use more electricity, but it will still only cost you about half as much to drive an electric vehicle as a gas-powered car, on average.
If you drive an all-electric car, you’ll also eliminate the cost of regular oil changes, cooling system flushes, transmission services and replacement of air filters, spark plugs, and drive belts. Even with a plug-in hybrid model (an electric car with a gas tank backup for longer trips), you won’t have to perform these services as often.
Most owners charge their electric cars the way they do their cellphones: by plugging in at home, overnight. You can charge your car with a dedicated 120-volt outlet, or you can install a 240-volt charging station for faster charging (about 10-20 miles of range for each hour that you are plugged in). 240-volt home charging equipment and installation costs about $2,000-$3,000.
Some workplaces offer electric car charging onsite for a fee, or free of charge. There are also over 160 public charging stations available across Vermont, including dozens of fast chargers that can charge any electric car in under 20 minutes.
Cold weather will deplete a battery charge more quickly. Vermont owners have reported a reduction in range on days with lower temperatures. On very cold days you’ll want to plan for shorter trips or minimize use of your car heater.
With proper tires, electric cars are a match for most Vermont roads and winter conditions. In fact, owners often report better traction in snow than conventional gas-powered vehicles because of the heavier battery.
Electric cars are held to the same rigorous automotive safety testing and standards as conventional vehicles. They are additionally required to meet electric vehicle standards that ensure safe battery storage and crash protection. Most common models have received 4- and 5-star crash test safety ratings from the National Transport and Safety Authority. And because of their heavy batteries, electric cars are less likely to roll over during a crash.