Get up to speed on the costs and benefits of owning an electric vehicle (EV) in the Green Mountain State.
Transportation accounts for nearly half of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions and gas isn’t cheap. Electric cars and trucks are better for the environment, three times more efficient, and often more affordable and practical when you account for the full cost of ownership. With a growing used vehicle market, all-wheel-drive options, the introduction of electric pick-up trucks, and prices to fit every budget, EVs are quickly becoming the preferred option for earth- and cash-conscious buyers.
Cost of Ownership
The average car owner pays about $8,500 in fuel and maintenance costs each year. So while you might pay a bit more to purchase an electric car, you’ll save more on gas and maintenance costs—sometimes much more, depending on how much you drive. That’s because your maintenance needs are lower (no gas, no oil changes) and because charging your vehicle costs about the same as paying $1.50 per gallon at the pump, or in some cases significantly less with special off-peak rates available from several Vermont electric utilities. All told, electric car owners pay about half as much in maintenance costs and $900 less in fuel each year. EV owners can also take advantage of purchase incentives to further drive down costs.
- Electric cars are usually more expensive to buy, but less expensive to own.
- EVs don’t require oil changes and have less parts to swap out.
- Charging your car at home is the same as paying $1.50/gallon of gas.
- EV purchase incentives can help you save even more—sometimes upwards of $14,000 off the sticker price.
Choosing a Vehicle
Once there were only a handful of electric car models to choose from. But now there are dozens of options, including all-wheel-drive models that can stand up to the worst winter weather. Most major car manufacturers have or will soon launch multiple EV makes and models, with some committing to electrifying all their models as soon as 2025. Compare all models currently available in Vermont at DriveElectricVT.
Choose from an all-electric (AEV) model for maximum savings, or a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with a gas tank backup. Most new AEVs can go two hundred miles or more before you need to plug in. Tesla, Ford, Chevrolet, Volvo, Kia, Nissan, Audi, BMW, and others have models that can go 200-400 miles between charges. Keep in mind that on very cold Vermont days (think -4°F), the average EV’s range will be about half the manufacturer’s official rating.
- Compare all EVs available in Vermont at DriveElectricVT.
- Plug in your car in your garage or at public EV stations, and go a hundred miles or more on a single charge.
- You will have less range driving on very cold days.
Leasing vs. Buying, Used vs. New
There are a few perks to leasing an EV. One is that leasing companies can roll a federal EV tax credit into your lease arrangement, letting you take advantage of this incentive immediately rather than waiting for next year’s tax season and facing uncertainties over how much of the credit you may be eligible to claim. Another is that you’ll avoid the risk of car depreciation, since EV technology is still rapidly evolving. Otherwise, the pros and cons of leasing are similar to gas-powered cars: your maintenance costs will usually be lower since the vehicle will be under warranty for the lease term, although you’ll usually pay more for your vehicle in the long run under leasing, and you’ll need to keep an eye on your annual mileage to stay within lease mileage allowances. For buyers considering a used EV, make sure to check on battery health and the vehicle current range capability.
- Leasing lets you take advantage of incentives now.
- Leasing avoids the risk of high depreciation as vehicle technology evolves.
- Other pros and cons are the same as leasing vs. buying a gas-powered car.
- If buying used, check the vehicle’s battery life and current range.
EVs with Heat Pumps
Yes, it’s true! Several EV models come with an option for heat pump cabin heaters to improve heating efficiency. We also recommend springing for heated seats and steering wheels. They’re more efficient than cabin heaters, heat pump or not, and can help extend your range on cold days.
- Heat pumps in cars, much like homes, heat the space more efficiently.
- Car cabin heat pump systems don’t work as well at temperatures under 15° F.
- Consider opting for heated seats and steering wheels, too, which are more efficient than any cabin heating system.