Electric Cars Cost Less Than You'd Think

Electric car charging

Paul Wellman

Electric car charging

Electric Drive 805, a new coalition between Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, wants all car drivers to know about the financial feasibility and benefits of purchasing electric vehicles. The coalition is also encouraging more locations to install charging stations, such as at housing complexes, workplaces, and community centers.

According to Danny McQuillan, a representative from Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, most reservations about electric vehicles stem from a lack of information about pricing and rebates. About 40 electric vehicle models are on the market today with some spread in price, and some are as affordable as gas or diesel options through the use of State of California and Southern California Edison (SCE) utility rebates.

A boon to those who refuse to pay full retail, the combination of rewards and rebates can take $14,500 off the price of a Nissan Leaf, for instance. SCE offers $1,000 in Clean Fuel Rewards for customers who purchase electric vehicles after January 1, and a $450 rebate for those buying one before 2019. Even purchasers of second and third electric vehicles qualify for the money-back promotion. As well, SCE customers get another $3,500 rebate if they buy a new Nissan LEAF up to April Fool's Day.

Another incentive to go zero-emission is that operation and maintenance costs for electric vehicles are generally lower than for gas or diesel. McQuillan said the cost of charging an electric vehicle at home is equivalent to paying $1.50 per gallon of gas for a traditional car.

The coalition, which includes the Community Environmental Council, Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition, Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance, and the Air Pollution Control Districts of the three counties, is focusing some of its efforts to get lower-income residents into less-polluting vehicles.

Rebates are also available for businesses and residential complexes that install electric vehicle chargers. SCE offers rebates for locations that install 10 or more electric vehicle chargers.

Electric Drive 805 hopes to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and thereby protect citizen health, as well as to meet state mandates on the number of electric vehicles on the road. California's goal is 5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2030. The state reached 500,000 electric vehicles as of November 2018.