Four States That Rise Above the Rest When It Comes to EV Purchase & Infrastructure Incentives
Electric vehicles are quickly growing in popularity, and many states around the country are actively encouraging residents to purchase electric vehicles. Many buyers are purchasing electric vehicles after learning about the generous incentives that their states offer as well as the advantages to the environment. If you own an electric vehicle, or you’re considering making a purchase soon, below are the best states to buy and live with an electric vehicles. Each one has something special to offer buyers looking at EVs.
California is well-known as one of the very best states in which to own an electric car. Not only does the state provide generous tax breaks and incentives for car buyers to purchase electric vehicles, but there are charging stations in most towns and cities across the state. There are even special free charging spots in parking garages in the city of Sacramento, making it cheaper to drive around in an EV within the city. It’s highly convenient driving with an electric car there thanks to HOV lane-access that make traveling faster and easier to do. Below is a breakdown of some of the most common programs that California has in place for EV buyers currently.
Plugging in is easier and cheaper in some states
Low-income citizens in California can get money off a battery electric vehicle (BEV), a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or an electric motorcycle. Varying rebates are available from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project from $5,000 for fuel cell vehicles, to as little as $900 for electric motorcycles with electric cars falling in the middle of that number. Apply for the rebate within 18 months of purchasing a qualifying vehicle before funds are used up (the fund is typically replenished at each budget cycle in the fall).
There’s another rebate in place for residents of the South Coast Air Quality Management District offering between $2,500 and $4,500 for retiring an old vehicle amd replacing it with a low-emission model, including an electric vehicle. Residents that live in a “disadvantaged” community (according to state’s screening program) can get an additional $3,000 to $5,000 when retiring that old vehicle as well.
Not everyone will qualify for all the programs being offered in California, but many EV buyers can cut their costs significantly. And one state legislator has proposed an even more generous incentive program.
New York is a very EV-friendly state that offers plenty of perks to buyers that decide to go with plug-in or full-electric vehicles. The Drive Clean Rebate that kicked in on April 1, 2017, offers up to $2,000 toward the purchase of a PHEV or a BEV, making both vehicles more affordable. There’s also a special charging point rebate that offers up to $5,000 in rebates or 50 percent of the installation cost at qualifying locations. Insurance companies within the state are well-known for offering EV discounts to drivers. There is special plug-in vehicle parking at commercial buildings around the state, and EVs are eligible to drive in the HOV lanes on Staten Island for more convenient travel.
Colorado offers the best incentives in the country for electric vehicle owners. There are tax credits in Colorado of up to $5,000 available to car buyers that pick up an electric car and $2,500 available to people that decide to lease an EV There are also special grants available to help property owners install Level 2 chargers on their property that cover up to 80 percent of the cost of these units with rebates up to $3,260 for a single port and $6,260 for a multi-port installation. Property owners interested in Level 3 fast-charge technology can get up to $13,000 for a single-port charging station and up to $16,000 for a multi-port charging location. Colorado encourages a charging infrastructure and it’s easy to find chargers in most cities around the state.
Some states make buying an EV easier
Texas is another state that’s a well-known advocate of electric vehicles. Austin Energy, one of the larger power companies in the state, offers to pay up to $1,500 towards the cost of a charging station or half the cost of the charging station, whichever is the lower amount. EV buyers can also take advantage of $3,500 in purchase vouchers that make the vehicles considerably more affordable to purchase. It’s important to note that there are vehicle, income and location requirements to benefit from this rebate program.
It pays to own an electric vehicle in one of the states above, and more states around the country are implementing programs that favor electric vehicles and help encourage owners to pick them up.
By John Addison (9/21/11)
Central Parking System and its subsidiary USA Parking have announced the rollout of electric car charging. Central Parking, with 2,200 locations and over one million parking spaces, clients include some of the nation’s largest owners and operators of mixed-use projects, office buildings, hotels, stadiums and arenas as well as airports, hospitals and municipalities.
Car Charging Group (OTCBB:CCGI) will install, own and operate the charge points. The chargers are made by Coulomb Technologies. Central Parking charge points will be part of the ChargePoint® Network so that drivers can locate the charge points through Google, chargepoint.net, smart phones, and EV navigation systems.
As a Nissan LEAF owner, I often use Coulomb chargers at various locations. For example, Saturday my wife and I wanted to meet friends 40 miles away for dinner. Using chargepoint.net I located a convenient charging location, then used Yelp to find a good restaurant nearby. At the charger, I held my RFID ChargePoint card near the location, authorized the charging unit unlocked, I connected the charger to my LEAF and went off to dinner. ChargePoint even sent me a text when the LEAF was fully charged.
A couple of weeks ago, I was on a Networked Smart Grid panel with Richard Lowenthal, Founder and CTO of Coulomb Technologies. I complimented him on never having a problem with his chargers and with the internet map being accurate. He told me that Coulomb now has over 5,000 charge points installed in over 20 countries. He regularly uses the ChargePoint network to save gas. Richard had driven his Chevrolet Volt from his home in Cupertino to the San Francisco Airport where he charged with one of 14 Coulomb charge points. Then he went to downtown San Francisco and again charged. When he returned home after 110 miles of driving, he displayed that 102 miles were in electric only-mode.
United States will Soon Have 10,000 Electric Car Chargers
“There are close to 17,000 parking garages in the U.S., and they will play one of the most vital roles in the development of a national EV charging infrastructure,” said Brian Golomb, Director of Sales of Car Charging. “By partnering with two of the most important companies in this sector – companies that understand the benefits of electric vehicles – we will move much quicker in the rollout of this nationwide infrastructure.”
Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, is also having Car Charging Group install Coulomb Chargers at a number of locations. Car Charging Group provides EV charging stations at no charge to property owners/managers while retaining ownership, thus allowing their partners to offer their customers, tenants and employees charging services without incurring any outlay of capital. In addition, Car Charging Group’s partners realize a percentage of the charging revenue generated by the charging services paid for by the EV owners.
As part of the agreement, Central Parking has the right to purchase five percent of the Common Stock of Car Charging Group. “We are very excited about this partnership, because it will greatly expand the reach of our nationwide EV charging network,” said Michael Farkas, CEO of Car Charging Group.
This rollout will take us to over 10,000 car chargers installed in the United States. In comparison, there are over 100,000 gasoline stations, most with multiple pumps. “Electric vehicles are no longer a mirage – they are becoming an ever increasing presence on our roads and we are proud to be working with such an innovator in the EV sector,” said James Marcum, CEO of Central Parking Systems.
Through the end of 2012, Nissan is building 100,000 electric cars and GM is building 80,000. According to a new report from Pike Research, cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles will reach 5.2 million units by 2017. Car Charging Group uses the forecast of 40 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
By Tom Bartley (5/12/11). Electric cars were meant to be charged at home during the off peak night time hours. Depending on a public charging station is going to be a real crap shoot. As the number of plugin cars increase, the EV drivers could grow to hate each other because of competition for a charger.
To put this in prospective, even a very expensive fast charger costing in the tens of thousands of dollars may only fill at a nominal 50 kW rate at a public station. A typical gasoline pump delivers fuel at a 10 MW rate and reducing it 80% because of the inefficiency of the engine is still 2 MW, 40 times the speed of a public fast charger, if you can find one.
The EV driver will have a lot more time to interact with other EV drivers at the charging station. There could be a new form of a club to hang out and study alt fuel vehicles, or just hang out. In any case waiting could be the name of the game and idle time seems to be the stimulus for new entrepreneurs.
What will you do if you have plugged into a public charger and a short time later your cell phone notifies you that your charging circuit has been disconnected? You return to your car and find:
- A celebrity of fame and fortune has just plugged your connection into their new PHEV or EV car. What do you do?
- Ask for their autograph;
- Smile politely and say go ahead because you will wait the hour or more for them to charge;
- Start a conversation and try to get a date;
- Call the police;
- Start a confrontation to get your name in the papers;
- Text a complaint to one or more of your elected representatives;
- Call your attorney and ask him to file a damages suit against everyone that remotely has anything to do with the chargers;
- Say “Whatever” and walk away;
- Say “Oh well” and drive your car to another charging location if you can find one in range or;
- Call your therapist and cry over the phone.
- How would your reaction change if it were an NFL defensive end, “Guido”, your neighbor, your sales competitor, another member of your family?
Remember the Corvette “wave” to other Corvette drivers? I think the EV wave has a chance of using only one finger on your hand.
How are public chargers going to be assigned and reserved? How is it enforced? What are the consequences? Innovators like Coulomb Technologies are addressing all these issues but they face a legal challenge.
In California it is legally questionable whether a charge station provider can charge for the kWh energy delivered. Some electric utilities want charge station providers to be regulated like utilities, a move that is likely to kill innovative young companies.
Assemblywoman and Speaker pro Tempore, Fiona Ma introduced legislation to provide market certainty for the infrastructure that is needed to support California’s electric vehicle consumer fleet. The legislation, Assembly Bill 631, will place into law a decision by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to not regulate electric vehicle charging stations as utilities. Assemblywoman Ma bill is strongly supported by organizations including the Environmental Defense Fund, Plug in America, the San Francisco California Apartment Association and the California Business Properties Association.
“Electric vehicles are the next generation of fuel for California’s green economy,” said Assemblywoman Ma. “AB 631 will provide the infrastructure to support President Obama’s goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”
Even if AB 631 becomes law, what is the sustainable business proposition for the owner of the charger? How will if affect drivers’ behavior and the power grid operation?
Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are a great addition to alternative transportation choices, but dealing with the expectations of the availability of public chargers is going to be a bit dicey. Let’s all take a deep breath and figure out a way to make this work.
By John Addison (updated 3/28/11; original 3/22/11)
New Hands-Free EV Charger
Google makes innovative use of electric vehicles and charging stations. For employees, Google took an early lead in converting Toyota Prii (yep that’s the official plural of Prius) to be plug-in hybrids. Then Google installed beautiful solar covered parking including charge stations so that electric cars can be charged with sunlight.
At its headquarters, Google is now showing us how to charge hands-free. No plug. No cord. Using Evatran Plugless Power’s inductive charging system, one of Google’s maintenance short-range EVs parks in close proximity of the charger and charging begins. The Evatran unit is Level 2 (7.7 kW, 240V at 32A). The light EV was converted to use the inductive charging.
Google is also conducting other important pilots including testing the new Toyota Prius Plug-in, not a conversion, but the 2012 model from Toyota. Soon, Google will be testing the Honda Fit Electric and other plug-in cars. Several Google founders drive Tesla Roadsters. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are Stanford University grad student “drop-outs” as is Telsa CEO and Founder, Elon Musk. None regret the decision to change the world a priority over getting their PhDs.
Google is even approved by FERC to be an electric utility. Cloud services will be at the heart of the smart grid and smart charging. Early electric car drivers use Google Maps to find the nearest charging station. Will Google charge your electric cars?
How Inductive Electric Car Charging Works
Historically, inductive charging has been too inefficient, wasting valuable electricity and charging hours. Evatran thinks that they can get to 90 percent efficient; they’re not there yet. How does it work? A Plugless Power vehicle adapter is permanently mounted onto the vehicle. A fixed Plugless Power station, including both a floor-mounted parking block and a separate control tower, is installed in the garage or parking space.
Evatran states that its technology is safe. When the equipped vehicle pulls up to the parking space, the parking block automatically positions itself to align with the vehicle adapter and begins charging. With their electromagnetic induction, no actual flow of electricity occurs between the vehicle adapter and the parking block.
Will inductive charging catch-on? In the late 1990s, inductive charging competed with conductive. Multiple incompatible systems helped kill major electric car success. GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and all the automakers have devoted years working with utilities to have a common Level 2 J1772 smart charging standard. Now they are going thru the pain of trying to get consumers to install wall-mounted chargers, only to be frustrated with obsolete building codes, over worked city inspectors, and electric utility frontline employees who find reasons to say “No to EV charging.” Adding inductive charging would compound the issues.
General Motors puts Inductive Charging Inside
Automakers are interested in proximity charging inside the car when we fill the cars with collegues or kids with their iPhones, Droids, iPads, games, and other mobile electronics. Powermat is not only receiving a $5 million investment from GM Ventures, Powermat will be offered in many 2012 GM cars to give customers proximity charging of mobile devices inside the car.
What about America’s 14 million fleet vehicles? Inductive charging could be a winner. Fleets can install their own systems without needing a universal standard. Think about taxis that wait in queues. Consider millions of delivery vehicles. Light utility vehicles are popular on university, government, and corporate campuses. These are also good candidates for inductive charging, as Google is demonstrating.
In 1990, the San Francisco Bay Area was home to 6 million people. By 2050, it will be home to 9 million yet the air will be cleaner and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be reduced. In the Bay Area, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of air pollution. Local oil refineries add to the pollution.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) awarded $3.9 million to four companies to spur development of the Bay Area’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure as part of the agency’s Spare the Air initiatives. The Air District selected ECOtality, Coulomb Technology, AeroVironment and Clipper Creek to coordinate and deploy electric vehicle charging equipment throughout the Bay Area. All are U.S. corporations. Primarily local electricians do installations.
“The electric vehicle’s time has come and its effectiveness as a means of improving air quality depends on a robust charging infrastructure,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Investing in infrastructure will help make the electric vehicle a viable option for many Bay Area residents and businesses.”
The funding will be spent to develop a home charger program that would provide incentives for deploying 2,750 chargers in Bay Area residences, as well as a fast charger program that that seeks to deploy 30 fast chargers for public use at key transportation corridor sites in the region. The table below shows the companies selected and the amount awarded:
|Home Charger Program
|Fast Charger Program
ECOtality’s EV Project is bringing electric vehicles and supporting technology to thousands of homes in 16 cities and the District of Columbia this year. ECOtality recently formed a strategic partnership with Cisco, headquartered in the SF Bay Area, to advance the smart grid.
Cisco and ECOtality have completed development for integrating the Blink Network charger interface with the Cisco HEMS. The Blink Network charger interface will be accessible through the Cisco Home Energy Controller (HEC), where Blink EV Home Charging Station owners can access information about their EVs and optimize their charging and energy usage. By combining Cisco’s Home Energy Management solution with the Blink Network charger interface, consumers will now be able to monitor and control their energy use—including EV charging—at home and on the road.
Clean Fleet Report estimates that 4,000 electric cars will be delivered in the SF Bay Area this year and 10,000 in 2012. The area is already one of the nations leading buyers of hybrid-electric cars. Electric cars are already available by the hour from Zipcar and City Car Share in this region.
Over 20 percent of the SF Bay Area’s energy comes from renewable sources such as wind, hydropower, solar, geothermal, and biowaste from agriculture. Ocean power is being added. Coal power plants are not allowed in the Bay Area. The new electric cars can be programmed to charge at night when excess power is on the grid. As utilities make the information available, they can even be programmed to charge when excess renewables are on the grid.
The $3.9 million outlay is part of an ongoing effort by the Air District to support at-home electric vehicle charging in the region and to establish a network of accessible charging sites where electric vehicle owners can conveniently recharge while conducting their normal business, running errands or traveling.
The fast charges will significantly expand the range of travel along the Pacific Northwest corridor, and provide charging options for electric vehicle owners without access to home charging equipment.
Funding for the electric vehicle infrastructure program was provided through the Air District’s Transportation Fund for Clean Air Regional Fund that allocates money collected as a surcharge on vehicle registration fees. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.
Electric cars are a major component in how the SF Bay Area can reduce transportation GHG emissions by 80 percent.