An electric car is a vehicle that uses batteries to power a motor as opposed to the gasoline-powered combustion engines found in traditional cars. Often referred to as “EVs,” many electric cars run quiet and have range equal to a gas-powered car. More and more EV options are coming to market which is driving down costs, along with federal incentives, cheaper “fuel” costs, and a 20-year lifespan (or more). In addition to reducing carbon footprint, your Croton neighbors are upgrading to EVs that are increasingly cost competitive with gasoline cars.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy
What inspired you to make this upgrade?
I purchased a Toyota Prius in 2008 and upgraded (environmentally speaking) to a Prius Prime plug-in hybrid in 2017. On a lark, we put down a deposit on a Tesla Model 3 when it was first announced that Tesla planned to come out with an “affordable” EV. We sent off the deposit and forgot about it, not knowing if this would ever actually come to pass. Then about a year later, we received a call from Tesla and ordered our car. We purchased the Model 3 in November of 2018.
At the time, Tesla was scrambling to fill the orders it received for the new Model 3, so there weren’t any available to test drive. We liked the way the car looked, so we took a leap of faith, and we’re glad that we did.
What is the most common question you are asked by family and friends?
Most people want to know how you could possibly take a long trip in an EV. “Aren’t you worried that you’ll run out of power and get stranded?” About a month after we bought the Tesla, we took a trip to northern Vermont. Tesla has a dense network of super-charging stations near major highways, and it’s easy to find them. Once you put your destination into the navigation system, the screen shows all the charging stations along the route. On a 3 or 4 hour trip, we usually stop for a break anyway. We plug in the car, and by the time we use the rest room and get a bite to eat, the car is ready. Since then, we have taken the Tesla on several interstate trips and we’ve never had to worry about running out of battery power.
Did you need to install any specific charging equipment at home?
When we first bought the car, we just plugged it into the 110 Volt outlet in our garage. It charged the car, but slowly. We then had an electrician install a 220 Volt line to our garage and connect a Tesla home charging station to it. That charges the car in just a few hours, overnight, while we sleep.. The cost of running a 220 Volt line to the garage will depend on details such as the distance and route of the run. We suggest getting several estimates. A dedicated charging station like the one Tesla sells will cost about $500. It’s very convenient, but you can save some money by installing a standard 220 Volt wall outlet (the type used by an electric clothes dryer) and buying an inexpensive adapter so you can plug your vehicle’s mobile charging adapter into that outlet.
What did the car cost, and what incentives were available?
In 2018, the sticker price for my car (with long range battery and 4 wheel drive) was $55,000 . With the federal income tax credit and the NYS incentive, the price was reduced by $9500, and Tesla gave us a good trade-in price on our relatively new Prius Prime. The prices have since come down. The equivalent long range model (350 miles) now costs about $46,000. The standard range (260 miles) model starts at $37,000. The federal tax credit was phased out in 2019 because Tesla had sold 500,000 vehicles, but the NYS incentive, worth $2000 is still available.
How has the car worked out for you?
Very well. The car is a pleasure to drive. It is quiet, comfortable, handles wells and has incredible pick-up (a far cry from a 4 cylinder Prius). I do not miss gas station stops. Although the initial purchase price was high, the car costs very little to operate. Since there is no engine and no transmission, an annual check-in for tire rotation, fluid replenishment, and replacing windshield wipers takes care of maintenance. We replaced the tires at 30,000 miles. It does cost something to charge the car, but the increase to our electric bill has been negligible. In addition, we signed up for the Smart Charge NY program offered through Con Edison. By charging the car during off peak hours, we earn
rebates of about $60 a month, on average. We recently calculated that our net cost for charging the car was just $450 for the first 20,000 miles!
Read more about this upgrade in our blogs: Be Part of the Carbon Reduction Solution: Drive Electric and Our Car Lexicon is Changing