I pretty unexpectedly became an electric car person at the end of December. It surprised me too. I’m not really known for being a gung-ho environmentalist. But it turns out I am a gadget person, a I-want-a-new-car person and a person who was seriously hating the 12 miles to the gallon my last car got.
The bug hit hard when the wife got a new Mini Cooper and I happened to see the BMW i3 on the showroom. The thing was just so stupid cool. With this awesome stylized interior and tons of lights and bells and whistles.
But ultimately just a bit too quirky for me. I’m always someone who likes to ride that line between new/odd and traditional. That’s when I found the Mercedes Benz B-class — an all-electric. Has all of the styling of a Benz, but zero emissions. And by that I mean… there’s not even a tailpipe.
Charging hasn’t proven to be an issue — mostly because my employer has two chargers in the garage where I usually park during the day. When I need a boost on the weekend, I can plug into a regular outlet at home. Takes awhile longer, but gets the job done. There are also nearby public chargers at Forest Hills T Stop and at the JP Whole Foods.
I’ve had the car less than a month, but range hasn’t been a problem for me yet either. The B Class gets at tops, an 80 mile range. That’s all dependent on your driving style — and even the temperature. Both of those mean that driving in Boston’s winter (it was 2F the other day) — with our city’s well-known stop/start/jack-rabbit starts — drastically lower the range. Getting out on the highway though — with a more consistent pace — helps a ton. I used about a quarter of my full mileage range the day that I took it out on I-93 for a 20 mile drive from downtown Boston to Dedham. That was equivalent to the nearly quarter charge I use up during my 7-mile daily morning commute.
Most of the driving resources I see online are on the West Coast. California has tons of incentives for EVs, which has really driven the trend there. While there are a number of drivers on the East Coast — it seems we’re a bit of a rare breed out here in New England. I was only the second EV my dealer had sold.
There are though, some great incentives here in Massachusetts (below). And as I learn of others, I’ll be sure to share them here as a resource as well.
- Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Cars (MOR-EV) — Massachusetts residents can get a $2500 rebate check for buying an EV. Great deal with a limited pool of money. So when you get your car, be sure to sign up immediately for the rebate.
- Plug My Ride — Northeast Utilities have a few offers depending on which state you’re in and who your electric provider is. NStar is currently offering a pilot program to install a home car chargers. I’ll note that the chargers are about a $100-$200 more than you could get on your own — but they’re designed to eventually take advantage of off-peak electric rates that NStar is considering. They seem to be launching the pilot as a way for them to understand how EV owners charge up, so they can design the future off-peak pricing model.
- IRS/US Tax Credit — The IRS offers up to a $7,500 tax credit for EVs. Again, this is limited to a certain cap. When they hit the cap, the credit goes away.