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Understanding The Complicated Pricing Of New EVs

When shopping for a new or used car, there are so many hidden fees and questionable additions piled on to make figuring out the final price difficult. We can’t help you with a dealer trying to sell you $300 floor mats, but if you want to buy a new electric vehicle, rather than a used one, we can make the complicated process a bit easier to understand.

You will find some of the cheapest EVs available in this article, but electric vehicles come in a tremendous range of prices, from a $6,000 used first-gen Nissan Leaf to a brand new, loaded Tesla Model X SUV that can be optioned up to $150,000. In general, the more range an EV offers, the more you’ll pay, but many of today’s EVs also come well equipped with tech and safety features. The Nissan Leaf’s semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist system and the Chevy Bolt’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot are just two examples.

Tax credit amount of non-Tesla EVs

Many new, non-Tesla EVs can be purchased for around $30,000 today, but there’s always an important asterisk on that price tag. That’s because new EVs qualify for a federal tax incentive of up to $7,500. Exactly how much you might save depends on two things: the amount of federal tax you owe (you can’t get the full $7,500 tax credit if you only owe $4,000 after all) and the size of the battery (cars with smaller batteries get smaller tax credits). Every new all-electric vehicle on the market today has a big enough battery that you’ll get the full $7,500 tax credit, but the value of that credit for plug-in hybrids varies quite a bit because their batteries are smaller.

Potential federal benefits

These tax credits are not endless, as the federal government has placed a cap of 200,000 qualifying vehicles per automaker. After each automaker reaches that cap, the credit starts to phase out in smaller and smaller incentive amounts over time. As of today (August 2018), Tesla is the only automaker to hit the 200,000 vehicles delivered and officially entered the phase out period that will end the $7500 tax credit on December 31th, 2018. Nissan is not far behind.

#   State
01.  Connecticut up to $3,000 rebate
02.  Delaware $3,500 rebate
03.  Louisiana $2,500 tax credit
04.  Massachusetts $2,500 rebate
05.  New York $2,000 rebate
06.  Oklahoma $1,500 tax credit
07.  Utah $1,500 tax credit
08.  West Virginia $7,500 tax credit

Check with your local government for details, as there are some limits for Tesla buyers and some of these benefits also apply to leasing an EV. Some states also offer charger (EVSE) incentives and non-financial benefits, like the ability to take your EV in restricted high occupancy vehicle lanes. Lastly, many of these incentives are subject to calendar or budget limitations, and so can change at any time.

Tax Credits and Used EVs

Only a small number of those tax credits also apply to used EVs. Oklahoma used to offer a used EV benefit, if it had not already been given a credit in Oklahoma, but that ended in 2017. Oregon is on the way to offering up to $2,500 to buyers of new or used EVs, but that is subject to income levels — and rebates will not be granted until the summer of 2018. That said, consider that used EVs already have the value of the incentives that were applied to their price when new factored into their used prices.

Zero Emission Vehicle Rebate Program

If you are in the market for a used EV, the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S will be the most common vehicles you’ll come across. The Leaf can be had for as little as six or seven thousand dollars, but that’ll usually be for an ‘11 or ‘12 model with a fair number of miles on it. The Model S might be found for under $40,000, but if you want to get the cheapest model you can find, it probably won’t have a lot of the high-tech features (AutoPilot, for example) that the brand is known for.

Nissan Leaf

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Tesla Model S

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Buying your first EV might seem confusing at first, but rest assured we are here to help you. Send us any questions, comments, and concerns you may have and we’ll do our best to answer. Sharing our passion and knowledge of EVs IS our passion. We want to build a community FAQ, so any questions you have may show up in our Knowledge Base. Don’t be afraid to ask! Your questions may help others!

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