Do you remember the first album you downloaded? Maybe not, but you probably remember the feeling of jumping into the digital era. Maybe you were apprehensive at first. Maybe you worried about it getting lost somewhere in the digital universe. Maybe you missed having something to hold in your hands like a CD case, cassette case or album cover. But, then you realized having your music ready to play with the tap of a finger was awesome. Plus, there was no cd/tape/album to get damaged. Some of us find ourselves at a similar turning point with electric vehicles. If you are thinking about trading in your gas guzzler for an electric vehicle, we’ve got some pros and cons to consider before heading to the dealership.
BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
The number of EVs on the road in North Carolina went up by more than 50% in 2022, according to NCDOT data. But, the total number of EVs in the state remains very small – under 40 thousand, according to WFAE.
MONEY MONEY MONEY
EVs traditionally cost more than gas-powered cars at the dealership, but a New York Times article from February suggested the cost could even out this year due to government incentives, increased competition and more battery production.
- Tax credit: the IRS offers a credit of up to $7,500 for new, qualified plug-in EVs. Learn more about it here. New this year, the IRS also offers up to a $4,000 credit for buying a used clean vehicle. You can find the details here.
- EV charger credit: Duke Energy is offering a one-time credit up to $1,133 to help cover the costs of preparing your home for an electric vehicle charger.
- HOV lane: Qualified plug-in EVs can use North Carolina HOV lanes, regardless of the number of occupants. If you commute from north of the city this could be a HUGE time saver.
- No inspections: You don’t have to worry about getting your car inspected every year!
- Save money: It can cost about half as much to drive an electric vehicle as an equivalent gas-powered car, according to the Department of Energy.
Charging: This is not as easy as pulling into a gas station and filling up. EV batteries last 250-500 miles depending on the vehicle. Charging an EV takes time. How much time depends on the type of charger.
- Level one uses a common 120-volt AC outlet and can take 40-50 hours to fully charge a vehicle from empty.
- Level two equipment, once installed by an electrician, can charge an EV battery from empty in four to 10 hours (and Duke could help cover the costs of installing one. See PRO list above).
- Direct current fast charging (DCFC) is the quickest way to recharge. They can get an EV to 80% in just 20 minutes. As of 2022, North Carolina has about 1,400 charging stations. The state expects to receive up to $109 million from the federal government to build more – one every 50 miles or less on the state’s busiest interstates and highways.
Expensive batteries: A new Tesla battery will set you back around $13,000, according to JD Power. A Prius battery costs up to $1,200.
Less gas tax revenue: NC’s gas tax is the biggest source of funding for road construction and maintenance. With more people buying electric vehicles that don’t require gas, the legislature has to figure out how to make up for that lost revenue. A bill in the state senate right now would increase the registration fees for EVs.