SALEM — It’s National Drive Electric Week, and the Oregon Department of Energy wants Oregonians to know there’s an electric vehicle out there for them. From September 9-17, we’re celebrating zero emissions with plenty of torque, widespread availability of plug-in all-electric and hybrid vehicles, and an ever-increasing network of charging infrastructure to support EV adoption.
From economy to luxury, hatchbacks to SUVs – plus new, pre-owned, and leased options – this is the year to choose electric. With more than 20 electric vehicle models from multiple brands, new EVs range from about $20,000 to $100,000 or more. More and more recently-leased low-mileage vehicles are also helping build a secondary market with even more affordable options.
EVs are fun to drive, and often less expensive to run and maintain than traditional gasoline cars. For example, the zippy new Chevrolet Bolt needs just 56 kilowatt hours of electricity to go 200 miles. If you drive 15,000 miles per year, you’ll cut your fuel costs by almost a third compared to the $1400 you’d pay to go the same distance in a gas-powered car that averages 26 MPG.
Bigger, lighter batteries and more fast charging stations across the state, including along some of Oregon’s most scenic roadways, ensure that electric vehicles are road trip-ready. Certain fast chargers can get you up and going in about a half an hour – plenty of time to grab a snack and snap a selfie before hitting the road again. EV drivers can find available charging stations near them at www.plugshare.com.
EVs offer another important benefit: zero tailpipe emissions.
“As Oregon continues to see the effects of climate change, electric vehicles are a better choice for our environment,” said Janine Benner, assistant director at the Oregon Department of Energy and satisfied EV owner. “Replacing traditional engines with zero emission vehicles can help reduce greenhouse gases and harmful air pollutants.”
Ready to take a test drive? National Drive Electric Week events are popping up in Oregon over the next week – check them out at www.driveelectricweek.org/events.php. From car shows to ride-and-drive events, there’s something for everyone.
Forth, the organization formerly known as Drive Oregon, also offers year-round, no-pressure test drives through their Electric Showcase in downtown Portland. Visit their website at www.forthmobility.org to sign up for a free test drive. You can also take their DriveFinder quiz to see which EV is your best match.
After finding the right EV, Oregonians may qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Local utilities may also offer rebates – such as the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s $200 incentive for their electricity customers.
The Oregon Department of Energy also offers tax credits of up to $750 for homeowners or renters who install certain electric vehicle chargers at home. Visit ODOE at www.oregon.gov/energy to learn more. Act fast – the program ends December 31.